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

For Trade:
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Reviews: 1,057 | Ratings: 3,895
Photo of DaveFL1976
4.32/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I will admit that this was my last tasting at the tap room in Fort Collins, so my chicken scratch is a bit chicken-scratchy and my memory is a bit hazy. Nonetheless, I'll make due---

This brew is special. No doubt about it.

Pours a slightly hazy reddish-brown with a nice creamy tan head that settles down into a sticky skim that clings to the side of the glass. So far so good. The smell is sweet, a tad vinagary, with a hint of cherries. The taste is pretty darn cool. Sharp. acidic. sweet. cherries. sour. It's got it all. I wish I could get some locally.

So I'll just cross my fingers that some day this beer will make its way to my home in Florida.

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Photo of jdubjacket
2.59/5  rDev -38.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a burgundy color with a lot of carbonation. Smell just knocked me back. It's INCREDIBLY tart and sweet, with a touch of vinegar on top of it. While thinking the smell was interesting, the taste was not for me. Way too tart. Every sip made my lips pucker. I couldn't get past the tartness of this beer. I had a hard time with this beer, and, unfortunately, it's simply not for me.

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Photo of
4.65/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle, 2006 vintage.

A beautiful, clear, dark red/brown liquid. Modest, sand colored head. Some lacing, no legs.

Scent was vinegar/acetic acid and funk. Once your nose starts working again, you pick up a fruity, underlying sweetness, citrus in character.

Taste was, no disrespect intended, reminiscent of a liquid Sweet Tart! Puckeringly sour initially, but carried along well by a quickly following sweetness -- fruity. Some hints of vanilla were mixed in, but very mild.

Light to medium in body. Medium carbonation. Quite dry.

I'm still breaking into the sour beers, but this one may be what pushes me over the edge. Initially, didn't like it that much, but as I got past the sour edge, I really began to enjoy it, and found it incredibly drinkable. Went quite well with sushi.

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

750ml bottle (Huge thanks to Skoisirius). A clear maroon pour with a small soapy white head. Aroma consists of apples, malts, cherries, cranberries, hops, with a slight caramel note. Taste is definitely sour and quite fruity. A nice sour tartness mixed together with slight hopiness and the light spices is absolutely wonderful. I also detect a faint cinnamon note. Palate is sour and acidic from the fruit element. Overall, This is some good stuff! If you want a change from the hum drum of other lagers and ales pick up one of these. Rather expensive but worth the money!

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Photo of punkindrublic50
4.74/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Being a big fan of Flemish Reds I was extremely excited to try La Folie during a tour of the New Belgium Brewery (highly recommend the tour if in the area). After polishing off several other samples to warm up I was finally ready for the big dog. Smell is INTENSE to start, Belgian funk, vinegar, some sour fruit. First sip was so sour and flavorful I honestly couldn't even decide if I liked it. Second helped my mouth adjust a little, and by the third I was completely hooked. Just an explosion of carbonation, sour fruits and yeast every time. If you like sour beers you absolutely have to track this down; when I was at the Brewery 750ml bottles were still availible for purchase.

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Photo of rudylaw
4.22/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I enjoyed my first La Folie (bottled 3/08) with a steak, on the porch.

It pours a dirty amber color with a massive head that fizzes out fast.

It smells of vinegar, sour apples, cherries and barnyard animals. Very funky.

It tastes woody, tart, vinegary and puckertastic! It is so sour right off the bat, but as it warms, it begins to glide down very easy making this an extremely quaffable beer when it's all said and done. Lots of carbonation.

This is well worth the effort to track down. I'll leave my last bottle in the fridge for a few months to see how it ages.

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Photo of iuhophead87
4.17/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Tanks to lightindarkness for sharing this beer on a random Thursday night.

A- Pours a reddish brown with an off white fizzy head. The bubbles continued to appear throughout the tasting!
S- Smells like sour apples and cherries with figs and leaves.

T- VERY SOUR! It starts off watery and finishes very dry! The carbonation is overpowering almost a gassy effect. As the glass got warmer the cherry and alcohol taste was mote apparent. In fact, I think this beer would taste even better warm with a cinnamon stick added.

M- Can you say carbonation?

D- Depending on the weather and what I am eating the drink ability of this beer would greatly change. Not for a cold day or paired with a thick hearty stew. Could see drinking this beer on a sunny afternoon with my wife.

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

Pours red with a tan head into my glass. The aroma and flavor are a wonderfully balanced (relatively speaking) mix of musty barnyard flavors with tart fruit. I'm reminded of a raspberry lemonade with the esters and it goes nicely with the dusty, earthy taste of the wild yeast. There's also the oak character, which contributes a nice element of vanilla and toasted wood. Really a great, beer, must try.

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Photo of hero27
4.4/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Corked/caged 750ml bottle.
6% abv
Hand bottled 11/'07

Bottle courtesy of vasdef42 in trade, thanks Jared!

Pours a murky, soft burgundy with hints of burnt orange..small, tightly-formed head slowly gives way to a the reddish liquid below.
Sour, infused cherry aroma with just a slight underlying oak character. Fresh blackberry & wild funk are noticed in the flavor, with a bold acidic backing & a surprisingly sweet cherry finish. Some oak/woody notes are present as well but lie well in the background of this sour beast.
The mild alcohol (6%) doesn't really come into play, as this is one beer that is meant to be savored because of the gauntlet of flavors you have to pick through with each sip.
I can see why this is considered the best Flanders Red in the's well-deserving of the title.

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Photo of kkipple
4.47/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled 2004, drunk June 2008.

A. Fine dirty bungundy. Tenacious off white head that fades low but never fully dies. No active carbonation.

S. Outstanding. Tons of oak and sour cherries, barrel funk, sweaty socks and wood, fruit and old fermented sugars that still cling to life. Musty and oaky, wild and tart. Very pungent. Memorable.

T. Very woody, with heaps of barrel character and old earthy cherries. A bit of vinegar and booze, but this is only 6%... Tart and sour, fruity, eye-opening and refreshing. A very good American Flanders, and better than some "real" Flanders I've had.

M. Dry, sour tart, and lightly carbonated. Fine carbonation lends a sparking wine character here. Quite drinkable after a pile of BBQ and potatoes, really.

This is a fine Flanders ale that stands with the best of 'em. Another knockout from New Belgium. Thanks to ThomasHardy for the bottle! Cheers!

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Photo of Slats
4.67/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Corked and caged bottle (note to home brewers: this bottle can be capped as well as corked)

Appearance: Pours reddish brown with a massive effervescent head.

Smell: Very fruity, apples, cherry basically any tart fruit you can think of and you'll detect it. I could sniff the cup all day.

Taste: It's like drinking a granny smith apple. Very tart but not to the point that it is hard to drink. Cherry on the finish. Nothing offensive at all.

Mouthfeel: Very dry and tingly effervescence. The carbonation tartness make it difficult to judge the body.

Drinkability: I was surprised at how easy it was to keep coming back for more. I expected palette fatigue after my first sample and it never showed up(it could be that I ignored it because the beer is so frakking good).

I like this beer, a lot. Excuse my while I auction my extra kidney for a some more.

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

A: Pours dark amber. Reddish and brown with a nice pillowy head. Off white head and great retention.
S: Unbelievable. Sour fruit straight away, developing deepness to tart cherries. Best I have ever smelled.
T: Not overpowering. While this is the most sour beer I have ever tasted, it does not blow your mind with vinegar-y flavors. Cherry flavor in after taste.
M: Soft on the tongue and the palate. Best word to describe it is "smoothness" after initial sour bite. Clean taste. Minutes after last sip all that is left is the delicious cherry-fruit hints still on the tongue. Not sure the wood aging is coming through, though...
D: While easily the most enjoyable for me on any night, this would be a single flute drinker. Sharing a bottle is definitely the way to go.

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Photo of 0110x011
4.48/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

pours a reddish brown with a long lasting two finger head into a snifter. Nose is cherries & sweet fruits, with a bit of caramel maltyness & some oakiness. The sour cherry punch hits the tongue first, with sweet fruit & oak backing it up. Dry & tart, the mouthfeel is very nice, especially as a palate-cleansing after dinner drink. Crisp & refreshing. A perfect brew for a warm summer evening. Definately gives the rodenbach grand cru a run for its money. A very tasty brew, to say the least!

Big thanks to jw347 for the hookup!

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Photo of abankovich
4.75/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 11/07 #12,814

Poured into my snifter a deep maroon/dark brown color with a very light tan head that had tons of tightly formed bubbles. The effervescence was all over the sides of the glass after a very gentle pour. Thick 2 finger head faded quickly but bubbles are still popping up at the top of the beer.

First time having this beer. Opening up the cork and pouring this into my glass I can already smell some sour/tart/fruity notes, dark cherries, grapes and berries. I'm not too familiar with this style, so I'm excited to see what else I pick up on. Some musky earthen tones are present beneath the sharp tart aroma. Slight alcohol smell is noticeable as well along with the smell of a beer that has been on oak.

Instant tingling the second this liquid hit my lips. Sour and tart... absolutely. My first impression, this was about all I could notice. Letting this one sit in the mouth is fantastic. The fruity notes (cherry and grapes) are mellowed and noticeable while characteristics of the oak aging become recognizable as well. Extremely dry, tart, crisp finish. The tingling fades as the beer has warmed and the tastes are more rounded, noticeable and simply delicious.

Mouthfeel is effervescent. That's certainly the most dominating feel right now. When held on the tongue there is still some tingling but you are able to pick up the complexities of this beer. While swallowing the effervescence picks right back up again though. There is also a smoothness across the middle after the beer warms up and breathes. Even later on, as the beer has warmed more, the carbonation has died down and it is even more smooth. I am really loving this beer.

I think the only thing that would make it hard to drink multiple bottles of this is the tartness. However at 6% and with the complexity of this beer, I would love to have more to see what else I notice. Things do mellow out after it has warmed a little. Definitely be sure to appreciate this beer as it changes after being opened a little while.

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Photo of SurlyDuff
4.79/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Looove this beer. As a general rule, there are few Flanders Red's that I don't like, but this one done by an otherwise large regional brewery, really wins me over every time i've had it.

Caged and corked champagne bottle.

Rusty pale orange with small fluffy head that doesn't hang in there too long.

Cherry, apple, and a strange blend of other underripe and overripe fruits combined. Woody, mushroomy, and good vinegar presence.

Lambic sweet tartness and funly underripe apples and berries. Complex sourness hangs around, but it's not as intense as some others iv'e had. Small tight carbonation, different from some other campagne-like carbonation i've had with other flanders reds.

I finished the bottle on my own, and still wasn't satisfied yet!!

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Photo of MiScusi
4.45/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap at Liar's Club, served in a Chimay goblet. Poured a dark maroon with no head. The smell was tart and fruity- cherries I would think mostly. It was pretty sour, and did have that sorta woody taste to it, like La Roja, although not as strong. It was just so easy to drink. A really good sour beer.

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Photo of turbine2475
4.44/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a nice burgandy that had a quickly forming cream colored head that disipated quickly leaving a light lace.

S - Very sour fruits and candied wood. Cherries, figs, green apples, plum, and apricot all come to mind. With a noticable amount of oak to help complement the funk of the sour.

T - Lots of sours nature with its toes in the area of dark fruits and earthy spice. Not as complex as the smell led it to be but the oak comes through in the end.

M - Smooth with lots of carbonation and a sour bite that keeps the flavor on the palate for a while.

D - Good brew. I have heard several things about this beer for some time now and I'm glad to finally get my hands on some and it did not disapoint.

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Photo of seaoflament
4.27/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to rsyberg01 for the trade. I've been waiting to try this beer for some time now.

Hand Bottled # 9/07 9775

Huge pop! Pours a light caramel color but settles to a dark ruby in the glass. A thick 2-3 inches of slightly dirty white colored foam amassed and quickly settled down to a ring.

Very tart cherries on the nose and a lot of funk with a wonderful caramel and oak overtones. Some sweet cherries begin to peak through the sour notes as the beer settles. Hints of vanilla and orange cream. As the beer warms up I begin to detect some red and green apples, pears, and ripe red grapes.

Good tartness on the first sip, not a lot of cherries as in the aroma though. After the tartness there is some vinegar and wood flavors. A very acidic finish, yum. Tart cherries, acid strawberries and some raspberry flavors in the finish. There's also some lemon long into the aftertaste.

A tad light on the mouth-feel, could use a bit more malt or some aging...really carbonated as well. Good drinkability, might need some tums after I finish this 750ml though.

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Photo of peabody
4.65/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This one pours out dark brown with a reddish tint. Head is two fingers of tan suds. The bubbles are really fine and stick to the side of the glass.
Smell is lemmon zest and and cherry tart. Oak aroma and just a little yeast along with a sweet malt finish the aroma here.
Taste is a bash of sourness with lemon zest and granny smith peel. A darkness follows with a hint of sweetness. This is followed by a dry dark cherry malt.
Mouthfeel is very intense at the beginning with lots of bubbles to tingle the tounge.
A little oily but so sour that it cleanses the palate almost immediatly.
Drinkability is high here because it is so damn good.

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

Enjoyed in a snifter. Bottle says 11/07, #10,977
A: Mild pour yields 1/2 finger of head that quickly subsides to lace that sticks around. Great effervescence. Clear ruby reddish brown.
S: Cherry, blueberry, sour yeasty, apple, oak dryness, cinnamon, intoxicating ;-)
T: Very sour and sweet. Almost everything I would hope a sour brown to be. Maybe a tad sweeter. The next to last sip tasted like a sour chevre cheese.
M: Very prickly carbonation, too much. Dry and puckeringly bitter - very nice.
D: Very good at pulling me back for another sip. Good, at 6%, for going back too! This is a fine beer.

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Photo of crookedhalo
4.35/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle notes: 09/07-8742. Pours a turbid chestnut/mahogany color with a fluffy beige head. Faint tartness in the aroma with oak notes and a medium malt sweetness present. Taste is very tart and sour with some notes of unripened grape skins. Healthy, active carbonation. Nicely sour and woody. Legendary, and rightly so.

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

750 ml bottle, marked 11/07 13,613, served in a big wine glass at 60 F/ 16 C.

Deep red color, tinged brownish, attractive fizzy beige head that almost disappears after a minute or two but leaves some lace.

Smells sour, with complex fruity and savory elements. Tamarind, sour cherry, even some fig, Balsamic vinegar, aged provolone cheese, dried leaves/herbs. Some goaty funkiness and a bit of sweet fruity heady solvent develop in the glass.

Tastes powerfully sour, in the gueuze territory of sourness. Some moderate cherrylike sweetness gives way to fully dry, bracing acidity, but the fruit hangs on for a little longer. Yogurt, a bit of vinegar, some vanilla but only a hint of explicit wood. A bit of goaty funk. Not as deep and mysterious as the smell, the acid dominates, but very enjoyable. Fairly long sour finish.

Fine smooth carbonation, and plenty of acidic tingle. Quite drinkable, the only limiting factor is the acid.

On the sour and dry side, even austere, but quite enjoyable.

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Photo of DarkerTheBetter
4.37/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a dark cola color with a hint of orange. It's also a bit murky. The head was little more than a sparse film.

Smells of tart apples, pears and cherries with a sweet-tart candy sting atop a dry crisp caramel base. The pungent funk is not to wild or strange.

Tastes of a very slick and smooth cherry that explodes with carbonation delivering a dry sting and funky tartness. There are bits of bark and straw in the muskiness too with a sharp snap of young rhubarb. Mmmm.

A bit too frothy for my liking, but solid.

Wow. A tasty treat for sure and an excellent take on the style.

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

Ah, the fabled La Folie. For a regularly available beer, people want a lot in trade, it doesn't reach the various necks of the woods I hang out in... blah blah blah, whine whine whine.... there it is, on tap at Stone, when I'm not looking for it.

A full pint in the standard Stone tulip arrives at my table, a deep rich mahogany with virtually no head (and no real lacing to materialize), but a beautiful, radiant color.

Aroma is a bit thin, is it too cold? Hints of toast and malt sweetness, a bit of a saccharine nature to it, cherry and stone fruits. Tobacco, whiskey. As the pint progresses these all come out.

Starts out watery and thin. An empty faint sourness around an insubstantial bready malt middle, with hints of New Belgium biscuit malt and bourbon whiskey. Vanilla and oak. As it warms the body fills out a little, a nice medium body, and the flavors develop. Sweet tart sourness, the malt developing into a rich, fine, balance. It needs a touch more funk, but the last third of the glass is as fine a beer as I've ever experienced. A bottle served at cellar temperature moving towards room might do more justice.

Glad I had the time to sit and savor, as this was two totally different drinking experiences from start to finish.

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Photo of HumuloneRed
4.49/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2002 botte # 0219.
It pours a clear light red a very thin head and some lacing.

Strong sweet flower/sour cherry aroma with some woodsy notes in the nose.

Very acidic flavors with some woody slight ly chaulky notes in the flavor.

Of the La Folie bottlings I have tasted my favorite so far is the 2002. This should get even better with age. Thanks to my friend Doug for this one.!

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La Folie from New Belgium Brewing
4.22 out of 5 based on 3,895 ratings.
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