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 popery
4.5/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

The beer is a dull, medium gold. Good luster. A touch hazy. Little to no head, just a few bubbles form on the pour. The aroma is complex and rich, and I love it. Funk and age. Lemons, apricot skin, some lacto. Some vinegar. Solid funk, more lambic-ish than the vast majority of American sours. Taste is fairly tart. A bit more age shows but it’s holding together quite well. Low carbonation. Some pucker. Medium body for a sour.

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Photo of DJButters
4.26/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had this monster side by side with Veritas 004 Dec 2012.

I wont be going into extreme detail since all tasting notes can be reviewed below but I can tell you that the nose and taste is fantastic. This beer can last much longer and as an american sour, it is as close as one can get to lambic/gueuze. Beautiful golden color, amazing fluffy head, if you can have a beer always look like this... it would be perfection. Grapefruit notes on the palate. IP + V004 blend is amazing do to what I felt was better mouthfeel and carb on the IP.

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Photo of trxxpaxxs
4.7/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Unimaginable thanks to metalgdog for bringing this to a tasting...

A: Pours a light lemony gold with a small amount of thin pure white head.

S: The nose is intensely sour, with citrus and barnyard funk. Smells great.

T: I get a lot of tartness right off the bat, with some apricot and apple skin notes coming through in the middle. My buds are puckered to their max as the funk starts to really take hold. This beer is delicious.

M: Light bodied beer. It's super tart, a bit drying, but it finishes with great flavor and funk.

O: I'm thoroughly impressed with this beer. It has all the hype in the world, and it truly delivers. I'm still in a bit of shock that I got a chance to try it.

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

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter. Reviewed from notes.

Appearance - Golden orange. Small white head and a collar of white bubbles.

Smell - Acidic. A touch of vinegar, but otherwise more of a light fruit acidity. Like an apricot.

Taste - Much fruitier. Very nice acidity. Apricot fruits. White wine. A touch of vinegar sourness coming in the back, but that's to be expected at this bottle's age. Clean sour.

Mouthfeel - Light with a nice white wine finish. Excellent and easy to drink.

Overall - Really good, especially for what I can ascertain is an unfruited sour. Retains a great deal of flavor without adjuncts, which is impressive for an American sour. Good wine flavors, but the vinegar is a minor detractor.

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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!

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

A recent gathering of friends prompted me to open this. 750ml bottle poured into a matching Lost Abbey teku and some snifters. The brew appears a clear golden color that gets increasingly hazed as you approach the bottom of the bottle. A thin whisp of head sits atop. A swirl revives less than a finger of white film.

The aroma opens up with lemon and oak. Quite a bit of barnyard brett quality is present giving a layering of earth to the nose. Some citrus fruits minorly tropical evolve along with a hint of cork and wet leather. There is a bit of cheesy quality present that adds a nice depth without distracting. As it warms up, it gets progressively more tropical and lemony.

The taste is tart with fruity quality like lemon that turns earthy and leathery with a hint of cork and mildly musty oak. More sips reveal hints of earth along with more lemony pulp, pith and rindy bitterness. As the glass is emptied, and a second pour is taken that includes some yeast, it gets more yogurt-like with tartness and less acidic.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest amount of carbonation. I found it to be excessively drinkable to the point where I didnt want to take notes and review this but instead just relax and enjoy it. Leading up to this experience ive seen/heard all sorts of crazed messages regarding the story behind this beer being better than the brew itself. And ive heard that it is dropping off and over the hill. By all accounts, I found this brew to be exceptional with a wide array of complexity and ease of drinkability. I would not hesitate to partake in this again if the oportunity presented itself. However, at this stage of the game it might be a real hassel to acquire this brew.

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Photo of hooliganlife
4.57/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

thar she blows! tried this like 3-4 years ago but never reviewed it, i do not think i was even reviewing back then. so, finally.... i get to tag this one.

poured a light golden yellow with light white head.

nose was fruity, complex, light sour lemon with blends of citrus.

pretty tart up front, complex fruits with ample sourness. light oak through out. very gueuze like although a bit sweeter. some cheese deep in the back. fruity finish.

light carbonation, sticky and sweet. semi dry finish.

overall, blown away. exceeded all my expectations.

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Photo of jaasen64
4.59/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to StandardCherry for cracking this whale for his going away tasting tonigh. 1st bottle tried during tasting and only one I am reviewing. 750ml bottle split 4 ways, poured into HF tulip.

A- Pours a hazy golden with a thin layer of white head that recedes to leave virtually no head at all. Not too much carbonation or too much in terms of lacing. The hazy golden aspect of it makes it look very appealing for a sour though. Lots of very hazy golden yeast towards the bottom of the bottle.

S- Very sour, maybe some sour citrus in there, yeast, definitely some oak in there (one BA said it almost had a slight nutty aroma from the oak- not sure if I quite agree, but definitely has a noticeable presence). More of a sweet sour, then a funky sour- probably one of the more sour beers I've smelled, but definitely not one of the funkiest. Definitely one of the most aromatic beers I've encountered- could smell from across the room, especially when pouring.

T- Sour citrus, a little bit of funky cheese on the finish, some light oak, finishes with a lightly sour citrus with a mild acidity and an aftertaste that makes you crave more (the mark I look for in a good sour). All the tastes were well balanced and and overall pleasurable to drink. Definitely a little bit more funk then in the aroma.

M- Medium bodied, light carbonation, very easy to drink, very nice feel for a 4 year old sour.

O- This is without a doubt one of the best sours I've had. It was definitely the unanimous favorite of the night even when compared to Lente. One of the more sour beers I've encountered and definitely one of the most enjoyable sours I've had. I'm definitely glad I tried this, just wish it was more attainable so I could have it in the future. Thanks again standardcherry for sharing.

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

Huge thanks to "Chris Molken" for bringing this to the Lost Abbey tasting.

Beer pours a hazy golden color with a thin white head. Smell is noticeably more funky than anything else we've had today along with some oak and sour aromas. Of all the Lost Abbey sours this one is, by far, the most like a Belgian lambic - it actually reminds me a lot of Girardin Gueuze, but a little bit sweeter. It's got a bit of lactic flavor up front but finishes out with a good amount of oak and funk. It's nice and sour. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with nice carbonation and a great bit of mouth-coating sourness. Overall, this beer is super tasty, but it's a bit of a let-down given the hype. It lacks that certain "something" that I hoped for. It was certainly worth tasting, but going forward I'd seek out Girardin Gueuze instead.

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

This is the 2nd of 2 Chris Molkein bottles. Thanks, Ryan! Poured into my mini snifter.

A - Light golden hazyness with some brown tones. A bit of carbonation in the pour and recedes quickly.

S - Wow. Very slight grapefruit and a good amount of sour lemon on the nose. A mild amount of funkiness on it.

T - Very nice. Light to medium lemon acidity that hits the front of the tongue powerfully and gets to the back ends of the tongue.

M - Drinks very well. Still that light spritz in the beer that pairs with the acidity well.

O - Still a damn great beer. One of those holy grail American sour beers. Now, did they let Calagiones part into the beer or not? ;-)

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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 mdfb79
4.82/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From 04/14/12 notes. Big thanks to Darrel for sharing this one at our DC Sour Tasting. Tried side by side with Synergy, Yellow Bus, and DDG.

a - Pours a bright murky yellow color with one inch of bright white head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of sour fruits, funk, cheese, oak, sour grapes, lemon, citrus, and apples. Super sour and funky, just a perfect nose.

t - Tastes of funk, cheese, barnyard and earthy notes, oak, sour fruits, lightly sweet fruits, citrus, lemon, sour apples and grapes, floral notes. Even funkier then the nose, and even better.

m - Medium body and low carbonation. Very crisp and easy to drink.

o - Overall this was one of the top 2 or 3 sours at the tasting and one of the best I've ever had; it slightly edged out DDG and was much better then Yellow Bus and Synergy. I thought it was much funkier then DDG, which was more fruit forward. Awesome funky wild ale; just an amazing beer.

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Photo of brystmar
4.24/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

What a way to cap off my CA trip! Big thanks to Eric for tipping me off that Toronado SD had a bottle left. Shared at the bar with blatantdream -- we went whale hunting and ended up harpooning a serpent!

Pours golden with zero head. Other gueuze do look like this, but many of those have the requisite beer geek qualities needed to earn top marks. Screw that though, I can smell it from here!

Strong, pungent aroma right off the bat. Funky, tart, sour, acidic fruit at every turn. Dry with citrus. A little metallic, which obviously detracts from the experience. Unfortunately, all of these aromas start to fade after about 15-20 minutes.

Taste is very tart and acidic up front. Slightly metallic. Puckering sourness that lasts through the aftertaste. Good carbonation level. A well-refined American sour that's aged nicely, although I suspect its best days are behind it. Drink up, people!

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Photo of hansgruber
4.39/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Drank this 7.21.11

Smallish head fades quickly. No lacing. 
Light orange body. 

Fruity nose. Can't put finger on exactly which though. Slightly funky and definitely sour. Very complex. Spicy notes from the oak too. 

Fruity and funky with a good bit of sour too. Oak is also present. Long sour finish. Lemony too.

Minimal carbonation in the mouthfeel. 

Great beer. Very polished. Glad I was able to get my hands on one.

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Photo of spdyfire83
5/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

50th Review – This deserves something special
Bottle to snifter

From notes. Thank you Chris for making my GABF 2011 extra special! I was searching for this beer for quite some time and finally got my paws on it. Before consuming I was nervous it wouldn’t live up to the hype...

A: Golden hay. Like a sun rise of happiness. Almost no head (just a few bubbles) on a vigorous pour.

S: Old barn, period. Lots of funk coming off this one. Cobwebs. All good things though!

T: Straight-up sour from the get-go. Puckering almost. Actually, it is exactly that, quite puckering. However, this sourness is smoothly balanced by a beautiful acidic/tart finish. Dissipates quickly, but leaves you wanting more, more, more.

M: Light bodied. Soft carbonation. Just beautiful.

O: One of the best beers I have ever had! 5’s across the board hands-down. It was perfect! This was a true beer experience start to finish and everywhere in between. I enjoyed this beer as much as the hunt and looong wait. Overall, it is simply awesome - funky, delicious, and just plain fantastic. I am hopeful that collaborations like this will continue to grace us with their presence. This is a memory for the ages.

Well done Tomme, Sam, Vinnie, Adam, and Rob! Stand ovation for sure on this one.

Side note: Drinking this amongst the chaos at FRTH on Thursday afternoon of GABF week added to the overall enjoyment of the experience. Shooting a text to a good BA buddy in Denver and him dropping everything on his agenda for the afternoon to come try this treat was also fun. If you have the opportunity to seek this out, make it the end, it is well worth it. If you don't like it, just send the rest my way!

...After consuming I wanted more and lots of it. Definitely lived up to the hype and I can’t wait until our paths cross again sweet, sweet Izzy!

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Photo of birchstick
4.39/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - pours a hazy straw yellow with a pretty small head on it

S - lots of sweet fruits (pears, lemon, orange, peach) with a bit of funk going on as well. Nice aromas, definitely on the fruitier side.

T - Lots of citric lemon upfront (think AWA sourness). This fades to a little bit of funk through the middle, which is ultimately overwhelmed by soft fruits as detected on the nose. There was also a faint bitterness on the finish.

M - medium body with decent carbonation (looks like Lost Abbey had to recruit some other brewers to get some carbonation in this one)

D - this is the best American Wild I have tried to date. It was sour, yet tame at the same time. Doesn't have the acidity that a Cantillon, 3F, etc Gueuze has, but I think that really helps this beer a lot as the soft fruits get to really shine in the citric acidity's absence. I can see why this is so highly sought after, and I would argue worth the hunt if you are looking for one of the best sours on this side of the Atlantic.

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Photo of Kshock
4.89/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to sean for sharing this, been waiting a long time for this beer.

A- Hazy orange color, no lacing or retention. Looks sublime.

S- Wow! lots of funk, fruit citrus. Reminds me of a Cuvee des Champions. Amazing nose.

T- Funky grapefruit, citrus. If you didnt tell me, i would think this is a true lambic.

M- light and fluffy.

O- Liquid Fellatio

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Photo of Rhettroactive
4.48/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From 750mL bottle to Bruges glass at a small gathering of NoVA BA's on 9/4/11
*From notes

-- I must give thanks to billab914 for generously sharing this cellar treasure. Cheers, Bill! --

A: No head and no lacing on a careful, easy pour. The color here is magnificent - ripe and glowing white peach. There seems to be a slight chill haze to it, which only adds to the stunning presentation.

S: It's initially quite funky. As it opens, cellar must gives way to a generous amount of freshly grated lemon zest.

T: My mouth begins watering upon contact, yet there's a distinct acidity to the beer that keeps the sour funk in perfect balance. A touch of tart and mouth puckering citrus hits the mid-palate, and by the time it all reaches the finish, it dries out quickly. A masterful presentation.

M: Not overly bubbly. The feel here is well suited to the ale's strengths. It's crisp, yet it packs layers of texture that are rarely found in the wild style.

O: Isabelle Proximus is one of the best Wild Ales I've consumed. It all feels so effortless, yet I know full well the sweat equity that went in to each and every one of these bottles. This is special stuff, and I heartily applaud the dream team of brewers who made this a reality.

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

A whale. But is it Moby?

A - Murky tangerine apricot with a small .25 inch near white head.

S - Sharp twang with a promise of fruit.

T - Wonderful sharp sour feel, that leaves to an even clean flavor.

M - Hard on the sour, then cleans out to neutral.

D - Tasty beer. Is it worth the hype. I guess that is up to you.

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Photo of MarjieM
4.7/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I was fortunate to taste this absolutely delicious sour at a sour tasting celebrating Indiana Craft Beer week.

A: Golden hay yellow, slight haze in the beer with a nice white head and light lace on the glass

S: A blend of apple, grassy funk, white balsamic vinegar and lemon oil.

T: White peach, crisp green apple, lemon zest, delicious oak flavors

M: Medium body and carbonation, Very smooth

O: This is a wonderful beer. I am grateful to have tried it and hope that maybe in the future the beer gods bless us with another delicious brew such as this!

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Photo of RodneyX
4.77/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Beer pours a golden yellow color with a white head that leaves a little bit of stuff on the sides. You can tell this has been in barrels and it has a slight vinegar note to it with some apricots and light berrys on the nose. Smells tart. It also tastes tart with a fantastic blend of sour and tartness sweetened by some berries and made lighter by some surprisingly active carbonation. This is a great beer that I think might hold on just a little bit longer than I was expecting given the age it has on it already.

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Photo of thagr81us
4.77/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had this one during the 'We Want The Funk!' tasting that was graciously hosted by beermeX2! Big thanks goes out to sincereNC for sharing this one with the group! A LONG time want of mine and was really glad to see it come out during this tasting! Served from bottle into a Mikkeller flute. Poured a hazy yellow with a half finger pure white head that subsided to a minimal amount quickly. Maintained decent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, sour, tart, funk, and fruit. The flavor was of sweet malt, sour, funk, fruit, and tart on the followthrough only. It had a light feel on the palate with medium-high carbonation. Ovearll this was an excellent brew. I found this one to be very smooth in flavor which made it incredibly easy to drink. How easy you might ask??? Well there is a photo of my pounding the last 1/8th of the bottle somewhere on the internet. Yeah, it was that good. I have been looking to try this beer for as long as I have been a BA. Really glad it finally happened, but I would love one for myself so I can crack it open on a special occassion with some other friends (I'm talking to you traders). A definite must try without a doubt!

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Photo of scottfrie
4.32/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A very big thank you to northernbrews for sending me this one. Shared at a tasting.

A: Pours a glowing tangerine orange with pretty much no head. A very thin white collar did last for a little while though.
S: Light funk, tart smelling, very dry and earthy.
T: Earthy, funky, sweaty and complex. The brett definitely dominates. There are some flavors of golden fruits, green apples, white grapes and lemon zest as well. Not super tart but thankfully not uncomfortably acidic.
M: Thin carbonation, medium body, lighter mouthfeel and pretty solid all around.
O: No complaints here, this was a damn fine brew. As far as collaboration beers go, this one is probably the best I’ve had. Thanks again for the trade, Jeff.

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

I was fortunate enough to have had the honor of a couple bottles pass through my collection. In addition to the beer, the story of its inception is pretty great. Pours slightly hazy light golden color. Musty, sour lemon aroma. Intense tartness, sour apple and citrus with a lingering acidity. Moderate carbonation with good lacing. Beautiful!!

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