The next beer in this series takes a serious step away from the higher alcohol and robust flavors of holiday beers to explore a very complex style, Lambic. Traditionally lambic is produced in open vats with fermentation fueled by wild strains of yeast, bacteria and whatever blows into the wort from Belgium's Senne Valley air. There are several types of lambic or sour beers available from Belgian, but the 7th beer of this series will focus on a gueuze. This is a blend of lambic of differing ages, typically some younger product mixed with some more thoroughly fermented and aged product. And age here is measured in years! Think a one year mixed with a three year and maybe some other ages mixed in as well.
The flavor and aroma profiles from sour beers is complex and a little bit of an acquired taste. I am still wading in the shallow end of the pool with this style so there is much for me to learn about identifying flavors and aromas. I picked up a 375 mL bottle of Hanssens Oude Gueze for this series to get some more experience with this style. Here is what I found when I uncorked this import:
- Appearance: Dark gold color with a touch of orange; Very little head despite a vigorous pour; Bubbles seem to large for bottle condition; Haze that appears to be chill related as it cleared some as the beer warmed
- Aroma: A combination of sour, citrus, and a musty, earthy aroma; Maybe a touch of hay
- Taste: Immediate sour, lemon and citrus flavors; Touch of sweetness but definitely light; Earthiness
- Mouthfeel: Light and bright; Puckering quality with some acidity
- Finish: Tart and tangy; dry; Long lasting on the palate and the acidity really becomes apparent; Refreshing