ClarkVV (3893) - Allston, Massachusetts, USA - SEP 29, 2006
4.5 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
Feb 2005 vintage, 750mL bottle (also have had the 375mL). Have had it three or so times, most recently being on 8/27/06.
A typical Cantillon/3 Fonteinen lambic, it shows bountiful head, a lightly hazy body and streams of tiny bubbles. Plenty of sediment rests on the bottom of the bottle. A lovely, deep, magenta-tinged black cherry-red is the body, with a mix of pink and white for the head, which, predictably, shows moderate retention (though never falling below partial cover) and plentiful, sticky lacing.
Tart, authentic cherries burst forth in the nose, with plenty of depth, melding seemlessly in to a punctual brett tartness and growing more dry with wheat and light barrel character. Warming produces more challenging lactobacillus notes (yogurt, cheese, strong acid sourness), but the cherries are not easily pushed over and give a playful pseudo-sweetness. Leathery dryness on the end comes with more light brett notes of lime/lemon and a definite complement of juiciness from the cherries. One of the best krieks I’ve come across in that it is difficult to determine the line between the cherry sourness/tartness and the lambic sourness/tartness. It is wedded beautifully. Light, peppery cherry pits further dry the end. Strength of the aroma is high and lasting, with no alcohol noted.
Succulent, both juicy and tart, cherries ripen in the mouth, while a wash of brett flavors brings you back to the lambic. Lacto sourness is unadulterated, but not too aggressive, while faint oak notes blend with the cherry flavors in the background to give an almost wine-like reminiscence. Strong leathery/oily dryness builds up on the palate, but as in the aroma, the cherry acids keep things quite bright and cleanse the palate wonderfully. On the finish, a note that seems distinct to this vintage (beer?), black pepper-like phenols are quite apparent. Perhaps from the cherry pits, perhaps the barrel, but undeniably interesting, giving a robust (though still reserved, relatively speaking) spiciness, almost like a Shiraz or some such similar wine.
The unfiltered texture combined with the artful brewing lends a very substantial, almost cherry puree-like mouthfeel (though not quite as thick and gritty as cherry puree sounds). The tight, engaging carbonation and bright cherry and lambic acids artfully cleanse the palate, however, and the beer finishes supremely quenching and drinkable.
As a sidenote, it’s interesting that when the 2005 Schaerbeekse and this first came out, the Schaerbeekse was tremendously more tart/sour and intense overall. After a year, the schaerbeekse already is sagging in not just cherry flavor/tartness, but overall sourness and expressive lambic flavor. Not so with this one, it still seems to be going strong and, perhaps, improving.
elektronikfagtekniker (891) - kbh, DENMARK - SEP 24, 2006
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
bottle. red color. carpy head. cherry aroma. sour and sweet. woddy. vinegar pallete. very nice.
beerguy101 (5319) - Newark, California, USA - SEP 20, 2006
4.5 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
This Kriek pours a slightly hazy cheery red color from a 375ml bottle. Small sized pinkish foamy head. Aroma is funky, fruity, tart cherries, leather and must. A medium bodied Kriek/lambic. Funky and tart, fruity and sour, acidic and funky. WOW. Lively carbonation. Bone dry with a good amount of sweetness. How the heck do you do that? Very smooth but with just the right amount of acidy to balance. Mouthfeel is full and round. Finish is bone dry and crisp. Aftertaste is tart and sweet. (Bottle date is 15/05/04)
DrunkAsASkunk (847) - Lynnwood, Washington, USA - SEP 19, 2006
4.6 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
Bottled 05/14/04 This beer pours a cherry plumish red with a medium sized purplish head and some of the most amazing lacing ive ever seen. Aroma is jumping all over the place with funkiness abounding. Cherries mixed with plums and sugar...fucking smells fantastic! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH my gawd is this smooth. Sour and tart with just the right bit of cherries and candy sweetness. Smooth with just the right amount of acidity. Liquid cocaine!!!! Im Rick James bitch! Tart with active carbonation and a hint of grapeyness. The balance and mouth puckering tartness balance are just perfect. Its so damn simple but 3 fonteinen has made a fantastic beer. Dry finish, fluffy and sweet. This is a liquid orgasm!
biz82 (1328) - austin, Texas, USA - SEP 15, 2006
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Hazy deep red with little head. Funky tart cherry pit aroma with notes of ash and earth. Mellow and soft and the palate countering the inevitable sour finish. Easy drinking and well balanced but complex enough to satisfy. Amazing body for such a dry beer.
BitchesBrew (715) - Fort Collins, Colorado, USA - SEP 14, 2006
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
[6% bottle, dated 2/1/05] Pours a deep red color, very cloudy. Head is very short-lived, leaving a bubbly ring around the glass. Aroma is so damn funky- fruity sweetness (sour cherries, and a slight bit of apple) at first, then it takes a turn towards musty, oak basement-type smell. Flavors are unlike anything I’ve had to date: sour cherries explode on the palate, trigging an initial pucker-type reaction. Then, the yeast character makes it’s presence known, reinforcing the musty, oaky aromas from before. Finally, a bit of sweetness finishes things off, balancing the overall tartness of the brew quite nicely. Carbonation is pretty substantial. This is one seriously complex brew, I haven’t had very many authentic lambics, but this one has certainly got me interested in the style.
reakt (949) - Greater London, ENGLAND - SEP 9, 2006
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
UPDATED: SEP 2, 2007 Bottle from Utobeer. Am more drunk than originally thought - attempted to pour this into two Belle Vue flutes and knocked one straight off the table. Shattered. Oops. Must indeed be quite drunk as I’m not too bothered at the moment! Far too distracted by this incredible beer. Good thing I didn’t spill any. Opaque deep strawberry in colour; no head. Originally suggested that it smelled of baked beans and rotting fruit, but I reckon it was just a bit of mustiness from the bottle. Nose of sour cherries and apples with a blackberry undertone. Sour top layer, but very rich underneath. Taste is suprisingly different. The cherry is still present but is tart through and through. Dark berries add a bit of value to the long, uber-tart finish. Spritely texture - is active in the mouth. It steps heavily on the front of the tongue and leaps lightly off the back. Reminiscent of the late Nuits Blanche. One of my favourite beers to date and definitely the best kriek I’ve had. Sure to become a regular on my rota.
Miguel (1181) - Saint-Ours, Quebec, CANADA - SEP 6, 2006
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
Robe rouge foncée claire surmontée d’une mousse rose timide. Arômes acides de liège et de jus de citron. Saveurs acides de jus de citron, de poussière et de liège.
bb (7051) - Alamo, California, USA - SEP 5, 2006
3.5 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 2/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
Bottle. 2005 vintage. Raspberry color with a pinkish head. Dusty aroma with sweet fruit. Flavor is a nice balance between sweet, tart, and dustiness. Cherry some through, but isn’t dominant. Good dusty earthiness. Very refreshing and clensing.
Ughsmash (7203) - Pewaukee, Wisconsin, USA - AUG 11, 2006
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
750 ml bottle. Poured a medium-to-dark raspberry/garnet with a little more than a dusting of pink headage. The nose was of sour cherry skins, dusty horseblanket, and oaky highlights. Flavor had bunches of sour cherries, oak, moderate sweetness, and light funkage... not bad, but nothing groundbreaking. Sour and tart on the palate with a dry, dusty, oaky finish. Another winner!