Style: Lambic aged on Plums
From: Rebecq-Rognon, Belgium
Technical Features: “Beer made from 60% malted barley and 40% wheat; When boiling, only aged hops are used; Natural contamination by the air during cooling; The day after brewing, contaminated wort is brought to blendery and pumpt into oak barrels; Spontaneous fermentation in oak barrels for a period of 1 to 2 years; Fermentation of fresh plums in the lambic in stainless steel tanks for a period of four months; Blending and then refermentation in the bottle for minimum 3 months; The final concentration of fruit is at least 250 grams of fruit per liter of lambic; Average production time: 2 years”
Guezerie’s Note: “The Quetsche Tilquin à l’ancienne (6.4% alc / vol) is a spontaneous fermentation beer obtained from the fermentation of destoned fresh purple plums (variety Prune de Namur or Quetsche véritable d’Alsace, close to the Damson) in a blend of 1 and 2 years old lambics for a period of 4 months. Unfiltered and unpasteurized, it is re-fermented in the bottle for a minimum period of 3 months. The lambics used were fermented and matured in our own oak barrels at the blendery. They are made from worts brewed by Boon, Lindemans, Girardin and Cantillon./ The taste is slightly tart but also fruity and round which makes this Quetsche à l’ancienne may be more accessible for non-experts or less sophisticated palates. It also has a slight dryness from the skin of the plums. The nose perceives a plum brandy perfume.”
The beer pours out a murky, cloudy rosé-brown gold. The body is completely opaque, but that may be because I added the yeast shot in… I like it that way. It pours with a small head of perfect white bubbles that leave a few tightknit strands of dry lacing when they are splashed on the sides of the glass. The beer looks like there is macerated fruit flesh clouding it up. It’s cloudy and a little thicker to look at. It looks nice. On the nose, the beer smells of a beautiful marriage of lambic and plum. Horse and tart lemonade mingle with sweet plum juice, tart cider, freshly mashed strawberries, a little bite of raspberry, some smooth vanilla, a touch of pineapple, and even a whisper of fresh rubber tires. There is a little bit of cheese rind and some lovely salinity lingering beneath the other scents, but they are the lesser players to the rich acidic sting and the sweet plum juice. On the tongue, the beer tastes tart and acidic with citric and lactic tugs that meld together and are met with a rich fruity sweetness from the plum. This dries out on the finish to be left with acidic stone fruit flavor, subtle barrel bitterness and vanilla, a touch of herbal bitters, and some earthy underpinnings. This bottle definitely leans on the acidic side, pealing at the gum lines and leaving a sticky, dry smack of chalky phlegm nibbling at the teeth. The beer feels medium bodied, and fuller than its ABV, languishing with its fruit tannin structure and fruit flesh weight. The carb is milder, but the acidity causes a faux-effervescence and snaps the back of the sip, kind of like a weak Pop Rock, actually. The finish leaves the mouth dry and sticky, really nibbling in on the teeth while small amounts of spittle pools out of everywhere. Flavor-wise, the beer displays more and more ‘lambic-esque’ flavor as it warms, but the acidity is a little too high right now. I’ve had bottles of the earlier batches, and it seems like this will age beautifully and mellow, but right now it has a little aging left to go. The beer is by no means awful, and puts to shame most fruited American wilds, but having had an older vintage, I’m a little let down by the fresher stuff. Teeth-griming acidity holds back the full subtle complexity and funkier flavors of the beer, which is lamentable. Those flavors do start to rear out of the acidic mire as the beer warms and opens in the glass, but they never fully gain dominance. It’s a beautiful beer, masterfully blended from some phenomenal lambics, but I would hang on to your bottles if I had one. This ages into true lambic beauty.