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Review by SAP on 09/07/09  
 
Score Appearance Smell Taste Mouthfeel Overall Impression Year
96 3 12 19 4 10 2009
Sampled February 2008
Quite a gusher, half a second after popping the cork it starts to gush up and out. Luckily my glass was nearby so I didn't really lose any beer. I wasn't even able to get three fingers of beer into my tulip glass before it was full of foam though. The head is a light tan color and it sits on top of a lightly hazy, orangish tinged, light amber colored brew. As the head slowly subsides it produces spotty lacing patterns on the sides of my glass. The aroma is sharp and acidic with a substantial funkiness to it. The tart aromatics are certainly not one dimensional either, it is a mix of lactic, acetic and other funky acids. This smells of ripe cheese (more emmental than cheddar), plus it has a backdrop of funky, more farmhouse cheese notes. This has a substantial barnyard Brettanomyces influence here; goaty, sweaty, with lots of fungal woody notes. Speaking of wood, this seems to be much more wood influenced than your typical Lambic, it is spicy and almost has a cedar like note to it. If you really dig for them, there are still some noticeable grain notes here; these notes are in the finish and are dry, with a distinct character of fresh crushed wheat berries.

The beer is quite well carbonated, which adds a wonderful texture to this brew. It dances across the tongue in a light, airy manner, yet still has a fullness to it that keeps it from being anything near watery. Sharp and acidic, yet not over the top in it tartness; lactic acid notes form the larges component of the sourness, but there is flavors of lemons, sour grapefruit and a hint of acetic acid notes that help to round things out. In the finish there is a woody component that seems to provide some tannic structure as well as some light oaky spiciness. I like that body that this brew has, overall it is light and drinkable, but there is some influence here (tannins from the barrel seem the likely source) that provides this with a certain viscosity and heft that allows for a greater palate presence. The texture actually provides a really nice balance to the tartness, it almost mimics a sweetness in some ways, but most definitely keeps the sourness in check. The wild barnyard funkiness is not as noticeable as it was in the aroma, but still does contribute with notes of woody mushroom, lightly phenolic soaked cotton balls, some fermented bread like yeast character. Funky, phenolics & esters provide a sharpness to the middle of this brew all the while coupling with a substantive astringency. A flavor that is reminiscent of tart grapefruit becomes more noticeable as the beer warms up and overall the beer becomes much rounder and balanced.

This is eminently drinkable, the extra carbonation and slightly greater complexity (especially in the aroma), make me understand why this is better rated than its partner. I am especially relieved to get a Gueuze with actual Gueuze like carbonation levels, though this one might have been a wee bit overdone. The carbonation really is such a defining characteristic of a good Gueuze as it helps to bring to life so much of the aromas and flavors of the brew.

Served In: Pint Glass