Isabelle Proximus | The Lost Abbey

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Isabelle ProximusIsabelle Proximus

Brewed by:
The Lost Abbey
California, United States

Style: American Wild Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
In March of 2006 five guys, Adam Avery, Vinnie Cilurzo, Rob Todd, Tomme Arthur and Sam Calagione accompanied Lorenzo Dabove, The Prince of Pajottenland, through a tour of Belgium's finest geuze producers. Many of the mysteries of lambic production were answered along the way. They vowed to return to the states to brew a sour beer celebrating their experiences. In November of 2006 they reunited at Port Brewing to brew Isabelle Proximus.

In this bottle, you'll find the answers to many of the questions that were posed along their journey near the river Senne. However, like the mysteries of lambic beers, there remains one lingering question that was left unresolved. We hope like us, the next time you're on a pilgrimage to Brussels you'll drop by the Empire Club and let us know whether you prefer Green or Orange...

Added by John_M on 05-22-2008

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 442 |  Reviews: 220
Photo of GRG1313
5/5  rDev +10.1%

Photo of jaydoc
4.49/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.35/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to GRG1313 for sharing this one at his tasting.

Pours a hazy golden-orange with a foamy bone head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace drip into the remaining beer on the drink down. Smell is sour with grain, fruit, funk, acidic, and wood aromas. Taste is much the same with sour grain, fruit, funk, and wood flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of acidity on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good beer with fantastic sour characteristics all around.

Serving type: bottle.

 616 characters

Photo of spycow
5/5  rDev +10.1%

Photo of djrn2
5/5  rDev +10.1%

Photo of t0rin0
4.5/5  rDev -0.9%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4.5/5  rDev -0.9%

Photo of oline73
4.62/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Yet another beer at Sour and Bitter that I never thought I would get to try. Poured into my stemless wine glass.

Appearance: Pours a clear golden color with an amber hue. There is hardly any head at all.

Smell: Sweet and quite tart, some mild funk and citrus peel notes. I'm getting some warm alcohol in the finish.

Taste: Not as sweet as the smell would indicate. Some gueuze like fink with a citrus peel tartness. The finish is funky and sour. The sweet and sour notes play together perfectly.

Mouthfeel: Medium body but not heavy at all. Mild carbonation with a dry finish.

Overall: This beer is fantastic. Perfect level of tartness with enough sweet malt to back it up. I would love to have some more in the future.

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Photo of brentk56
4.71/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Appearance: Pours a cloudy honey color; even after all these years, the carbonation is intact and the beer pours with a nice head that leaves some lacing behind

Smell: Lemon, melon and funk notes

Taste: The lemon elements dominate from the outset, but there is much more underneath, including melon, funk and oak; the acidity is just right, adding a nice sour dimension that never overwhelms

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation and a bit of a pucker

Overall: Waited a long time to open this one and it is amazing how well it is drinking after six years in my cellar; one of the best sours I have ever tasted

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Photo of SocalKicks
4.25/5  rDev -6.4%

Photo of emerge077
4.65/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thank you Jason for sending this bottle, it's been patiently cellaring for awhile now. Recently shared it with a dozen fellow beer nerds... review from written notes.

Served in a mini Chouffe tulip (RIP Feb 2010- May 2011).
Bright gold with sharp clarity and a dollop of white foam, it looks like a traditional gueuze. Spotty sea foam lace dots the inside of the glass. Lazy ascending trails of rising carbonation.

Aromas of white wine minerality, stone fruits, sour grapes, slight dusty sweetness. Mellower than the bottle we had last summer, which was pretty funky and gushed a bit, but not this particular bottle.

Tannic oak, white grapefruit, sour grape, lemony, vinous and fruity, with some lingering traces of sweetness. Dominating citrus and grape fruitiness, dry and tannic, yet also very refreshing and quenching. Effervescent and ethereal. One example of American Wild Ales approaching the ballpark of traditional Belgian Gueuze, trailing closely behind Beatification.


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Photo of largadeer
4.64/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Straw-colored and rather hazy, almost opaque in my snifter. An inch of head rises and then quickly dissipates, leaving no lace as it falls. Pretty standard gueuze-like appearance.

Smell: Funky as hell in an absolutely bizarre way. Sweat, dirty socks and a generous amount of salt and musty barrel. I've never smelled anything quite like this. I don't know if it's pleasant, but it's certainly compelling.

Taste & mouthfeel: Very sour and fruity, but in a decidedly American way - this has a clean and concentrated sourness without a ton of vinegar-like flavors, and the oak is plainly noticeable. Flavors of apple cider, lemon peel and tannic oak dominate the palate. No sweetness here; this one is bone-dry. The finish ends on a slightly bitter and tannic note, much like an amped up gueuze. Carbonation is pretty much ideal; it's lively but not excessive, reminding me a whole lot of the Cantillon gueuze that I drank a few hours before this one.

Notes: Great stuff and I'm glad to see more American brewers attempting styles like this. The closest thing I can compare it to is Russian River's Beatification, and while I don't think it's quite up to par with that brew, it's still highly enjoyable. Recommended.

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Photo of zestar
4.75/5  rDev +4.6%

Photo of mothman
4.5/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into Lost Abbey Tulip/Chalice glass.

Pours 1/2 finger of pure white head. Fades down quickly to a thin ring. Color is a gorgeous hazed orange cream, bright sunset.

Aroma: Tons of sour fun, making my mouth water quickly. A lot of horse blanket, yeast, tart cherries, grapefruit, and sour lemon flavors.

Taste: Wow, this is nice and sour. Starts out with a sour and barnyard funk taste to it. Then sour cherries hit with a big amount of apricot and peach flavors. Some leather notes as well.

Mouthfeel: Very sour and tart, mouth puckering goodness. Medium bodied with a low/medium amount of carbonation. Ends tart but great.

Overall, this is a very nice sour and I am glad I got to try this one. I wish I had more, but I don't see that happening anytime soon. Very drinkable and very great. Highly recommend this one.

 827 characters

Photo of olradetbalder
4.25/5  rDev -6.4%

Photo of Thorpe429
4.5/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to bmanning for sharing this with myself, Amyliz4, and hhanson at a recent tasting.

A: Poured a somewhat cloudy apricot color with a tight white head and a good amount of lacing as it went down. Carbonation bubbles apparent in the tulip.

S: Right off the nose, excellent sour and fruit combination. Ripe peaches, green apple skin, and touches of oak. Moderate horse blanket character. Brisk lactic character without any acetic qualities.

T: Again, beautiful balance here. The sourness is in your face, but not all too overpowering. Beautiful notes of peaches, apricots, pear, green apple, and oak.

M: Quite dry with good carbonation. Great fruit/sour balance. Very complex.

D: Excellent. More intense and complex than Veritas 004, in my opinion. An excellent beer; the hype is well-deserved.

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Photo of jlindros
4.51/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Shared at my Birthday whale tasting. Big thanks to Duffy and Kyle for sharing this baby. This has been at the top of my list of wants for a very long time.

Pours with pretty much no head as expected, hazy blonde orange peach color.

Nose has great sour fruit, sour peach and nectarine like, hint of funk and tartness, light malt coming through, light bready yeasty and acidic bite, light vinous grape skin, musty even.

Taste brings plenty of sour fruit, tart as hell!, golden malts, a sour peach nectarine kinda fruit with even a hint of citrus, as well as more vinous grape skin, musty as well, a bit wild funky bready malt, and just a bit of grassy funk. Sour vinegary flavor, acetic acid, but juicy and drinkable.

Mouth is lighter bodied, but decent carb, little flemmy, acidic.

Overall very good, awesome sour, almost as good as it can get for a straight up American sour.

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Photo of ygtbsm94
4.5/5  rDev -0.9%

Photo of Kegatron
4.05/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle into several glasses. HUGE thanks go to Stakem for finally helping me right a wrong with this beer from a few years ago.

Pours a hazed grapefruit color in the glass, topped with thin foamy layer of bright-white head. This mostly retains with some frothy edging, leaving back a moderately robust cascade of lace that slowly drips down the sides of the glass. The aroma is a mélange of tart lemon, tropical fruit, earth, oak and funk. The lemon is very strong in this and you kind of have to dig deep to get the rest.

The taste is similar, with lemon, oak, earth and funk all standing out. Like the nose, that lemon tartness is fairly strong. Slight acidity hangs on the edges. The finish is dry and oaky with more lingering acidic notes. The mouthfeel is medium to fuller bodied, with a chewy creaminess to the carbonation that sits with some heft in the mouth. That 7% is well hid overall though.

This was good for me but not great. I liked the complexity but all of that tartness and eventually acidity just go to be a bit too intrusive on the other flavors at times. I think this one has maybe already crested the hill? I’m not sure but I am very grateful to Adam for finally helping me try this. Thanks again man!

 1,238 characters

Photo of wethorseblanket
4.6/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of billab914
4.67/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

750ml bottle shared by me at a recent tasting. It poured a slightly murky, light orange color with a thin white head sticking mostly to the edges of the glass. Very nice looking color to it.

The aroma has a sharper sourness to it with some funky, musty and slight acidic notes to it. I seem to get some sour lemon flavor to it as well. It was very vibrant, complex and basically just an awesome aroma overall for the style.

The taste is very sharp and funky right off the bat. I get more sourness to it towards the finish with some of that sour lemon flavor coming out in it. Pretty low on acidicness with some modest funky, musty notes. The sourness is great though.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied for the style with high carbonation. Overall it was an awesome beer. All the sour, funky, fruity flavors came together wonderfully to create some very deep and complex flavors. Definitely one of the best American Wilds I've had so far, if not the best.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.25/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a hazed, dark straw-colored body crowned with a small, whiteish head.

Smell: Tart, sour aroma smelling of vinegar, cheese, oaky white wine, citrus fruit -- it's an entire meal!

Taste: An amazing mixture -- a sip of a fine French chardonnay paired with a noticeably briny-tasting cheese and one lone drop of pineapple juice. A plop of French mustard atop a sour lemon wedge. Musty earthiness and a bit lactic throughout. Man, there's just a great, funky yeast flavor going on here. Finishes with a light, lingering sourness.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation. All the while there's a softness to the mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Quite nice. Kudos to Lost Abbey and all of the other brewers involved in creating this lovely beverage.

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Photo of atrocity
4.5/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of mdaschaf
4.67/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Was fortunate enough to be present at a tasting where this was opened up.

A: Cork came out with a loud pop. Poured into a snifter glass, the beer was a golden yellow with very little head and no lacing. A few small carbonation bubbles here and there.

S: Very tart, lots of apples and a little vinegar, quite sour and bretty. Lots going on, with some grass, vanilla/oak, and other light fruits - peaches and apricots. Extremely inviting.

T: A really nice tartness, slightly mouth puckering, but not overdone at all. Lots of green apple and some lemon, some berries and apricots. There is a very faint barnyard funk going on, but it is in the background to the tart fruit flavors. Light oak and vanilla are also in the background.

M: Light to medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Drinks very smooth, and as mentioned above not overly sour.

O: An amazing beer, I am grateful to have been able to have a snifter of it and hope that one day I will be able to have some more. One of the best beers I have had thus far.

 1,026 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.47/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Polished 24-karat gold with a small splash of orange juice and several steady streams of fine bubbles. The combination of wild yeast and oak aging was bound to play havoc with head and lace. The dirty ivory crown is compact, nearly featureless and is laying down almost no lace. Keeping style in mind, it's still a good look.

Brettanomyces was appreciated as soon as the cork was extracted and the gun smoke faded. The barnyard funk smells especially clean and bright and lemony, not down and dirty and grungy as it can sometimes smell. If the nose is any indication, IP will be one fantastic wild ale.

Isabelle Proximus is incredibly complex beer that is almost indescribably delicious. There's so much going on with each mouthful that it will take time (and most of the bottle) to sort out. I'm not sure how age affects beer of this sort, but it's drinking beautifully right now. As a point of reference, the release date was June 28, 2008.

The beer has an mild underlying sweetness that gradually eases into a mildly evaporative dryness on the finish. Primarily, however, it's as tart-tangy-sour and acidic as a gueuze. The entire tongue gets a workout as each and every taste bud is instantly engaged on contact. In it's own way, this American wild ale is an intense as a highly hopped IPA.

There's a ton of tart lemon peel, complemented by Sauvignon Blanc, white wine vinegar, new mown hay and a moderate amount of high-class horse blanket funk. That might not sound very good to the uninitiated, but trust me, it is. The oak barrels didn't add a great deal. In fact, I wouldn't have been able to tell that they had been used if unaware of the specifics of the beer's creation.

Although the mouthfeel is not voluminous and creamy (these things never are), it has a surprising amount of viscosity and coats the mouth in fine fashion. It also squeezes the salivary glands like nobody's business. Pucker up.

Tomme Arthur (The Lost Abbey), Vinnie Cilurzo (Russian River), Lorenzo Dabove, Rob Tod (Allagash), Adam Avery (Avery) and Sam Caglione (Dogfish Head) have every reason to be proud of Isabelle Proximus. This expertly and lovingly crafted ale is right up there with Vinnie's Temptation and Supplication, as well as Rob's Interlude, as the best American wild ales to have ever entered my glass. Kudos to Sam for painting the label.

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Isabelle Proximus from The Lost Abbey
4.54 out of 5 based on 442 ratings.
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