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Old 06-17-2014, 06:06 PM   #1
FLDanimal
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Default Lambics and Oak

Is lambic/geueze supposed to have a noticeable oak character to it? I have never really picked up on any oak character in any commercial lambic/geuze. When brewing my own I have also never noticed any wood pick up imparted from the barrels. The vessels used to age lambic are very spent, often being used for many years and numerous batches (this after the barrel character is stripped by wine or whatever once was held) and I don't see them imparting any wood character. The BJCP guidelines mention wood as though it is an optional feature that can be considered complimentary. It is driving me crazy how judges key onto oak when judging geuze and lambic in BJCP competitions in my area. The majority of judges treat this beer as though it should be a sub category of cat 22.

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Old 06-17-2014, 06:14 PM   #2
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If you are entering competitions, and you know what that region of judges are looking for, than add some oak to it. As far as that goes, if you want oak in your lambics, than do it.

It sure seems lenient to me as once you oak a mead it's not a traditional anymore and must be entered with the specialty category; IE triple bourbon vanilla orange braggots, where a little oaked traditional just won't stand out.

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Old 06-17-2014, 07:05 PM   #3
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I would rather the judges learn to correctly judge a style than have to oak a lambic. I feel oak is distracting in this style. The purpose of the oak is to provide a home for the organisms, not enhance the beer. If I have to tweak a style to meet uniformed judges expectations then I'm just not going to enter competitions in the future. I'm just trying to find other peoples opinions on oak and lambic.

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Old 06-17-2014, 10:18 PM   #4
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i have put away many lambic, gueuze, etc in my day, including sampling various ages from 2 months to 4 years recently from the mort subite fermenters (yes they make the real stuff as well as the sweetened crap) and i can't recall ever noticing an oaky note ever in a single one. obviously the flavors are complex and varied, but oak? i don't think so. to the outsider bjcp seems like a pretty cool thing, training judges, national competition, etc. but the obsession with categorizing beer and then sticking to certain (sometimes quite odd) rules gets pretty weird. i'm not saying that's what you're doing, quite the opposite. anyways drifted off topic. i'm with you, no oak, unless it really tastes good.

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Old 06-18-2014, 07:22 PM   #5
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The only lambic that I have noticed with oak flavor is Cantillon Grand Cru. After ageing 3 years (100% of the beer) it takes up a tad flavor.

Lambic breweries ride their barrels into the ground and they contribute very little flavor if any at all

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Old 06-19-2014, 02:27 PM   #6
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In my experience it's generally not noticeable to subtle, unless it's something specifically advertised about the beer, e.g. Cantillon Nomad having a wine barrel character. The one exception to this for me is that I generally find Cantillon Lou Pepe Gueuze to be quite a bit more oaky than their standard offering, particularly the 2008 vintage.


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Old 06-20-2014, 03:28 PM   #7
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Well, this confirms what I thought/have experienced about lambic. I entered/judged a sour competition last weekend that had horrible judging to say the least. I entered a geueze that got tore up because it "needed more wood character." I judged the Berliner Weisse category. One Berliner was so out of style it tasted/smelled exactly like a lambic. Despite this, the non-BJCP judge I was judging with wanted to give it a score of 48. When I pointed out that the beer was out of style and more lambic like than Berliner the judge looked at the lambic guidelines. She said it couldn't be a lambic because there was no wood character in the beer. I told her lambics don't usually have wood character. She then proceeded to tell me "it's literally right here in the guidelines." I then tried to explain the whole lambic process and how lambic barrels are usually spent. No luck, still wanted to give a 48. Unfortunately experiences like these are all too common in my state. I think I'm done with the BJCP for a while.

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Old 06-20-2014, 06:35 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FLDanimal View Post
Well, this confirms what I thought/have experienced about lambic. I entered/judged a sour competition last weekend that had horrible judging to say the least. I entered a geueze that got tore up because it "needed more wood character." I judged the Berliner Weisse category. One Berliner was so out of style it tasted/smelled exactly like a lambic. Despite this, the non-BJCP judge I was judging with wanted to give it a score of 48. When I pointed out that the beer was out of style and more lambic like than Berliner the judge looked at the lambic guidelines. She said it couldn't be a lambic because there was no wood character in the beer. I told her lambics don't usually have wood character. She then proceeded to tell me "it's literally right here in the guidelines." I then tried to explain the whole lambic process and how lambic barrels are usually spent. No luck, still wanted to give a 48. Unfortunately experiences like these are all too common in my state. I think I'm done with the BJCP for a while.
After listening to Gordon Strong on a recent Jamil Show, I suddenly understand his frustration with peoples' lack of reading comprehension. Here's what the guidelines says: "Some oak or citrus flavor (often grapefruit) is occasionally noticeable." Maybe she didn't notice the word "occasionally" in there?
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