Tag Archive: De Cam


De Cam: Nectarine Lambiek (Belgium: Fruit Lambic: 6.5% ABV)

Visual: Hazy tropical fruit juice colour. Still. Slight white head.

Nose: Tart. Oats and muesli. Slight raisins to dry Madeira. Dry pineapple. Mashed fruit. Subtle orange.

Body: Tart orange and mandarin orange. Nectarines. Slight flour. Sharp pineapple. Sour fruit stone centers. Tart pineapple. Slight oats. Slight vanilla. Peach melba.

Finish: Tart orange. Nectarines. Stewed fruit notes. Tart. Lots of pineapple. Tart grapefruit. Dry at the end. Vanilla.

Conclusion: This is fruit dominated. Like, super fruit dominated. This surprised me. I have got used to the more unusual fruit lambics having pretty subtle influence from the fruit. I have figured that the reason Cherry, Raspberry, et al are the go to choice is because frankly they work. The other fruit lambics tend to be interesting, but tend to have more influence from the base lambic character. This – well, wow – this seems to match sour nectarines with tart mandarin orange, with lots of pineapple and grapefruit as it is mixed with the base.

With nectarine being a lighter coloured fruit I was, again, expecting this to mean that the base lambic would be more noticeable. This impression was reinforced by the first encounter with the aroma – the first notes that hit are dry and quite oaty; So I thought that the base was going to follow with that dry and rural character. The texture of the base beer is quite oat filled, but a mix of tart fruit quickly comes in to fill up that space nigh instantly. It results it a feeling akin to sucking fruit flesh off the sour fruit stone centres; Slightly harsh, very tart and very fresh and flavoursome.

It really is a sour fruit mash up – it doesn’t have the subtlety of the more famous lambics – instead it just tries shoving everything out at once. The closest you get to progression is that, while it is quite dry at the start, it ends up being remarkably juicy – with its only real subtlety being in the subtle vanilla sweetness picking it up.

This isn’t a classic lambic – but it does use the lambic base well as a delivery system for something tart and fruity, rather than using the base as an element in itself. A heck of a fresh experience.

Background: Saw this one at Independent Spirit a while back – and I was intrigued at its unusual choice of fruit for a lambic. However it is fairly expensive, so it was only recently I decided to take the plunge and pick it up. This, as you may have guess from the name is a lambic made with nectarines. It is fairly obvious, no? Anyway, broke this open after watching Logan at the cinema. Amazing movie – blows the lacklustre first two Wolverine movies away. Drunk while listening to Judas Priest – Screaming For Vengeance. Old school metal time!

de-cam-oude-lambiek

De Cam: Oude Lambiek (Belgium: Unblended Lambic: 5% ABV)

Visual: Pale yellow to lemon juice. Loose, real ale like large bubbled dash of a head.

Nose: Dry. Fresh crusty bread. Sulphur and hard boiled eggs. Smoke.

Body: Sulphur. Hard boiled eggs. Still. Oats. Light dried apricot sweetness. Light vanilla. White grapes. Dry lemon. Nutty. Dry Madeira. Palma violets.

Finish: Dried oak. Eggs. Sulphur. Dry raisins and Madeira. Tannins.

Conclusion: As I started sipping this I thought – Am I a philistine? On this matter and in general. This is a very well reputed lambic, and, while I am not going to insult it, on first sip I really couldn’t see why the massive raving about it. Could be a hype issue. Once you have your expectations way up for a beer, it is hard for anything to live up to that. Well, let’s just take a look at this again, as just another beer, not as a hyped up lambic, and maybe I will get a better handle on it.

Ok, well chilled down it is a bit empty – odd as often lambics work very well cool, but without the liveliness of a geuze this doesn’t seem to able to trade as much on the dryness, tartness or sparkling mouthfeel. Because of this it needs to do more with the subtle flavours, which it doesn’t manage initially – just an empty kind of eggy and sulphur character. It still has quote a dry base, but not with that teeth tingling character I get with geuze – just around equivalent to a good APA level kind of dry.

So, let’s let it warm up a bit – now the flavours develop. A more nutty, dry Madeira touched undertones come out. Ok now I can see what people like about this a bit more. As mentioned, oft lambics work well chilled – this seems to need a bit more heat than most – still cool, but not fully chilled.

So, now with light fresh notes – not many but there. It actually reminds me a bit of aged sake in a way. Both share the similar dry Madeira notes and dark fruit touched character along with a few lighter fresher notes. Though this differs in that it has a slight, but distinct, sulphur character and a real ale like beer texture backing it up.

So, as mentioned I am starting to get the love for this beer. It isn’t a must have for me, but it is very nice – like the negative exposure of a standard lambic; Still instead of fizzing like a geuze, dark fruit notes instead of fresh ones, but still a lambic. Still drinking it now, and it gains more as it warms more – more nutty, more tannins and more subtle dried dark fruit notes. Ok, not quite up to the hype, but each time I let it warm a bit more I have come to appreciate it more as more Madeira base and rich complexity comes out. I can take my time happily with this one.

Background: I am not 100% sure this is an unblended lambic as it is generally listed as – the name makes me think it is – blended lambics tend to be called Geuze in the name. Also the fact it is still and not fizzy unlike most geuze. However Belgian Experts website says “The Lambics used to make this unparalleled blend come from Girardin, Drie Fonteinen, Boon and Lindemans, while the casks used to age the beer come from Pilsner Urquell.”. I think I can square this circle by maybe a) There are two different beers by this name? b) One of the sources is wrong? or c) Possibly the lambics are blended then aged in oak at De Cam and it only counts as geuze if they are blended after oak ageing? I do not know – if anyone has more information please let me know in the comments. Any which way, something unusual grabbed from Independent Spirit. Drank while listening to Anthrax – Amongst the living. Yes again. I am excited that I will hopefully see them live next year.

Horal's Oude Geuze Mega Blend 2013

Horal’s Oude Geuze Mega Blend 2013 (Belgium: Lambic – Geuze: 7% ABV)

Visual: Cloudy banana yellow. Large tight bubbled white head. Lots of carbonation in the body.

Nose: Lightly like fresh crusty bread. Light apples. Dried apricot. Fresh. Light grapes. Oatmeal.

Body: Sherbety. Sour white grapes. Tannins. Champagne. Lychee. Apples. bready and yeastie. yellow raspberries. Mango. Dried banana. Light custard sweetness under the acidity.

Finish: Dry oak. Oatmeal. Fresh cut apples. Vanilla. Funky yeast – puff crisps. White wine. Mango. Lychee.

Conclusion: Well, I say “god damn”!. I guess having all those different lambic breweries to go to for samples to blend really gives Horal a hell of a lot to work with. Should have been self evident really, but it is always surprising to see it work in practise. This is lovely, just acidic enough to give a slight dryness, but then packing a huge fruit explosion for flavour.

I think the trick is, while it has that mouthfeel of being like a dry white wine, the fruitiness is sweet and embedded deep within the beer. You can almost imagine fruit syrup oozing up out of the middle of it to your tastebuds. Because of that you get the freshness and mouth tingle, that oatmeal dry aroma, and the dry feel in the mouth- all of which says lambic so well and leaves your mouth feeling scrubbed clean, but you also get mouth watering tropical fruit.

Alone that fruit would feel just like alcohol fruit juice, a style that is fun but wears out its welcome quickly. Backed by the wine like character as it does here, it just boasts a tremendous complexity that transcends the wine comparison used so often for lambics. This could only be done as a beer, and more than that only as a lambic. There is a weight to it that belies the dry wine character and gives it depth.

Utterly refreshing, utterly complex. One of the finest geuzes I’ve had the fortune to be able to try.

Background: Broke this open as a reward for myself after doing a massive clean up job on the apartment, chucking out or recycling everything I didn’t need. Took best part of a day. Picked up from Independent Spirit, this is a blend of lambic from (deep breath) 3 Fonteinen, Boon, Timmermans, Oud Beersel, Lindemans, De Troch, De Cam, Hanssens and Tilquin. I may have spelled some of those wrong knowing me. Whew. Of those Tilquin is the only one I have not tried before. Incidentally, the cork on this popped out nice and easy. Wish more did that.

De Cam: Oude Geuze (Belgium: Lambic Geuze: 6% ABV)

Visual: Very clear and lageresque, small initial white head that quickly diminishes.

Nose:  Sour and fresh, egg white and almost vinegar sharpness. Dry. Sulpher.  Dry apple fruit air.

Body: Very sharp yet dry. White wine, sulphur and slight lemon. Somewhat wood influenced, then dry apple sweetness

Finish: Sulphur, crisp, dry wheat. Boiled eggs. Slight black cherry deep under the other notes. Very long lasting dryness.

Conclusion: So again we return to the lambics, always a challenge for me as I get used to their ways.  This time a non fruit influenced Oude Geuze.

Initially, as always, the sourness is very evident, overshadowing all but the sulphur and egg like elements that bring up the back. The middle brings out more subtle dry apple fruit flavour, it’s very minimal but adds just the slightest sweet touch to this immensely dry beer.

In the end I find it interesting, but the sulphur touches are not quite to my taste.  It provides fascination, but not an urge to quickly return to it.

An interesting experiment that I do not regret.

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