La Folie | New Belgium Brewing

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La FolieLa Folie
4,005 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

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,005 |  Reviews: 1,073
Photo of Sammy
4/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Thanks jpm30. A clear rlight reddish colour with lots of large bubbles in the head. Vinegar and malt aroma. Clearly sour taste that sweetens as you drink it. Vineous and slightly rich, wood only detactable before the taste buds are overpowered.. Great after salty fish. A slightly milder alternative to a Cantillon, overpowering the mouth but not for the entire day.

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Photo of kylehay2004
4/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: thin quarter finger head on a clear brown and amber body.

S: tons of sour cherries with subtle caramel and toffee. Bubble gum

T: nice degree of sourness with the flavor following the aroma perfectly. Toffee and caramel are mild but present.

M: thinner side of medium body and moderate carbonation.

Overall: a very nice sour beer, one of the better beers and sour beers from this brewery.

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Photo of acurtis
3.7/5  rDev -12.9%

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.17/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

the much acclaimed, prohibitively priced sour brown ale from new belgium. finally i am drinking this. worth the hype? im not so sure... pours a reddish brown murky color with a lively off white head, very fizzy, but just an inch tall. smells very very sour, like some of those old school flemish reds. this one is not brett, but lacto, so its a totally different sour, piquant and pungent and permeating. some hints of sweeter malts in there as well, but the sour vibe carries it. flavor is actually fairly balanced for how sour this one is, but underneat it all is a nice chocolatey brown ale with some woody notes. feel is great, effervescent carbonation and a lighter medium body. with a low abv and a lot of intricacies, this is a bomber you want for yourself. i doubt if i buy this one again because of the absurd price (18 bucks), but im glad i finally got to try it.

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Photo of jaydoc
4.26/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.24/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the ColLAboration beer fest at the Belasco Theater in Los Angeles, CA.

Pours a clear dark brown with a fizzy tan head that fades to nothing. No lacing on this one. Smell is of sour cherry and malt vinegar aromas. Taste is very much the same with a very tart finish. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good sour beer that is tasty and very easy to drink. This is definitely a beer I could drink all day and not get tired of it.

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Photo of Texasfan549
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

Photo of kjkinsey
4.25/5  rDev 0%

Photo of GRG1313
4.34/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2013 offering.

Pours dark copper with red/cranberry tones. A fast fading light khaki head.

Nose of cooked cherries with hints of cocoa and light tart apple vinegar. Mouthfeel is clean and crisp; very well balanced and with perfect tart/sour character.

Flavor profile is tart cooked pie cherries with a "brown ale" undertone. There are hints of cocoa and cooked stone fruit, all with the tart character prevailing.

This is a very drinkable beer with a nice clean, tart finish that leaves you salivating a bit and wanting more.

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Photo of spycow
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev -5.9%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
3.5/5  rDev -17.6%

Photo of nmann08
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

Photo of metter98
4.13/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is clear red in color and has a moderate amount of carbonation. It poured with a thin light pink head that quickly faded away and left a ring of bubbles around the collar of the glass.
S: There is a light to moderate aroma of sourness in the nose.
T: The overall taste is very sour and has notes of cherries and oak in the flavors.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied and very tart on the palate with a moderate to high amount of carbonation.
D: The high amount of carbonation in this beer makes it quite drinkable.

Note: 2010 vintage

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Photo of oriolesfan4
3.75/5  rDev -11.8%

Photo of biboergosum
3.99/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

650ml bottle, 2014 version, at 7% ABV by this recent shipment to arrive in Alberta - nice to see their more esoteric offerings made available here fast on the heels of the usual suspects. "La Folie" - aka, the 'craziness', or some such thing.

This beer pours a mostly clear, dark reddish amber hue, with two fingers of restrained, weakly foamy, and yet tightly bubbly beige head, which leaves some low-lying webbed island profile lace around the glass as it slowly ebbs away.

It smells of sour dark fruit - cherry, plum, and raisin - bready, and lightly crackery pale malt, a metallic caramel sweetness, mild dry citrus, red wine vinegar, apple skins, and earthy, floral, and perfumed hops. The taste is rather sharply tart cherry and apple fruit, earthy yeast, gritty caramel malt, soaked white bread, lemon zest, subtle wooden vanilla and alcohol notes, more semi-sweet vinegar, and strangely prominent weedy, leafy hops.

The bubbles are pretty buzzworthy and tacky by the same measure, the body just on the light side of medium weight, and smooth in the very sense of every sour ale out there that aspires as such - so, not so much. It finishes rather dry, the sour fruitiness still ruling the roost, the malt gone to ground, and the hoppiness putting 'er in neutral for the time being.

A pretty agreeable and enjoyable rendition of a Flanders red ale - sour, fruity, and barely, but still adequately balanced by the typical red ale malt and hoppiness. Crazy by this adorable brewery's standards, sure, but more than a tad below the progenitors' prowess in the style overall, which is a precept that I might have a bit of trouble validating, without actually doing a straight-up head to head tasting with Goudenband.

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Photo of t0rin0
4.49/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Tried this tonight and was very impressed. I've heard about this beer and every time I see "New Belgium Brewing" next to the name I just keep right on browsing, figuring that it can't be any good. I was sorely mistaken.

This beer pours a deep red color that was sorta clear. Slightly hazy. There was some head in my glass but that was pretty much a vertical pour in an effort to aggravate the beer and produce some aromas. Not much retention.

The smell was wonderfully geuze-like. Moderately sour and definitely some oak in there. Also some sour cherries coming out. The smell is not as intensely complex as some of the reviews would make it out to be but it is very well balanced.

The taste is moderately sour and oak inspired. There is some fruit in the background and some sweet malt. Not much to comment on other than its a great flavor and that I could drink bottles of this on a daily basis.

Over the past 6 months or so I have really been introduced to sour belgian beers and this is a prime example. Medium body, enough CO2, very drinkable.

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Photo of oline73
4.3/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a goblet.

Appearance: Pours a clear reddish brown with a finger of tan head that fades to a ring around the edge of the glass.

Smell: Sweet malt, mildly fruity, with some vinegar sourness.

Taste: Not too sweet, nice acidic vinegar and lemon flavor. Some fruit (raspberry like) hints with a sour finish. Quite smooth.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with tingly carbonation and a mildly dry finish.

Overall: A really smooth beer given how sour it is. Nice acidic vinegar notes. Fruity flavor is nice and mild and complements the other flavors well. Would definitely have more.

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Photo of kojevergas
4.37/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2012 vintage 1 pint 6 fl oz brown glass bottle acquired tonight at Wally's Wine in Westwood, California, and served into a Guinness goblet in me gaff in Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are extremely high; I've heard a lot of hype over this having been raised in Denver.

Served refrigerator cold and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a 1.5 finger head of nice cream, good thickness, and good retention (though the ABV is merely 6%). Colour is a vibrant chestnut amber-brown. I quite like the colour, especially when held up to light. Semitransparent. Translucent.

Sm: Lovely sourness, bacteria, and wild yeast. Marvelous oak - amongst the best oak aromas I've ever encountered. Subtle yet rich and inviting. Brilliant.

T: Lovely rich sourness with a sweet climax. Bacteria and wild yeast are controlled yet rampant, really filling out the body nicely. Blended beautifully. Sour apple. Quite tart. Burgundy. Oak is more tonal, but helps to round out the balance. The sour wild yeast laden finish is damned amazing. I get cherry esters from it. It truly is a bit puckerworthy, but in an excellent bold masterfully executed way. Brilliantly layered and absurdly well balanced. Delicious. Very tasty. As complex as it is subtle. I'm blown away. The sweet fruity climax is jolly rancher-esque but in a good way (ignore that if it sounds ridiculous). Clean malts form the foundation.

Mf: Smooth and wet, suiting the flavours perfectly. The thickness and carbonation are both ideal, and complement the focus of the beer incredibly well. This is masterful brewing.

Dr: Who knew New Belgium could pull off a beer so good? Extremely drinkable for the style. I love it. One of the best sours I've had in the last month - and I've had some pretty nice Lost Abbey beers recently. I'd definitely get this again, ideally in a bottle to age. I doubt I'll be trading bottles of this one away; they're worth keeping for me. Lives up to the hype. I'm extremely impressed. Really a wonderful beer.

Drank very nicely out of me narrow-mouthed goblet. I'll take that over a snifter anytime.

Don't pair this, just enjoy it.

Best slightly warmer than 'fresh from the fridge' cold.

A good candidate for aging. I'll be aging some meself.


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Photo of BEERchitect
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This has been one of the more illusive beers for me. Finally had to go to the brewery to nail it down. This might have been my favorite pint during the GABF '08 weekend. The beer begins with a mouthwatering scent of extreme berry-like tartness with black cherries, vineous red wine, oak, nuttiness, a touch of vinegar and even a hint of chocolate. Mesmerizing by the scent and the sight. The brandy sniffer shows a dark ruby color with brilliant clarity and a glowing crimson hue. Light head formation lasts the session. The pungent, assertive aromas morph seamlessly into the flavors with the same intensity and balance. The beer is aided by soft vanillans from the barrels and with a light tannin dryness. Other textures that come through are initial wine thinness, but then with a mild, all-attenuated malty creaminess, and lastly with a tart astringency that balances the beer in the absence of detectable hops. Finishes with a cherry-berry fruitiness and sharp dryness. If the malt backbone could add more creaminess, it would surplant Duchesse du Burgogne as my favorite Flanders.

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Photo of superspak
4.32/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle into signature globe glass; 2013 vintage, bottled 12/2/2012. Pours crystal clear dark ruby red color with a 1-2 finger dense khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of big sour cherry, cranberry, green apple, raisin, plum, red wine vinegar, caramel, brown bread, hay, straw, grass, leather, toasted oak, musty funk, and yeast earthiness. Fantastic aromas with great complexity and balance of fruity/funky/lactic yeast, dark malt, and oak notes; with good strength. Taste of sour cherry, green apple, cranberry, raisin, plum, red wine vinegar, caramel, brown bread, hay, straw, grass, leather, toasted oak, musty funk, and yeast earthiness. Good amount of fruity/earthy tartness on the finish; with lingering notes of sour cherry, green apple, cranberry, raisin, plum, red wine vinegar, hay, straw, grass, leather, toasted oak, musty funk, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a while. Fantastic complexity and balance of fruity/funky/lactic yeast, dark malt, and oak barrel flavors; with an awesome malt/acidity balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth, crisp, and moderately acidic mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is well hidden with only a slight warming present after the finish. Overall this is an outstanding Flanders brown ale. All around awesome complexity and balance of fruity/funky/lactic yeast, dark malt, and oak barrel flavors; and very smooth and crisp to drink even with the moderate acidity. A highly enjoyable offering.

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Photo of emerge077
4.68/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2006 Cork & Cage bottle
This is my 3rd time sampling La Folie, and this particular bottle was from the 2006 release, numbered 06-3463. Served at cellar temp: 55º-60º.

Perfect crimson red, with racing carbonation. A small blanketing of foam develops after the pour, and settles to a patchy skim. Evaporating carbonation is audible, like Rice Krispies. A white ring of foam is ever present, and some irregular lacing decorates the glass.

Aromas of musty leather, dark underripe berries, black cherry, residual pasture funk, at a lower level than a Gueuze or Lambic. Complex without being overbearing, truly a signature aroma of a traditional Flanders Red.

Tart flavor, with a nice residual cherry and oak bouquet. Dry finish, oak tannins, with plenty of fruit lingering. Residual saltiness that is pretty unique for this style, yet compliments the sweet/sour well. Not ham-fistedly sour, as some Gueuzes can be at first sip. Delicate and complex, the most perfect Flanders style ale i've come across. Quenching in it's tartness, this is the epitome of my attraction to sour ales.

2008 tap sample: Very tart, it may put off novices to the style. There was a distinct grape jelly aftertaste that I never noticed before, acetic acid, and a hint of multigrain breadiness. The body seemed less substantial than from from the bottle, as if it lost steam after 15 minutes.

Sadly this beer has become one dimensional due to it's pasteurization and mass production, I feel. Every time I try it, it seems like a shell of its former self. :'(

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Photo of Boone757
3.75/5  rDev -11.8%

Photo of zeff80
4.07/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle #06-3987 poured into a flute glass

A - Poured out a burgundy/brown color with small, bubbly, off-white head. It was a clear beer with a fizzy, carbonated body that left no lace.

S - It smelled very oaky and woody. Also a good bit of a sour apple aroma.

T - It was very sour. Tons of sour apple flavor and a little malt. It had an oaky flavor like a red wine, too.

M - It was crisp and sharp. A medium-bodied beer.

D - Initially, I was not a fan of this beer, but upon retrying it (and gaining a greater appreciation of sour ales) I'd say it's worth the hype. Very good beer.

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La Folie from New Belgium Brewing
Beer rating: 4.25 out of 5 with 4,005 ratings