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La Folie | New Belgium Brewing

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La FolieLa Folie
BA SCORE
4.25/5
Outstanding
3,965 Ratings
La FolieLa Folie
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
New Belgium Brewing
Colorado, United States
newbelgium.com

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

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#775
Reviews:
1,067
Ratings:
3,965
pDev:
10.12%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
605
Gots:
980
Trade:
47
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 3,965 |  Reviews: 1,067
Photo of lou91
4.35/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle. Hand bottled and numbered #5-490. I had to pour this into a flute as recommended and it was the perfect glass. Beautiful clear amber color with a noisy crackling head, which released beautiful aromas of funky cherries – like a Cantillon Kriek. Wow what a shock on the palate! Super tart, and funky with a long dry finish leaving traces of subtle cherry to linger and linger. I’ve been to Cantillon and this beer takes me there with the wonderful mustiness and smell of oak and fruit. If you love the Cantillon style of lambics then you will love this beer. I remember having my first Cantillon and wondering if the beer was bad and wanting to pour it down the drain. But the taste grows on you. This is a special beer. As I polish off the bottle I’m left to wonder how in the hell is this beer made in Colorado?!?

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Photo of Bonhoeffer
3.74/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Dude. Nucking futs. My first ever experience with a Flanders red. I'm no longer a Flanders virgin. Don't know if this one is over the top or if they're all like this.

By far, my favorite part of this beer was the smell. Very unique. I could tell from smelling it that it was going to be sour, but had no idea the extent of sourness. I just sat there inhaling for several moments, trying to anticipate what this rare brew was going to offer me.

First sip: Wheeew. [enormous pucker] Wow.

Sour, sour, sour, sour. I could somewhat taste what was going on behind the sourness, but barely. I enjoyed it as something different, but i'm thinking i need more exposure to this style... I do have a Duchesse at home.

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Photo of swid
4.4/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Corked and caged bottle, 2005, #1888.

La Folie pours a hazy, amber-red color into my Worthy glass. A 1/2" head forms and soon dissipates. Moderate carbonation and lacing. To be honest, I was a bit underwhelmed by the initial appearance (I had hyped this beer in my mind for quite some time). However, looks can be quite deceiving. The smell is appropriately funky; lots of tartness and wood aromas, with a bit of citrus and a slight hint of caramel malt.

The taste, though...WOW! It's like drinking Shock-Tarts, but infinitely tastier. The sourness and tartness is initially quite shocking, but after a couple sips, it becomes very inviting. There's many fruity flavors: cherry, raspberry, and grapefruit being prominent. The wood-influenced caramel malt can be noticed after a little bit. The taste is also funky, but in a very agreeable fashion. This beer is heaven on the tongue. It's full, yet light; sweet, yet dry, and sparkling all around. Finishes sweet, tart, and tasty.

All in all, an insanely drinkable beer. Highly recommended, and a gem from New Belgium.

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

Appearance – This ale came out of the bottle a beautiful reddish-brown in color. The head was modest but pitted well.

The above description doesn’t do this justice. The liquid is thick and a bit hazy with some live carbonation. The edges are tainted with a pinkish peach color that is very unique. It’s hard to describe, but in an understated way this ale is gorgeous.

Smell – The big sour notes come on strongly right out of the bottle. It’s not like lemon, though. It’s more like a spritzy, tart sourness that is of course heavily-laden with fine woody notes.

There is some serious sweet and sour action going on here as well. The toasted grainy malts and wood meld with this aroma to make a beautiful bouquet.

Taste – Ah, this is a good one. The sourness eases up a bit at the taste. It’s quite inviting with a little more malt than I picked up from the nose. The wood is almost all smell and hardly comes across at the tongue. This is a complex and interesting beer.

Mouthfeel – This is in between light and medium-bodied with a good but measured sourness and some modest but very tight carbonation. The carbonation really was a highlight for me. New Belgium did an incredible job in this area.

Drinkability – This is almost like sipping on an Applejack-infused peach champagne spritzer. It really is subtlety at its best, and a lot of brewers interested in getting into this style could learn from the modest nature of New Belgium’s approach.

Comments – I aged this 2004 vintage for a bit then popped it for my 1,400th review. It really is a unique and tasty ale that definitely deserves a look if you enjoy Red or Bruin Sour Ales.

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Photo of egajdzis
4.42/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Hand Bottled #1636? it was kind of scratched out... Poured a hazy amber color with a medium sized off white head and some decent. Tart aroma of oak, spice, sour cherry, malt and caramel. Sour cherry, cherry skins, apples, some yeast and oak, caramel as well. A little grapefruit and some lemon too, I found this very sour. But also enjoyable to have alittle of this in a night!

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Photo of AlexJ
4.72/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750ml review thanks to Mandy Miller @ New Belgium for the bottle!

Pours murky orange amber with golden highlights and a dense fluffy head of light beige that settles rather quickly and leaves some temporary spots of lace and eventually forms a thick ring.

I'm overcome by the aromas before I even get close to my chalice. Tart fruit, rotting concord grapes on the vine, pink bubblegum, plum, dry wood, earthy must, chalky minerality, and barnyard funk. Aromas concentrate as it warms to room temp, bringing out even more fruit.

My mouth is overwhelmed by an explosion of flavor. Bubblegum, rotting red grapes, starfruit, prunes, creamy oak, tart underripe cherries, and more. As it warms, notes of oak are more noticable along with more earthy root cellar and funky barnyard must. I could go on and on picking out flavors. Truely marvelous!

The body is medium with prickly tiny bubbles that enhances the tart and sharp character of the beer. Mouthfeel is lofty and creamy. Drinkability, are you kidding me? I could drink this by the bucket!

An absolute must-try for any true enthusiast. World class. Definately the best example of this style I have ever had. I can't imagine there are any finer.

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Photo of pentathlete
4.42/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Ah, the spectrum of beer. God loves us.

Thanks to babydoc for this 750ml bottle via BIF18. It was a great run of beers. To bad they didn't see much time in the cellar.

Poured into a snifter a translucent ruby brown, with minimal to no head. The nose is a chalky acidic with cherry notes, smells dry. Taste is a mellow cherry over an aspirin bite. The mellowness musy come from the wood aging. This is not puckering tart, the tartness is pleasant and blends well with the fruitiness and the alcohol. Mouthfeel is medium for the style, the finish is long, tart, and slightly sweet. Not many beers in this style are so drinkable. This one is a keeper. Get it if you can.

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Photo of dwvarner77
4.79/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to kmpitz for sharing, enjoyed in a session with sheepnutz and clvand0.
Pours a copper- or umber- shaded orange, with a slight coating of fine carbonation.
The aroma is strong and delightful. Smells primarily of sour cherries, with a hint of plum and someting else that's funky but I can't quite identify.
Tastes fantastic. A burst of sour cherries hits me at first, but it mellows nicely. There's a slight hint of sweetness after the initial sour subsides, as well as an indication of ester and/or alcohol. I don't pick up any distinctive tannin flavors that one sometimes gets from other beers aged in wooden casks.
Light mouthfeel, with a hint of carbonation to tease the tonge. A bit of lingering sour aftertaste, but it's an asset, not a liability.
Very tasty brew with high drinkability. Will certainly aspire to return to this one.

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Photo of kmpitz2
4.89/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to Geoff.

This is my second dance with this beer. I loved it the first time, but I want to see how I feel about it again.

It pours a rosey orange color with a small head that falls to a light coating. Nice. The nose is incredible. Huge tart funkyness with sweet and sour cherry. Also hints of creamyness as well. It smells divine. The flavor is very nice as well. A blast of tartness hits immideatly, followed by sweet cherry and slight cream. It leaves slight stickey spit in my mouth. The feel is moderate with a lively carbonation. I could easily sit and drink a whole bottle of this. I enjoy the flavor, nose and feel.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.89/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

WOW! I loved this beer so much that I was originally unsure of my own thoughts on it. However, after going over it for a while, and then rushing out and tasting some of the beers from Flanders (the one's without the extra sugar added), I really do feel that this is an exceptional beer that not only rivals the originals, but ranks very highly among them! The fact that a brewery in the United States produced this absolutely proves that we are the greatest beer nation in the world! So, if this be folly, then let me be a fool!!!

From a 750ml green glass Champagne bottle, corked and caged; 2004 vintage.

The first pour from a longstanding bottle is crystal clear (I can see my fingerprints through the glass). The body is copper colored with a reddish cast and glittering orange and gold highlights; beneath a massive head of creamy white froth that unfortunately settles fairly quickly to a standard collar and whispy surface covering. It does leave some large splashes of lace however, but they are transient and disappear after a minute or so.

The nose is tart with the acid produced by the Brettanomyces and bacteria, and it comes off like tart fruit. Once warm, woody notes become apparent, giving it greater depth; and some tropical fruit appears (mango, papaya, melon).

In the mouth it's light-medium bodied and just lightly tingly on the tongue due to the carbonation, but the acidity also helps to give it some zest.

The flavor starts tart and fruit juicy with an undercurrent of sweetness that appears at the swallow. Across the middle, the barnyard (musty, musky, feral) and oak character appears. It's superbly balanced in its tartness, and the oak isn't over-done.

Note: Once the yeast is added, it softens the flavor greatly, and I'd suggest you store this in your refrigerator for a long period before opening it to let the yeast settle. when you're ready, pull it out, open it, pour it carefully and enjoy it 5 minutes later. You will eventually get to the "yeast pour", but the first few glasses will be great!

It finishes bone-dry and slightly chalky with a mineralistic/barnyard characteristic from the Brettanomyces that leaves it slightly reminiscent of bleu cheese.

Stunning! An amazingly refreshing and drinkable beer that is surprisingly compelling.

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Photo of gbontrag
4.71/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

bottle #7253/04
this is the color of a pretty reddish liquer held against an aged barrel. A toasted meringue doesn't jump, but sits at a finger heighth and holds, and holds before coating my NB snifter with lace.
Smells like freshly mown cherry wood, resiny and sour.
A huge vanilla kiss after the shocking sour cherries and unripe pear. Tastes like little sour apples and fruit blossoms. Fresh sawdust clings to the roof of my mouth. This makes me weep with thoughts of an orchard fed through a chipper with blossoms still clinging to the branches. Then, I'm inexplicably celebrating with a cherry vanilla phosphate. My palate, nay, my whole face has been whipped with fruit twigs. And there's sprinkles of cracked green jolly ranchers everywhere. Yo, I'm a happy, jolly la Folie rancher!

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.65/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

The cage and cork are off, the bottle poured into glass and immediately the nose is hit with a tart cherry/berry intensity. But let's look at this first:
Lush, deep crimson color, cherry red, really, with active carbonation, and an impressively stable pinkish head.
Aroma: sour, and a touch sweet. soft fruit. Perfect balance, though, and at times angelic. Something sublime there. A poetic, eniticing aroma.
Taste: Acidic bite leads off, then the serious pucker, the mouth twisting sour, saved by a blast of sweet berryish flavor. Very nice.
Solid mouthfeel, excellent texture, full body, with a long, fruity, ultimately dry finish.
There is some serious refreshment happening in the mouth, here.
Just gorgeous, really. Easily the match of any Flanders Red I've met, and the better of many more. A pity it's so rare, but easily this fine brewery's best work.
So mellow, but jam-packed with flavor, oozing character. The wood did well with this one.

Impressive.

I think I'm in love.

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Photo of swamiswamu
5/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Corked and caged at the Chocolate Bar in STL, not on menu.

I eagerly asked the maitre d' whether or not they still had La Folie in their possession and after asking a few more employees they managed to find one, despite its not being on the menu. At $22, it wasn't cheap, but also was not to be missed. This is my first straight 5s and I don't anticipate seeing many others that meet this. My first sour beer was only a couple of months ago and I've gone from not being able to choke down kriek to lusting after Cantillon like a addict craves the needle. I was visibly excited when the bottle came with its "do not disturb" label hanging around the neck. I was with my fiance and soon to be mother in law, who was immensely intrigued by this mysterious beer in front of me. It poured a deep rich magenta with little head. I let it breathe for a little bit before taking my first sip. The nose was strongly influenced byt the oak with hints of vanilla and plum. The taste was simply incredible. Plums, cranberry, apple cider, a little bit of malt, oak, and a citrusy cleanliness. Perfect. My fiance's mother stated that it was the most incredible flavor she's ever experienced, period. My fiance loved it, despite her extreme aversion to sourness. I could have drank it all night if wasn't driving and it wasn't a small fortune. Best beer ever.

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Photo of LuckySevens82
4.65/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

750ml Bottle (# 04-3296) courtesy of babydoc. I can't thank you enough for this one Mike.
Pours a reddish orange when held up to light or a very orangy brown when in normal lighting. A whispy, loosly bubbled, white head adorns this beer. Not much in the way of retention or lacing.
Smell is vinegar, citrus, sour cherries, some spiciness (I think I detected cinnamon and/or nutmeg) and of course some oakiness.
Taste is very good. Lemons, vinegar, cherry pits, and brett funk dominate. As the beer reaches the back of the palate, however, this is a distinct woodiness (some tannin, but not nearly enough to do anything but balance out the already immence amount going on in this beer)
Carbonation is near perfect as is the mouthfeel. I was honestly a bit surprised as to how light this beer was. I was expecting something much heavier in flavor for some reason.
Overall, I'd say that this is a fantastic rendition of the style. It's really hard to consider a US brew on par with the Flanders' ales of Belgium, but I think that New Belgium has really hit the nail on the head with this one. The only reason that the drinkability score isn't higher is because 750ml is a lot to drink of this beer by one's self (that isn't to say that I wasn't able to...but still, it's a little bit much for one sitting I think). A fantastic beer...seek it out.

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Photo of nogoodreason
4.85/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle # 04-2995

Vibrant copper with stunning clarity, a bit of a head forms, and disapears, there's a fine film of tan bubbles coating the top of the beer.

Nose is of biting, green apple skin acidity, cherries, raspeberries, and a bit of woody taste swimming in vinegar.

In your mouth, the beer is aggressively sharp and surprisingly full-bodied, with just the subtlest hints of astringency and that acidic bite in the back of the throat. It hits your toungue with a lovely acidic start, followed by underripe raspberries, almonds and slight woody aspect. Vinegar is omnipresent here, and it's lovely in this form. There's a every so faint toasted bread there, It's sour and tart, through and through, but it's somehow balanced. Finish is fruity and vinegary with that acidic bite building in the back of the throat.

Exquisite.

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Photo of Sixpoint
4.35/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another excellent offering from New Belgium. I have not had the pleasure of having a Flanders Red Ale since I was in Europe, and I was very impressed with this creation.

Beer poured a hazy red color, with a unique consistency to the lacing of the head.

The aroma was sour and fruitlike, with hints of wood from the barrel-aged conditioning.

The taste was amazing. In my homebrewing experiments, I know how hard it was to create this style. There is a unique balance between the sourness from the wild yeasts, the fruitiness from the unique brewing strains and fermentation temperatures, and of course, the bitterness and sweetness from the recipe. New Belgium has found this balance nicely, and my palate appreciates it.

Even though I don't actively seek this style of beer, I found La Folie to be very drinkable, and I recommend it to anyone.

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Photo of merlin48
4.88/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

750 ml corked and caged, hand bottled # 8074/04. I owe babydoc bigtime for this gem. Cork was removed with thumb power, with a sudden "POP", as the cork streaked across my living room and bounced off the opposite wall. My cats were more impressed than startled. My impressions follow. I was preparing to serve this into a tulip glass, but the cork had a sticker showing a goblet, so I made the first pour into my trusty St Bernardus goblet, at cellar temperature(about 55 F.). The body is clear, and Ruby Red, with a fascinating two finger head that was creamy and old bone ivory in color. Enormous carbonation is apparent, with a thousand score, minute bubbles dancing to the surface. Head retention is amazing. If it were giant sized, I would jump in for awhile. Some curtains and sheets of lace coat the goblet, to complete the incredible appearance.
Aroma is near perfect for the style. Sour cherries and raspberries and old, wet oak are dominent. A note of earthy yeastiness compliments well.
Mouthfeel is rich and medium bodied, with a satin feel that is highlighted by an ideal carbonation.
Taste is exceptional. Oak notes envelop and mellow the lactic and tannic hints that come with the mouth puckering tart and sour cherry and raspberry flavors. Understated yeast presence, and just enough malt backbone to balance the complexities into a sweet/sour ectasy. Everything comes together at the finish with an amazing flourish. Aftertaste is of fresh Bing cherries soaked in Balsamic vinegar, and laid on wet oak for a few hours.
This one is a truly exceptional experience, from start to finish. Flanders Red Ales are my favorite style when executed with such precision as this Colorado masterpiece. I think I owe babydoc a few head of cattle for this swap.

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

01/07/05- On tap at the Toronado in San Francisco, CA

Presentation- Served in a tulip glass from the tap.

Appearance- Golden-orange colored pour with a micro head and micro lacing. About the norm for a nice lambic.

Smell- Sour fruits. Kinda like opening a package of sour patch kids and taking a deep whiff. Lots of tart cherries and maybe lemon?

Taste- Sour as a premium lambic. Lots of sharp cherry notes. The oak is minimal, but you can sense it.

Mouthfeel- Bitter and sour as expected and takes a bit of time to get used to for a new labinc/fladers style drinker. Goes down fairly smooth. No carbonation at all.

Drinkability- For me, one is enough. My mouth can take only so much sourness. Guess I will have to share the few Cantillion I have with my friends. Good beer and taste experience.

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Photo of bditty187
4.8/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Hand Bottled: #2673/04

Dark, brownish-red in hue; I couldn’t tell this beer was hazy until I held it to the light. When backlit it emerged hazy with a coppery highlight interwoven into the afore mentioned color scheme. I’m fond of the color of the liquid; it is darker than I remember it. The head was off-white in color; the bubbles were small and tightly compacted. At the zenith the head was about two fingers in height. As expected the foamy mass was short-lived and it faded to a fizzy cap, thicker around the edges. Sadly the subsequent lacing was spotty, kind of clumpy but not very widespread. That is too bad; I wanted a more uniformed pattern. Maybe I’m nitpicking. I find the appearance to be striking, deep, and mysterious. Fear the nose. The potency is huge. The bouquet is inviting. I am impressed with the strong the oak aromas! When I had this beer on-tap at the brewery it was “fresh” and the oak was softer; I’ve cellared this bottle since March 2004, it has aged well. The nose is deeper than I remember it and I loved it at the time. Sharp winy notes with a lactic twang and equally sharp sour cherries with an underlying note of grapes and melons. Balsamic vinegar. Not much malt in the nose. I’m a big fan of Flanders Red Ales, IMO, the nose on La Folie is unique because the oak aromas are so clean and sharp and the bacterial byproducts are energetic and crisp. It is inviting but more so intriguing, I really wanted to take a sip just to see if what I smelled was real. Fear the palate. If you don’t know what you are getting into don’t buy this beer. The first sip is tart and raw and prone to ripping the tongue right out of your mouth. If Flanders Red Ales are your drink, seek this beer out. Cherries offer a more natural taste on the palate; of course the majority of the cherry influence is sharp, acidic, tart with red wine-like qualities. Dry. Bready. Sweet towards the finish with a lactic twang. Mouth puckering. I’m drinking oak juice. I’m drinking bacteria infused oak juice. I’m drinking bacteria infused oak juiced spiked with some fucking tart cherries. There is plenty of smaller flavors like apples, grapes, citrus zest, balsamic vinegar, sherry, strawberries, hazelnuts, and bubblegum. This beer is wild. Kudos to New Belgium for taming this beer long enough to get it into a bottle. How many people were maimed doing so? It was worth it. Damn this was good. Mouthwatering. Complex. Funky. Juicy. Raw. Evil. Angelic. But the bottom line is simple enough: this is a great beer. Bring on the funky cheeses!! Medium/medium-full in body, the carbonation is big and lively, just like it should be. The mouthfeel is consistent with the taste, dry and sharp with prickly effervesces only interrupted with a blast of heat at the back of the throat right before the liquid is completely swallowed. Raw. For me this beer is very drinking and amazingly likable. There are no flaws with in its drinkability. A perfect quaff and like I said before bring on the funky cheese!! I purchased this bottle at the brewery. $18 a pop is a steep price tag. It was a treat. Highly Recommended.

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Photo of Bess
5/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Rather than add to the long list of shining descriptors and glowing reports that preceed my posting, I would like to simply say that this beer is a sublime experience that I hope to someday-soon-repeat....(somehow---it is not easy to get in MA!)

I enjoyed a very generous sample of this brew at the fabulous Boston Belgian Beer festival(6 November 2004), and while the draught was in a plastic cup, sipped by a novice reviewer who was being happily hip-checked in a boisterous crowd of 'connoisseurs', the beauty of this beer(as described so aptly by my peers) granted a moment of calm delight and sustained gratitude for what we all love about craft brewing.

My compliments to the crew that brought us La Folie!

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Photo of SheepNutz
4.54/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750mL bottle poured into a snifter. It pours a hazy medium red color with one finger of head. There is minimal lacing. The smell is slightly tart, with some fruit and oak just melding together. The aromas fit together like a puzzle. The taste is also slightly tart and sour, with some sweet cherries punching toward the front. Also has a good oak aftertaste as it warms. The mouthfeel is nice and thick, but smooth as well. The drinkability is great for the style. A big shout out to prAna for this treat!

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Photo of clvand0
4.03/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a red/amber color with almost no head at all, so, no lacing either. The aroma is sweet cherry or raspberry with a wood and it's somewhat sweet. The flavor is sweet, cherry but is also a little tart and acidic. Not exactly what I had in mind, but I'm really not sure what I did have in mind. Might be a little chocolate in there. I'm not much of a fan of beers that have sour in them, but this one was very well crafted.

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Photo of marburg
5/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

After a few weeks of pondering the possibility of the complete and total downfall of my favorite style of beer with the sweetening of Goudenband and the likelihood that Rodenbach is simply best when aged for a few years, I was kind of only half-assedly looking forward to this. But in the sweet name of the beer gods, this is awesome.

Bronzed brown color, not quite pushing into the burgandy-ish color range yet. Heady with the right pour. Fades back quickly. Pungent aromas of cherry vinegarette dressing with subtle notes of fine chocolate-covered cherries with a bit of liqueor in them. Oaky, woody, and lively, this has an incredibly fresh feel in the nose reminiscent of the lung-opening sensation of a spring evening right before it rains. It just smells like it's alive.

The first sip begins with a sour cherry sweet/tart interplay that continues throughout the whole beer, every step of the way. There's a woody astringency through the middle and finish, but the real gem here is the biting sourness at the end. Hardly just sour, there's an earthy, organic bitterness that underlies it all, so while your mouth feels like it just got washed out with an acid wash, the actual drink feels nicely balanced and incredibly complex. Layers of flavor; sour; interesting; aromatic; delicate -- these are all the things I look for in great beers. And this is one of the best I've ever had.

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Photo of Rastacouere
4.97/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Amber-copper body is darker than I expected. Honest off-white head with above average retention for the style. Aroma explodes with oak wood character. Lova at first sniff you’ll call it. Cedar, vinegar, wood chunks, it’s an obsession. I feel like walking in a forest right now. This is more than I can handle. All kinds of little red fruits provide these admirable fruit acids to marry the balsamic. Farmy taste, nostalgic, elegant, very fruity, cherry and raspberry reminding. And that oak, marvellous oak, wood among the wood. Blue cheese hints, cider-like dryness is explosive in the finish and adds just a bit more class to a drink that really didn’t needed anymore. Perfect level of acidity for the style. Perfect medium-full body with tongue-cleaning carbonation. Great stuff, mind stimulating. Kudos to an american brewer (not that he didn’t work with the best belgians before) to reproduce such a rare and beautiful style with such elegance. And kudos to hopsrus for providing this envigorating experience.

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Photo of ngandhi
5/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle 44304.
Served slightly chilled in rounded champagne flutes.

Blood red with a gorgeous mousse on top.

Fruit without being fruity -- cherry and raspberry -- backed with big fat cocoa. This is all about the burgundy oak aging, but never has a wood aged beer been crafted with so much elegance -- indeed, it even has an ethereal presence in the mouth that I have never found outside of grand cru Burgundy. I am in paradise.

The full body is cut by a surprisingly light acidity (as if it's undergone malolactic) that makes this otherwise full-flavored beer quite refreshing. Oak, oak, oak all the way lends judicious mouthfeel while not being so overpowering as to turn it into vanilla pudding. Fruit, cocoa, acid, fruit, cocoa, acid -- a single hazelnut. I could do this forever.

The angels are singing.

Relax, relax.
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La Folie from New Belgium Brewing
Beer rating: 4.25 out of 5 with 3,965 ratings
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