Beer Maverick

Belgian-Style Fruit Lambic

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Location: Belgian and French
Category: Ale
BJCP Comparable Category: 23F - Fruit Lambic

Style Description

This is the description of how the Belgian-Style Fruit Lambic style of beer should taste, feel and look. However, there may be perfectly fine beers in this style that fall outside of these ranges and descriptions. This information is just to show the most commonly accepted ranges for the Belgian-Style Fruit Lambic beer style.

These beers, also known by the names Framboise, Kriek, Peche, Cassis, etc., are characterized by fruit aromas and flavors. Fruit Lambics, whose origin is the Brussels area of Belgium, are often simply called Fruit Lambic. Versions of this beer style made outside of the Brussels area are said to be “Belgian-Style Fruit Lambics.” The Belgian-style versions are made to resemble many of the beers of true origin. Historically, traditional Lambics are dry and completely attenuated, exhibiting no residual sweetness either from malt, sugar, fruit or other sweeteners. Some versions often have a degree of sweetness contributed by fruit sugars, other sugars or other sweeteners. See also Belgian-Style Lambic for additional background information. Such beers exhibiting wood-derived attributes should be categorized in other Wood-Aged categories. Competition organizers may create subcategories which reflect groups of entries based on color, fruit, or other ingredients. When using these guidelines as the basis for evaluating entries at competitions, brewers may be asked to provide supplemental information about entries in this category to allow for accurate evaluation of diverse entries. Such information might include the underlying lambic beer upon which the entry is based, or other information unique to the entry such as fruit ingredients or processing which influence perceived sensory outcomes.

  • Body: Dry to full
  • Malt Flavors & Aromas: Malt sweetness should be absent, but sweetness of fruit may be low to high.
  • Hop Flavors & Aromas: Hop aroma and flavor is not present. Cheesy hop character should not be present.
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Characteristic horsey, goaty, leathery and phenolic aromas and flavors derived from Brettanomyces yeast are often present at moderate levels. Fermented sourness is an important part of the flavor profile, though sweetness may compromise the intensity. Fruit sourness may also be an important part of the profile. These flavored Lambic beers may be very dry or mildly sweet. Vanillin and other woody flavors should not be present.
  • Common Ingredients: Unmalted wheat (30-40%), Pilsner malt and aged hops (3 years) are used. The aged hops are used more for preservative effects than bitterness, and makes actual bitterness levels difficult to estimate. Traditional products use 10-30% fruit (25%, if cherry). Fruits traditionally used include tart cherries (with pits), raspberries or Muscat grapes. More recent examples include peaches, apricots or merlot grapes. Tart or acidic fruit is traditionally used as its purpose is not to sweeten the beer but to add a new dimension. Traditionally these beers are spontaneously fermented with naturally occurring yeast and bacteria in predominately oaken barrels. The barrels used are old and have little oak character, so don’t expect a fresh or forward oak character – more neutral is typical. Home-brewed and craft-brewed versions are more typically made with pure cultures of yeast commonly including Saccharomyces, Brettanomyces, Pediococcus and Lactobacillus in an attempt to recreate the effects of the dominant microbiota of Brussels and the surrounding countryside of the Senne River valley. Cultures taken from bottles are sometimes used but there is no simple way of knowing what organisms are still viable.
  • Commercial Examples: Boon Framboise Mariage Parfait, Boon Kriek Mariage Parfait, Boon Oude Kriek, Cantillon Fou’ Foune, Cantillon Kriek, Cantillon Lou Pepe Kriek, Cantillon Lou Pepe Framboise, Cantillon Rose de Gambrinus, Cantillon St. Lamvinus, Cantillon Vigneronne, De Cam Oude Kriek, Drie Fonteinen Kriek, Girardin Kriek, Hanssens Oude Kriek, Oud Beersel Kriek, Mort Subite Kriek

Brewing Properties of Belgian-Style Fruit Lambic

The functional properties of brewing Belgian-Style Fruit Lambic beers as descided by the Brewers Association. These guidelines reflect, as accurately as possible, historical significance, authenticity or a high profile in the current commercial beer market.

ABV
The alcohol by volume is shows the amount of alcohol this style of beer should have.
5.0 - 8.9%
Bitterness
The International Bittering Units (IBU) scale is used to approximately quantify the actual (not perceived) bitterness of beer.
15 - 21 IBUs
SRM
SRM is a scale for measuring the color intensity of a beer. Low SRM grains impart a pale straw color while higher values mean it will add a darker color to the wort. Learn more »
Varies
Original Gravity
Original Gravity (OG) is a measure of the sugar content in the wort before alcoholic fermentation has started to produce the beer.
1.040 - 1.072
Final Gravity
The Final Gravity (FG) is how much sugar is left over in the beer when fermentation is complete.
1.008 - 1.016

If you see an error in our data, please let us know!

Based on Brewers Association 2020 Beer Style Guidelines with changes. Used with permission of Brewers Association.

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