Tag Archive: Gueuze


Boon: Oude Geuze (Belgium: Geuze Lambic: 7% ABV)

Visual: Pale, clear, just slightly darkened yellow. Lots of small bubbled carbonation. Large white bubbled head.

Nose: Muesli. Dry. Dry white wine. Fresh cut apples. Slight oats and horse blankets. Slightly nutty. Dried and salted lemons.

Body: Apples. Dried lemon. Tart grapes. Gunpowder tea. Peppery. Oak. Tart orange. Pink grapefruit.

Finish: White wine and gunpowder tea. Oak. White pepper. Pink grapefruit.

Conclusion: Every time I think I have a handle on lambics, especially geuzes, I find out that there is more to them than I ever expected.

It opens as expected – white wine notes, muesli, horse blankets in the aroma. If you have had a geuze lambic before there is a good chance you know the general idea. So, on the aroma, this is pretty much that.

The body also has those elements but also extends a way beyond that and what I expected. The kind of charred character you see in a lot of lambics comes across here as more intense gunpowder tea like notes. It feels slightly acrid, but not unpleasant (Yes I know acrid is unpleasant by definition, it is a kind of taste I would normally call acrid, but somehow works here. Let me have this one please). Similarly the tartness have grapes, lemon and apple, none of which are unexpected, but also develops into a very pink grapefruit style, the delicious tartness of which I think is what makes the harsher notes not unpleasant. If I had to sum it up I would say the whole thing feels more “robust” than you average lambic.

While not my favourite lambic – those gunpowder tea to white pepper bits are a tad harsh for me – it is still a heck of an experience. Still a dry, wine like beer, but weigher than the dry white wine notes would otherwise suggest. The tartness and acidity hits the back of the throat with some impact.

So, the weightier lambic, and I think it is not too much of a guess to say that a lot of this can be attributed to the 7% abv which gives it a different character from the more common 5% and below lambics you tend to see. I mean, there are probably many other influences, but that is one that is immediately obvious up front.

Not a favourite, but I do respect it, and I am interested to see what ageing does to this. So, a complicated one, but hopefully I’ve given you enough information for you to know if this is the lambic for you.

Background: We have lambics in supermarkets now, this is not the world I expected when I was younger. I approve. Ok, it is Waitrose which is the posh as shit supermarket but still. Anyway, so as you may have guessed I grabbed this from Waitrose. One for drinking now and one for ageing. Boon have generally been a good one for me, balancing ease of drinking with complexity, without becoming too harsh or crowd pleasing simplistic. So happy that I can get their beers easier now. I’ve been picking up a lot of Bloodywood singles recently so lined them on repeat as background music. Hope they get an album out some time as I love their Indian street metal style and great emotional openness.

Vandenbroek: Watergeus (Netherlands: Gueuze Lambic: 6.4% ABV)

Visual: Clear, just slightly hazy, with an apple juice colour. Thin white bubbled dash of a head. Very small amount of small bubbled carbonation.

Nose: Horse blankets. Fresh cut apples. Dry. Light chalk. Crushed dry roasted peanuts. Crushed walnuts.

Body: Juicy apple. Brown bread. Nutty. Light chalk. Dry white wine. Slight champagne. Vanilla.

Finish: Pears. Fluffy feel. Popcorn. Yeast funk. Slight mild cheese.

Conclusion: This somehow manages to feel both dry and yet also fuller than most lambics I have tried. It is an impressive and pleasing mix.

The bigger weight side of things is felt in a fruitier, especially more apple filled, character, and touched by vanilla sweetness. However, despite that it still keeps the very dry, white wine like undertones – which gives a mouth drying, yet simultaneously refreshing style. The more refreshing notes are especially notable in the main body while the dry wine like air roars over the finish after each sip.

In-between that full front and dry finish is a yeastie experience. It calls to champagne in some ways, and the brett influence feels more like how I have encountered it in some non lambic beers – giving a fluffy, lightly cheesy notes that give real weight to the middle.

Around all that are those traditional horse blanket aroma and nutty core that make it very familiar as a lambic. This is such a showcase of lambic style. It is very telling that I have had a ton of these already, have one ageing, and have only just around to doing notes. I really enjoy it.

A fantastic lambic on every level. Expect to see more from this brewery here whenever I pull my thumb out and do more notes.

Background: Oh man, how many of these Vandenbroek beers have a I tried before I finally pulled my thumb out and did notes on them? Quite a few! Anyway, I was obviously enjoying them so decided it was my duty to do some notes and maybe bring these to the attention of people who may have overlooked them until now. This is their standard gueuze – coming in a slight bit higher abv than I’ve seen listed in other places online, so I’m guessing the abv changes batch to batch. This was grabbed from Independent Spirit, who were the people who introduced me to them and have a great lambic and sour collection. Went with Miracle Of Sound’s Level 11 to listen to while drinking, “A Long year” was especially feeling appropriate as the end of 2020 loomed in front of me. Which, reminds me – Happy New Year! Enjoy Your drink!

Tilquin: Gueuzerable Tilquin (Belgium: Gueuze: 10% ABV)

Visual: Light caramel to toffee body. Lots of small bubbled carbonation in a clear, if slightly hazy body. Large caramel to off white head.

Nose: Clean. White wine. Subtle milky coffee. Subtle dry fudge. Funky yeast character. Honeycomb.

Body: Tart green grapes. Very dry. Subtle maple syrup. Dry white wine. Tannins. Oak. Subtle toffee.

Finish: Maple syrup. Dried apricot. Dry white wine. Wet oak. Tannins. Yeast funk.

Conclusion: Ok, I wasn’t sure what to expect from a lambic made with maple syrup. Would there be much maple syrup character left after the sugars had been converted? Would it just be a high abv lambic? Well now I have drunk it I am still not 100% sure what I got. Also I am still in coronavirus UK lock-down. Still, I have booze so I am ok for now.

I mean, at the base it is a dry lambic. Very dry, which I found surprising considering the considerably beefed up abv that I was expecting to bring a bigger body.

There are lots of white wine notes here, dry and backed by a touch of tannins and funk. Not mouth puckeringly dry like a Cantillon, but very distinctly dry.

And yet…

There is also more sweetness to this than the average lambic – possibly residual non fermented sugar? Possible maple syrup? Both? Magic? I dunno. It is a kind of dry toffee and fudge character, with some maple syrup notes in there as well, but still all deathly dry.

So, is it any good? Generally, yes. There are some hints of the alcohol, but not much – which is a mixed blessing. It makes it dangerous to drink, especially with the dry character – but it means that an alcohol air is the only rougher element marking the flavour.

The sweetness is subtle, dry, but makes for a a very different take to what would otherwise by a very dry white wine lambic. It adds a little something that makes it stand out.

Not a must have, and very heavy abv for the flavours it brings, but very interesting and satisfying as a lambic.

Background: Soooo, a lambic made with Maple Syrup. What the actual fuck? Yes of course I bought it. I had to see how it worked. It is made with a mix of 1,2 and 3 year old lambic, and oh, yeah is fermented with maple syrup for the sugars! Anyway, grabbed this from Independent Spirit and was fascinated to see what change this could make to a lambic. Went back to Miracle Of Sound: Level 10 for music for this. Such a good mix of music styles in video game inspired music. Check it out.

Bokkereyer (Aka Methode Goat): Barrique Oloroso 2017 (Belgium: Gueuze: 6% ABV)

Visual: Hazy dark gold. Loose bubbled head. Some carbonation.

Nose: Wheaty. Dry sherry and dry raisins. Tart apples. Pencil shavings.

Body: Tart apples. Tart red grapes. Sherry soaked sultanas. Fizzy mouthfeel. Lots of dry sherry. Tart white grapes.

Finish: Dry raisins and sultanas. Dry Madeira. Dry sherry. Tart apple. Very dry overall. Oats. Liquorice. Dry bitterness. Tannins. Chalk.

Conclusion: This is possibly the most sherry influence lambic I have tried. Which is quite a small sample pool admittedly , but trust me, this one is fair intense in the oak ageing influence. While this still keeps the dry apple and white wine lambic notes at the base, this is utterly dominated by the dry sherry, dark fruit and tannin notes. Very highly attenuated, very dry and almost, but not quite Cantillon level mouth puckering in feel.

It reminds me a lot of the 2018 Cantillon Zwanze beer, despite differences in the specifics of the ageing, it is really dark and dry which makes it rewarding if you take your time with it, but very heavy and can be off-putting up front if you are not used to that. It is a very acquired taste, possibly more so than even the unusual nature of a lambic, but really pays off it you can get into it.

The finish leads out into a heavy set of tannins and charring, not overdone, but again one that can take a bit of time to be open to. It feels like every element has been stripped down to its heavy core, only allowing a hint of sweetness released from below to give tarter and fresher notes.

The gueuze character, the freshness and slight fizzy mouthfeel is what takes all those heavy elements and keeps it going. It is a vital element working the freshness, the slight apple and the fizziness to keep it from being too intense.

So, very heavy and dry, full on working the sherry. Not for everyone as it keeps everything intense all the time, but very impressive in what it does.

Background: As mentioned in the Framboos notes Bokkereyer are a super hard to get hold of Belgian sour brewery with a huge reputation and there were six different bottles available to try at the Arrogant Sour Beer Festival, held at the Moor Tap Room. I had time to try one more, so decided to go with the closest thing to a standard gueuze that they had – this mix of one, two and three year old lambic that had been aged in oloroso sherry barrels. Again I say Bokkereyer, as that was how they were listed, but a quick google tells me the brewery has changed its name to Methode Goat, though I can’t find why. I’m guessing a big brewer and a trademark court case threat. Also again, was super excited to try this at the end of the festival, and had tried to pace myself so I could try to do it justice in the notes.

Mikkeller: Boon: Oude Geuze (Vermouth Foeders) (Denmark: Gueuze: 6.6% ABV)

Visual: Hazy pale apple juice colour with moderate white bubbled head.

Nose: White wine. Dry. Oats. Black pepper. Dried apple. Appetizer. Spritzy notes. Yeast funk.

Body: Apple front. Dry. Dry white wine. Oak. Dried apricot. Slight charring. Yeast funk. Slightly sour. Chalk. Menthol Vanilla.

Finish: Dry white wine. Yeast funk. Mature cheese. Peppery. Dry lemon juice. Apple. Sour. Oaken. Champagne. Slight peppermint.

Conclusion: Ok, I wasn’t expecting this to be so apple touched in flavour. It isn’t cider like, which would be how you may expect apple in a lambic to come across, but more like dried apple chunks that have been left in the mix. Beneath that is a very dry, slightly sour, white wine character. It is a surprisingly intense beer though with notes like pepper, slight charring and oak all coming into the mix. While wood notes aren’t unusual in a lambic, this definitely feels more woody than most and more spritzy with it. It has a fizzy mouthfeel that comes across through the dryness.

The rougher edges make it feel like a prickly beer – sour and peppery edges over a white wine and lightly menthol to peppermint touched base. As these settle a vibrant yeast funkiness rises – mature cheese notes complement by the pepper to create a fuller and more rewarding mouthfeel and taste.

It always feel slight sour though – very dry and mouth tingling with an unusual set of minty notes freshening and accentuating the dry base. Its a good look if a tad rough around the edges. It ends up feeling even more mouth freshening that even a lot of other geuzes, which is saying something. At its best it is wakening, at its worst it as an almost freshly cleaned teeth feel – though less gross than that sounds. What makes it work is it never loses that apple character – it is not as strong after a while, but it is definitely the most pleasant characteristic and gives a lot of charm to the beer.

It is definitely an acquired taste – the more peppermint like elements take a while to grow on you. For me it was good but a tad too menthol fresh. I’d go for other geuzes to return to, but this one was definitely interesting.

Background: A vermouth foeder aged lambic? Interesting. I’m not a huge drinker of vermouth, but aware of it enough that this intrigued me. Boon tend to be excellent with their geuzes and a collaboration with Mikkeller tends to add to the quality, so when I saw this at Independent Spirit I grabbed it. Not much more to add – got a whole bunch more lambics and sours to come, what with the recent Cantillon bottle pick up at Zwanze day – so if you like these sort of notes more are to come. Was drinking this the day after a mind blowingly awesome and energetic Crossfaith gig so put their tunes on. Genuinely the highest energy live show I’ve been to in years. If you get the chance and like electronic dance-metal mash ups, definitely give them a go.

Oud Beersel: Oude Geuze Vieille Vandervelden 135 Years (Belgium: Gueuze Lambic: 6.5% ABV)

Visual: Cloudy yellow and pale. Small bubbled carbonation with a small white head rim.

Nose: Oats. Clean and tart. Dry white wine. Light white grapes. Muesli.

Body: Fizzy. Champagne. Slight cheesy yeast that rises. Dry sherry. Black cherry. Chalk touch. Madeira. Dried apricot. Apple cider. Moderate funky character.

Finish: Dry sherry. Sultanas. Slight chalk. Light tart apples and grapes. Plums. Tart cider. Cheese puffs.

Conclusion: Been trying a few of these darker barrel contents aged lambics recently – I quite enjoy them – they add a nice depth to what is traditionally a more sharp flavour dominated style. This one lets the wine foeder ageing show through more obviously than the others I have encountered. Lots of raisins, through into plums and black-cherry rising up out of the fresh beer.

It feels like a traditional lambic mixed up with tons of Christmas fruitcake imagery – It still shows the cider notes and white wine influence that I associate with lambics and delivers them it a dry style – however that imagery is easy matched, if not exceeded, by the red wine notes that come through.

The main lambic style is not too harsh – the traditional horse blankets aroma is muted and the main body is dry rather than sharp. It feels very dry white wine like as I’ve mentioned and it is a solid base, but here is mainly just setting a lambic sandbox for the darker red wine notes to play in.

Together it is rich and rewarding, tasting much more red wine like than it looks and all nestled within a well done lambic character. It may show more of the foeder ageing than it does the base lambic, but it is nice to see the “wine of beers” showing something a bit more red wine and sherry styled to keep fans of that happy, while still not betraying the more white wine lambic base.

A very nice experience.

Background: Another beer I picked up as part of Independent Spirit’s big influx of unusual sours. This one is a mix of one year old lambic aged in foeders that had held red Brunello di Montalcino Tuscany wine and three year old lambic from Oud Beersel foeders. I’m presuming the 135 relates to the 135th anniversary of the brewery being set up (1882).

Mikkeller Boon Oude Geuze Boon Bone Dry Mikkeller Selection

Mikkeller: Boon: Oude Geuze Boon: Bone Dry Mikkeller Selection (Denmark: Lambic Geuze: 7% ABV)

Visual: Hazy yellow gold. Massive white loose bubbled head. Quite a bit of carbonation.

Nose: Dry white wine. Crisp apples. White flour. Mixed oats. Champagne. Fresh white bread. Elderberry.

Body: Dry and very tart. Tart apples. Tart lychee. Tart grapefruit. Sparkling white wine. Sharp lemon juice.

Finish: Lychee and pineapple. Tart apples. Dry white wine. Drying. Lightly oaken. Squeezed lemon. Blood orange. Tart grapes.

Conclusion: Ok, yep, this is dry. They nailed that one. Oh, and tart. Tart and dry. Mission accomplished. So, it is dry, is it any good?

Well if feels very white wine influenced – dry (obviously) white wine is there, but also a hint of champagne thrown in as well. Very fresh up front, yet mouth drying as it goes out. However it allows itself a much fruitier flavour range than that description would lead you to expect. There are lots of tart and sharp fruits – apples, grapes, lemon, lychee, grapefruit. If you can name it, and it is tart, then there is at least reasonable odds it will be in there. Absolutely lovely tart flavours, but delivered utterly dry. Your mouth ends up sparkling, but oh so dry after you swallow it down.

It definitely follows the route of the more obviously flavourful recent lambics rather than the more subtle, texture playing, more traditional style of old. It doesn’t completely eschew that tradition though – due to the boon influence it really shines in the mouthfeel territory as well. While dry it is not desiccating and it has a pleasant sparkling fizzing feel without going to soda stream levels – it makes an excellent thirst quenching drink, yet also encourages you to drink more with the dryness – a fact that is dangerous for a 7% ABV beer.

Also, either I am getting really acclimatised to these lambics in my old age, or this is amazingly drinkable for such a dry, tart character. It actually feels accessible, despite the fact it has a quite extreme take on the style. Then again, maybe it is just that my tastebuds have been ruined by Cantillon. That could explain a lot.

Anyway, another excellent lambic. I would say, of the two, that Boon Black label has the edge for me. It has a slightly bigger body that makes it wow more for me – however this keeps closer to the original dry lambic conceit. Any which way, another absolute winner.

Background: According to ratebeer this is the same beer as Boon Black Label. According to 1) My tastebuds and 2) research done to confirm, this is not true. Though it is a close thing. The foeders of lambic used to make this beer did not use up all the lambic, so the remains were used to make Black Label. So same base set, but the proportions were different, resulting in a noticeably different beer. Going by my google they say Black Label should be more full bodied, which matches the notes I had done before looking at that, so sounds right by me. Grabbed from Brewdog’s guest beer section, this was drunk in silence on a warm day, chilled way down. Warning the cork pops out very easily, I barely touched it before it erupted in my hands. I had to drink this one quickly, it was coming up to its 2035 Best before date :-p.

Boon Old Geuze Boon Black Label

Boon: Old Geuze Boon: Black Label (Belgium: Geuze Lambic: 7% ABV)

Visual: Clear banana yellow. Huge solid white bubbled head. Large carbonation.

Nose: Crisp. Wheaty. Fresh cut apples. Mild earthy spice. Tart white grapes. Fresh cooked pizza dough base.

Body: Very tart. Sharp lemon. Froths up easily. Lime notes. Oats. Solid mouthfeel. Light banana custard and pineapple. Grapefruit. Peach syrup.

Finish: Lemon juice. Slight meringue. Light oak. Lime juice. Apricot. Dry white wine. Oats. Apples. Grapefruit.

Conclusion: Juicy. Tropical juicy. You know, considering that this is the driest boon yet, or so the bottle says, this has a fruity character that is absolutely pounding. It starts out with lemon and lime notes and builds to pineapple and grapefruit burst – that lambic character means that it ends up mixing pure fruit juice with dry white wine like character.

What surprises me is that, dry as the beer is, it does not feel drying. There is no teeth tingle, nor those mouth puckering notes that a real dry acidic lambic can bring – no back of the throat acidic feel here. In a way it feels like a lambic equivalent of restorative beverage for invalids and convalescents – the highly attenuated body means that it mostly gets out of the way and lets the fruit explode.

This is good, very good – the base feels like a dry white wine but without any acidity or harshness, the fruit feels like the tartest of tropical fruit hop explosion – choosing the lambic base means that there isn’t any real sweet influence from the malt base intruding so you get everything very clean and fresh. Best of all it is very easy to drink for a lambic, As long as you are happy with tart flavours then dealing with the acidity is a cakewalk.

Beyond the fruit, at that base, there is a recognisable lambic character – Light earthy spice, oat character, and even some very understated sweet notes – it is hugely attenuated but they don’t let that become its defining characteristic – instead you get a masterpiece of lambic balance.

I am very impressed.

Background: The cork exploded out of this one – I was a mere two twists of the corkscrew and it popped out so hard that it took my hand and the entire corkscrew with it a good half foot up. Strangely, after that the beer did not froth up and out. Still, hell of a lot of force in there. On the pour it took a few attempts to get one that was not entirely froth. It is lively on the pour. Drunk while listening to some Madness – had seen Suggs do his life story recently and was in a retro mood. This had been grabbed from Independent Spirit.

Girardin Gueuze Black Label

Girardin: Gueuze Black Label (Belgium: Lambic Gueuze: 5% ABV)

Visual: Hazy deep gold. Thin dash of off white head.

Nose: Horse blankets. Lemon. Dried apricots. Nuts.

Body: White wine. A mix of stewed and dried apricot. Sharp. Alpen cereal. Charred oak. Dried banana hints. Grapefruit juice.

Finish: Raisins. Dry white wine. Drying feel. Muesli. Charred oak. grapefruit. Lemon.

Conclusion: I remember not being too partial to the filtered “White Label” version of this. I remember it tasting like a charred oak core and overall a too harsh drying and generally unwelcoming beer. And not in a good way.

Well this still has the charred core, and it is still a bit harsh in that element – for me at least. However here that core is wrapped in a tart fruity blanker, and that makes all the difference.

It still has a drying white wine feel at times, but above that it has this lovely tart grapefruit juice feel that is much more common, and sparks this beer to life. More than that you have stewed and dried apricot mixing that gives a sweet relief from the heavier elements.

That fruit flavour seems almost like the new wave, new world hopped takes on the lambic concept – but here it is backed by a solid traditional lambic with a real almost oaty centre, and that unusual feel you only get with a lambic and that combination is great.

There are still a few rough notes at the core, but in some way that is part of the charm of the style – those uncontrollable edges. Despite the rough edges, and the fact it is such a wide ranging lambic, it is very easy to drink – and comparatively easy to approach for newcomers.

It feels slightly thicker than most lambics as well, most of them don’t grip that much, with close to dry white wine feel – but here there is an actual viscous core despite the dryness. This beer is definitely worth a try for anyone from a seasoned veteran to newcomer, and each will be rewarded in a slightly different way by the experience.

A good beer then.

Background: One of “100 Belgian Beers To Try Before You Die” – I nearly passed this one by, as the white label (filtered) version of this didn’t appeal to me. however unfiltered beers can make a big difference so I grabbed a bottle from Independent Spirit to give it a try. Lambics are odd beers, and it took me a long time to get a handle on them – they are made with ambient yeast in the environment, and create quite sharp and acidic beers. Drunk while listening to more Against Me!. Because they are awesome.

Betelgeuze

To Øl: Mikkeller: Betelgeuze (Denmark: Gueuze Lambic: 5.5% ABV)

Visual: Hazy apricot. Short lived white shimmer of a head and some carbonation mid body.

Nose: Apricot, lemon. Dry. Horse blankets. Oat feel. Sour crab apple. Yeasty. Gooseberry. Cashew shells. Slightly cloying.

Body: Sharp at back of the throat. Peanuts. Sherbet. Skittles (The sweets). Hop bitterness. Sour apple. Dried apricot. Sugared almonds. Tiny marshmallows. White wine. Vanilla.

Finish: Dry banoffee? Is that a thing? Cashew. Digestives. Reasonable bitterness. Oak.

Conclusion: Ok, this one is pushing my ability to do tasting notes to the limit (or should that be..TO THE XTREME!!!!) (Actually no that would just be silly) It is a gueuze, that is a style I find hard enough to do good tasting notes on, much as I am growing to enjoy them now, however the interactions with the dry hopping on the beer is just blowing my mind.

There are the fruit flavours which you would expect from the hops, but would never expect from the lambic. The two mix together though, making for very dried fruit and everything seeped in sourness. There is tart apple and gooseberry behind and the beer rocks a slightly nutty character which is not unusual for a lambic, but here it gains a slight sugared almond sweetness. I have no idea how. Everything is familiar and yet everything is the fortean unknown.

This also helps show why lambics are the wine of beers, sour, tart and dry with white wine grape like elements; Against this the hop character still sets its stake and claims it distinctly as a beer. It is so refined, all the complexity of a gueuze, and yet makes itself so very easy to drink, It is pretty much the perfect balance between wine and beer and brings in the best of both while denying neither.

One of those beers that redefines how you look at a style.

Background: This was never meant to be reviewed. Or even bought. I mean it did sound interested, Gueuze – a traditionally low hopped style, instead with dry hopping of *deep breath* Citra, Centennial, Amarillo, Nelson Sauvin, Galaxy, Columbus, Tomahawk, Tettnang, Belma, Mandarina Bavaria, Calypose and Bravo. I don’t even know some of those hops. Anyway, despite that I was going to give it a pass. Then one staff member recommended it. Then another. Then a random beer drinker bemoaned losing a take out bottle after drinking several. I was now intrigued. So I drank it. and reviewed it The result is here. The Brewdog Bristol manager compared it to a souped up Orval and I can definitely see where he is coming from.

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