tuverbol

Loterbol: 3 Fonteinen: Tuverbol 2012 (Belgium: Sour Ale: 10.6% ABV)

Visual:Hazy lemon juice, fizzes up a large white head of short lifespan. When refilled later the sediment turned it a cloudy apricot colour.

Nose: Peanuts. Dry. Brown bread. Fruit juice of an unspecified nature.

Body: Sweet peach. Tart lemon. Cream. Peanuts. Dried apricot. Syrupy feel. Brown bread. Fruit syrup. Slightly soured cashew nut bitterness. White wine.

Finish:Yeastie character. Candy floss. Tart apple and apple pie. Sugar dusting. Custard. Peanuts. Sharp lime. Charred oak. Whole meal bread. Dry cider. Lemon sherbet.

Conclusion: Hmm. Hmmm. Hmmmmmmmm. Ok, half sweet tripel, half dry lambic. I can wrap my head around that. It makes sense, why wouldn’t you ditch another beer into a lambic? Of course.

Now, the aroma promises quite a standard lambic. It is dry, nutty and bready. There is a touch of slightly tart fruit juice, but nothing outside the expected range. At this point I was expecting maybe a decent lambic, but disappointment on the cool innovation front.

The body is where I realised I had come to my conclusion too soon. First sip gives you some slight cider tartness, but predominantly you notice a slightly syrupy texture, candy floss and light esters. Sweet but with lemon sharpness. It seems the tripel has the upper hand, forcing the lambic to back its plays.

Slowly however the balance of power changes. Dry peanuts and cloyed bitter cashew nuts come out. The dry white wine like acidity rises, making the body seem less thick and more sharp. The sweetness is still there, but the Tripel proves to be a switch, going from dom to sub with ease.

If you top up the beer, pouring in the sediment with it, as I did, then the balance shifts again. I’m not sure if it is the sediment, or just the pouring disturbing the body once more, but peach and dried apricot return with a light hop like character. You get the a mix of ripe fruit to cider tartness as the balance restores.

Through this all the finish manages to embody all of the sweetness, dryness and tartness along the full lifespan. The beer is never fully a lambic, nor a tripel. It is always a mix. The closest I can compare it to is the heavily hopped lambic betelgeuze, but that was still recognisably a lambic. This beer is, so far in my drinking experience, unique.

(Now I am sure you are all going to tell me the similar beers you know of. Beer nuts that you are. Please do. I love recommendations)

A lovely beer, not exceptional as a lambic, nor as a tripel, but excellent in how it brings the two together. The only reason it isn’t a favourite is that I feel that once people have more practise with the style they can do more – as sur munk showed with the darker quad to sour beer mix. As is it is still a high quality and distinctive beer.

Background: Now this one I just had to pick. I saw it at Corks Of Cotham, and from the plain bottle had no idea what it was, so asked one of the staff members. She explained it was lambic mixed with Belgian tripel. I think I have once heard of something similar (mentioned in 100 Belgian beers to try before you die), but never tried one. So of course I bought it. This is the 2012 edition, drunk 2014.

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