La Folie | New Belgium Brewing

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La FolieLa Folie
3,994 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: 3,994 |  Reviews: 1,071
Photo of CRJMellor
3.65/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a light brown and copper colors with a wispy beige head which left traces of bubbly lace on the glass.
Aroma is a tart fruits and a hint of vanilla oak with some caramel underpinings.
Flavors of tart lemon dominate the front palate and soem creamy caramel hits the back. As it warms tartness more fully develops and the nutty, oak/vanilla notes kind of exacerbate the tart notes.
Mouthfeel is lip puckering tart with some softening as it glides over the tongue. A little bit one-dimensional with not enough developing and differing flavors to make that enjoyable.
Drinkability is above average and certainly a very well-crafted brew but the lack of any balance or quality other than the fruit tartness makes it a bit of a one shot wonder for me.

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Photo of ColoradoBobs
2.93/5  rDev -31.1%
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 Shultzerdugen
4.37/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle, caged and corked, hand numbered and dated.

Reddish brown in color, mostly clear with a tan head.

Dark cherries in the nose, followed by notes of rum, alcohol, and wood, plus a touch of barnyard.

Medium light bodied with a moderate carbonation. Berry and cherry flavors briefly show at the top, flowing into sweat, a metallic twang, spanish olives, and a very long sour lemon finish. Gueuze-like in its puckering sourness, funkiness, and complexity.

I have another bottle of this, and I'm having a hard time deciding if I want to age it or not. I'd hate for it to go to vinegar town, but I would like to see what happens down the road.

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Photo of audiojon
4.47/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A stunning example of the Flanders Red style, perhaps the best I have had. Duchess de Bourgogne was my first intro to Flanders Red, but this is definitely more drinkable. The Duchess was a bit too much like grape soda to me, while this is immensely complex. After I had my La Folie, I ordered a Pliny the Younger, and was astounded to find that the La Folie had completely ruined my palate. I will be seeking out more of this ASAP as it seems everything else is now quite boring.

In a word, brilliant!

consumed at the liar's club, san diego, alongside a delicious swiss cheeseburger.

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Photo of Goldorak
4.53/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Brownish caramel, with just a thin head that tapered off quite quickly.

Smell: That great balsamic vinegar aroma was present, but with an extra spicy cinnamon in a Quelquechose kind of way, with a touch of musk and just enough alcohol to make me think I was smelling an old bottle of perfume I found in some dusty attic. Marvelous!

Taste: Good carbonation, the wood doesn't take center stage, it plays more of a backup role for the solid body and sour cherry flavors to glimmer in the spotlight. I don't know if it's the type of wood used for his barrels or just the aging process that wasn't as pronounced as most others (that would be my fist guess), but the brewer seems to have determined the perfect combination in order to get the smooth oaky flavors from the wood yet without sacrificing body and soul to get it, giving la Folie a more complex and satisfying taste as you'll ever find in Flanders Reds/Flemish sours.

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Photo of bennetj17
4.16/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Hand bottled #05-2244...

Color is a deep red and orange/copper. Only a pencil thin ring lines the glass as no head formed at all. Minute carbonation is visible. Clarity is nice. The smell strong and intriguing. Intense wine/grape and cherry scents, both tart and sweet, with a mild hint of spice. The taste is dominated at first by sharp sourness on the top of the tongue, which softens a bit toward the finish. Over time it sweetens some, but this is overall a very tart beer. Notes of wine, lemon, sour apple, and other sour fruit are present. Not very alcoholic, but finishes with a bit of a acidity. Mouthfeel is decent, slightly thin with a carbonation that could have had a little more fizz. You couldn't drink alot of this, but the strong unique flavors would be nice to catch up with from time to time...

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Photo of amicar
4.1/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a nice looking 750mL. Like the subtle label and series number written on the side. Pours a red- tinged orange with a clingy whitish head. This thing even smells tart and acidic. First few sips were a bit too cold, which made it way to acidic, but as it warmed, it had a marvelous refreshing fruit- tinged tartness. A bit of cherry, a bit vanilla, with amouth- puckering feel. Could be a bit intense with too much at once, but marvelous to clear the palate with dinner. I'm glad I split it with a friend, as while delicious, not something I wanted gallons of. I get the sense that this will age marvelously- I probably need to get a few more to hide in the cellar.

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Photo of EPICAC
4.45/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This came in a 750 mL green corked champagne bottle. The label says "La Folie Wood Aged Beer" and has a picture of several barrels. The label also says "Hand Bottled" and had #05-2246 written in ball-point pen. I let it warm to approximately 50°F, and served it in my New Belgium snifters.

Appearance: Pours a hazy-orange red with large yeast clumps evident. A thick off-white head thins to continuous layer, with nice lacing.

Smell: A sour smell predominates. There are also sweet aromas, notes of cherry (like a lambic), and a mild phenolic smell.

Taste: The upfront sweetness is quickly ovepowered by a strong acidic tartness. There are lambic like cherry flavors. The finish is dry.

Mouthfeel: Light-bodied with moderate carbonation. The dryness is mouth-filling.

Drinkability: La Folie is very tart and strong in flavors. This is a nice sipping beer, but not something to have pint after pint of.

Overall: A truly amazing beer.

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

05-1907 Bottle, many thanks to mentor for this beer

Pours a redish/brown or hazy amber color or a mixture of both with a finger sized cream colored head that falls to a ring and laces well.

Aroma lightly sweet and sour at the same time fruity mostly cherries on a light malt base. Definate woody presence earthy and dry smelling also a light wine presence leeched out of the wood.

Taste is nice sour tart cherries, other fruity notes mingled with the cherry, dry oak flavors. A light wine presence again light and crisp nice peppy carbonaton. Only a light vinegar presence compared to other flanders but plenty of sour to go around. As it warms vanilla appears also.

Mouthfeel is light but feels bigger or the other way around maybe. Nice peppy carbonation true to style aides the flavors on this brew.

Drinkability is very good hard to believe an American version of this style is so good. A big thumbs up to New Belgium for this fine beer.

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Photo of goodbyeohio
4.74/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

bottle #05-1951.. stored cold for 3 months.

thanks so much to mark & kristi for bringing me this bottle back from their colorado trip.. much appreciated.

what can one really say about the apex of american sour ales? from its sunset-like appearance to its nose full of bourbon-soaked sour cherries, the folly dances around perfection. it moves along just like most flemish reds from belgium, hanging right in there with the big boys. sour, you ask? hell yes.. and not in an excessively vinegary fashion either. the payoff comes in the wood, which imparts a delicious lactic vanilla experience to the aftertaste. slightly underripe blood orange and white wine dryness define the body gist and accent the cherry flavor.

crisp and carbonated, sour and refreshing.. this beer provides the ultimate experience in this genre of beer. there isn't too much left to say that hasn't been said.. i didn't even want to take too many notes because it distracted me from the savoring of this masterpiece.

if you have the opportunity to try this beer.. do so at any cost. oh, and don't drink it on an empty stomach.. its a gut-wrenching doozy of an acidic belgian bomb...

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

I bought a bottle of this in Denver and saved it for a tasting in Tampa. But, I got so schnockered that by the time we opened it I was far past the ability to rate anything. So when someone..who I have now forgot, but is an incredible human being...sent me this I was quite happy.

Aroma is sour balsamic vingerarette with woody and sour cherry notes. Color is hazy red/orange with a mostly fading thin white head. Fore is identical to the aroma...sour and woody. Overripe fruity notes compliment a delicate feel on the palate. It is actually more carbonated then I remembered and this beer is older than the one I had before, but that carbonation tickles the tongue nicely in conjuction with the sour fruit-mostly sour cherries-notes.

This style is to beer what Tom’s Great American Vinegar & Salt Potatoe Chips are to salty snacks. And this beer is an amazingly accurate rendition of a beer most commercial american brewers would never even consider attempting.

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Photo of gbarbee
4.92/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

La Folie, Wood Aged Beer
1 Pint 9.4 FL. OZ. (750 ML)

Hand Bottled # 05-2260

Appearance: Red/Amber appearing and slightly opaque.
Smell: Tart, fruity scent with a hint of lemon.
Taste: Tart with a fruity flavor (green apples, lemon, and maybe a hint of orange) with a smooth aftertaste
Mouthfeel: Smooth and light
Drinkability: Exceptional beer that drinks similar to a smooth, clear soda-pop on a hot and humid summer day. This is a unique beer reminiscent of a Belgian Lambic Ale.

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Photo of BillyB
4.87/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Sharp, sour acidic bight. Makes my lips and throat pucker. Crisp, fizzy mouthfeel. Plucky. Refreshing.
Pours burnt orange/ruby red, slight light brown color. No head.
There is a collection of sediment at the bottom of the bottle.
Aroma is oaky/woody, sour, with whiff's of vinegar.
Taste is very intense. Sour, Tart and Sweet all at once. Very complex flavor profile; cranberries, orange, bready, green apples, cherries. Even some chocolate and a hint of vanilla.
No hop flavor or aroma at all.
An amazing beer.

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Photo of sulldaddy
4.16/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle courtesy of Mentor!
Sampling at room temp in a snifter. The beer pours a bright chestnut color with 1 cm fizzy off white head that fades quickly to nothin.
ARoma is evident upon the cork popping out.
Very tart fruit scents with some toothpicky wood raspberry and generally sour funkyness.
The first sip reveals a bit of a sticky texture and very mild carbonationthat tickles slightly before the tart sourness takes over all sensation. The sides of my tongue tingle and my lips pucker. WOW! THis is pretty tart! THe flavor is like a sour apple jolly rancher with some woody notes in the background. Also a bit of acidic burn mixed in. This beer is definitely not for everyone but I really dig it!

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Photo of carln26
4.22/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This poured from the bottle a dark amber with deep ruby highlights. It was topped by a thick egg-white colored head. The nose is bright an tart. Cranberries, orange, fresh bread, and sweet dates. A real blast in the mouth. Tart berries, green apple, bread dough, and subtle sweetness on the finish. Slick, and acidic mouth feel. Nice drinkability. Really marvelous beer from a US brewer.

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

This arrived as a nice deep red with almost no head. There's no lace being left behind.

The smell is almost overwhelmingly sour and tart, but in a good way. The taste follows that up with powerful and sour cherry flavor, and finishes with a hint of vinegar. Oak is not coming through. The mouthfeel is intense while drinkability is actually pretty good for how fierce the flavors are.

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Photo of sloejams
4.77/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On-tap: Toronado, San Francisco

I’ve been waiting to taste this highly touted beer for quite some time. The always impressive Toronado had it on-tap.

It was served in a tulip; it had a red-brown color with barely any head. The aroma was extremely sour – hints of cherry (kriek-ish). It was a strong scent. The taste was almost as tart. It was very unique. Very complex. Very delicious.

It was very light, with a crisp finish and surprising quite drinkable and refreshing for something so sour. Sitting across from me, my girlfriend proclaimed, “Top 3 ever!!!” She’s a saison girl and god bless her for it.

Fine fucking beer this.

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Photo of mjohn27603
4.16/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sent in a beer trade by Lou91. Highly anticipated. I would never be able to get this in Michigan. Bottle is subtle and understated. 750 ml hand bottled #05-124. This could be cellared but I am going to consume now. Cork sits in silver and red cage. Cork launches with a pop but doesn't travel very far. It doesn't hit the ceiling. Poured into a New Belgium chalice.

Appearance is beautiful. Pours an oaky golden light brown. Leaving a dense one finger head on top of the beer.

Aroma: sour. Wine notes. Oaky aroma. Mostly sour. Maybe a hint of vinegar.

Taste: Sour! A bit of saltyness. A subtle oaky flavor in the aftertaste. This is a sweetart with some maturity in oak barrels. This is a sipper. It might have been more effective to put into smaller bottles. A bit of musty aged taste. This is going to take some time to completely appreciate. This tastes like a vinegar or a balsamic vinegar. I wonder if anyone has used this on salads or in other cooking. I think this should be aged longer.

Mouthfeel: noting distinguishing. Not heavy.

If I had another I would cellar for a few years.

Notes on the day after. I let sit corked in the fridge. I like it better on the 2nd day. I just tasted Supplication by Russian River and I think this one needed some more age to mellow out a bit. However, I liked it better on the second day.

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

New Belgium's premiere brew is terrific, and distribution is growing.
Pours a nice brownish-red color. It's the color of a cherry cider or even a fruit lambic.
Smell and flavor is wonderful. Cherries, oak, citrus, and just a general sour flavor that's just right and not too tart. Not a lot of hops, but lots of other flavors. I'd compare it to a gueuze, but with a slightly sweeter flavor...and the oak overtone. The strange thing about this beer (that even my wine-centric friend mentioned) is that the nose and flavor are very different. What I mean is that the flavor you get after smelling it isn't what you'd expect. It's not bad, just something worth noting.
Mouthfeel is solid. Just the right amount of carbonation to keep it form being too thin.
Drinkability varies on your tolderance for sour flavors, but I'd drink this any time it was available.

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Photo of OStrungT
2.94/5  rDev -30.8%
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 UnionMade
4.9/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle purchased at the brewery in late August, refrigerated since.
Looks like a liquid fireball, positively glowing a pure, brilliant red. Modest cap of foam, maintaining a thick film atop the brew. A plume of carbonation rises from the tulip glass, feeding the head. Sharply acidic in the nose, a delicate yet sturdy wooden presence. Heavy with grapey, vinous notes, sour as it comes, hinting towards sour cherry and green apple. A touch of vanilla, and molten caramel to a lesser degree.

The first

Immediately puckering with sour cherry and grape. I'd be happy with a beer this abrasive and agressive being fairly simple, but oh no. A wash of caramel bolsters the sourness, preventing it from taking over completely. Musty wild yeast flavors evoke a feeling of long waiting in wooden vessels. A bit of a stilton cheese flavor, moldy, sharp and delicious, nearly buckling under sour fruit. Oaky vanilla, perhaps a touch of leather and anise lurking in the far distance. Green apple. Cider vinegar. Perky carbonation moves the flavor restlessly across the palate. Microscopically small bubbled, fine like champagne. Lighter medium body, finishing so dry my tongue feels like paper. No real hop flavor save a vague, cheesy, herbal quality which may or may not be from hops. Plenty of sour acidity in the finish, which is right up my alley, even a bit of sour achiness in my belly after a glass. Perhaps lessening the drinkability some. Caramel sweetness maintains throughout, soft and golden. A wisp of vanilla and cheese right in the end. Beautiful.

A beer this gorgeous is a rare thing. I was a bit skeptical about the nearly $20 my girlfriend and I dropped on each bottle, but it was worth every penny. I'm having trouble believing this comes from the United States. Supremely good, even against the continental versions. Not only spot on for the style, but I like it better the classics, i.e. Rodenbach. Holy crap. We should have bought a case. I wonder how this might be after another 3-4 years?

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

tasted on 4/14/2013
(Served in a tulip glass)
Brewed in 2005
A- This beer pours a deep auburn body with a thin wisp of head that is supported by a strong carbonation of microbubbles trailing up the side of the glass.

S- The full aroma of gentle tartness and cellar mustiness complements some wet wood and earthy fruit hints in the finish.

T- The taste of old dry wood is soon overtaken by a tart fruity flavor that has some jammy qualities but is not at all sweet. There is a nice tartness in the finish that lingers with some mellow astringency and a nice musty pithy note.

M- The medium-light mouthfeel has a soft little carbonation but not much astringency in the mouthfeel.

O- This beer has a great aged flavor with soft subtle depth that builds but is a bit hard to describe. I don’t get a bit tartness or brett character that stand out but there are lots of complimentary flavors that grow and change with each sip. Very tasty.

Drank on 11/20/2005
(Served in a nice tall goblet)

A- This beer pours a coppery-red body that is very clear and has a thin light tan head and a gentle carbonation.

S- The smells of slight sour cherries, with hints of wine vinegar and some earthiness in the background.

T- Bold unmistakable sour/tartness has notes of dark cherries and some softer pear like notes. The finish has a hint of some oak and wood characters with a little mustiness to it.

M- The mouthfeel was medium light with no alcohol warmth but it did make me pucker at the finish.

D- This beer is bold and sour but it has a nice complexity that leaves you wanting to drink more or it. The flavors are very different from typical beers and they are hard to describe. I can't drink this beer as a session beer but I really enjoyed the glass that I had.

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Photo of pjwilson
4.43/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

had on tap at the toronado.

A: nice red color.. minimal head
smell: the smell was way too subduded for me. I could smell some brett but i really had to work.
taste: bam. taste is a fucking 5. this shit is so good i almost shed a tear it wasn't as common as budwieser which it should be. Sour, with a hint of sour, with an aftertaste of sour. But it is such a great tasting sour. I love this stuff
mouthfeel and drinkability: this a sipper no doubt. but each little tiny sip gives you the full flavor. which destroyes your palate. this beer crushes lesser beers.

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Photo of UncleFlip
4.77/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A very healthy light tan head tops a liquid that's a strong light brown sugar color, tinged sort or dark apricot. It's rather hazy- but that may have been due to my pour.

The smell is yeasty, with bing cherries all over it. Just sniffing it, you know it will be sour.

The first taste is all at once woody and sour fruity. the wood gives way to a sourness on the middle of the tongue, that rolls back to a strong tanginess on the back of the tongue. There's still that cherry, as well. It seems more refined than others I've tried in this general style.

The mouthfeel is hearty, yet not thick. The carbonation cloaks itself nicely- the point where you don't really notice it, but know it's there.

I find this one very drinkable- but some others may not. Some folks may have to warm up to it....and the tang may get overbearing after a while.

This is young bottle- from just a month or two ago. I hear this one gets better with I have another in the closet... :)

Be well

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

Had this on-tap at Toronado's in San Francisco. Presented in a tulip-style glass, it appeared dark red (or maybe more accurately orange-red) with minimal head.

The aroma was awesome, smelled like sour cherry juice a little. Actually I heard this was made by the same guy who worked at Rodenbach, so maybe this is similar to the ultimate benchmark for Flanders Red?

This was my second beer of this variety (the first was Monk's Red), and I have to say this was more impressive. Definitely a once-in-a-while brew. It's tart and puckering, but extremely delicious.

Grab this if you can find it!

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La Folie from New Belgium Brewing
Beer rating: 4.25 out of 5 with 3,994 ratings