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Lost Abbey Isabelle Proximus

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RATINGS: 468   WEIGHTED AVG: 4.24   EST. CALORIES: 210   ABV: 7%
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AKA Belle Proximus, a collaborative effort between Tomme Arthur, Vinnie Cilurzo, Lorenzo Dabove, Rob Tod, Adam Avery and Sam Calagione.

In March of 2006 five guys-Adam Avery, Vinnie Cilurzo, Rob Todd, Tomme Arthur accompanied Sam Calagione and Lorenzo Dabove The Prince of Pajottenland through a tour a tour of Belgiumís finiest Gueze producers. Many of the mysteries of Lambic production were answered along the way. They vowed to return to the states to brew a sour beer celebrating their experiences. In November of 2006 the reunited at Port Brewing to brew Isabelle Proximus.

In this bottle, youíll find the answers to many of the questions that were first posed along their journey near the river Senne. However, like the mysteries of lambic beers, there remains one lingering question that was left unresolved. we hope like us, the next time youíre on a pilgrimage to Brussels youíll drop by the Empire Club and let us know whether you prefer Green or Orange....

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
Sparky (2243) - Phoenix, Arizona, USA - JUL 7, 2008
Bottle tasted at the 7/5/08 Bock Bash locals tasting. Pours a golden yellow with minimal white head. Nose is lemons, crab apple, yeast, barnyard funk and aspirin. Taste is lemon juice, vinegar, sour wine grapes with a slight aspiriny finish. Light, refreshing mouth feel. Soury goodness.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
awaisanen (1304) - Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, USA - JUL 6, 2008
From a 750mL Bottle. Mostly hazy, straw gold colored pour with a thin finger of large bubbled, fizzy white head. A steady stream of large fizzy bubbles stream up the sides of my glass, building up a layer of bubbles along the edges and collapsing in the middle before they have time to accumulate a thick head. The nose is a pleasant interplay of barrel and wild yeast characters. Thereís tart lemon rind, musty brett, ripened brie, and leather layered on top of a subtle vanilla backdrop. Iím also picking up a subtle nutty-woody character reminiscent of water chestnuts that I also detected in Cable Car - a distinctly memorable aromatic characteristic. Medium-light bodied, softly carbonated mouthfeel with a bold acidity. Itís certainly dry and carbonated, but the extreme dryness and champagne-like carbonation level found in the best gueuzes is missing here. The flavors are intensely sour, with a slight acetic note coming through on the backend. The vanilla notes found in the nose donít really translate through to the flavors, but there is certainly an underlying spicy oak flavor here. Tart peaches and other light fruits. Where the aroma seems incredibly funky, the flavors come through as bright and fruity. White pepper and a nutty goat cheddar flavor comes out toward the finish. Excellent beer overall that combines an impressive level of acidity with a delightful flavor complexity.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
chrisafari (100) - Orange, California, USA - JUL 4, 2008
UPDATED: JUL 6, 2008 Pours cloudy orange blonde. Sweet and sour aroma, citrus. Flavor is extremely sour and salty. Leaves your mouth dry and salty.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 18/20
doubleo (1433) - San Diego, California, USA - JUL 3, 2008
750ml bottle, to the dome. Pours cloudy orange/yellow with a thin but dense white head, specks of lace. Smells of straw, sour citrus (lemon and grapefruit) and citric acid. Tastes very sour and acidic with some citrus, lemons. Also tastes of hay and some more funkiness as it warms up. Medium body, nice carbonation. Very sour and acidic, drinking the whole bottle gave me indigestion. I haven’t had a lot of imported geuze or lambics but this one is pretty damn tasty and much easier to drink imo.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
Indra (2641) - Overland Park, Kansas, USA - JUL 3, 2008
750ml unlabeled bottle, reportedly obtained at the launch party at Pizza Port back in May. Incredibly funky, farmy nose, greatly infused with huge yeast character throughout, some really nice brett and consequent tart, fruity sweetness, along with lighter notes of wheaty, pale grain, straw and horseblanket. Hazy light-medium golden color with a slight, fading head. Flavor is intensely sour and dry, but balanced, somehow, with the pale malt characteristics, some woody and herbal hop flavor, acidity and gentle bitterness at the finish, which is again hugely tart, dry and fruity and lasting. Active, assertive palate, medium-bodied. Really nice stuff. Huge thanks to Steven Pauwels for the chance to sample this rare and very tasty creation!

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 19/20
nightrider (754) - encinitas, California, USA - JUL 2, 2008
Second tasting from a 750 ml. after the first being from the tap at Lost Abbey last Saturday at the release. Color is hazy yellow orange with a quickly dissipating white head. The aroma is of a myriad of citrus and sour. Tangerine , orange and apricot wafting freely. Very smooth on your tongue with just the right prickly carbonation. Flavors are extremely complex and tasty. Lemon, sour apple, and grapefruit. The sourness is upfront but not over powering. The finish is very long and satisfying. Fantastic extreme creative brew.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
csbosox (1223) - Prairie Village, Kansas, USA - JUL 2, 2008
I was at Boulevard, drinking beer with the brewer, and I start talking about this beer with Indra. Lo and behold Steven said "I have a bottle of that in my office." This is a beer I did not think I would get to try, primarily due to the cost, but I guess the beer gods were smiling on me. On to the beer. This was a very, very hard beer to rate since it was different than any beer I have had before. The beer doesnít fit nicely into any category or style. Aroma is very fruity with brett galore along with some vanilla and yeast character. Taste is pleasantly sour with a fair amount of what I would guess to be aectic acid and flavors of lemon and onion peel. Very tart. The mouthfeel was very nice. The beer was very tart at the end, but not over the top. Even with all the sourness, this beer was very drinkable.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
FlacoAlto (3810) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - JUL 1, 2008
Pours with a frothy, initially three-finger thick, pale, almost white colored head. The beer shows a hazy, orange-tinged straw color as it sits in my large Tripel Karmeliet tulip, but shows a hazed, glowing gold / straw color when held up to the light. The aroma is sour and funky, possibly more funky than it is sour though. There is a very strange fruitiness here, sort of tropical (kiwi), but tartly citrus like (lemon) and somehow reminds me of over-ripened strawberries. Other funky notes of ripe cheese, spicy oak, ample sweat-dried horse blanket, sharp phenolics, orange zest and moldy cured leather are all noticeable. This almost has a light herbal component to it, perhaps a bit like nettle and there is a nice cracker-like grain aroma that is noticeable once you start digging around. The biggest aromatic components are the ripe-funky-cheese character, tart lactic acid, and the signature Brettanomyces funk. Perhaps a bit too oak-leaning (though it only has a soft, spicy / hot oak character) for a typical Gueuze, but it could easily pass for some sort of traditional Lambic as far as the nose goes.

Very sour, much more than the aroma might have suggested. The bracing tartness is very Lactic, though there seems to be a touch of acetic character here, especially towards the finish. Soft and creamy feeling, despite the prickly carbonation, with a body that belies the bone dry palate (just like a good Gueuze should be). Spicy oak notes add a touch of warmth to the finish along with a touch of alcohol heat. Flavors of tart grapefruit are offset towards the finish by an almost savory, though quite funky, marinated mushroom flavor; the particular marinade seems to be a mix of Worcester sauce, perhaps a dash of miso and something almost onion / garlic like. This last note actually lingers on at the roof of my mouth long after I have finished each sip, though it is quite light in effect. This has a funky, ripe cheese flavor to it that is reminiscent of a stinky French, farmhouse cheese as well as ample Brettanomyces funk of butyric acid, barnyard notes and sweaty / musty horse-blanket notes.

Once the palate gets used to the bracing acidity (which happens after the first couple sips), this becomes exceedingly drinkable. As it warms up that weird, savory, marinated, onion-juice soaked, mushroom note becomes a bit more noticeable; really it adds more of an interesting dimension to things than anything though, especially since it is so different than anything I have tasted in a Sour beer before. Still it makes me wonder, what fermentation by-product tastes like onions. The second pour of this restores the prickly carbonation, but still does not detract from the soft, velvety mouthfeel.

A fantastic beer, definitely not a Gueuze clone (I donít think the brewers meant it to be anyway) as it brings some interesting flavor / funk notes that I have never found in a Lambic before. The light, but more noticeable than usual, oak spiciness also adds another dimension. Simply tasty, though in a very complex manner. This has a bit more heft to it than a typical Gueuze, though the only way I really notice this is because it is taking me longer to drink than a 750ml of Gueuze usually takes me. The texture of this beer really is quite nice though, so soft, velvety and creamy. I certainly cannot get enough of this & I am now wishing that I was somehow able to get more than my 12 bottle allocation of this; hopefully this will be a semi-regular offering that I can get more of.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
DenverLogan (814) - MileHi, Colorado, USA - JUN 30, 2008
Cloudy gold, thin head. Sour aroma. Iíve had this a few times now, both in bottle and on tap. Great collection of tart fruits, lemon, persimmon, orange...lovely balance and not too funky spicy strange, if you know what I mean. Compared to a Cantillon or Fantome, this is smoother than most. Thereís a good balance of fruit and tartness, carbonation and mouth puckering properties with less of the spice and bite of many lambics. Big and lovely and rich with happy flavors...should age well too!

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 19/20
kegbear (436) - Orange, California, USA - JUN 28, 2008
750 ml corked bottle obtained at the Brewry in San Marcos. Pours a beautiful golden yellow. Huge amount of tiny bubbles and a white head that is thick like whipped cream. First taste on the tongue is sour lemon and this moves to strong oak taste and finishes sweet/tart. When cold the oak taste is more prominant and this becomes a funk as the beer warms. Super complex and difficult to describe. This ale is unbelievable!

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