Fruit Lambic

Glassware: Tulip
  • Belgium
  • Mixed Ferm
  • ABV = 5.0 – 7.0% (Normal to elevated)^
  • IBU = 0-10
  • SRM = 3-7 (varies with fruit)
A fruity, pleasantly sour, wild Belgian wheat beer showcasing a blend of fruit flavour and spontaneous fermentation character.

A lambic with fruit, not just a fruit beer; the “wild” character must be evident.

Appearance:

  • Colour^ = Varies with fruit
  • Clarity = Good

Key Aromas & Flavours:

Aroma
  • Malt = None
  • Yeast + Bacteria = Low; fruity esters / Low to moderate; barnyard, leather, earthy, goaty, hay and horse blanket aromas / Low to moderate; acidity
  • Hops = None
  • Other = Specified fruit should be the dominant aroma
Flavour
  • Malt = None
  • Yeast + Bacteria = Low; fruity esters / Low to high; barnyard characteristics / Low to moderate; lactic sourness
  • Hops = None
  • Perceived Bitterness^ = Low
  • Other = The specified fruit should be evident (Optional: low vanilla and/or oak)
  • Balance = Varies. When young, the beer will present its full fruity taste; with age, the “wild” lambic character will become dominant at the expense of the fruit. Acidity provides the balance, not bitterness.
Aftertaste/Finish

Dry and tart with an acidic bite possible; a low, complementary sweetness may be present

Mouthfeel:

  • Body = Light
  • Carbonation = Varies from low to high
  • Astringency = Has a low to high tart, puckering quality without being sharply astringent
  • Alcohol warmth = Some versions have a light warming character

Characteristic Ingredients/Processes:

  • Malt = Pilsner malt, plus 30-40% unmalted wheat
  • Yeast + Bacteria = Spontaneously fermented
  • Hops = Aged continental hop varietals (3+ years); for preservation, not bitterness
  • Other = 10-30% fruit; traditional fruits include tart cherries (with pits), raspberries, peaches, apricots, etc. Tart or acidic fruit is traditionally used as its purpose is not to sweeten the beer but to add a new dimension. (Note: The type of fruit can sometimes be hard to identify as fermented and aged fruit characteristics can seem different from the more recognizable fresh fruit aromas and flavours.)
  • Process = Spontaneously fermented with naturally occurring yeast and bacteria in predominately oaken barrels.  Fruit-based lambics are often produced like gueuze by mixing one, two, and three-year old lambic. “Young” lambic contains fermentable sugars while old lambic has the characteristic “wild” taste. Fruit is commonly added halfway through aging and the yeast and bacteria will ferment all sugars from the fruit.

Historical Development:

Spontaneously fermented beer from the area in and around Brussels (the Senne Valley) stemming from a farmhouse brewing and blending tradition several centuries old. Fruit was traditionally added to lambic or Gueuze, either by the blender or publican, to increase the variety of beers available in local cafes. The most traditional styles of Fruit Lambic include kriek (cherries) and framboise (raspberries).


Commercial Examples:

Boon Framboise Marriage Parfait, Drie Fonteinen Kriek, Oud Beersel Kriek


^Sourced from the Cicerone Certification Program’s International Certified Beer Server Syllabus.
All other information is sourced from the BJCP 2015 Style Guidelines.


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