FlacoAlto (3506) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - FEB 2, 2004
4.5 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
UPDATED: MAY 14, 2013 5 May 2012 bottle date; sampled March 2013
A steady pour into my New Belgium globe glass produces a two finger thick, light tan colored head. The beer is a rich amber color that shows an almost brilliantly clear, bright copper hue when held up to the light. The aroma smells lightly tart, somewhat herbal, definitely floral, and even citrusy, the last three definitely from the hop character. The aged malt and hops combine to form a note that is not unlike lemon infused, southern sweet-tea that is quite a bit different from what one usually gets from an overused of crystal malt. Musty oak / wood aromatics, touches of tobacco, some hints of urea, and touches of pinesol add some complexity. The malt character takes on some oxidation here, this accentuates the tobacco note, as well as the sweet tea character, but there is also a fresh, whole grain, sweet brown cracker like note here once you start to pay attention. I really like how hoppy this still is; I really like that the citrusy hop notes are still able to come through.
Bitter, sour, with woody and pine flavors that coat the tongue, this beer is definitely green and hoppy compared to a Lambic. The malt / grain character isnít quite so different from a traditional Lambic, but this doesnít have the grassy grain character, and perhaps has a touch more whole grain cracker flavors to it. Effervescent and fairly carbonated, the beer is fairly light bodied, but does have some palate presence; the latter contributed by the malt, and oak tannins. The oak character here is subtle, but does seem to influence the perceived hop flavors; it gives a woody edge that accentuates the pine notes, brings out a nice tobacco notes, and the spice / astringency from the oak also seems to bring out the same in the dry-hop flavors (hints of pepper, something a bit like arugula and other peppery herbal notes). Grapefruit hop notes are hard to pick out as it melds well with the lactic sourness and grapefruit Lambic character, but are definitely here even if at an integrated, low level.
Just a fantastic brew, I wish I had a whole lot more of this, and I had certainly forgotten how good, and just how unique this brew was. For some reason this makes me even more excited to try the Amphora Lambic when that finally gets released. The tobacco notes are quite distinct in this brew, and the citrusy hop character, though light, is also a nice addition. Really, I just canít get enough of hops and Lambic, of which this beer is a great marriage. It is hard to not absolutely love this beer, the complexity and balance is pretty phenomenal across the board; this is the freshest (still almost a year out) that I have tried this beer, and I am thinking that fresher is better for this one.
Bottled 2002, Sampled February 2004
This beer pours a hazy amber-copper color, which is in stark contrast to the typical light gold color of a traditional Gueuze. It is reasonably well carbonated. The carbonation creates an off white head that is persistent but only 1/4 inch in my tulip glass. Wow, the aroma has as the strongest element definite notes of cat-piss, surely the most I have ever experienced in a Lambic beer. Other aromas of musty barns and of course some sour notes as well.
Upon my first taste I notes that there is lots of hop character for a Lambic type beer, which mixes quite interestingly with the traditional Lambic character. Donít get me wrong, the hop character is fairly subdued but it is here, even after 3 years of aging in the cask. This beer is of course sour (what else would you expect from a Cantillon product), with notes of citrus (a lemon & grapefruit mix) as well as a hint of vinegar. The barnyard musty-leather Brettanomyces character is quite prevalent in this bottle. This concoction showcases what this fickle funky yeast can do. This beer is quite fruity as well, what comes to mind as an apt description for this fruitiness is that of sour apples.
The lack of wheat in this beer seems to make this beer a bit fuller/ richer in the mouth than a typical Lambic product. This beer is not overly hard either, especially for a Cantillon Lambic. This was a wonderful first beer on a Superbowl Sunday afternoon. It paired wonderfully with the aged sharp cheddar, prosciutto, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and rustic bread. Cantillon definitely delivered once more with this beer. This is a world class beer, whose only flaw, given the specialty designation on this beer, is that perhaps it is not quite distinctive enough from a traditional Lambic, but how can I really complain since I do love Lambic.
Jayb0 (932) - Cherry Hill, New Jersey, USA - JAN 21, 2004
4.2 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
hazy yellow orange, little head eventually disappears altogether. Strong sourness in the nose belies a much less sour taste. Musty, damp, vinous. Lot's of great cantillon character while achieving the original goal of making a unique offering with perhaps more citrus and hop character and a dry finish. This beer rouses underused taste buds, it's fun.
beermatrix (1497) - Twin Cities, Minnesota, USA - JAN 18, 2004
4.4 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
Color is a rusty deep golden clouded yellow, tall fluffy white head bursts up quickly becoming big bubbley and fizzy. Then lays flat to leave a fizzy collar. Lots of thin webby lacing. Aroma is pungently strong, albiet a bit more pleasing then the vulgarly pleasing Vigneronne. This has a steady waft of the funky horse blanket - barnyard thing, without the canned tuna and arrogance that the Vigneronna has. Otherwise its nearly the same with citrusy notes of grapefruit, lime, and lemon, floral deepness with the roots and all, earthy and highly sweet. Taste is quick and tart with citrus rinds of all kinds, moslty lime and grapefruit, dry and sour puckering sweet with nice floral notes creeping in. Lots of layers to the souring tartness, musk, fresh flowers, grasses, sour candies, citric acidicness, dirt, sour, sour, sour. Whew, its packed. Full on tartness, sourness, and sweetness. Its actually not bad, it takes a few sips to get used to, but as you snap your senses around it and it warms, its pretty good. Still though, its a big time sipper with all that tongue drying, cheek puckering, lip tingling sour tartness.
flutetokill (523) - Fresno, California, USA - DEC 28, 2003
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Hazy orange color with a golden glow. Large white head. Typical gueuze aroma-sour and barnyard like. Nice initial flavor-very sour lemon and hops. Slight metallic aftertaste that I don't care for. Other than that, it's pretty enjoyable.
loweredsixth (946) - Clovis, California, USA - DEC 28, 2003
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Slightly hazy dirty orange color with a large (quickly dissipating) off-white head. The aroma was full of outdoorsy tones...citrus fruits, freshly cut grass, hay, wet animal fur. The flavor was very tart...lemon (actually it reminds me of lemonade powder, without the sugar, from a kool-aid pack)...just a little barnyard funkiness, sharply bitter hops in the aftertaste. More carbonated than I expected...soft feel, mildly crisp on the tongue...wet finish.
GermanBrews76 (675) - Richmond, Virginia, USA - DEC 10, 2003
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
slightly hazedvibrant golden brown body. quickly dissolving foamy white head. Tart, intense, slightly fruity and real tanmgy. Some dyr barley character. Citrucy and sour flavor. some saltiness. Full, lively and tart. Bitter, flower petal nose emerges very strongly. Champagne and cider. Most mild and smooth lambic I've ever had
Hopistotle420 (1178) - Amherst, Massachusetts, USA - DEC 1, 2003
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Golden onion skin amber. Off white sticky head. Usual Cantillon barnyard, vinous funk in the nose...with a weird minty/herbal resinous (pine or spruce) note. Sour, funky, acidic, sour, WILD! Very big flavors here. Salty, vinous, vinegar, cheddar. Medium bodied. Finishes with a luscious "green" hop flavor, one a bit different then any I have encountered previous. A very interesting brew from one of my all time favorite brewers. Thanks Jean Pierre!
corpse (7) - Greensboro, North Carolina, USA - NOV 24, 2003 does not count
3.7 AROMA 4/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 16/20
Musty, yeasty, hoppy, very very odd. I love it. Overwhelming when switching from a different beer, but once I got into it, I really enjoyed it.
heykevin (1269) - Decorah, Iowa, USA - NOV 21, 2003
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Aroma is lemony, spicy and peppery. Ruddy copper color. It has a smooth and elegant sourness. (Much closer in personality to the lou pepe gueuze, say then the regular gueuze--more smooth sourness than assertive sourness) Some minty hop in the finish, which I agree is a nice departure from some of the other house products. Another gem from Cantillon.
DavidP (1745) - Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA - NOV 19, 2003
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
UPDATED: DEC 10, 2005 <h3>í00 bottle/h3>
Pours with a foamy white head over clear copper body. Lightly sweet aroma with a citric acid tang. The initial sour flavor is so intense that itís hard to pick out whatís going on. Once that subsides, the hops the description speaks of come out. The beer finishes out with a pleasant sweetness (relatively speaking, the tartness is still around) as your tongue recovers from the sour assault.
I initially was going to mark this beer down for those intense flavors (too harsh), but after some reflection (and temperature increase) the big flavors grew on me. Itís nice to drink something very very far from the norm.
<h3>í05 bottle sampled 12/10/05</h3>
Tart orange juice and hop leaf aroma. The leafy, stemmy dry-hopping is evident in the flavor but at the same time its fresh grassiness blends well with the traditional lambic tart/funky flavors. Dry finish with a fresh hop twang.