Belgian Lambics & Geuze Beers
The basic raw material for geuze beer and fruit lambics is Lambic beer. Lambic beer is a spontaneous fermented beer, brewed with 30% unmalted wheat and 70% malted barley, spiced with more than one year old hop. This wheat beer can only be brewed in the Zenne Valley because of the presence of specific wild yeasts of which "Brettanomyces Bruxellensis" and "Brettanomyces Lambicus" are the most known. Untill the 19th century the people in Brabant and Brussels only drank Lambic and Faro beer. Faro beer is candy sweetened Lambic.
Lambic can be drank directly on draught, but usually it is used as base for geuze and fruit lambic beer.
Geuze or gueuze is the result of blending old and young Lambic beer. The old Lambic gives character, the young Lambic beer provides the sugar and the yeasts for a new fermentation in the bottle. These bottles are stored in cellars during several months. This results in a traditional geuze beer. Geuze is preservable for many years and evolves during time.
The name “Old Geuze” can only be used when the brewer uses Lambic beer that has riped on oak barrels for at least 3 years and where no sweeteners have been added. The adjective “old” also means that the geuze is brewed in the old, traditional way.
To distinguish the different characters the European Traditional Speciality Guaranteed (TSG) label was created. It does not refer to the origin but highlights traditional character, either in the composition or means of production.
Fruit Lambic beer
Originally a Fruit Lambic beer was made by adding fresh fruit to the Lambic. This resulted in a new fermentation in the oak barrels. After 8 to 12 months only the core and the skin of the fruits remained and the fruit Lambic was ready to be filtered and bottled. This method gave the beer a rather sour and less fruity character. To brew a less sour and more fruity beer (and because of the scarcity of fresh fruit), brewers sometimes use freshly squeezed fruit juice to add to the Lambic beer.
The European TSG label is also applicable to Kriek and Old Kriek.