La Folie | New Belgium Brewing

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La FolieLa Folie
3,981 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: 3,981 |  Reviews: 1,069
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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Photo of Silenus
3.55/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I tried this one at the tasting room at the New Belgium brewery while out in Colorado for the Beer Festival. I’ll have to admit right up front that I’m not a big fan of sour ales but I was willing to give it a try. It arrived in the tasting glass a nice rich orange color with a head of fine bubbles. I was warned to save it for last in my tasting so I did. The aroma was very sour (as you’d expect) and the first sip was very sharp. After a few sips my palate settled down and it began to taste almost of lemonaid. There was no strong hops in either the aroma or flavor but they came back in force when I later burped! Talk about a lasting impression! All in all I think this is a good solid example of the style.

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

750ml bottle complete with corn husk. Murky reddish brown body with nice sized light tan head. Strong sour fruit notes with a bit of funkiness to it. A touch of caramel sweetness seems to be hidden under the tartness as well as some woody notes. The flavor is similar with strong tart cherry flavors being upfront. Some funky woody notes mix in nicely. A bit of light fruit sweetness and possible some caramel shows through as it warms. Finishes with an acidic and puckering fruity tartness. This is surprisingly smooth and drinkable stuff. Also a bit refreshing to boot. Definitely one of the best the style has to offer.

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Photo of mentor
4.44/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle obtained from the brewery and consumed a couple weeks later (bottle # 05-1991). Funny, I've been using this beer as trade bait but haven't ever tried it because "I don't like funky beers". Well, here goes. Pours a one finger white initally fizzy head that settles to a thin layer. The liquid is cloudy brown rust. Smells like copper, iron and rust, soured cider, granny smith apples, blood, bile salts, oak and tannin, cherry. Sour and not too enticing, but rich and full of different flavors that I am intrigued. Tastes, oh! Potently sour and tart. Wicked! A glass of soured apple cider that's got a shot of whiskey and a shot of lemon 'pucker'. Bile salts, oak, acid, cherry. The oak is light and free of the dark characeristics found in so many oaked beers (ie, not dark oak whiskey'ed, like Oaked Yeti). Very dry woody, tastes like a dried up old red barn smells. Like a redwood deck baking in the summer heat. Oh, this is so potently acidic and finishes puckeringly dry. The brewer that sold me this case said that this batch is 'expecially smooth', compared to most of the previous batches. Mouthfeel is md-thin and the carbonation is moderate. Despite the wicked sour and parching dry, it leaves the back of the mouth watering and the tongue wanting more. How very odd...heartburn, here I come. Bartender, could I have another glass of dry-heave, please. Although not noticably alcoholic, one glass is plenty. Will th remainder of the bottle survive until tomorrow?

One final note, as the beer has warmed to room temperature, the oak has taken on a more piercing character that mixes with the aicd and tart in an interesting way. This was a very challenging and intriguing beer. My scores are certainly not to my preferences, as I prefer rich sweet malty beers.

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Photo of ppoitras
4.58/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle obtained via trade with meathookjones. Corked and caged, #04-2903, with informative hangtag tied onto the bottle neck with corn husk or something similar. Thanks for the opportunity...

Poured into a Rapscallion glass, formed a 1/2" light beige head over the red-tinged caramel brew. Head fades down to a layer of bubbly foam, and laces very nicely, both of which impressed for a barrel-aged product. Aroma is oaky sour cherries. Taste is tart from the start, fleshes out with light wood, cherry and maybe even raspberry highlights. Mouthfeel is very, with the sourness well-tempered by the other flavors, and smoothed by the aging, and as such ends up quite drinkable. Nice stuff.

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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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La Folie from New Belgium Brewing
Beer rating: 4.25 out of 5 with 3,981 ratings