Duchessic (Birra Del Borgo)

Style:Wild Saison/ Saison blended with 20% one year old lambic

5.9% ABV

From: Borgorose, Italy

Brewery’s Note: “A sort of “collaboration brew” with the famous Belgian brewery Brasserie Cantillon: an interesting experiment about spontaneous fermentations. The traditional Duchessa – spelt beer – has been cut with a 20% of one year old lambic from Brasserie Cantillon. The result is a unique beer that extraordinarily merges the lambic sharp and sour characteristics with the gentle notes of Duchessa. A real gem not to be missed, as the former version’s great success confirms. Try it with different kinds of cheese, especially with blue cheese.”

The beer pours a murky, pale straw color, “like a dirty yellow brick road,” as my girlfriend put it. The beer pours with a massive head of creamy, white, pebble-sized bubbles. The head settles to a half-finger’s width above the glass with excellent retention, leaving fat, fluffy clouds of lacing on the glass as it fades. In body, the beer is an impenetrable murk of cloudiness. On the nose, the beer smells like a lambic. Pineapple, cherry, boisonberry jam, slight Smucker’s strawberry jam, subtle barnyard must, and horse blanket all waft onto the nose, though the berry/tropical fruit notes are the strongest for sure. As it warms, more and more layers of brett-goodness waft over the nose. This beer is rank with fruity brett notes. On the tongue, the beer tastes abrasively tart at the beginning. This mellows into a mild acidity that still bites at the gum lines, but allows for an herbal bitterness and fruity sweet notes to creep into the taste. The finish is dry, and tart, with a soft herbal bitterness balancing things out. In flavor, the beer begins as lemon and pineapple juices, which quickly are spilled over a horse blanket and peppered with barnyard must. Subtle grain notes start to work their way in as the beer warms. The finish is a bright wash of lactic citrus, subtle saline water, very soft bread, and mellowed fruity brett character, while the aftertaste is soft and chalky. As the aftertaste progresses, I sense lingering ghosts of brett funk and lactic citrus, which tingle the mouth with soft hauntings of the beer’s glory. A sense of chlorine also briefly rears its head. In the mouth, the beer feels light in body, with a definite effervescence from the above average carb, which gives the mouthfeel a fluffed, yet almost layered feeling. When the beer leaves the mouth is left clean, with spittle lightly pooling in the cheeks, but no major changes in the mouth. Overall, this is a lovely little wild farmhouse ale with a great dose of brett/Lambic character, and a nice lacto bite. It’s rustic, and a little rough around its edges, but nice to sip all the same. The beer didn’t quite live up to my hopes of what it could be, but that is not to say it was not a terrific sipper. Great rustic character, nice blend of two lovely beers. Good beer.

 

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