Lambic

Recipes:
722
BJCP 2021:
23D
Era:
Traditional
Origin:
🇧🇪 Belgium
Fermentation:
Wild
Color:
Pale
Strength:
Normal

Profile

Lambic is a unique and traditional Belgium beer style known for its spontaneous fermentation. Uniquely crafted in the Pajottenland region near Brussels, the history of lambics stretches back centuries. The production process involves exposure to wild yeasts and bacteria native to the region, which impart distinct sour and farmhouse qualities to these brews. Unlike conventional beers that are inoculated with specific yeast strains, lambics are left uncovered in coolships where they catch wild airborne microorganisms. Then, they are aged in wooden barrels where secondary fermentation and lengthy maturation processes shape their complex character.

In terms of appearance, traditional lambics possess a pale yellow to deep golden color, often with a slight haze due to both the yeast present and the lack of filtration prior to serving. A well-aged Lambic might have little to no head retention due to the low levels of carbon dioxide – this is typical for straight unblended versions traditionally served still from casks. The flavor and aroma profile of Lambic beers exhibits a range of sourness alongside barnyard characteristics, often described as funky due to brettanomyces yeast. Differentiating them from other sours is their naturally occurring lactic and acetic acid content which contributes complexity and sharpness. Flavors may include tart fruity notes such as green apple or lemon zest, along with earthy and hay-like undertones that reflect their rustic origins. With age, these beers may develop more muted fruitiness alongside smoother sour attributes.

While Lambic on its own holds a historic tradition, it also serves as a foundation for other notable styles such as Gueuze – an expert blend of young (1-year) and old (2-3 year) Lambics – which results in carbonation through bottle conditioning. Additionally, Fruit Lambics showcase the marriage between this wild fermentation process and various fruits like cherries (Kriek) or raspberries (Framboise), creating vibrant variations enriched by natural sweetness balanced against tart complexity.

Specifications

Alcohol

Specification
5.0 – 6.5 %

In Database
4.6 < 5.6 < 7.0 %

Bitterness

In Database
1 < 7 < 15 IBU

Color

Specification
6 – 12 EBC
3 – 6 SRM

In Database
5 < 7 < 13 EBC
3 < 4 < 6 SRM

Original Extract

Specification
10.0 – 13.3 °P
1.040 – 1.054 OG

In Database
10.4 < 12.8 < 16.0 °P
1.042 < 1.052 < 1.066 OG

Final Gravity

Specification
0.3 – 2.6 °P
1.001 – 1.010 FG

In Database
0.0 < 2.7 < 4.5 °P
1.000 < 1.010 < 1.018 FG

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