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RATINGS: 848   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.99   EST. CALORIES: 150   ABV: 5%
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Perhaps no country embraces the use of fruit in beers more so than Belgium. Numerous traditional as well as regional specialty ales are infused with every sort of fruit imaginable. In this way, the flavor of the fruit becomes especially prominent. Red Poppy Ale is a veritable celebration of Sour Cherries in an explosion of aromas and tastes. Brewed from a brown ale base and aged in our oak barrels for over 6 months, this beer is not for the faint of heart. The Golden Poppy is the state flower of California and the Red Poppy is found in Flanders Fields where our inspiration for this beer comes from.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
JMFG (1587) - Florida, USA - MAR 29, 2008
Courtesy Degarth. Cloudy amber pour, thin sparse white head. Even-handed aroma, balanced well between sour and citric. Mild sweetish notes, very basic. Mildly sweet taste, slightly tannic, tartness is there but not aggressive. Very subtle, but a quality sour for sure.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 17/20
OldMrCrow (2078) - Seattle, Washington, USA - MAR 26, 2008
UPDATED: FEB 25, 2014 2008 Bottle 3/26/08 Pours a rich warm red-accented brown in a most head. Lovely nose with tons going on: sour cherries, woody tannins, heavy funk mingling with prominent young oak.

Glorious, well-balanced flavor. Plenty of funk and lactic sourness, but never overwhelming, cut by the mild cherry and caramel sweetness, oak swirling around, leather through the middle and cherry pits on the far late end. Glorious mouthfeel, lightly sparkling, refreshing, never too sour so as to burn the sinuses, but consistently sour enough to pucker the mouth.

This is an absolutely delightful sour ale, and the whole thing - rich flavors and endless complexity - is packed into 5.5% ABV which really is a heck of an accomplishment. I joined to sinners club for a shot at this beer --- and it was amply worth it. Wonderful.

2008 Bottle 2/25/2014 I didn’t mean to let this one sit so very long without trying it, but oh well, here we are. Opens with the slightest puff, pours red-brown and near-to-flat. Really awesome nose: cherries, lemon, and latrine with balsamic Flemish-red elements in the back seat. Flavor of lemon juice and wood, goat cheese from the midpoint on, tannins, sour cherries cutting through unmistakable but never syrupy or sweet.

I’m not sure this is quite as good as it was the first time around, but age has done little harm and perhaps mellowed some of the oak character. I agree with what I wrote before; this is a wonderful beer. Original rating stands.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
hotstuff (4392) - Indiana, USA - MAR 24, 2008
Bottle courtesy of patrick767 at the Fort Wayne Winter Gathering.Small tan head that quickly dissipated, spotty amounts of lacing, murky, no carbonation observed, and a light brown hue. Nose was cherries, sour, tart, and barnyard.Flavor was sour, cherries, tart, and a dry finish. Smooth mouthfeel and light in body.This was just way too sour and tart tasting for my liking.I am thinking maybe this bottle should have been aged for a while?

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
Beerlando (3342) - Orlando, Florida, USA - MAR 23, 2008
Pours a lightly hazy crimson red color. A moderate, foamy tan head settles to a splotchy film with a prominent edge. Minimal spotty lacing noted. The aroma is a complex blend of sour cherries, tannic, vinous red grapes, mild lactic sourness, aggressive new oak, and some mild, Belgian barnyard funk. Reading the review just before mine as I drink this, I can see how notes of leather would also come to mind. Flavors are again based on sour cherries, with the new oak showing quite strong. The lactic element subsides to the point where it is barely noticeable, while the barnyard funk intensifies to my liking. Held in the mouth and rolled across the tongue, the sourness really kicks into high gear, bordering on mouth-puckering. Medium bodied and well carbonated, the mouthfeel just lacks the silkyness that I was expecting. Finishes dry and sour on the tongue, as it should. This is a very good sour ale. Is it worth the hefty pricetag and all the hype? That is debatable.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
notalush (5216) - Denver, Colorado, USA - MAR 23, 2008
Thanks to toncatcher for this - split with my lady for Easter - a good beer for a holiday - very cloudy red beer, with somewhat low carbonation - aroma of sour cherries, and tannic and funky fruit skins - moderate earthy, leathery notes, some pretty well-developed brett character, and mild oak - oak is much more prominent in the flavor, and dominates the beer quite a bit - a nice cheesy, leathery, almost briny, lambic-like funkiness to it - moderate fruit acidity, and some not-quite-developed tannic character - some lacto character combines with the cherry and occasionally reminds me of yogurt - a bit of cranberry and fruit seeds - the oak and funk does seem to get in the way of any other complexity the base beer may have had, but this is still a pretty solid sour ale.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
aspidites (1272) - manteca, California, USA - MAR 23, 2008
Dark brown with minimal head. Very soft alluring nose of funky cherries and a mild tannic grapeskin note. Soft and round palate with notes of prune, raisin, pomegranate and cherry with nice herbal bread characters. Could benefit from some more bottle time.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
FlacoAlto (3810) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - MAR 21, 2008
Pours with a frothy, initially one-finger thick, tan colored head. The beer is a very dark, concentrated cherry color, but shows an almost brilliantly clear, ruby-red color when held up to the light. The aroma is sour and funky; aromas of over-ripe cheese, lactic acid notes, a touch of an acetic edge and funky / woody mushroom notes. Underneath this initial funk is a noticeable fruit character that provides characteristic cherry aromas, but also a touch of cranberry and some sour plum. The aroma is on the sharp side as it seems just a touch too funky, if that makes sense; at first it seems that the beer is a little too wild even compared to a Lambic, though actually now that I think of it, a lot of this sharp character is a mix of the funkiness and a substantial oak character. The oak contributes bourbon-like spiciness, buttery-oak aromatics and a touch of vanillin, each of which seem to clash a bit with the up front funk.

Tart tasting, predominantly lactic, though there does seem to be a tart cherry contribution too. The carbonation, while not wildly effervescent, provides enough zip to tickle the tongue as the beer runs down my throat. The oak flavors are soft at first, but pick up steam as I take a few more sips; spicy wood and ample buttery oak pick up steam in the middle and into the finish were a touch of vanillin is also noticed. Tannins & fruit contribute to a cherry skin flavor and texture up front as well as some bright, cherry flesh notes. The cherries definitely add to the complexity of this brew, yet I wouldn’t say this as a fruit beer necessarily; this beer doesn’t scream cherry, instead the fruit is really well integrated with the other flavor components. This is quite light and quaffable, the wood / tannis provides some texture to keep this from being anything near thin; the texture may in fact be tone of the best things about this beer.

While the oak is never overwhelming here, it does seem to get in the way of the funky-fermentation notes and the base, beer-ingredient driven flavors & complexities; I think about a quarter of the oak character would be perfect for this beer, keeping it nice and subtle and in more of a supporting role. The buttery oak notes really seem to dominate the aroma of this brew after a bit, though I wouldn’t say that it get over-whelming, it just does overwhelm all the other aromatic components. Not bad, even quite good, but the dominant oak keeps it from being incredible for me, though I must admit that I love seeing all this flavor packed into a beer of only 5%abv.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
mreusch (851) - Olathe, Kansas, USA - MAR 21, 2008
375ml bottle, pours a cloudy light brown with orange highlights and a lively tan head that dissipates down to a thin covering, minimal lacing. Aroma is funkalicious, with a nice blend of fruity notes, including cherry and blackberry, wood; light earthy sour and tartness coming through as well. Aromatically complex and enjoyable. Flavor is sour, and a bit subdued, with nice cherry, wood and funk coming along as well. It’s just amazing to me what an incredible job LA does at putting this beer together - well balanced, complex without going overboard, and nuances that make for a truly enjoyable experience I just wish would last longer.

   AROMA 4/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 3/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 4/20
thedm (5005) - Fort Wayne, USA - MAR 21, 2008
This corked and caged bottled brew from patrick767 at a rating party poured a medium sized head of congealed foam made up of fine to medium sized bubbles that were mostly lasting and left behind a hazy murky muddy river brown colored body and a poor lacing. The funky aroma was lambic like with farmhouse and funky notes. The dry sour mouth feel was tingly at the start and at the finish. The flavor contained notes of spices sourness and was very lambic like. A horrible one that I would rather not drink again.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
AmEricanbrew (6181) - Same Trailer, Different Park, Louisiana, USA - MAR 18, 2008
Bottle. Clear ruby red with a light khaki head. Nice nose is wood vanilla, vinegar, barnyard cherries. Fairly light bodied. A mouth puckering sourness at first fades with every sip revealing flavors of cherries, vanilla, wood and some brett complexity. A good beer no doubt, too bad it’s so hard to find.

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