La Folie | New Belgium Brewing

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La FolieLa Folie
3,971 Ratings
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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,971 |  Reviews: 1,067
Photo of wesley777
4.2/5  rDev -1.2%

22 oz bomber out of a snifter. This is the 2014 series. For what it's worth, also my first dive into sours.
Appearance: Pours a burnt red with a small amount of lacing. Half inch head recedes shortly after the pour.
Smell: Has a rich smell of citrusy fruits, maybe something earthy.
Taste: Pungent start, hints of red wine, cherries, and citrus though all with a bite.
Mouthfeel: The feel of this beer is probably what I enjoy the most; a sip overwhelms the mouth at first touch, and then the acidity creeps down the back of the throat with little carbonation. Has a medium body that is lightened by the acidity.
Overall: Excellent for my first sour. I'll definitely be looking for similar brews in the near future.

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Photo of crow
4.2/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of JoeMayo
4.2/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a red-brown color with a fairly thick head.

S- Tart and sour with brett. Funky peppery and herbal notes come through.

T- Tart notes of fresh cranberry comes through along with sour brett notes. A slight funk comes through along with herbal tones. Notes of apple cider linger in the background.

M- moderate to lively carbonation

D- This one should be sipped, although it is very drinkable.

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Photo of gford217
4.2/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750mL bottle, dated 3/08, poured into a tulip.

Pours a dark cherry-wood brown that shows through a deep hazy copper when held up to light. There is a small creamy beige head that recedes to a thin soapy cap that leaves a bit of lacing.

The aroma is tart cherries and green apples with some brown sugar sweetness thrown in. There is also a bit of lactic sourness and brett in addition to the oak spiciness.

The aroma is even more sour, especially up front with lots of cherries and vinegar tartness with the sweetness of the brown sugar taking a back seat to the tartness and funk which comes out in the finish along with the French oak.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied and effervescent with a ton of oak and sugar-covered tart cherries in the finish.

I've had this a few times and it's a fantastic beer. I'm not sure if it's the best flanders red but it's a great version of the style.

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Photo of birchstick
4.2/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 - pours a reddish brown with a nice 1/2 finger head. Smells of tart cherries with some carmelized brown sugars and bit of lemony citrus. The taste starts off with a jaw locking lemon sourness. This fades to a really nice cherry vanilla flavor with a touch of caramel and french oak. Goes down rather nicely, tickles the throat and a decent body. Really solid sour in my opinion. Nice cherry vanilla flavor going on with some good caramelized brown suger. A 750ml might be too much, but it is still damned good.

These are from notes from a 7 year vertical (2005 - 2011) Comparisons are made from the 2011 and then the next subsequent vintage:

2011: sweet lemon tartness with a touch of oak with a nice cherry, vanilla, and caramelized brown sugar. See review above for it.

2010: S - less cherry and more brown sugar than the '11. T - more concentrated lemon flavor and less caramelized brown sugars. More sour than the '11.

2009: S - even more sugary sweet citrus, vanilla, big cherry aroma (the 2nd most cherry on the nose), and some vinegar. T - less sour and more brown sugar and caramel. A little bit of vanilla and a really nice cherry flavor. Also the darkest in appearance of all vintages.

2008: S - funkier than other versions with a nice cherry aroma mixed with with even more caramel than the previous vintages; more sweet oak and vanilla on the nose than the other vintages. T - concentrated lemon tartness with vanilla and a harsh oak bite on the finish. Also a bit of smokiness to it.

2007: S - smells of caramel and spicy figs with a touch of vanilla oak. T - way less sour than the newer vintages and more brown sugar. Nice cherry flavor too - the cherry is the most dominant on the palate than in all of the vintages. This was also the most well rounded/blended flavor profile of all the vintages. Smooth and delicious yet still nice and sour.

2006: S - tart cherries, sweet caramel, and some oak and vinegar. T - super tart, lots of cherry (more sour cherry than the '07) and lemon; on the exhale is a bit of rum soaked tobacco. This guy had almost no carbonation in it left; the other vintages still had quite a bit. Easily the most sour out of the group.

2005: S - the most cherry and vanilla on the nose in the group. T - tons of cherry and vanilla, not as much as the '06, but it is more mellow than the '06. Still really tart/sour - takes second most sour after the '06.

2009 and up - more brown, caramelized sugar and dark cherries. Having an '05 and a '11 side by side almost doesn't even make the '11 taste sour.
2008 - was the bridge between the more sour and the less sour. The '08 was also the most unique of all vintages and the group's least favorite.
2007 and down: the most sour vintages of the group with the '06 stealing the biggest mouth pucker award. More lemon and tart, vanilla cherry flavors than the newer vintages. The '07 was the groups overall favorite vintage with the '05 not trailing too far behind it.

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Photo of ptykozoon
4.2/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a beautiful dirty brown with red highlights. Not much of any retention but nice lacing on the rim.

Smells of sour fruity oakiness.

Strong dominating sourness at the forefront, along with an obvious dry oakiness coming through. Cherries, grapes, cranberries on the finish. Very very nice.

Nice carbonation, thin mouthfeel.

This one is seriously sour. And however much I love that, it's not entirely that overly drinkable because of the tight grip the sour has on this one.

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Photo of Bkbeer12
4.2/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Photo of ArkyVaughan
4.2/5  rDev -1.2%

Photo of kawilliams81
4.2/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 vintage. Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a Pipeworks snifter.

A- pours brown with a 1" light tan head, some trails and small bubbles of lacing remain on the glass.

S- tannins, dark fruits, light vinegar, some sweet raspberries and cherries.

T- some sweet cherries and raspberries, vinegar, bitter dark fruits, asomemlightndark chocolate.

M- medium body and carbonation. Very slick and easy drinking.

O- very good oud bruin. Has just enough sweetness to balance the dark fruits and vinegar.

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Photo of FLima
4.2/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2014 Edition.
Red brownish color with a thin beige head with short retention, but leaving strong laces.
Nice sour vinous aroma with notes of red grape juice, plums, caramels, oak, white pepper, some chocolate, a bit of butter and vanilla beans.
Flavor with notes of red wine, lots of spices, grape juice, orange peel, green figs, vinegar, lactic acid, oak, salt, muffled toasted and caramel malts, green apples, mild chocolate, cherries, raspberries, black currants, jaboticaba and alike. Dry aftertaste with a lasting fruity acid sensation.
Medium body with appropriate carbonation of the tiniest bubbles. Alcohol of 7% abv is completely absent.
This surprised me quite positively; I wasn’t expecting a Flanders Red Ale, even less a faithful one. This is very complex and quite acetic with prominent vinous, berries and dark fruit notes (ps. this is more acetic and less malty than an Oud Bruin). In my opinion this exemplar can compete with the top rank in Belgium, though less rounded that a Rodenbach for instance. Recommended, best beer I had from them. Sour heads won’t be disappointed.

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Photo of JoEBoBpr
4.2/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a tulip glass from a 22oz bottle.

A - Pours a nice strong mahogany color with a nice frothy head that is ecru and about 0.25 inches tall. There are some nice copper hints while holding the glass up to the light.

S - Slight tart notes. Ripe berries are present with some blueberry and some raspberry notes. Some caramel sweetness is present on the palette as well. Nice Brett funkiness is present as well.

T & M - Quick and intense tartness comes up, some lactic and balsamic like sour notes come up front but then are met with nice fruit sweetness. Slight raspberry and cherry notes. Some grain flavors are present as well. Initially in the flavor it seems like its gonna be too sour but it curves quite well. Some nice bread notes mixed in with the lactic notes. A bit funky and very dry on the finish. The slight woody flavors balance well with some of the very slight sweet notes.

D - Ok beer in my book. Good sour brew. Very sour thought. I will need to try it again.

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Photo of Rice_Nate_25
4.2/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of nanobrew
4.2/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a nice dark red with minimal head that disappears quickly

S: This beer is filled with sour cherries. The acid comes through as slight vinegar

T: Fairly tart, balanced with dark fruit (cherries and cranberries). I get a pleasant flavor profile of red wine vinegar.

M: The sourness tingles my tongue and covers my gums. I love this feeling. This is a nice sour, not the best of its style, but way better than a lot out there. I like how it is not overly sweet, but rather tart.

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Photo of imjustperks
4.2/5  rDev -1.2%

Photo of everetends
4.2/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber I picked up at Hop City in ATL for about $12.99 a bottle. Been wanting to try this for a while and I was stupid excited when I saw it on the shelf and that is why I broke my rule for bomber prices to purchase this brew. Served up in a snifter.

A: Pours a nice dark brown in color. Held to the light, you get some really deep and vibrant red hues coming through at the corners. I really can't see through the brew at all, which is a bit of suprise to me. Can't see any carbonation activity in here. The pour built up a half finger of off white to light tan colored head. It was very bubbly and not very tight at all. This falls to a thin, bubbly ring that lasts pretty much throughout the glass. No stick to the lace. Still, it looks good and appetizing. Could be better but I like the look of it.

S: The smell is absolutely heavy on the vinegar/sour notes. It dominates and doesn't leave much room for much else. Luckily, that is what I was looking for so I am happy camper. Sour fruit coming through as some cherry and some granny smith apple skin. Touch of wood coming in on the backend but not too much. Very nice but I could use some more diversity.

T: All I can say is . . . wow. This starts off with that serious vinegar/sour/tart flavor. The cherry flavor comes out a bit more and really is complimented but the notes of apple skin. As quickly as that sour bite grabs you, it is cooled with a really interesting woodiness and maltiness. There is a touch of nuttiness that works well with the wood and a caramel presence I imagine kicking out of the malt. The flavor just combines to make a beautiful flavor profile and experience.

M: Medium bodied with a medium to slightly lighter carbonation. This beer is tart and dry. Nicely drying to be exact. Sits very light on the palate and leaves that tart bite on the back of your tongue and throat. After taste is all vinegar and sour fruits.

D: Damned good beer. This has gone above and beyond my expectations. The flavor is just beautiful and so well crafted IMO. It just works so well. The beer could grow in other arenas, but I'd say just leave it alone. If the flavor can be that good, who cares about the look or aroma. I could put this down easily and I would spend that price repeatedly to enjoy this beer again. Hells yeah.

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Photo of Kevinpitts
4.2/5  rDev -1.2%

Photo of aerozeppl
4.2/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks go out to bwyker for bringing this.

A: Cloudy red in color. Minimal white head.

S: Sour cherries. This beer smelled so insanely sour. The cherries were right there with it in strength though. Some funk and a earthy smell.

T:The most sour beer I have ever had. Once you have a few sips and your taste buds give up it becomes much more enjoyable. You pick up on the oak a little bit more as it warms as well. The cherries are there as well but the sour just keeps hammering away the entire time.

M: Med body but the carbonation was really good and helped the drinkability quite a bit.

D: I have come to realize that I am not a fan of sour beers. This beer was so sour it hurt my soul. That being said it is amazing they were able to pack so much flavor into a beer that is only 6%. Definitely glad I got to try it just don't expect me to seek it out again. Blends well with Firestone 10.

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Photo of MDDMD
4.2/5  rDev -1.2%

Photo of KickInTheChalice
4.2/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on tap in a snifter.

Appearance: La Folie has a deep brown color with a cherry tint. As the glass wanes, a fuller cherry color is noticeable. A simmering white head is slowly reduced over time and leaves some light sticky lace.

Smell: The aroma is fairly light on any sugar of malt presence. Tart cherries, a burst of lemon, and a bit of orange all provide a tart aroma. A lot of woody oak comes through as it warms up a bit.

Taste: A dirth of true malt presence really lets the sour flavors come through right away. Lemon juice and zest come through strong, with tart cherry adding a bit of additional zing. The sour flavors grow into a climax midway through, and slowly come down as a fierce woody oak flavor steps in to close out each sip.

Mouthfeel: This is definitely on the dry side for what I have had in the sour arena. There is not much malt sweetness, although the intense sour flavor does create some salivation, giving an illusory mouthfeel presence of a sweeter beer. The carbonation is fairly standard, with small bubbles neither being too crisp nor creamy. For how sour it is, it is not that acidic and even less vinegary.

Overall: This was the first sour I had a long time ago, and it threw me off. Now I would say it is a great addition and one of my sour standbys.

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Photo of jdense
4.2/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. glass $5 at The Front Door, Boise, ID 11.10.10.

1 1/2 finger light tan head, fairly quick dissipation with significant lacing. Dark brown body with red highlights, minimal visible carbonation. Cherry dominated nose, more tart than sweet aromas, little if any helps. Taste is ultra complex, stone fruit other than just cherries (plums), dark cherries, prunes, some peach notes, some floral hop notes but not very much. Tart and sour, nicely balanced between the two. Mouthfeel is medium-light, not sticky, pretty good effervescence. A first class Flanders Red, certainly stacks up to the best Belgium offers. A must for fans of the style. Looking forward to comparing a bottle of this that's been cellared for a while. Highly recommended.

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Photo of ncketchum
4.2/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Chimay goblet chilled - 2011 vintage

A - pours a dark red/brown with a light orange head, which dissipates quickly

S - a bit of yeast then hits hard with sour citrus fruit

T - ok, this is a sour one. Very tart, sour citrus fruits with a funky backbone, then a bit of bitterness in the end

M - Not too carbonated, but the tartness is quite refreshing.

O - My second of two recent dives into the sour world, this one impressed me more than the Lychee also from new belgium. I could see definitely picking up a few of these to have on hand when the sour mood strikes. Not an everyday thing for me, but definitely will have on occasion.

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Photo of LowRG
4.2/5  rDev -1.2%

Photo of FanofHefe
4.2/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber poured into a Duvel tulip; there appears to be a very small date on the bottle of the label but it is illegible. Probably not a concern with an aged brew. Pours a deep red body, mostly clear, with a bit of brown tint. Two-finger tan head that leaves just a smattering of lacing.

Tart aroma but not overwhelming. Tart fruit aroma of mostly cherry with a hint of raspberry, and some noticeable oak in the background.

I really like this blend. A little more oak and malt than other Flanders Red's I've had which makes this one a little more approachable. Still, the tart cherry, raspberry and vinegar flavors dominate appropriately.

Not so tart that it takes away from the drinkability. Excellent brew.

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Photo of LukeK
4.2/5  rDev -1.2%

Photo of hoppy91
4.21/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

La Folie from New Belgium Brewing
Beer rating: 4.25 out of 5 with 3,971 ratings
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