Saturday 7 October 2017

Tasting Notes: Lambic Blends

Back in 2016 I made three blends using boxed lambic from Timmermans and Oud Beersel, along with a variety of homebrewed pale sours and saisons.  Those blends have been in the bottle for about a year, and I've been sampling each one every few months.  At first they were all a little rough around the edges, but last time I checked in I thought they were all starting to come together quite nicely, so I've written up so quick tasting notes for each batch below.   I'm hoping that these beers (along with some of the other blends I've made recently) will continue to develop for quite a while in the bottle.

Oud Beersel

The homebrewed component in this blend was a fairly strong saison (O.G. 1.060) made from 100% floor-malted pilsner.  I did an extended boil to add some colour, and fermented it with a blend of Wyeast 3724 and 3726.  The boxed lambic from Our Beersel bright and fruity, with a slight solvent or plasticy note and some soft underlying funk.  The final beer consisted of around 82% saison to 18% boxed lambic.

At first I was worried that this blend wasn't going to come together at all.  The flavour profile of the first few bottles I opened seemed very angular and disjointed, with a pronounced plastic (ethyl acetate?) note that threatened to completely dominate the softer fruit and funk.  I was also concerned that it would develop a strong acetic acid note over time, which (without enough balancing perceived sweetness) would just add to its roughness. 

Over time its settled down a bit, and I go back and forth on the bottles I've opened recently.  As the funkier side of the Oud Beersel lambic becomes more obvious, the plastic has generally died down a bit into a bright fruitiness.  The nose on the beer is very complex, and the acidity isn't too sharp.  Sometimes I find the plastic or solvent note to still be too strong, but other times I found it to be a complex beer that I want to spend a while with.

If I did this again, I would avoid 3724, which (to my tastes) occasionally goes too far in that fruity/solvent/nail polish direction, especially when it is used in a mixed fermentation (here I think it accentuated those aspects of the Oud Beersel lambic).


The saison for this blend was a variation on my basic spelt saison recipe, with some Vienna malt added for colour and character.  It had a lower O.G. than the other beer, coming in at around 1.044.  The Timmermans boxed lambic was sour and lemony, with a slightly nutty, marzipan aroma.  The blend was again 82% saison to 18% boxed lambic.

This beer has consistently been much less complex than the Oud Beersel blend, but also much more drinkable.  It has a bright lemony aroma, with some slightly leathery funk.  The flavour profile is tart and refreshing, but a bit thin in the middle of the palate.  Although I was hoping for more complexity from the lambic blend, I really enjoy this beer, especially when the weather gets hotter in the summer.  If I wasn't hoping to see some further development in the flavour, I would probably have got through the whole batch very quickly this summer.

Solera Blend

The homebrews in this blend were a pull of about 11.4 litres from my 'Roeselare' solera, 2 litres of the first saison described above, and 2.5 litres of adjunct sour that was about two years old at the time I made the blend.  The Roeselare solera has been a consistently strong blending component for me, with a strong stone fruit note and a soft but recognizable 'pencil-eraser' funk. The adjunct sour was slightly oxidized, with some slight barnyard funk and a fruitiness that reminded me of apples. The final blend consisted of about 54% pale sour, 24% lambic (half from each brewery), 12% adjunct sour, and 10% saison.

In terms of its aroma, this is probably my favourite blend.  Its the most strikingly lambic-like, with a nice combination of pencil-eraser funk and overripe fruit.  The carbonation is too low, which I think deadens the flavour profile a bit, and leaves it weak in the mid-palate.  But there's a nice, tannic finish that rounds things out well at the end.  Of all the blends, this is the one I'm most excited about, especially as if it continues to develop over the next few years.


  1. Wow. Just read this and the original blending post. I'm more inspired than ever to do my own blending at home. Thanks!