FlacoAlto (4182) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - FEB 2, 2004
UPDATED: AUG 8, 2007 Vintage Bottled 2002, Sampled November 24, 2003.RblWthACoz (964) - Brooklyn, New York, USA - SEP 29, 2007
It is with some trepidation that I open this bottle. When I peeled off the foil covering the top of the bottle, the cap was badly rusted and there were streaks of crusted beer running down the neck, as well as a small amount of fresh beer leaking from the cap. Since I was not going to get another one of these in the foreseeable future I let it settle down in my dedicated beer cooler.
There is perhaps a hint of a hiss as I pop the cap 750ml bottle; hopefully this beer is not too far gone. The cork feels very moist and is obviously fully penetrated from the beer, a slight acetic smell emanates from the cork. Well I go for the cork pull. The cork pops out, and yes, there is some carbonation here. Perhaps it won’t be as bad as I thought.
I pour the beer and low and behold it is very well carbonated. The carbonation produces a couple of inch thick pink to light purple colored head, which, lasts longer than I was expecting. The beer itself is a reddish/ light purple color, quite hazy as well. There is a definite acidic aroma that emanates from my glass. It is sour, though not intensely so.
As I take my first sip I note that there seems to be a large amount of body to this bone dry Lambic. I wonder if the grapes have added some structure, as I was expecting it to be quite thin. The grape character is certainly here, it is under the sourness, there is a bit of tannin here from the grapes. There are some berry notes, which compliment the lemony acidity, it sort of underscores & picks the beer up. As I peel the layers of this beer away I note that the berry–grape like flavor is definitely here.
As this beer warms slightly the wine grapes really start to pick up, especially in the finish. I get an austere vinous slightly tannic ending. The Lambic sourness definitely dominates, but this beer is infinitely better and more complex than the Cantillon Vigneronne. The typical suite of Lambic flavors are here; leathery, musty, and sour. Aromas of cat piss, musty cellar, citrus, vinegar, it is just wonderful to sniff away at. I must get more of this.
A Lambic on its own, when made properly, is incredibly complex. The Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and the Cabernet Merlot grapes just bring this to a whole other plane of existence. This has got it all, and the grapes did not thin out the body of the Lambic like the Muscat grapes did to the Vigneronne. This beer has convinced me to brew a grape-Lambic, perhaps a syrah.
Well I just finished my first glass of this wonderful beer; luckily I still have a second one yet to savor. In my second glass the sour aroma has receded a bit. The Brett character has become a much more noticeable, accompanied by some enteric notes as well. The aroma is just wonderfully complex; I could just smell this beer forever. So, I take an extended moment to do just that… which leads to some ruminations on my part. How can something that is described in such negative terms (enteric, sweaty – leathery – horse blanket, vinegar, barnyard, etc.) be so wonderfully enticing? Well I don’t know, but I truly love it. The taste is again sour up front, but the body and finish of this beer is where the grape character shines. Don’t get me wrong, don’t read too much into my description, this is by no means a wine, definitely a beer, definitely a Lambic, but the marriage of wine and beer is pure genius in the form of Lambic. The complexity here, I never would have guessed that grapes could add so much to the complexity of a traditional Lambic product. Unlike most fruit Lambics (including many that I really enjoy, even most Cantillon products) the grapes take nothing away from the Lambic character, they only add a whole other dimension that intertwines and picks up the character of this Lambic.
No one else should try this beer; I sincerely believe that that it is all meant for me. No one else will be able to appreciate the stunning complexity and subtlety that is this beer. After reading this I am sure that anyone else trying this will be let down, so don’t get it, seriously, I’ve got dibs on the rest.
On a serious note, I really would not recommend anything less than an 8 oz serving of this (and a full 12oz would be adequate, but a 750 would be much better). This beer is just far to complex and needs, nay requires, deep contemplation and time to savor and explore this nectar. Please deeply explore this beer if you get a chance, it is well worth it.
Stunning, contemplative, world class; these are all words that just do not do justice to this beer. Please Jean-Pierre, make this a regular beer in your line-up.
Off notes 4/2007. Cork reads "bottled 2005".
Pours a slightly clouded ruby with a pinkish hue to it. Nose is the typical sour with slight wood attribute and a fairly firm antiseptic tone as well. I find the flavor a very smooth and traditional sour with the fruit influence. There are berries and a touch of wood on the flavor. It is extremely sour, but I still feel like it is well within acceptable limits as I am taking long swigs of this one. I can’t help it. Feel is nice and thick on the liquid and slightly carbonated. It’s nice and smooth going down.
Overall this is fairly sour, as these guys always are. But I think it is extremely smooth and doesn’t really carry any harsh characteristics at all. Quite easily this might be the easiest drinking lambic I have had to date. Well worth the price.
I had this on cask at Spuyten Duyvil 6/2007, and it was just as amazing. knickskicks (1162) - - SEP 19, 2012
75 cl bottled Oct. 12, 2011. Bright pink/red with a pink-white head. Nose is berries (mostly strawberry), leather furniture, some vinegar, vinous. Tart fruits, oak, wine, star fruit, bitter grapefruit. Tickling tartness. Not incredibly tart but left my mouth pretty numb 2/3 through. Soft spritzy body. Probably the driest finish of any beer I’ve ever had. Leaves the pleasant chalky dryness you get in your mouth after eating a banana or two. Just an incredible palate. SPDickerman (1239) - Texas, USA - MAY 17, 2013
Pours fuchsia with a fast fading pink head. Smells exceptionally vinous, clearly like merlot. Taste is sour and fruity, without a doubt sour grapes. Medium-bodied with an astringent texture and prickly mouth-carbonation, Cantillon Saint Lamvinus finishes with a soft tartness. UXO (1896) - CANADA - MAY 26, 2014
Pours a crystal clear ruby red with a fat finger of pink head diminishing gradually to a thin skim and minimal lacing. Nose is tart cherries, apple cider vinegar, vinous oak and barnyard funk. Taste is tart berry (cherry and grape) with a perfect balance of sweet and sour, slight oak and funk on the finish. Mouth feel is light and lively, with a persistent prickly carbonation and a great dry finish.
Wow. Even better than the Cantillon Kriek. The flavour is less intense, but more complex. Beautifully restrained tartness and wonderful fruity sweetness. Unlike the Kriek, I don’t get the impression of exuberant youth and the promise of future improvement; rather, it’s perfect just as it is.
rbrazell (1698) - Florida, USA - SEP 18, 2014
Bottle from Edmunds Oast. Amber red pour with some pinkish highlights and a bubbly white head. Big aroma of layered deep yeast funk, sourdough, pizza shop, hay, lemons zest, plums, dark fruits, oak and wine. Complex flavor of oak wood, dark fruits, yeast funk, pizza shop, sourdough, lemon zest and citrus. Medium bodied and wonderful carbonation. So fucking delicious. jayzz (481) - Illinois, USA - SEP 19, 2014
Incredible opaque plum color and yeasty vinegar aroma. Has a well developed sour flavor with sweet notes and a slight fizz long finish. Hallstein (483) - Skogn, NORWAY - JUL 22, 2016
0,75 Bottleshare. Thanks @Haavard ! - Slightly sour and funky aroma. Quite an unique characteristic. Vanilla, raisins and more funk. The flavor is incredibly complex with raisins, dry, expensive red wine. The aftertaste is quite balanced with notes of peach and apricot/papaya. Incredibly good. World Class. kmpitz2 (21) - Tennessee, USA - JAN 8, 2005
This rare treat was shared between 4 people last night, and I have to believe that I will have to drink this beer again, without the other 3 glasses being shared. The liquid pours a beautiful rosey ruby color with a finger of spritzey head that immediately fallst to ring the beer with large bubbles. This one is very wine-like in the color, somewhere between a blush and a dark red. The nose was true to the Cantillon form. Funky, sour, acidic, but with a nice fruity grape coming in behind the funk, smelling so damn good. The flavor. What can one say about liquid nirvana; something so awesome that I would be happy to drink exclusively for the rest of my life. What struck me most was how mellow and smooth this was. I’ve had a few of the Cantillon line, but this was every bit as funkey, but much more mellow. Still sour and acidic and tart, but not puckering. The grape flavor hits secondarily behind the initial burst of sour and acid, but it serves to polish this beer like the finest diamond. The feel was a weak moderate to moderate, wtih a light, dancing bubble on my tonge. Nothing that got in the way, but enough to know it was there. Awesome balance on the pucker factor. Wow...wow, wow, wow. If there is anything left to say about the drinkability that can’t be drawn from what I’ve already said, I don’t know what it would be. Hunt this beer. Drink this beer. Love this beer. So good.