La Folie | New Belgium Brewing

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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

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Reviews: 1,057 | Ratings: 3,901
Photo of MasterSki
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Map Room. Drank out of a tulip.

A - It was hard to tell the exact color as the Map Room is quite dark inside. Started out a dark brown with purplish hues, looked a little more pinkish as I made my way through my glass. Thin pale head that dissipated quickly.

S - Mostly sour cherry, with some of the musty barn funk and wood scent. Also some citrus in the background. Complex - I could have spent a fair bit of time just smelling this brew.

T - More sour fruit, mostly cherry, with a oak-y backdrop. Mouth-puckering and delicious. Reminds me a little of Lou Pepe Kriek. Leaves a sour apple aftertaste.

M - Fantastic. Perfect amount of carbonation, just enough to tingle the palate, complementing the sour flavor. Smooth and just the right density.

D - Can't taste the alcohol at all, just the rich flavor. I could only imagine having two of these though, as it's very sour and leaves your mouth with that "ate too much candy" feel.

Very different brew from New Belgium - I'd love to try more of their less mainstream offerings.

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Photo of Proteus93
4.39/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: A murky, chocolate brown with a tea-like quality to it. Head is a nice, offwhite with a decent retention and a nice trim of lace.

S: The blend of sour fruitiness and the wood scents mix amazingly in this one. A sugary scent - not quite like toffee, and not so much like candi sugar, either. Quite a big scent, quite complex, and excellent.

T: A great tartness blend of cherry and green apple. Some funkiness. A beautiful wood subtleness in there - not quite as complex as the scent suggests, but nice nonetheless.

M + D: Not quite big, but getting there. A smooth feel, not as dry as some, but still pleasantly semi-dry. Nice and low alcohol content without sacrificing big flavour. I could enjoy a couple of these without getting tired of it (and considering those are bombers, that's notable!)

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Photo of CrellMoset
4.22/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle courtesy of Proteus93 - thanks Sean! Poured into a tulip pint.

Appearance: A hazy, muddy, dirty-looking brownish beer with tons of red highlights. A foamy, fast-fading tan head comports with the style, and recedes quickly into a ring of bubbly, sponge-like lace. Lacing is small, speckly, and sparse.

Aroma: Butterscotch, wood notes are pretty prominent, vanilla, plenty of sour fruity notes - sour cherries, mainly, Concord grapes, some pear notes - some bready caramel notes. Interesting, and fairly complex. Gets sweeter and woodier as it warms, with a little more funk.

Taste: Fairly puckering tartness, dry, light fruits - granny apple skins are prominent, raspberries, black cherry - a light, faint leafyness, like hay or freshly mowed grass, some light woody notes, particularly about midsip. A few other light, roasted malts. There's a burning note in the finish, not alcoholy, but acidic, almost like lemon juice in the feel, but not so much in the taste.

Mouthfeel: Medium to heavy thickness, almost nonexistant carbonation, little body other than the thickness.

Drinkability: This was a good one, and I liked what the barrel aging did to what would otherwise be a slightly above average Flanders Red. Alcohol's entirely manageable, and fortunately the sour edge fades a little as it warms, improving the drinkability considerably. All in all, it's not overwhelmingly tart or mindblowingly sour, which is a definite plus in my book. Give it a shot.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%
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 abfraser
4.54/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks for waltonc for sharing this during an epic beer tasting

A: Murky red, pouring a massive grey/cream-ish head that dissipates quickly

S: Exceptional. Tart cherries, spice, citrus, Granny Smith apples

T: Sour, same tart cherries, apples, even some grape. Flavor reminds me very much of the Rodenbach Grand Cru, which is a good thing

M: Dry, medium-bodied, loads of carbonation. Very refreshing.

D: Very drinkable given the tartness and low abv

An awesome Flanders red ale, very much on par with the Belgian standard-bearers. Now, if it only was readily available and not a small fortune for a bottle.

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Photo of waltonc
4.08/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle purchased at Colorado Liquor Mart in Denver.

A: red/orange, apple cider, hazy, very nice white head at first.

S: sour apples, tartness

T: fruity, very tart, sour apples, cider vinager, nicely balanced flavor here.

M: Light mouthfeel, high carbonation. works well with the taste and smell.

D: Pretty good, though this just isn't a style I care to drink more than a glass of in one sitting.

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Photo of GilGarp
3.87/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I had this several times at the brewery from the tap but this was the first time from a bottle.

Pours from a 750ml champagne-style bottle into a goblet. It has a very dark redish brown color with good clarity.

The aroma instantly pegs this beer as a sour. It has an impressive sour cherry smell with just a bit of sweetness.

Flavor is puckeringly sour and would come as a big surprise if it wasn't for the aroma. Again, lots of sour cherries with just a little bit of sweetness and a little bit of bitterness.

Mouthfeel is dominated by sour and it's definately a sipper. Drinkability is low. Not because it isn't good but because I couldn't see having a typical 12-16oz. serving. This is definately one to share with several friends. It also helps to have some bread and soft cheese around for snacking.

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Photo of bort11
3.57/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Had this while watching the Obama/McCain debate. seemed appropriate.

750 ml corked bottle, #2108/4112. Poured into a Corsendonk Christmas Ale fluted tulip. Very loud and fizzy light tan head that quickly recedes. No lacing so speak of. Color is a dark reddish brown.

Smell is very tart like sour fruit. Strong lime, sour apple and green grapes. Hint of chocolate. Taste is a super tart pucker. Very intense lime and green apple skins.

Mouthfeel is light and has a crisp carbonation. A whole bottle by myself is a little much. I was getting a little tired of it by the end, but overall and enjoyable experience.

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Photo of Deuane
4.57/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A-Deep copper with a thin light tan head that left nice lacing.

S-Sour apple(granny smith) and a deep residing oak aroma. A bit of "odd" mustiness creeps in toward the end.

T-Like a freakin beer sweet tart. sour cherry/apple punch all mellowed out by the astringent oak. Very nice!

M-Medium-light bodied with a CRAZY mouth puckering astringency.

D-This is one sour mo' fo'! A simply outstanding brew one has to drink to appreciate. To score this on tap was even more of a treat, what a great beer!

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Photo of surfnebr
4.72/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Redish-copper tint, effervescent white head

S - Funky, moist hay, earthy, cherry

T - Funky sourness as expected, sharp cherry, acidic, earthy

M - Effervescent, medium body, smooth

Modeled after Rodenbach Grand Cru but holds its own. More sour, just as refreshing, delicious drink

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.23/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to ArrogantB for one I've wanted to try for a while.

Bottled 11/07 #13,451

Pours dark brown with a lighter tan head that falls fast. Nose brings a mild sour and a lot of apples. As it warms, vanilla seems to pop out more and it all calms down. Hooooie. Flavor is sour. I mean a real biting sour. Very intense. Definite fruits, strong vinegar bite (but in a good enough way), apples, and just sour, sour, sour. Feel has a pretty full carbonation and the liquid is fairly smooth. Even for the initiated,this is still going to be intense. Well made though as it's obvious time and effort went into the production.

I'd be interested to try this after it's been laid down for 5 years.

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Photo of ArrogantB
4.4/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

bottled 07/08 Dark, red-brown color with a minimal head. Smells sticky-sweet and bready,glue and sour and certainly tastes that way, delicious with a slight hint of lemon zest. This is a really good sour and on par with supplication but slightly sweeter and thicker. Le Terroir is still my favorite NB but this is a very close second.

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Photo of pokesbeerdude
4.72/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is my second bottle of Folie. This one being from 11/07, bottle 12,213.

A: Poured a deep, almost blood red, a little darker, with lots of brown, and red tints. Very attractive. A nice half inch of off white head that reduced to a nice thin coating. A very attractive beer. Clear.

S: Cherries, sour apples, sour, and sour, with a little more sour. There is a definite oak scent, and some pinot smells as well. Very complex. No hops nothing bitter. Sour. Very sour. As it breathes, it gets more complex. But most of these flavors continue to stand out, they're just more present.

T: SOUR! Cherries, interesting funky tart taste, more than likely from the inoculation. Dry, oakey finish. Very few actual malty tastes, or typical beer tastes. A very sour beer, makes me pucker with every sip.

M: Thin, not very carbonated, but perfectly balanced with how thin it is. Very dry finish. Begs for another sip even with the acidic tartness. Can really feel it in the back of the mouth.

D: Very drinkable, even though it is very sour. One bottle is the perfect serving. But a few more could be consumed quite easily. A great beer, that is made with great regards to quality. Solid!

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Photo of illidurit
4.47/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at 515 in Santa Cruz. Poured into a snifter. Hazy opaque saffron with a nebulous white head that leaves spotty wet lacing. Aromas of peppery alcohol, limoncello, citrus zest, pinot noir. Flavors of caramel apple sweetness, green apple skin, fruity jammy wininess, and acetic sourness, with a dry oaky finish. Sharp mouthfeel with modest carbonation. Awesome complexity.

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Photo of bassmantin
4.41/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On a business trip in Denver and scoped this out at a nearby liquor store.

This beer pours a beautiful glowing red color. This beer is very bubbly.

Smell is of musty tanginess. Somewhat more subdued than others of the same style.

The taste is great. Of course the tangy sourness hits immediately, but I have definitely had worse (or better if you're into that sort of thing). But what's great is that initial tanginess subsides in due time, and the mouth is filled with a great fruity flavor, including cherry. The finish is a bit dry, but there is also a bit of that nice sourness in the finish, too. I'm left feeling incredibly satisfied.

I'm not a huge fan of sours, but I had to give this one a shot, and I'm thrilled I did because this one is incredibly well done.

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Photo of armock
4.32/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2007 vintage

A - Poured a copper color with an off white head that leaves lacing

S - Is of funky sour fruits but in a good way

T - The fruit flavors come out pretty tart yet again very tasty

M - This beer has a fuller body with light carbonation to it

D - You have to sip this one to enjoy it its very good and nice to see that New Belgium is capable of making such a good beer worth finding to try

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Photo of stumac
4.23/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle is 2007 Vintage (is that the only vintage of this brew?) ferk it!

pours a red amber color with a nice white head. the nose is very musty, slight sourness, dark fruits tickle me pink. WOW! the taste is super tart and super sour! I taste oak and fruits and super insane sourness! Deelish...medium bodied, sour finish with a thick texture remaining on my tongue for hours, days, and weeks to come!

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Photo of oakbluff
4.76/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2008 vintage- pours a muddy deep rust colour with a vigorous initial head with excellent lacing. Nose- sweet cherries, wood, green apples and tart citrus. Taste- extremely tart and mouth puckering. Cherry taste doesn't overpower- well blended earthy malts, horseblanket, minerals, lemon rinds. Finish is very woody and dry. Drinkability is very good with medium to high carbonation.

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Photo of champ103
4.17/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a deep brown/reddish color. A two finger tan head forms and recedes to leave a little lace.
S: Very fruity and sour, funky. Peaches, apples, pears, cherries, ect. Very sweet as well. Vinegar and tannin like. Lots of complexities in the nose.
T: Tart, sour, and fruity. Almost to sweet for my tastes. Vinegar and grapes as well. Belgian yeast and funkiness. Lots of complexities, and a huge flavor.
M/D: A full body and good creaminess. Low carbonation. Because of the sourness, this is a sipper. Though I am really enjoying this.

Overall, a great beer. The sourness borders on cloying. Which is the only reason I did not give this a higher grade. I love sour beers, but almost to much for me. A solid all around beer that is complex as hell. Highly recommended.

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Photo of Halcyondays
4.54/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Beachwood BBQ,

A: Pours dark crimson, with a small off-white head, average retention, some lacing.

S: Complex mix of scents - light bubblegum, sweet malt and vanilla, mixed with oak and lactic acid.

T: Light sweet malt flavour with bubblegum and some molasses is there initially. Vinegar and lactic acid, oak and berry there as well. Strong barrel character.

M: Strong acidity, dry, overall light body.

D: Good drinkability, though its strong acidity takes this away at times, a swirl of the glass lightens this effect and makes it easier to drink. Real good sour, glad I finally got to try it.

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Photo of Kempleton
4.68/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Cartdan for this in the secret bunny 2008 BIF. Reviewed from notes. Poured from 750ml bottle into a Silly Scotch tulip glass.

Cloudy reddish brown amber color fades to dark ruby color at edges and at extreme outer edge is yellow. Light tan foamy quickly disipating head. Smells like oak, sour apricots, cheeries, with some damp earth smells, like a forest right before a rain. Some funk. Picking up hints of lemon scented nail polish remover but not in an offensive manner. Smells of Lacto sour gone crazy. defininly going to taste sour. WOW! This has an explosive sour taste. Tastes like soured cherry, sweeter grapfriut, almost a hint of metal this one is funky and sour and delicious. Champagne like effervescence, thin tangy mouthfeel. sour taste really stays in the aftertaste.

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Photo of tonistruth
4.47/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

on tap @ Pizza Port in Carlsbad, CA

A- auburn to copper with a milky off white head and decent retent

S- sour fruit, lactic, funky

T- tangy, mouthpuckering malt flavors, sour fruity flavors, some spice in finish

M- medium body that coats the palatte and leaves a film, well carbonated

D- very tart and mouth puckering, dead on for style, recommended, very interesting brew

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Photo of younger35
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

My buddy sent me this bottle a couple months ago and I've been itching to try it and tonight is the night. I've had about every beer that New Belgium brews and oddly this is the first I've reviewed. Drank from my Stone India Pale Ale flute. Hand bottled in November of 2007, bottle number 12,163.

Appearance- Pours a semi chill hazed brownish orange with a nice thick and excited head that slowly recedes to almost nothing. No cap, small collar and plenty of sticky lacing is abundant.
Smell- Exactly what I was expecting and very nice! Loads of sour green apple and slightly metallic sour pears. Apple cider vinegar and fermented cherries come to mind as it warms with a light bit of vanilla and oak. Doesn't have as much funk as I was expecting and is actually pretty clean. It makes me salivate profusely knowing how sour and delicious this thing is going to be!
Taste- Very sour from the first sip but mellows a bit as my mouth acclimates. A bit of funky sour apple and musty balsamic vinegar add a whole lot of acidity. Some vanilla and light woodiness are apparent but not for long. The sour is the dominate characteristic (obviously) and it's a bit sharper than I'd prefer. Definitely gets better as it warms and becomes much easier drinking. A long lingering brown apple and vanilla aftertaste seems to stay with me.
Mouthfeel- Loads of sharp Champaign carbonation and a light crisp acidic feel.
Drinkability- For the most part this thing is uber quaffable. At times it can get semi acidic and the carbonation keeps you from chugging but this is really good. New Belgium is hit or miss for me but I definitely enjoyed this one!

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Photo of ccrida
4.42/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Belmont Station's Puckerfest, I was super excited to try this on draught, as the bottle I had a few months back didn't quite do it for me, was actually a bit to acidic, with a stronger vinegar character then I care for...but I was not disappointed this time, it was great!

Served in a pilsner glass, La Folie is a murky chestnut with a small off-white collar that leaves light lace.

Smell is sweet and sour, with fruity, bubblegum notes.

Taste is oaky and vinous, very tart but not overwhelming so, with just enough sweetness, wow! Really nice, much smoother then the older bottle I had.

Mouthfeel is creamy and carbonated, with a medium body.

Drinkablity is very good, great really. If I had the time to try and session these, at only $4/pint, I would have! But since I only had one smaller glass, I can't give it the 5 my instincts say it would merit.

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Photo of donaldchapman
4.08/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Amber color with a substantial head and good clarity.
S - Lacto, aceto and brett aromas mix with a slight malty character to create a great mix.
T - A tart sourness, married with some great brett characteristics (Goaty, horsey, farmyard), some good oak flavors and malty toasty caramel.
M - light to medium bodied with high level of carbonation, and warmth.

This is a great beer, my only complaint would be the amount of Aceto present in the beer. Even with this, it still makes for a great beer.

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La Folie from New Belgium Brewing
4.22 out of 5 based on 3,901 ratings.
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