The Lost Abbey – Red Barn Ale

Tasting: September 27, 2011
Style: Ale (Farmhouse)

The term “abbey” might conjure up images of monks brewing under a vow of silence – but in fact it’s just a term that is used for beers that mimic monastic style beer. It may be brewed by monks or other religious order – but more than likely it isn’t. I’ll explain Trappist ales in another post — but Trappist beers are genuinely brewed in monasteries under the direction of monks.

This one is from Port Brewing in California — quite a distance from the monastaries of Belgium. Port Brewing has a regular line up of ales (Mongo comes to mind). They also have a line of beers that they release under the label “Lost Abbey”. They really have a reputation for creating excellent Belgian style ales. I reviewed “Serpent’s Stout” this past Spring. This one is called a ‘farmhouse ale”. Farmhouse ale or “saison” isn’t necessarily a style of beer rather, saison is French for “season” and it is attributed to a beer that was brewed for the farming season. Each farm had their own special recipe and these beers were brewed in the previous autumn or winter. They were typically low ABV brews – probably because drunken farmhands don’t work so hard. They were really meant to hydrate since there was a lack of suitable drinking water on the farm.

This one isn’t low ABV by old world standards as it checks in at 6.7% ABV. It pours a cloudy light amber with a big bubbly head. Nose is of spice — in particular clove. First few sips, you get the clove right up front, but a banana bread yeast pipes in right behind. This one finishes crisply with a sharp bitterness. The alcohol does show itself — but not overpowering at all. A few of these and I’m sure I wouldn’t want to go back to the field to plow. I’m happy to finish this bomber and hope I have the brainpower to make it through my fantasy hockey draft. I’ll give this one 85 points.

Read my review of Lost Abbey’s Serpent’s Stout Here

Read my review of Port Brewing’s Mongo Here

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