Oude Lambiek (Geuzestekerij De Cam)

Style: 3 Year Old Unblended Lambic

5.0% ABV

Bottled In: 2012

From: Gooik, Belgium

Distributor’s Note: “One of Belgium’s most sought after Lambics! Karel Goddeau is the Master Blender at the Geuzestekkerij De Cam in Gooik, the pearl of Payottenland in Flemish Brabant. De Cam occupies a barn on the grounds of a museum of folk life in Gooik in the heart of Lambic country. It is a setting right out of Brueghel. Karel is revered among Lambic lovers as one of the finest blenders working today. Base Lambics come from Girardin, Drie Fonteinen, Boon and Lindemans. The casks come from Pilsner Urquell. Many people have longed to see De Cam’s lambics in the U.S. and we are very proud to be able to finally offer them./We could wax poetic about the leathery, herbal, citric, woody, vanilla and buttery qualities—but the only way to truly appreciate it is to taste it yourself. The one quality we must emphasize is that this is an OUDE LAMBIEK (old Lambic) NOT Geuze. There is some very light sparkle to the beer but it is not intended to have the high champagne-like carbonation that Geuze aims for. Oude Lambiek is like a fine white wine and its stillness is a mark of this. De Cam’s Oude Lambiek is aged for a minimum 3 years in oak casks and then bottled (altogether 10 years of maturation!). There are only 1500 bottles in the entire United States. When De Cam opened it was the first of its kind in 40 years- a blendery dedicated to helping authentic Lambic beers to survive. Literally, when this product is gone it can never be made again.”

The beer pours the color of pale amber wine. It sits clear in body, with much of the other side of the glass coming through, but a slight haze clouding and congealing things. The beer is nearly flat, with no head to speak of. It sits in the glass like dessert wine, with a bit of weight showing in the liquid, if that makes any sense… On the nose, the beer has a beautiful musk to it. The skunky brett/funk character is akin to Dupont’s Foret, pulling grass, horse blanket, and an earthy salinity and minerality over the nose. There’s also a soft, sweet note to the back of the sniff, almost floral, with a touch of sweet white grapes. As it warms, the ending scent becomes almost peach-like, with a touch of a salinity. The nose of this beer is decadent, complex, funky, and not for the faint of heart. I love it. On the tongue, the beer tastes bizarre without carbonation, feeling much more akin to wine, though the funky flavors tell me otherwise. It begins sweet with just a touch of acidity, which lingers throughout the sip, softly nibbling at the gum-lines, but never really tearing them back. I feel the most pucker after the beer has left and the mouth starts to pull in on itself, but while the beer is on the tongue, the acidity is delicate. On the finish, the beer features a rich, blossoming minerality that tangoes with the fruitiness that takes over the early sweetness as the beer dries out. Bitter barrel does play a part in the beer as well, touching the middle of the sip, just before the minerality and fruitiness come into play, and returning on the finish and aftertaste to balance out the beer. In flavor, this beer is hard to describe. Soft lemons meld with mellow bretty, horse blanket musk, sweet white wine character moves in with peach and apricot notes, and there is a touch of creamy sherry, and maybe a hint of vinegar. Oak barrel interplays in the middle and finish, but is always a background flavor. The finish is richly complex with a minerally, almost salty flavor blending with the fruity peach. Just as the flavor begins to blossom there is the flavor of cheese rind on the roof of the mouth, and just a touch of something rancid, though it’s oddly pleasant with everything else. The aftertaste is of minerals and soft oak, while the cheese rind continues to haunt the tongue. As the beer opens up, the cheese rind character becomes more and more present, though it tangoes nicely with the fruitiness of the beer. On the tongue, the beer is more akin to wine. It’s medium bodied, with a flat, smooth, and silky mouthfeel that lingers over the tongue. When the beer leaves, the mouth is left slightly astringent with pucker and tannin, while spittle wets the gum-lines and the tongue. The tongue is left feeling slightly sticky, while the roof of the mouth tightens oddly. Overall, this is a different beer. It is complex, bizarre, delicious, and intriguing. This is definitely not one for the uninitiated. It’s flat, and gelling on the tongue, displays much in common with wine, has notes of rot and rancidity, but is delicious, delicate, and begging for a light dish to pair with. The beer opens up and warms nicely, evolving in the glass, and providing a unique and fascinating drinking experience. This beer has a high price of entry, is weird and bizarre, and yet is fully worth it if you love those funky lambics. It’s history in a glass, and is wonderful!

 

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