Beer Maverick

Contemporary Belgian-Style Spontaneous Fermented Ale

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Location: Belgian and French
Category: Ale

Style Description

This is the description of how the Contemporary Belgian-Style Spontaneous Fermented Ale 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 Contemporary Belgian-Style Spontaneous Fermented Ale beer style.

While taking its inspiration from the Traditional Gueuze-style Lambics whose origin is the Brussels area of Belgium, Contemporary Belgian-Style Spontaneous Fermented Ales may incorporate specialty malts, spices or other flavors or fruited combinations that influence the hue, flavor and aroma of the finished beer such that they differ significantly from traditional examples. 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 beer style upon which the entry is based, or other information unique to the entry such as non-traditional malts, sweeteners used, other ingredients or processing which influence perceived sensory outcomes.

  • Color: Gold to very dark
  • Body: Very low with dry mouthfeel
  • Malt Flavors & Aromas: Sweet malt character is not present. Some versions may exhibit attributes typical of specialty malts.
  • Hop Flavors & Aromas: Not present to low and can include a cheesy, floral or lavender-like attributes.
  • IBUs/Bitterness: Very low
  • Fermentation Characteristics: These unflavored blended and secondary fermented beers may be very dry or mildly sweet and are characterized by intense fruity ester, sour, and acidic attributes. Diacetyl should not be present. Characteristic horsey, goaty, leathery and phenolic aromas and flavors derived from Brettanomyces yeast are often present at moderate levels. Aged beer is often blended with young beer to create this special style. Vanillin and other wood-derived flavors should not be present. Carbonation can be none (flat) to medium.

Brewing Properties of Contemporary Belgian-Style Spontaneous Fermented Ale

These are the functional brewing properties of Contemporary Belgian-Style Spontaneous Fermented Ale beers, as descided by the Brewers Association. These guidelines reflect, as accurately as possible, the historical significance, authenticity or a common profile in the current commercial beer market.

The alcohol by volume is shows the amount of alcohol this style of beer should have.
5.0 - 8.9%
The International Bittering Units (IBU) scale is used to approximately quantify the actual (not perceived) bitterness of beer.
11 - 23 IBUs
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 »
6 - 40 SRM
(12 - 79 EBC)
Original Gravity
Original Gravity (OG) is a measure of the sugar content in the wort before alcoholic fermentation has started to produce the beer.
1.044 - 1.056
Final Gravity
The Final Gravity (FG) is how much sugar is left over in the beer when fermentation is complete.
1.000 - 1.010

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.