Beer Maverick

Traditional Belgian-Style Gueuze Lambic

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Location: Belgian and French
Category: Ale
BJCP Comparable Category: 23E - Gueuze

Style Description

This is the description of how the Traditional Belgian-Style Gueuze 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 Traditional Belgian-Style Gueuze Lambic beer style.

Gueuze Lambics, whose origin is the Brussels area of Belgium, are often simply called Gueuze Lambic. Versions of this beer style made outside of the Brussels area are said to be “Belgian-Style Gueuze Lambics.” The Belgian-style versions are made to resemble many of the beers of true origin. Historically, traditional Gueuze Lambics are dry and completely attenuated, exhibiting no residual sweetness either from malt, sugar or other sweeteners. Traditionally, Gueuze is brewed with unmalted wheat, malted barley, and stale, aged hops.

  • Color: Gold to medium amber
  • Body: Very low with dry mouthfeel
  • Malt Flavors & Aromas: Sweet malt character is not present
  • Hop Flavors & Aromas: Not present to very low and can include cheesy, floral or lavender-like attributes.
  • IBUs/Bitterness: Very low
  • Fermentation Characteristics: These unflavored blended and secondary fermented Lambic 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. Old Lambic is blended with newly fermenting young Lambic to create this special style of Lambic. Vanillin and other wood-derived flavors should not be present. Carbonation can be none (flat) to medium.
  • 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. 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 Oude Gueuze, Boon Oude Gueuze Mariage Parfait, Cantillon Gueuze, De Cam Gueuze, De Cam/Drei Fonteinen Millennium Gueuze, Drie Fonteinen Oud Gueuze, Girardin Gueuze (Black Label), Hanssens Oude Gueuze, Lindemans Gueuze Cuvée René, Oud Beersel Oude Gueuze, Mort Subite Gueuze

Brewing Properties of Traditional Belgian-Style Gueuze Lambic

These are the functional brewing properties of Traditional Belgian-Style Gueuze Lambic 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 - 13 SRM
(12 - 26 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.