La Folie | New Belgium Brewing

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La FolieLa Folie

Brewed by:
New Belgium Brewing
Colorado, United States

Style: Flanders Oud Bruin

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Flemish Sour Brown Ale fermented in stainless then transferred to barrels for 1-4 years of aging then blended to taste.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 09-22-2002

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Reviews: 1,057 | Ratings: 3,900
Photo of KeithPatton
1.61/5  rDev -61.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

Definitely an acquired taste. I recently tasted it at the Texas Brewers Festival on Galveston Island. At the risk of sounding pedestrian (which I am not, I've home brewed for 20 years) it has to be the worst beer I've tasted.

If you are a sour beer and vinegar lover, it is probably great. On the other hand, if I had paid $16 a bottle for the stuff, I'd have been a little put out. Luckily I got about 3oz at the festival and left about 3.8 oz in my sampling cup. The general concensus was the stuff tasted like balsamic vinegar. Last time I checked a good bottle of balsamic was substantially less than $16 and to my mind, equally refreshing.

The body and color was nice, the carbonation was on the weak side. Overal, like a good malt balsamic vinegar.

So any potential drinkers of this stuff, should know what they are getting into. Maybe it takes a while to learn to love it, but if I had made this, I would have written it up as a mistake and poured the whole batch out, and in actuality, I have 86'd whole kegs of better tasting beer rather than inflict it on my friends. $16 bucks? I'd save my money and spend it on a bottle of good single malt.

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Photo of RickS95
1.66/5  rDev -60.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Pours a fairly clearish, dark brown color, if that's possible. No haze, not cloudy. Light won't come thru but it lightens everything. A thinnish white head forms and just like that it's gone. A swirl brings a thin tan head back to life with lace amounting to almost nothing.

I hate the smell but I think it's supposed to smell like that. I don't like sours or krieks but saw this had a high score so I bought it. Smells like many of my previous drain pours with an extreme tart vinegar-like scent. Some tart fruits in there as well and nothing resembling hops.

I can't do it. These things have the worst flavor of anything. I'll take spoiled milk over this. Vinegar. That's it. I could have saved a few bucks and just bought a gallon of vinegar and been just as unhappy.

A beer should be enjoyable, this isn't. The ugliness doesn't hit until it starts to cross the tongue. And then your eyes squint, your butt puckers, and you almost spit this out. So extremely tart and nasty.

I don't know how people enjoy these. I'm close to hitting 1,000 beers reviewed and I still can't drink these with anything close to enjoyment.

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Photo of taxguyjase
2.16/5  rDev -48.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

The beer's coloring looks really nice - it's a dark red with absolutely nothing for a head. A very potent sourness and vinegar as you take a sniff, which is expected given it's a sour brown ale. Where I have a real problem with the beer is the taste. To be completely honest, the beer tastes like I drank some funky cough syrup, then upchucked a bit in mouth...but kept it in, so ended up tasting the stomach acid again on the way down. I can't just get past that. I took a few more sips and did get some more flavors - sour apple, sour cherry. The vinegar flavor comes up again in the aftertaste...

I couldn't finish the whole bomber, which is sad given the price - $13 bucks! EPIC FAIL by New Belgium

Appearance - 3.5/5.0 - A pretty dark red with nada for head
Smell - 2.5/5.0 - Oy...vinegar and pungent sourness.
Taste - 2.5/5.0 - GAG - sour, vinegar, cough syrup, stomach acid, with some sour apple & cherry after getting into the beer
Feel - 1.5/5.0 - It certainly sticks with you...
Drinkability - 1.0/5.0 - No way Jose. This is definitely an...acquired taste.

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Photo of rdobens
2.36/5  rDev -44.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I had my growler filled after a recommendation from other member of my local growler club. Having thoroughly enjoyed the other Lips of Faith brews I had tried I really wanted to like this beer. I just could not get my palate into the sour mash. This was my first sour mash beer experience, maybe if I have a few more and become accustom to the flavors I will revisit this beer and re-evaluate.

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Photo of beertunes
2.41/5  rDev -42.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Served in pint goblet. Poured a very dark brown, almost black, with an inch of tan head that quickly dissipated and left a medium amount of lacing.

The aroma was slightly sweet upfront and had a vinegary sour finish. While certainly sour, this beer was mostly bland, but did have a very dry finish.

The mouthfeel was very thin, but did have a clean, dry finish. Drinkability was good, but with the overall blandness why drink more than one at a time?

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Photo of chinchill
2.51/5  rDev -40.5%
look: 4 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Lips of Faith bomber dated 2011. (revised lightly with more enjoyable 2012 bottle)

Dark reddish brown with a rather short-lived tan head.

Aroma: Unattractive funky sour (OK) and vinegar (yuch) aroma with whiffs of over-ripe fruit and vinegar.

T - Markedly salty and sour: in both cases, more so than any beer I can remember. The saltiness here is not to my taste. [I shared this bottle with two others who confirmed the saltiness]. Hard to get beyond these two striking components, but there is more to the flavor including hints of dark fruits, green apples, and wood.

M - medium body with (too) light carbonation.

O - Avoid unless you love sour beers; if, like me, you dislike vinegar, then avoid in any case.
This was a fresh bottle from a reliable store that was kept refrigerated for about 3 weeks prior to consumption -- otherwise, I'd more strongly suspect it had gone bad. I let a dog sample some and he liked it, although it caused a long bout of sneezing.

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Photo of jdubjacket
2.59/5  rDev -38.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a burgundy color with a lot of carbonation. Smell just knocked me back. It's INCREDIBLY tart and sweet, with a touch of vinegar on top of it. While thinking the smell was interesting, the taste was not for me. Way too tart. Every sip made my lips pucker. I couldn't get past the tartness of this beer. I had a hard time with this beer, and, unfortunately, it's simply not for me.

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Photo of Philousa
2.67/5  rDev -36.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This is a review of the 2012 version.

Very dark chestnut in appearance, violet against the light. A good amount of head dissipates to leave a small ring touching the glass. Sour aroma hits you right away. Light fruit accompanies it: strawberry, cherry, cranberry. Pretty traditional Flanders brown malt lies beneath the sourness. A little chocolate comes out with a swirl. Oak comes off a bit strong and seemed a little off. Taste starts super sour. Lots of strawberries and cherries. Some nuttiness. Oak comes through, but barely. I almost had to look for it, but it came as the beer warmed. Watery and dry.

Interesting, but not complex. The flavor was very one note and the aroma had an off smell to it, maybe diacetyl or phenols. This wasn't all together unpleasant, but definitely not worth the price. Maybe I'm spoiled by the local RRBC sours & availability of Rodenbach.

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Photo of alpinebryant
2.78/5  rDev -34.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

2011 bottle
Pours a medium brown color that appears to be filtered. I found no sediment whatsoever at the bottom of the bottle which was a slight letdown as every other Oud Bruin I have had has had this.

In the aroma I picked up sour cherry, some roasted malt flavors, a bit of caramel , some vinegar and sour cream.

T: As picked up in aroma, this definitely had my least favorite 'sour cream' flavor for an oud bruin. To me this can make or break an otherwise great beer. To me this was less than great and then ruined by the sour cream. Sorry just not my thing. I felt similarly about Monks Cafe oud bruin. Vinegar is present, the malt flavors are not too sweet and it tastes oaked and funky with some caramel. Sourness at a minimum for an oud bruin but definitely there.

Mouthfeel is medium ot light with a modest level of carbonation.

Overall I would never revisit this. I hear the corked and caged bottles were better from a few years back and I can only presume I would like them more however this one is just off to me. Not nearly sour enough and more cheesy flavored than I like.

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Photo of PaleAlien2
2.79/5  rDev -33.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

I had high hopes for this one, as it is one of the most highly regarded beers I can find in my area. I'm generally not a huge fan of New Belgian Brewing, but I wanted to try this one.

While I'm sure this beer is a fine representation of the Belgian Sour, I have to say I could barely drink it. In my purely subjective estimation, it was just far too sour for me to enjoy. My lips puckered with every drink. I couldn't even pick out any other flavors.

In a blind taste test, I would have said this was champagne, not beer--and I hate champagne.

Obviously, there must be something to this beer to garner all the great reviews it has from people more knowledgeable than myself. It just wasn't for me.

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Photo of dwarvenspirits
2.84/5  rDev -32.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Had an opportunity to try this beer out. It has a beautiful copper, reddish hue to it. Very nice. It smells a little like vinegar when you first smell it. And it is extremely sour. I'm not talking lambic sour, try increasing that by about ten. Very intense sour flavor, almost like drinking a sour patch kid. It's difficult to discern flavors with this beer because of the sourness. There is a vinegar taste to it but there is also a pepper spiciness to it as well. I did taste a little pineapple towards the end of it and it certainly has a nice mouthfeel.

It's an interesting beer, but it's not for me. Certainly an aquired taste.

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Photo of AgentZero
2.9/5  rDev -31.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A - A pretty red, that just fades too much to amber yellow on the edges.

S - Sweet, cherry, vinegar.

T - Honestly, I was expecting a lot more out of this one just based on the price, which I now find ridiculous. It's just sour, the entire way through. If you want a sour experience, this is the red for you.

M - Light to medium bodied, nice carbination for a bit of a quick, sour/vinegarish taste makes it seem a little watery and oily.

D - My mouth starts to pucker on this one. It's just too sour for my liking. I am shocked that this has been rated as high as it has.

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Photo of hopoilcrazy
2.91/5  rDev -31%
look: 4 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

22oz bomber --- 2013 Vintage

A - This oud looks right on point. A beautiful ruby-ish copper hue really grabs the eye and made me salivate. Little to no lace, the head blooms up and quickly goes down to a thin ring.

S - Plain old white vinegar hits first, then light fruity notes hit, mostly plums and cherries. The rest of the aroma is taken up by a vanilla-y diacetyl that seems bothersome.

T - Everything is confirmed in the taste. At first, I get a nice champagne-like dryness and then a massive just shy of vinegar hit. The sourness is actually very pleasing, but lingers a little to long. I think that the roastiness of the malts is too much for an oud that I would like. This oud would be awesome if it had more funk, more dryness, and definitely less roast on the malt. And no lactic tang. It is nice that the alcohol is totally imperceptible.

M - The mouthfeel is nice. Very crisp and light it tingles the tongue and is the only saving grace of this beer.

Overall, I think that this batch (2013) is too young and needs some tweaking to really sustain the legacy of La Folie, which I have immensely enjoyed in the past

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Photo of ColoradoBobs
2.93/5  rDev -30.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

750ml champagne-style bottle, corked and caged. Opened with a LOUD POP!

Poured into flutes, minimal head that mostly fades. Color is a lovely red-amber. Bubbles like champagne.

Fascinating aroma. Is this beer? Sour cherries, malt vinegar, pineapple and slight hint of figs and dill (?) pickles.

Taste: VERY VERY sour. Complex sour. Sour cherries, watermelon candy, citric acid pucker-inducing. Fascinating: there's a hint of (?) salted figs or pickled beets. There is actually a salty edge to this. Gets better as it warms -- the other fruit notes come up: green apple, lemon juice, grapefruit. I think I poured it too cold to start.

Mouthfeel is nice and round, big for 6.0% beer. Though there is lots of carbonation, it's very soft in the mouth.

Drinkability is somewhat diminished for me, just because of the sourness. Goes down easy, however, despite the high carbonation.

This is a real mixed bag. Fascinating beer with a fascinating aroma. But I'm told that the overtly sour aspects are something of an acquired taste. However, at over 66 cents an ounce, I'm not sure I can afford to acquire this taste.

Actually -- and I really mean this -- it reminds me more of a very dry champagne than a beer. Next time I have this -- if there IS a next time -- I may serve it at about 55 degrees instead of 40 degrees.

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Photo of OStrungT
2.94/5  rDev -30.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This beer pours a reddish brown with a thin white head. The head fades fast leaving far too few laces. This beer has a very sour aroma. It sort of has a sour milk aroma. I detect sour fruits. I think it has a slight viniger aroma. This beer has a very sour flavor. I think it is a little too sour. I can not distinguish anything other than a sour fruit flavor, it is that overpowering. It is not that I dont like this beer, but I am not particularly fond of it either. I feel let down. I was looking forward to this bottle, and it is not at all what I expected. This beer is well carbonated. This beer leaves a very sour aftertaste. I dont think this beer would make a good session beer bue to the extremely sour taste. Thanks mentor for helping me try this one. I doubt I will need any more help with this particular beer again.

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Photo of clintyeastwood
2.98/5  rDev -29.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured with the appearance of dirty rootbeer with a cranberry tinge. Had a thin beige head.

Aromas of red-wine vinegar, underlying sweet smell, over-ripe raspberries? underlying smell of mop water.

Strong balsamic vinegar. tastes of sweet tarts, faint taste of mildew & wet wood.

Mouthfeel is slick & pungent.

Overall, an interesting beer, especially if you enjoy flavors of vinegar. You may find yourself craving a glass of this, as I did after my initial tasting. However, it did seem more of an inital fancy and I found myself boring quickly and had a hard time getting though the growler I had purchased.

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Photo of cookedw
3/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 1

The beer has a very bright, sharp edge to it that permeates every sip, and this is only enhanced by the very tiny but pronounced bubbles that carbonate the beer. Initially I got a raspberry into cherry sort of fruit overtone, but what lingers is the highly acidic and genuinely vinegar-like qualities of the beer. And when I say vinegar, I mean it - it's tempered a little bit by an almost citrus edge, but you can't help but find parallels to a red wine vinegar. There is certainly an oaky flavor that deepens the beer a tad and almost a hint of chocolate in the malt, but that's really at a serious backseat to the sour cherry that just pummels your tastebuds throughout. It pours a gorgeous auburn-ish brown, but it loses its head immediately (not surprising for the style). The beer almost reminded me of a sparkling cider at points due to the oak/acid pairing with the tiny bubbles.

Honestly, it's obviously a well-crafted beer, but I feel like any subtleties that might be there are being completely overwhelmed by the tart, overt, and unyielding flavors of this sour. And it didn't mellow at all over the lengthy time I sipped on the beer, nor did my palate really ever adapt. This was a tough beer to drink. And while I freely admit that I am not a big sour guy, I have never felt so punished by a beer as I did during this tasting. Absolutely share this one with others.

(Originally reviewed 01/25/2010)

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Photo of JackRWatkins
3.01/5  rDev -28.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

On draught at hop city

A: beige half finger head, decent lacing, reddish brown color
S: subtle touch of brine in the nose, vinegar is the most prominent here, married with some malt aromas, smells tart (obviously) not an intensely fragrant beer, a touch of vinousness, feels rich and thick though subtle
T: biting tartness which marries the sourness profile of a oud bruin with the brininess of a gose, sour cherries and a very subtle woody quality
M: dry but not overly so
O: a very pleasant beer, it feels as though the ideas here have been committed to, but not so much that it's trying too hard to be intense, while mellow may be too strong a word, intense would be also, worth your time.

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Photo of jujubeast6000
3.02/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Reviewed 11/7/2009 (Bottle):

Pours a rich red brown color body with a small light tan head, quickly diminishing. Aroma, very strong sour. Some sweetness like green apples. Effervescent, sweet aftertaste. Light green apple, but mostly sour, little sweetness. Very tart.

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Photo of hckyfn9999
3.03/5  rDev -28.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

From the 2006 edition. Pours a deep mahogany color with a thick cream colored head with some nice lacing.

The aroma is intense of bitter cherries, along with some oak, pepper, must, and a little vanilla as well.

Taste is extremly tart. Taste is of very sour cherries, green apples, a little must, and oak. This brutally bitter. Not really my thing.

Mouthfeel is ok a little dry in the finish and pretty heavily carbonated.

Not drinkable at all due to the sourness in my opinion. I can handle sourness and bitterness, but in my opinion this is over the top. I won't buy this again anytime soon.

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Photo of DelMontiac
3.08/5  rDev -27%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from a bomber into a New Belgium globe.

An easy pour yields a crystal clear red/brown hue topped with one finger of fizzy eggshell head that dwindles to nothing. No lace to speak of. Stiring the yeast at the bottom for the second half produces a nice cloudiness.

Aroma is nearly overpowered by a lemon zest/sour grape/vinegar cloud. Man, that is freakin' pungent! There is a hint of apple/pear/cherry underneath it all.'s freakin' SOUR y'all. Not a little - a lot! So much so that it takes on a hint of sulfonamides. Some yeast helps tame it a bit. Some sour mash cherry/lemon squeezes its way in. This thing is choking me!!! I'm tempted to pour...

The feel is crisp and clean like sprite with a lemon sqeezed into it.

Overall, this was interesting, but now I've been there and done that.

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Photo of rangerred
3.08/5  rDev -27%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Had on tap.

Arrived a clear ruby red with no real head to speak of.

Aroma of dark fruit with a definite tartness present. Some wood and tree bark as well.

Immediate dark fruit on the flavor reminding me of cherries and figs. Lots of tartness along with vinegar and some funk. A little bit of lighter citrus in there as well. Mouthfeel is very watery, unfortunately, and detracts somewhat.

Overall, I was a little underwhelmed by this beer. It seemed to lack some complexity and the mouthfeel was terrible.

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Photo of jamex
3.1/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Ordered this on draft, delivered in a nice long-stemmed tulip. Had a Green Flash Citra right before this brew.

I'm not sure about this one. Smells of a pleasant vinegar with a little hint of sweet. You know when you (or your wife) cleans the coffee maker with vinegar? That smell? Well that's what's this beer is all about.

Tastes about the same. A HUGE vinegar-like taste, with some pleasant sweet after-lings wearing an acidic jacket. At first I thought I would have an issue getting this one down, and as it turns out, I did, but not without thinking in the back of my mind - was there something wrong with this?

I've had a few sours before (maybe 5-6), and this was the most...questionable. There was no way I'd order two of these back to back.

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Photo of meeekyh
3.13/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a Fin Du Monde glass, a tulip basically.

Very nice deep mahogany color, red in intense light. Decent head, full tan in color and leaving no lacing.

Nose is buttermilk sour. I am sure there is depth there but I am not getting it yet. I will let her warm up a bit...Some of the wood comes out as it warms, and a bit of caramel.

Flavors tangy, tangy and sourish. Again I will check back in a few after the room warms the brew a bit..Still a lot of buttermilk and not much else. A smidgen of cherry maybe.

Medium bodied, low carbonation, neutral finish.

Not smashingly drinkable. Quite acidic and tangy.

This makes my third of this style. I like it somewhere in the middle. Duchesse De Bourgogne is, by a huge stretch, superior and my favorite.

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Photo of Billolick
3.15/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

on tap at the Blind tiger, NYC, New Belgium night
Very interesting brew. NOT for everybody! Poured a fiery, murky, brownish red. Nose was strong cherries, sour apples. Flavors was of VERY stron and sour Cherry. This beer simply was not for me. too sour to enjoy. It was advertised as being stored in burgundy wine barrels, but none of those anticipated flavors came through. Just Sour, very sour.

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La Folie from New Belgium Brewing
4.22 out of 5 based on 3,900 ratings.
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