Tag Archive: Hanssens


Hanssens: Oudbeitje (Belgium: Fruit Lambic: 6% ABV)

Visual: Clear and still, with a gold to apricot skin colour.

Nose: Strawberry in a creamy fashion. Rose wine. Vanilla. White grapes. Acidic apple. Horse blankets and oats.

Body: Very tart. Oats. Mild strawberry. Dry cider. Acidic at the back of the throat. Slight nail polish imagery.

Finish: Strawberry. White wine. Lemon juice. Dry cider. Fresh apples. Slight vinegar. Tart raspberry. Slight nail polish air. Rose wine.

Conclusion: Ok, strawberries in a lambic – I was expecting this to be pretty unusual, so was excited going in. The excitement continued as I popped the cork out – there was lovely creamy strawberry aroma, matched with the tart rose wine character from the base lambic. It looked like this was going to be a brilliant balance of the lambic and the fruit.

What did surprise me at this early stage was how little colour the fruit seemed to add to the beer. It was possibly a little darker than the standard lambic, but not where near as bright or as colourful as the usual fruit lambics.

The initial flavours are promising – with slight strawberry into tart raspberry notes alongside a dry cider style lambic character. It is harsh at the back of the throat, but otherwise a good start.

Unfortunately over time a thicker, slightly unpleasant character emerges. The best way I can describe it is akin to breathing in the fumes of wood or nail polish. It’s thick, kind of gas fume like and far from pleasant. As time goes on even more this element gets heavier and heavier. This one element very much hurts the rest of the beer, and even made it feel like a chore to finish the last quarter of the beer.

So, a nice start, with promise, but by the end it was genuinely a bad experience. Maybe strawberries are not generally used in lambcis for a reason then. A pity as it showed such promise to begin with.

Background: Been looking for this one for a while – I hear about it in a 100 Belgian Beers To Try Before You Die, and it seemed interesting. A lambic made with the unusual choice of strawberries for the fruit choice. After many years of looking I finally found this in Manchester in the very well stocked Beermoth. Friendly staff as well, had a nice chat about lambics in there. I had hoped to go back to grab more beers, but time did not permit. Drunk while listening to Svalbard again – had just grabbed their Gone Tomorrow album off bandcamp.

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.

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