“In order to preserve the subtlety of the hops, the lambics selected for Cuvée Saint-Gilloise are elegant and refined such that the balance between acidity and bitterness is not disturbed. Since there is no blending with young lambic as for gueuze, and no addition of fructose as for fruit beers, secondary fermentation of Cuvée Saint-Gilloise in the bottle is brought about by adding liquid sucrose. Like all the beers produced at Cantillon Brewery Cuvée Saint-Gilloise will keep for a very long time in a good cellar, but also like all hopped beers it is best drunk when young so as to be able to fully enjoy the floral aspect of the hops.”
Glassware: Stemmed tulip.
Appearance: Hazy golden orange pour that seals off with a finger of finely beaded foam. It slowly breaks up and settles to a wispy film. We’re seeing some healthy lace work on the glass.
Aroma: Exactly what we were expecting! Pithy lime juice, lemon peel, complex oak characters, tempered funk, cheese cave, straw and unripened stonefruits (mostly apricot and kumquat). There’s a distinct hop note that were picking up, somewhat herbal/grassy in its delivery. Interesting, as almost all of the sours that we’ve tried to date don’t show any hop qualities. Very impressive.
Flavour: Tart lemons, citrus rind and funky brett/lacto acidity. It’s sour but not overly so – not scrunch your face up sour just a mild acetic rush which leisurely tapers off. A bit of musty dryness, surely conducive to the two years spent in oak barrels. Getting hints of apple and pomelo late in the piece moving in to the dry and slightly bitter finish which reveals those subtle herbal hops on the rear.
Mouthfeel: Incredibly smooth with a light champagne fizz. Mineraly, minimal acidity and mild-medium body. Only 5.5% ABV so it’s somehow borderline session-able.
Overall: We always dreamed our first Cantillon experience would be like this! Well balanced, nicely structured and unbelievably easy down the gullet. Apparently these will age up to 20 years so don’t rush! Good thing we bought several!