Category Archives: Gueuze/Lambic

Brasserie Cantillon ‘Iris’ Barrel Aged Lambic

Rating:

39883588_938227779694701_1726367795458867200_n“Spontaneous fermentation beer produced using only pale-ale type malt. Iris brings together two elements that were very present in our beers until the middle of the 20th century : the acidity produced by spontaneous fermentation and the bitterness resulting from the use of fresh hops followed by cold hopping.”

Glassware: Stemmed tulip.

Appearance: Slightly hazy amber with a cm of finely beaded foam perched on top. The head fades to a wispy film which leaves a wet lace drag as it ebbs.

Aroma: Dry, musty and a little spicy. A fair bit of acetic lemon, candied citrus, unripened stonefruit, apricot and woody oak tannins balanced by slightly earthy funk and subtle caramel sweetness. Picking up a very unique scent of cheese and crackers…we say unique because somehow it incorporates both! Hops are rather herbal and certainly coming through a lot more than previous Cantillon beers we’ve had.

Flavour: Again quite dry and musty, acetic and grainy with a hint of alcohol warmth coming through. White grape juice, woody oak, barnyard funk and peppery spice moving in to bitter grapefruit, lemon peel and green apple late in the piece. The finish is dry, herbal and woody with excellent length on the rear.

Mouthfeel: Crisp and drying but much smoother than previous styles. Moderate co2 with a slightly higher and more pronounced AbV (6.5%). Medium acidity.

Overall: Easily the driest and most hoppy beer we’ve had from Cantillon. This could certainly have something to do with its maturity though – it was bottled this year and could do with some aging. That said though it’s still a highly enjoyable, balanced and refreshing drop.

Phantom Carriage ‘Mortal Wood’ BA Lambic Blend

Rating:

39137892_930719700445509_2576213459649691648_n“Mortal wood represents the continued efforts of Phantom Carriage to craft and hone its sour, barrel-aged beer program. This beer is a melange of aged lambic-style ales that were finished in white wine barrels and then blended to give a complex and layered flavour profile.”

Glassware: Stemmed Tulip.

Appearance: Pale gold with a light haze. The pour generates a thumb of fizzy white head which quickly snaps back to the edges. Very minimal lace as we tuck in.

Aroma: Smells of old and musty wine barrels, white grape juice, peppery spice, candied lemon peel and aged white vinegar. Hints of dried apricot and unripe peach also coming through. Loving how the sour/cheesy funk is very well tempered and nicely offset by the complex barrel characters. Fine aroma.

Flavour: Pleasantly follows the nose with musty wine barrels and a slightly heavier pronunciation on pithy lime juice and lemon rind. Dry peppery spice and very subtle vinegar through the mid shifts in to the bone dry finish which offers candied citrus, pear and white grapes on the back end.

Mouthfeel: Very champagne-like with its delicate sparkle and light dry texture. Mild-medium body. 6%AbV.

Overall: We found this to be a fairly approachable sour, easily our favourite Phantom Carriage beer so far. Well structured, balanced and effortless over the tongue. Solid drop.

Brasserie Cantillon ‘Rose de Gambrinus’ Lambic w Raspberries

Rating:

38284536_917955951721884_2603908929192722432_n“Blend of lambics and raspberries – 200 g of raspberries per litre of beer. Beer with a slightly acidic, fruity and fragrant taste. Just like kriek, the “fruitiness” of Rosé de Gambrinus is at its best when the beer is young. With age the lambic will take the upper hand, but this is at the expense of the fruit component.”

Glassware: Stemmed tulip.

Appearance: Raspberry coloured pour with a short washed out pink head on top. It slowly fades and leaves a wet lace drag in its wake.

Aroma: Lots and lots of the finest raspberry! Fresh, candied and jammy. It’s matched by a heady dose of tart lemon/lime juice, cranberry, red wine vinegar and more delicate oak tannins. Somewhat of an earthy funk which yields farmyard spice, hay and wheaty grains. This really is a sensational aroma…. perfectly balanced and so well structured.

Flavour: Certainly packs a lot more acetic punch as opposed to the aroma. Again, tonnes of raspberry albeit a lot more tart and funky. Big presence of lemon and lime juice, mild red wine vinegar but lifted farmyard grains, earthy notes and raspberry sherbet forming late in the piece. Some musty-ness becoming dry and citric in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Mostly tart and effervescent – almost like a sparkling wine. Acidity is moderate with light body. 5% AbV is expectedly hidden but adds to the beers overall session ability.

Overall: Really digging Cantillon at the moment, even though it’s not really the right weather for it! Guess that goes to show the quality in the product. This is just a perfect balance between sweet and sour fruits with that lovely funk/farmyard character at the base. Solid drop.

3 Fonteinen 2016 Cuvee ‘Armand Gaston’

Rating:

38065458_915636255287187_776915616266190848_n“Blend of young, middle-aged, and old lambics, brewed by 3 Fonteinen. One hundred percent natural, authentic, spontaneous, and a bit stubborn, but always elegant and full of character. The Pure Passion, as Armand and Gaston have always done.”

Glassware: Stemmed tulip.

Appearance: Slightly hazy golden with a burnt orange hue. The pour generates a big and fizzy three finger head which slowly deconstructs and laces well as we imbibe.

Aroma: Waves of fresh citrus, lime juice, candied lemons, green apple, apricot and musty cellared oak tantalise the olfactory’s. There’s a decent funk going on in there too starting with acetic white grape juice and then developing more barnyard hints of wet straw, horse blanket and spice. Crisp and refreshing, one of the better sour aromas.

Flavour: Sharp, sour and acetic. Lots of lemon/lime juice, green apples and white wine vinegar really cutting through. Not getting a lot of counter balance from the oak – which is quite delicate, maybe a little musty….but we’re OK with it. A slight pronunciation on candied pears leading in to an ultimately dry and musty finish with distinct citrus, pear and white wine on the rear.

Mouthfeel: Medium-high Co2 is certainly enhancing the already champagne-like texture. Sharp acidity yet light on, crisp and snappy. Probably more suited for summer.

Overall: What is really fascinating about these beers is that no two bottles are alike due to the variables in the blending process. In a way it’s kind of funny as these tasting notes could be useless when it comes to cracking one of the others we have down the track! Regardless, this is still an outstanding drop.

Brasserie Cantillon 2017 ‘Cuvee Saint-Gilloise’ Lambic

Rating:

37884729_912547588929387_3796206157098385408_n“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!

Phantom Carriage ‘Nothing Is Real’ Dry Hopped Lambic w Spices

Rating:

37128814_898342327016580_8359294865384669184_n“Dry-Hopped Lambic-Inspired Wild Ale with Spices (Citra Hops, Orange Peel, Zest)”.

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Golden complexion, slightly hazy with a quickly vanishing head. Lacing is patchy but reasonable considering the lack of head.

Aroma: Certainly showing its lambic traits with its distinct musty dryness and vinous accents. The spice profile is subtle but that is spot on in our opinion – just a touch of earthy nutmeg and cardamon comes through. Clever use of the citra hops as we pick up the fruity notes that work in well with the citric pectins of the orange peel. Very unique.

Flavour: Incredibly dry and tannic, musty, oaky and underlined by the earthy spice. The sourness is muted, almost forced to battle it out with the hops. It settles through the mid, showing a hint of tart and citric orange peel. Just a little bit of funk in there as it moves in to a mild finish which offers a drying and somewhat oaky finish.

Mouthfeel: Mineraly, maybe a bit grainy at times. Very low acidity for the style. Lively co2 with mild-moderate body. 6% ABV – well placed.

Overall: Although we like the additions of spice, orange peel etc we feel it has muddled some of the best properties of a lambic. We never thought we’d hear ourselves say it but we wanted more funk! An enjoyable quaffer but it’s nothing to write home about.

Boon Brewery ‘Mariage Parfait’ Cherry Lambic

Rating:

imageKriek Mariage Parfait is an Old Style Kriek of exceptional excellence. 400 grams of wild cherries per litre are fermented together with a strong Lambic of spontaneous fermentation and aged on 6,200 litre oak foudres (large wooden casks) for 5 to 6 months.”

Uncaged, uncorked and poured in to a snifter. This interesting beer displays a mahogany body with strawberry red highlights. It produced an almost pink coloured head that reduced to a fine and foamy overlay. Lacing is OK but wet and a little streaky.
Let us be upfront, we don’t review many of these super sour styles. We must admit though they are extremely unique and quite complex. The tart cherries lead out with this sharp and ultra sour lacto yeast emphasizing it. In support are notes of Angostura bitters, subtle oak, lime juice, plums, raspberry and a kind of rosè wine-like tannin. All sorts of wacky and weird aromas emanating here.
The texture is sharp, acidic and highly carbonated. That aggressive sourness just force opens the saliva glands and fills up the mouth. One positive in all of this is that it hides the 8% ABV incredibly well.
The palate cops a rude awakening with lip puckering sour cherries, vinegar and lime juice initially. It does taper off in to a mild oak flavour that entertains notes of Angostura bitters mid way. Definitely more lacto yeast upfront but the bretty and sweaty horse blanket flavours reveal themselves on the rear. Holds its length really well too.
Holy bejeezus that’s a strange beer. Almost eye-wincing sourness that has an amazing ability to balance itself out with this woody oak and candy sweetness. Definitely won’t be returning but we can see why some beer lovers dig it. Not our cup of tea to be honest.

Timmermans Oude Gueuze

Rating:

image“Oude Gueuze is an appellation controlee : its label is protected. It is also known as the champagne of beers, especially as it is only available as a limited edition. Timmermans Oude Gueuze’s special flavour derives from its time-honoured method of preparation. It is a blend of old lambic, which has been aged for three years in wooden barrels, and young lambic which ensures spontaneous fermentation in the bottle. The different lambics are carefully selected by the brewer to obtain a perfect flavour. After it has been produced, Timmermans Oude Gueuze, which is refermented for four months in the bottle, continues to improve for 20 years.”

This is our first crack at a Gueuze (a traditionally Belgian blend with similarities to champagne and sours). Served in a tulip glass (could also be served in a flute glass) the appearance displayed a slightly hazy straw gold with a quickly diminishing head. No lacing at all. Initially off the aroma we picked up a very sour lemon. Additional funky wafts of farmyard, tart fruits and phenols underline just how unique this beer is going to be. Mouthfeel is very strange, highly carbonated and highly sour. Flavour instantly reminds me of sucking on a sour lemon warhead. Maybe some grapefruit and sherbert aswell. The saliva inducing sourness is nothing we’ve ever experienced with beer before. Good length and good body. Tart, acidic and astringent is the best way of summing this up. 5.5% ABV is hidden among the ridiculous levels of acidity here. Maybe we’re a little beer immature but this is a very acquired taste which I don’t think we’ve acquired just yet!