Lambic Digest #533		             Fri 27 January 1995


	Forum on Lambic Beers (and other Belgian beer styles)
		Mike Sharp, Digest Coordinator


Contents:
  Re: Lambic Digest #528 (1/20)- straight lambic; brett; judging (rdh1)
  various (Todd Gierman)
  Brett, Oily Mouthfeel (Jim Liddil)
  Gueuze vs. Lambic (Norman Dickenson)
  Straight Lambic Rantings (C.R. Saikley)
  Faro, Mars, and Tim Webb (C.R. Saikley)
  Lambic Cafes (C.R. Saikley)


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Date: Thu, 26 Jan 95 9:26:28 EST
From: rdh1@ctt.bellcore.com
Subject: Re: Lambic Digest #528 (1/20)- straight lambic; brett; judging


Date: Thu, 19 Jan 1995 09:18:57 -0500 (EST)
From: Todd Gierman 
Subject: various

_Technicalities_

Jim Liddil comments:

>I assume you mean straight unblended, flat beer in a bottle.  Well lambic 
>does not exist in the bottle.  Real lambic comes from a cask and is 
>served in cafes in Brussel etc.  

(Bzzzzzzzzt. [annoying buzzer sound]).  Sorry, Jim.  I quote from the 
CAMRA guide:

	Most lambic sold in cafes is found on draft and will tend to contain
	around five per cent alcohol.  The differences between young and old
	are unmistakable.  Cantillon has tried bottling one of its older 
	lambics with some success as Bruocsella 1900 Gand Cru but there are
	drawbacks due to the low carbonation making it flatter than the 
	flattest real ale.

No doubt, they are neither the first nor the last to attempt this.

>For the most part I think most of the "gueuze" that we are making is 
>really lambic-like beer that is primed.  

Yes.  I agree, but would add that technically it is somewhere between a 
faro (lambic + sugar) and a lambic/gueuze (without the blending).  I 
believe that there was a practice (if no longer practiced), whereby the 
consumer added sugar to the lambic a few days prior to consumption to 
sweeten and carbonate (perhaps).  Also, old Boon Pertotale (double-faro) 
tastes like a nicely balanced gueuze, as opposed to the young stuff, 
which tastes more like an ale gone bad. 

>I certainly have not made any true pgueuze that is 95% old beer and 5% 
>new beer in a bottle.  

You're citing Boon's blending method.  It should be pointed out that there 
are others.

>And whetther or not a beer is slammed is a function of whether or not 
>the judges really know what lambics are all about.   

Phil's guidelines do take into account what a real (low carbonation) 
lambic should be like.  Now whether even the most knowledgable are in a 
position to judge them is questionable, unless they have the practical 
experience of frequenting Brussels cafes.  Right now, it seems that 
gueuze is a accepted as a lambic without fruit, but having carbonation.  
If competitions can't control for out of style original gravities, then 
they certainly aren't in a position to stipulate blended vs. unblended.

>Because IMHO none of us is making anything real close to the real 
thing.     

Tsk.  Tsk.  That old saw?  You've made at least one great p-lambic.  I 
think that we have to recognize variety and variability (lack of 
consistency) as a part of the genre.

_An Unpopular Thought_

CR writes:

>An interesting point which came up Sunday is that there are now more 
>(p)lambic brewers in the US than in Belgium. Furthermore, lambic brewing 
>is dying there, while just beginning here. It may well be that what 
>remains of the lambic tradition in the 21st century survives through our 
>efforts here. Go while you still can.

So, maybe Jim Koch is contributing to keeping the style alive in ways 
nobody really considered.  Maybe, it's not lambic, but it does arouse the 
curiosity and it seems quite popular.  Perhaps, those brewers/blenders 
who manage to hold on will be glad that they didn't sue.  (should I 
retract this?)

When you consider that the average beer drinker recoils in disgust after 
the first sip of a traditional lambic, it's not surprising that the 
market is shrinking.  This is not simply a characterization of American 
palletes but seems to be true of many Europeans. 

Putting rejection in a positive light:  you can feel pretty good if only 
1:10 at the club meeting finds your p-lambic drinkable (I think).

_Is he still living?_

Al makes a good case for collectivization:

>Forget about calling Mainstreet -- I bought every bottle
>of MP they had in the store: '86 Framboise, '89 Kriek and '93 Gueuze.
>If they get more, I'll post, but only after I've taken another few cases
>for my personal collection.                                           

I think that you've just pissed off a number of people in the Chicago 
Beer Society.  I suggest that you install a steel-framed door on the 
entrance to your home, just in case the lambic market crashes any time 
soon :-)

_Chapeau is Here_

Yeah.  Strawberry, Banana, and Exotic (pineapple and something else).  
The label says "refermented in the bottle."  The only sediment that I 
can see is something that looks like small particles of whatever - pretty 
much the same as what one sees at the bottom of the Lindemans bottle.

_Good Taste, Bad Taste_

The posting on the roster of lambics, etc. consumed at Mike's pretty much 
begs a follow up with a sample of tasting notes.  C'mon, guys, play fair. 

 Todd


- ------------------------------

Date: Thu, 19 Jan 1995 8:48:21 -0700 (MST)
From: Jim Liddil 
Subject: Brett, Oily Mouthfeel

Ale writes:

% Jim and Mike speculate about the slowness of Brett and perhaps it has
% something to do with the Saccaromyces eating up all the glucose.  For
% blending purposes, I brewed up a 4-gallon batch of wort and pitched
% nothing but the Wyeast Brett into 3 of those gallons.  It was slow.
% It had nothing to compete with, but still it was very slow.

Brett will gorw slowly regardless of the conditons.  I think Martin was trying
to get an answer to why Brett character (i.e. animalistic type flavor and
aroma) seems to be a problem to achieve in plambic vs acid-character, which may
be due to both pedio and brett.  It seems that the acid character is not a
problem to achieve but brett character is.  Why?  This may be a temperature
dependent phenomenon, but I am speculating based on a single data point (i.e
conversation).  Another experiment.

% Regarding the Boon MP '93, I tried some last Saturday at the Mainstreet
% tasting and felt is tasted "oily."  Does anyone concur?  There was a lot
% of lactic character and a little horseyness/oakyness, but the taste, to
% me was "oily."  Forget about calling Mainstreet -- I bought every bottle
% of MP they had in the store: '86 Framboise, '89 Kriek and '93 Gueuze.
% If they get more, I'll post, but only after I've taken another few cases
% for my personal collection.

I described the mouthfeel as a creamy sensation but I suppose oily is also
appropriate.  The 93 is very big in brett character and this is due to the
various fatty acids which are of the C6-C12 range as I recall.  So it may not
be a big surprise that it is oily ot the palate.  I think it is very mousy and
not real lactic.  Drink the 89 and you will be able to really benchmark lactic. 
It is suspected that the 89 is so acid because of the abnormally high
temperature that occured in belgium prior to it being bottled.  This is pure
speculation.  Also the psycodelic pink foam may be due to the use of other than
schaarbeek cherries.  Just specualtion though, no hard evidence.

% 
% Finally, regarding Norman's plambik/pgueuze differences, how would you
% all think they would be different?  Gueuze is a bottled blend of old and
% young lambik.  Lambik doux (according to Guinard) is young sweetened
% lambik.  As I see it, the only lambik any of us would be likely to taste
% would be from casks at the breweries -- do any cafes still sell lambik?
% Young lambik, I would think, would taste different from gueuze, but how
% would old lambik (if it was bottled) taste any different from gueuze?
% If we are to present a proposal to the AHA for changing the guidelines,
% then we should come up with a consensus, no?

I think changing the guidelines, other than eliminating faro, will just add
confusion to an already little understood style. 
Jim

- ------------------------------

Date: Thu, 19 Jan 1995 09:17:43 +0800 (U)
From: Norman Dickenson 
Subject: Gueuze vs. Lambic

                      Gueuze vs. Lambic
Norman says:        

Jim says:            

Al says:              < regarding Norman's plambik/pgueuze differences, how
would you
                            all think they would be different?>

and:                    

It seems that if Bitters is acknowledged as a competition style which is
presented in 
bottles, so might Lambic also be a legitimate style regardless that in
actuality it is
found only on draft .

For the purpose ofAHA National Competition guideline definitions, the
difference beteen
gueuze and lambic might simplistically be defined as *sparkling* and *still*.

 -norman-




- ------------------------------

Date: Thu, 19 Jan 95 09:15:05 PST
From: cr@humphrey.com (C.R. Saikley)
Subject: Straight Lambic Rantings

From: Jim Liddil 

>I assume you mean straight unblended, flat beer in a bottle.  Well lambic does
>not exist in the bottle.  Real lambic comes from a cask and is served in cafes
>in Brussel etc.  For the most part I think most of the "gueuze" that we are
>making is really lambic-like beer that is primed.  

Agreed, most of the pgueuze is primed plambic. For a taste of bottled lambic,
seek out Broucsella from Cantillon. It's 3 years old, unblended, and flat. 
Has the typically hard aceto-lacto Cantillon character, is even rougher and
ruder than Cantillon Gueuze, and varies all over the map.

From: korz@iepubj.att.com (Algis R Korzonas +1 708 979 8583)

>Finally, regarding Norman's plambik/pgueuze differences, how would you
>all think they would be different?  Gueuze is a bottled blend of old and
>young lambik.  Lambik doux (according to Guinard) is young sweetened
>lambik.  As I see it, the only lambik any of us would be likely to taste
>would be from casks at the breweries -- do any cafes still sell lambik?
>Young lambik, I would think, would taste different from gueuze, but how
>would old lambik (if it was bottled) taste any different from gueuze?

There are 7-8 cafes that I know of with their own casks, still blending and
serving lambic in the more-or-less traditional fasion. It's very telling
visiting some of these places, surrounded by locals drinking mass produced
Maes, or some such pils. Most of the pils swillers can't believe that anyone
would actually *drink* that nasty lambic stuff. You should see the looks on
their faces when you tell them you've travelled 9000 km to do exactly that!

Old lambic is entirely different from gueuze. First off, it's flat. Also, gueuze
is much more refined than straight lambic. Lambic is typically much rougher,
and an even more acquired taste than gueuze (and I'm not talking about that
ignoble Interbrew Kool-aid beverage they serve at La Becasse in Brussels).
The spectrum of lambic tastes is extremely varied. Because so much depends on
the cask and cellaring conditions, each cafe is different. You may find anything
from Fino Sherry to rotten eggs - or both. It's all part of the fun.

Cheers,
CR

- ------------------------------
...



------------------------------

Date: Thu, 26 Jan 95 11:19:35 PST
From: cr@humphrey.com (C.R. Saikley)
Subject: Faro, Mars, and Tim Webb

From: malodah@pbgueuze.scrm2700.PacBell.COM (Martin Lodahl)

>I just can't help myself.  In Lambic Digest #530, C. R. Saikley
>corrected a misapprehension by Todd Gierman:

>> Sugar was added to Faro at the time of consumption, not a few days before.
>> This may have been because Faro was a beer made from second runnings, and 
>> thus quite astringent ...

>From what I've been able to discover, you're really describing "mars,"
>CR.  The first mash using a given grist and hops was called "lambic,"
>with subsequent mashes called "mars."  The two were blended at point
>of sale to produce faro.  All of the above were served with sugar
>and a pestle-like device, to sweeten the lambic to taste.  

Thanks to Martin for the clarification. My point was that sugar was added when
the beer was served, and not used to increase carbonation. Todd responds :

>C.R. counters:
>
>>(Bzzzzzzzzzzt. [another annoying buzzer sound :-]
>
>Okay.  I had that coming, either way :-)

Just couldn't resist @-}

>Okay this is one viewpoint, here's another from Tim Webb (CAMRA):
>
>	Faro is the traditional name for draught lambic to which
>	sugar is added for refermentation.  The principle is that 
>	if the yeast gets a second wind and a vigorous refermentation,
>	it produces a sweetish beer with a sparkle
>
>	In recent years the term has been corrupted and is applied
>	to bottled, pasteurized, sweetened lambics, generally of
>	little character.  Cantillon sometimes supply the real thing
>	to some Brussels cafes.
>
>Jackson's twist on it would seem to support both versions.  Guinard 
>defines it as "blended young lambic made from moderate gravity wort and 
>sweetened with candy sugar."

Note that Guinard's description is consistent with Martin's translation of
Jef Lambic. No mention of carbonation, which wouldn't happen in your typical
lambic cask anyway.

I'd agree with Mr. Webb that the term Faro has been corrupted in recent
years. Timmermans, Boon, and Vanderlinden have ventured into this realm
with sweetened, lambic-based, bio-inert beers. However, his claim about
sparkling Faro seems dubious at best. Has anyone out there seen references
to Faro carbonated in this fashion - aside from Webb of course? Or moreover, 
any references to sparkling *draught* lambic?

I must admit my disappointment with Webb's book, The Good Beer Guide to Belgium 
and Holland (CAMRA). It is so riddled with errors that it tends to foster an 
attitude of skepticism, especially when the author diverges from reputable sources.


CR

------------------------------

Date: Thu, 26 Jan 95 11:47:36 PST
From: cr@humphrey.com (C.R. Saikley)
Subject: Lambic Cafes

A couple of Digests back I opened my mouth about knowing of a few
cafes which still serve lambic. Predictably, there were several
requests for that info. So, here's a list of a few cafes that serve,
or have served straight lambic in the last 2-3 years :

	De Rare Vos			Schepdaal
	De Rustberg			Schepdaal
	De Kilo				Asse
	De Zwaan			Zellik
	t'Verdiep			Vlezenbeek
	Bosbeek				Brussegem
	In de Congo			Lembeek
	Cafe L'Alambic			Bergen
	Den Ouden Belg			Relegem
	
Enjoy!
CR

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End of Lambic Digest
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