Liefmans: Glühkriek (Belgium: Fruit Beer: 6% ABV)

Drunk Chilled:

Visual: Black cherry red, fizzes up a head but it doesn’t last.

Nose: Cider. Perfume. Mulled spice. Cherries and black cherries. Polish. Red wine. Cloves.

Body: Syrup sweet, like cherry syrup. Cinnamon. Black cherries. Glacier cherry. Mulled wine. Apple.

Finish: Cloves. Cinnamon. Black cherry and cheeseboards. Syrup. Spicy. Very sweet.

Conclusion: very festive, sugar shock sweet and full of mulled spices. While it is a kriek beer the flavours feel closer to black cherry for the most part.  The mulled wine feel never quite overpowers the base and you get very lambic like cider apples and cheeseboards coming through. Looking online I’m not entirely sure if lambic is used at the base of this, but it certainly feels like it does.

It is a very syrupy texture, for a normal beer it would be too sweet. This however is no ordinary beer, it is meant  to be drunk warm. So without further ado.


Drunk Warm:

Visual: Now a very still beer, steam rising off it.

Nose: More mulled wine dominant elements and a light mix of cloves and cinnamon sticks.

Body: A much heavier body. liquorice elements. Red wine. Cinnamon and spice. A mix of cherries and black cherries. Apple still.

Finish: Cloves. Much less sweet. Black cherry yogurt. Cheeseboards. Caramelised brown sugar.

Conclusion: Here the beer is much more mulled wine like for the most part. The sickly sweetness is reigned in and comes through as a thicker heavier flavour when it does show itself.  It is now more fruity than syrupy which benefits it greatly. The Kriek elements are still there, and much closer to real fruit. The lambic feeling flavours are not quite as dominant, and feel less lambic like. Less sharp and more open.

Overall Conclusion: This is both a fun and tasty beer. Cool it seems towards the more crowd pleasing end of the fruit beers, very sickly sweet, which would normally be off putting. The spices however bring in a range of flavours that those syrupy beers don’t normally have and there are elements akin to a quality lambic under there.

Warm it is soothing and rounded, like a cherry mulled wine. Less varience in flavour but integrates everything much better. Still sweet but no longer sickly. Perfect to have as a winter warmer.

Very different, very good on flavour and on cheer. Well worth sharing with friends on a cold night.

Background: Here’s an odd one, a beer intended to be drunk warm.  As someone who has had to put up with the worldwide reputation of British beers being served warm an actual beer that should be heated intrigued me.  After much looking I finally found it in the “House Of Trembling Madness” in York in the window. The guy serving me was convinced it was just a normal Kriek beer and took some convincing that I actually wanted the one in the window not the standard kriek off the shelves, Well worth it.  Heated up indirectly using boiling water a in a saucepan around a sake jar, all wrapped in towels around the top to keep the heat in.