Friday, 27 January 2012

REVIEW #11: Boon Oude Geuze 2009-2010 brewing season (Brouwerij Boon)

The third review in my Belgian series. This Gueuze Lambic pours a beautiful cloudy corn-field gold. Its mildly carbonated from CO2 produced as a by-product of secondary (bottled) fermentation and has a saccharine sweet aroma, apple-like, counterbalanced by sourness. I was not quite prepared for the hugely sour taste up front and then the powerfully acidic tartness which follows, akin to biting into a fresh lime. The sourness actually stimulates salivation and is incredibly refreshing. An estery, woody, tannic back note is also present. Thankfully, as an antidote to what came before, the beer finishes with a lengthy sweetness.

Lambic is a style of beer uniquely Belgian, the name thought to derive from the town of Lembeek in the Pajottenland region (within Flemish Brabant, west of Brussels). Lambic beers are brewed solely within this region as well as the area around Brussels. The fermentation of such beers is 'spontaneous', brewing is done in the colder months and relies on airbourne yeasts (including Brettanomyces bruxellensis & B. lambicus) native to the Senne Valley locality in which Brussels lies. G(u)euze is the most commonly found form of lambic outside of its homeland. It's a blend of lambics that undergoes a secondary fermentation in the bottle (bottle-conditioned much like our 'real ale'). Boon's Oude Geuze is made with 90% lambic aged for >18months, 5% aged for 3 years and 5% very young lambic. The young lambic is the one which carries on fermenting in the bottle. It can be stored a la wine for over 20 years! Aged hops are added with profligacy as a preservative, they also contribute flavour (but negligible bitterness) to the final product. The beer has achieved a TSG (Traditional Speciality Guaranteed) label applicable to lambics featuring a component matured in wooden casks for at least 3 years. Boon also makes an 'Oude Geuze Mariage Parfait' which is their top-of-the-line brew featuring an ABV of 8% and longer maturation times.

In comparison to the Flemish Red and Old Bruin, the Gueuze has the most intense and perhaps difficult flavour profile. It is the flavour, rather than the strength, that makes it a beer to sip and savour. I have a bottle of Cantillon Gueuze 100% Lambic Bio to compare this to when I get a moment [EDIT: review #74]
  • MALTS: includes wheat
  • IBU: LOW <10
  • ABV: 7%

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