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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Reviews: 219 | Ratings: 439
Photo of antilogic
3.63/5  rDev -20%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Had this at Lost Abbey barrel Aged Night II. Was really looking forward to it and was very disappointed. If you like really sour beers, you will probably like this. I do like sour, but this took sour to a whole new level. This was like a warhead. The funk and sourness made it difficult to enjoy. Taste was Fruit, Funk and Oak.

I knew it was a unique, "good" beer, but that did not make me want to drink much more of it. With the right food, this could be amazing I think. Oh well, I'm going to trade the bottle I have away and get something a little less extreme.

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Photo of aerozeppl
4.97/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to bwyker for bringing this.

A:Nice hazy golden color with minimal white head. It actually did have some lacing.

S: Super funky. Tart and sour. This is a frontal assault on your nose. This beer is Germany and your nose in Poland.

T: Tart and sour. My mouth simply collapsed under the sour. Rotten fruit. The yeast pour at the end almost put me over the edge. Hints of fruit about but they too were crushed by the sour funk.

M: Very nice crisp mouthfeel. Dare I say refreshing?

D: God damn. What a wonderful beer. Hopefully more will be made one day. The cellar potential on this is off the charts. I don't even know if the flavors could get more intense though.

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Photo of drseamus
4.92/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to bwyker for bringing out his bottle.

A: Thin white head sitting atop a blonde body. Slightly cloudy.

S: TART pear and apples. The caps-lock on the 'tart' is not a mistake.

T: Super tart. Amazing flavor all around. Swishing it increases the tartness delightfully. The pear and the apples are back along with the crisp tartness. Good brett dustiness.

M: Thin but good.

D: Absolutely phenomenal.

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

Many thanks to faustgeist for this rare gem. A fitting one for my 300th review.

Pours a yellow-golden. Cloudy. Head is minimal. Tons of floaties in each glass. Looks like it just came out of a koelschip.

Aroma is super funky. Feet, sweat, very sharp cheese(limburger/old white cheddar), rotten lemons, faint pepper. The most amazing, complex, super nasty funk beer I've inhaled. A gueuze lovers' paradise.

A bit of sweetness, like honey, starts things off, but quickly turns to a harsh citrus/vinegar sour that encompasses cheese and brettanomyces in rare force. Finish is so sour it's puckering, with notes of hot pepper and mega warheads.

Medium carbonation, med/full body, and the harsh puckering sourness in the finish make a great supporting element for the heft of this gueuze.

If you are a fan of the style, this beer is an absolute must. One of the best I've had, by far. Well worth whatever you have to do to get one. This one is one for the books.

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Photo of JoeMayo
4.4/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a very light gold color with a moderate head, which reduces to a ring of foam around the glass.

S- Intensely sour brett smell. Slightly fruity and herbal. A mild bready aroma comes through.

T- Very crisp and very sour. This may be the sourest beer I've ever had and I love it. Beyond the sour fruity notes, hints of pepper and oak can be detected.

M- My mouth was salivating too much from the sourness to really describe it!

D- It's intense, but sip at it and savor it.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.37/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sampled at the Sixth Annual Festival of Wood and Barrel Aged Beer.

A - Rich apricot yellow color, with foam that dissolved by the time the server returned my class. Bubbly - almost like a dark champagne.

S - Chardonnay, sour apples and cherries, lemon, gueuze-y funk and musty barn. Really tart.

T - The sour apple really comes out here, although it still retains the other flavors I detected with my nose. Complex - I think I'd have sensed more with a larger sample

M - Tingly, with the perfect amount of carbonation. Acidic as well - leaves me with the same sensation that I get after eating a very tart granny smith.

D - Could drink a few, but it's so tart that I'd have to mix in other brews between.

I'm not all that into Wild Ales, so bump up the drinkability if you love 'em.

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

750ml bottle acquired in a couple of trades.

A wee bit of a gusher but not too much wasted!
Poured a medium and cloudy golden color with a smaller sized white head.

Aromas of wood (oak), citrus (lemon peels), funky, musty/dusty, and some leather. Tastes of oak, lemons/citrus, musty, funky, and fruity. The more I smelled this one the more and different aromas I got.

Medium sourness that lingered on my lips. I'm going to enjoy every drop of this one!

Notes from and tasted on 8/9/08.

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Photo of Erdinger2003
4.45/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a good 3mm head that dissipates right away leaving a small island in the middle of the beer where carbonation is leaving the beer at aeration points at the bottom of the Darkness tulip. The color is dark yellow with an orange tint. In the smell the first thing I notice is a sweet pineapple smell that blends in behind the sour citric lemon flavors. Taste is very sour and citrusy that hits the back of your tongue and let you know it's pH. Mouthfeel is good with carbonation that matches the acidity very well. Still has a good palate cleansing ability with a very dry finish making it very drinkable for sour lovers.

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Photo of rye726
5/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a hazy golden color with a silky off-white head.

The nose starts off with tart tropical and citrus fruits and is followed by a good amount musky oak, baryard funk, white wine and aged French Cheese. Also in the mix are sweet candy malts, manure and spicy Belgian yeasts.

There are lots of fresh, sour fruit flavors up front along with chardonnay , olde cheese and lots of funky yeast. Superbly complex, perfect balance.

The crisp, yet full body has a delicate yet refreshing carbonated. Nice dry finish.

Fantastic stuff, from everyone involved. One the best sours in the world right now. Should age quite well.

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Photo of 0110x011
4.66/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Huge thanks to TexasWayne for sharing this beauty!

Pours a cloudy light orange into a tulip. One-finger head slowly dissipates into a thin collar, with thin, spotty lacing. Nose is lemon, grapefruit, spice, and post-workout gym shorts. Mostly citrus flavors on the palate, with spice and funk. Quite sour, but enough malt body to provide a nice balance. Not overly sweet. Medium-light body, with very fine carbonation and a bit of oily slickness. Very drinkable, but loses points for the hefty price tag.

This is a very, very tasty beer. Not heads and tails above other american sours, but delicious and distinct enough that every sourhead should give it a try.

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Photo of ArrogantB
4.52/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I was very cautious about this beer given the price and hype but I liked it. Nice orange color with a soapy whiteness of a head. Smells like sour, cheese, minerals, gueuze! Tastes Gueuzey, salty cheese, funky citric acid sour. Overall this was a very good wild ale and was about as close as it gets to a gueuze from Belgium, yum.

Update -2/6/11

Less sour and yet still sour. Less cheese and funk and much closer to American wild ale than gueze. I think it has improved, quite delicious.

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Photo of DIPAbrewer
4.09/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Given the five incredible brewers who created this beer, I had to give it a try. Port, Allagash, Russian River, Avery and Dogfish Head all contributed to this one of a kind beer.

The appearance was a stunning bright gold, not quite clear. The second glass I poured had lots of yeast sediment which made it murkier and even more sour.

The aroma of this beer was my favorite part, it smelled of fresh green apples, tart grapes, and hints of oak like a chardonnay.

The taste was extremely sour. Wow. It was hard to taste much of anything except sourness. I could taste some oak, some yeast, and some fruitiness but overall it was just super sour. Ever had a "Warhead"?

The only weakness of this beer IMO was its drinkability. The sourness built on my palate and each sip made my cheeks pucker even more. Overall it is a very interesting beer that I would highly reccommend especially for sour/wild/lambic beer lovers.

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Photo of gford217
4.28/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750mL bottle poured into a tulip.

A: Pours crystal clear and golden with a constant stream of bubbles rising to the top. The head is fluffy and white and lingers as a cap through with a little bit of lacing.

S: The smell has a big sour fruitiness with green apples, grapes, apricots, and tart lemons. The yeast also makes its present felt in the nose with a bit of citrus hops as well. The wood and funk are present but understated throughout.

T: The taste starts with the big sour kick up front with a big sweet fruitiness after that with yeast as the backbone. Very complex and tasty.

M: Mouthfeel is dry and crisp, like a wine, with lots of carbonation. There is a serious acidic burn in the finish that lingers for quite a while.

D: As with other big sours, I wouldn't call this one exceptionally drinkable, but for the style it's on the drinkable side of things.

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Photo of scottoale
4.73/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Allaverdogportrush - what a collaboration!

A nice powerful pop of the cork unleashes a brilliant yellow-gold elixer with a solid pure white head of a finger that lasts throughout. The clarity of the ale was pristene with a careful pour into the Duvel tulip, the carbonation was very lively much like that of champagne. A truly awesome looking brew.

Floral, fruity and yeasty in the nose, followed by some serious tartness.

Sweet yet sour intro yields some complexity of flavors. Most notable are pear, pineapple, apricot, green apple and lemon. Nice sourness throughout with a lively dry finish. A solid medium body with the alcohol almost undetectable.

A tremendous tasting sour ale that I can't recommend enough (if you can find or afford it).

Can't wait to taste this in a year or two...until then, cheers!

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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 tayner
4.73/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml corked caged bottle.

poured into a snifter and it appeared a very cloudy, opaque apricot color with a very bright white head with very fine bubbles. after pouring a glass inside the bottle a 4 finger head appeared even though the bottle was well chilled and not agitated. The yeast came streaming out of the top and got into the glass despite the careful pour. it was very dense and very, very appealing.

smell was, well, sour. one of the most intense sour aromas I have had in a long time. I smelled acidic notes, oak, funky brett, a little vinegar undertones.

Taste.... sour. unsweetened, unripened apricots, peaches, pears, white grape, granny smith apples. There were oaky undertones and lots of brett funk.

Crisp, dry, and lots of carbonation. finishes dry like a nice dry wine.

Would give this a higher drinkability if it wasnt $30 a bottle and very limited and impossible to get again. it is so intense that sharing this bottle between 2-3 people is the responsible thing to do, but I drank the whole thing.

This is one that would sell like hotcakes if they make it semi-regularly... whatdoyasayTomme?

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

Got this one from Joey, thank you kind sir!

750 ml cork and caged bottle poured into a tulip.

Pours a very clear golden hue with a one finger bright white head that falls to a thin whispy layer of bubbles. Smell is sour all the way. Green apples, white grapes, fresh flowers, and acidic lemons. There are some sweet aromas as well, cherries and melon. The oak comes through in the nose as well with some funky hay and leather. Spicy citrus zest up front on the tongue with a wine-like backbone. Midway, Belgian yeast and pepper emerge with a deep funk. Aftertaste is pretty sweet and oaky with flavors of pear, cherries, and pineapple. Extremely complex flavors with this one, wow. Crisp and fresh feel with a light to medium body. Strong, lively carbonation that keeps the mouth awake. A very powerful beer experience, one that I won't soon forget. The top notch crew of brewers that collaborated with this did a heck of a job. Although it's not my favorite sour, it's definitely up there. I'm curious to see what some age would do to this, maybe someday I'll be so lucky to stumble across another bottle.

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Photo of ATLbeerDog
4.22/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From a 750ml bottle Pours pale/white in color, very cloudy with a small almost head. Smells of lemons, fruit and tart. First sip is pure lemons. Very bitter, sour and tart. Pucker up your lips for this is one fine sour ale. A strong bitter finish, nicely bodied with above average carbonation. So very nice.

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Photo of MiScusi
4.2/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- a somewhat hazy, kinda clear light blonde with a fading white bubbly head.

S- just smells sour to me. blame it on my poor senses. When I initially had it at the brewery during the release I got a bit of barn type of funkiness out of it.

T- very sour. On the same level with Beatification and some of the better gueuzes of Belgium.

M- really light, the carbonation gets worked out of it pretty easily, also similar to gueuzes I've had.

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Photo of waltonc
4.4/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

9/8/08 review
Picked up a bottle at Toronado and drinking it with Joey Schlitz and abfraser. It's really hot outside, so a crisp, tart beer is welcome.

Smells fairly funky and sour. Thankfully not a ton of horse manure notes. A couple drops of armpit sweat though.

Appearance: Golden and clear. No haze. Pretty good carbonation. I left my ruler at home, so can't give a precise measurement.

Taste: Extreme sourness. Ridiculous. Funk becomes more pronounced as this warms.

Drinkability: How could you drink more than a small glass of this? Like other sour beers though, drinkability should not even be a factor in rating this beer.

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

Light orange color. White head. Aromas don't jump out like I'd like, but notes of horse blanket, old barn, leather, wood and fruity notes of peach. Flavor is outstanding, balanced and complex. Not overwhelmingly sour, but a nice balance of sweet and sour elements. Lemon, peach, white grape, wood. A really great beer.

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

Huge thanks to seaoflament for sharing this bottle with us while hanging out at the Lost Abbey on friday!

Pours a hazy yellow gold, super thick white head forms, drops a ton of lace and never seems to quit, looks great. Smell is intense, tons of acidity, lemons, big sour middle, oak, a bit of lactic, light fruits, quite phenolic, lots of wacky aromas coming off this one. Taste is great, more sour/vinegar, biscuits, lots of oak, lactic character, sour fruits, lemons, pretty acidic and burns a bit in the finish but its a good burn, ya know? The complexity of this one is insane, and held up well to the Amigo lager I drank before it. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, with high carbonation, very good stuff. I loved this one, deserves the high marks for me. Thanks again Carlos, you're the man!

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Photo of mentor
3.83/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a thin layer of lightly-oranged head ove a hazed dull straw liquid. Smells sour acetic and lactic. Some brettanomyces funk. Pineapple, dusty, leather, and cherries.

Tastes puckering tart, with mild acetic and lactic. Light bright flavor. Lemon juice, cherries, and peach. Dry aftertaste of straw. Light crisp mouthfeel and decent drinkability.

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

Sampled at the 'Five Guys And A Barrel' dinner at the Cathedral Hill Hotel on Van Ness and Geary in San Francisco, CA

Turbid golden ring yellow with dishy wishy soapwater head of foam that lasts a while and than dies down to a small rubber ring of froth.

Aromas of lemon zest and brett funk with a nice oaky crittery melange of sour sweetness and wild yeast notes. A bit of melon in the middle a bit of wood and orange on the back. All sour and funky, yes, oh yes.

Taste of funky bread with lemon peel and orange pulp. Sour with a sweet tart tang and an old oaken backbone of malt. Taste is sophisticated and refined, very gueuze like in some ways, and in other weays not so much. Fresh bread malt, and no real hops to speak of. Golden light and refreshing.

This belies it's abv with the light, subtle carbonation and wine like tendencies. Drinkability is very high, and the abv of 7% is not noticeable at all.

Truly a masterful blend and a good insight into what some of the best brewers can do with blending.

Cheers to Tomme, Vinnie, Rob, Adam, and Sam and Bruce for putting the whole shindig together.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
4.32/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks so much to RustyDiamond for sharing this bottle. A very pleasant surprise! Poured a hazy golden with a thin head that fades to a ring. Some sloppy lacing. Aromas of fruity berries up front, followed by lightly ripe cheese, and acetic aromas. Tastes very complex, and very sour up-front with red fruit and acetic flavors followed immediately by a firm minerality, and a nice cheesy funk. Finishes with a lemony sourness. The mouthfeel is fairly light overall. Big flavors up front followed by everything dropping off a bit, and a final hit of sour fruit on the finish. Not overwhelming in tartness or funk, so this one is fairly easy to keep drinking. Fantastically flavored, I just wish the flavors were a little longer.

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Isabelle Proximus from The Lost Abbey
4.54 out of 5 based on 439 ratings.
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