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Old 02-15-2011, 02:25 AM   #1
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Default What is your favorite commercial lambic/ sour beer and why?

I have been brewing for about a year now, most of that AG. I am intrigued by the process of lambic brewing but have had a couple of negative experiences with sour beers. One I tried at local award winning brewery Freetail in San Antonio actually made me want to spit it out as soon as it hit my mouth and then scrub my tastebuds with steel wool to get that VILE taste out of my mouth. After some reading here (on HBT) and there, I am becoming more familiar with the process and the bugs and stuff that contribute the unique tastes of these brews.

The problem is I can't taste words on a screen so I won't understand fully until I try a few GOOD lambic and/ or sour brews. I tried a Lindeman's Kriek and I think I could approximate the flavor with a cherry coke and some cheap vodka. I was pissed I spent $7 on it. Now I would like to track down what you the experienced brewers and drinkers of these unique brews consider to be good commercial examples. Please post what it is, where you would look for it, what to expect in terms of taste, and what you think contributes to those flavors.

I am aware that I just might not like sour beer, but I am not willing to concede that without trying a few. Considering my past experiences, if you really enjoy the equivalent of a 100+ IBU example of the style, please say it is an extreme example and assume I'm not the sour equivalent of a hophead and recommend something to ease me into the style. I am willing to try anything once and I would really like to try my hand at brewing some of these, but I don't want to make something I will hate.

Thanks for the help and I look forward to tasting your suggestions



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Old 02-15-2011, 02:33 AM   #2
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Favorite sour is probably either Dutchesse de Bourgogne or Russian River Supplication.

Haven't had a lambic I was crazy about yet.



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Old 02-15-2011, 02:34 AM   #3
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Lindeman's Kriek isn't really a sour (unless it was the Cuvee Rene Kriek, but that's only available in certain years in Belgium so it's unlikely); it's a backsweetened pseudo-lambic that most people in this forum don't consider a sour at all. Liefman's and St Louis incarnations are likewise not really true sours.

My top sours:

Lost Abbey has 2: Framboise de Amorosa and Red Poppy.
Cantillon Lou Pepe Kriek and Cantillon Rose de Gambrinus (the Lou Pepe Framboise and Cantillon Kriek are very close to that top level).

Russian River Supplication is close to that top tier; likewise the Bruery Oude Tart.

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Old 02-15-2011, 02:36 AM   #4
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Quote:
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Favorite sour is probably either Dutchesse de Bourgogne
Duchesse is certainly a real sour; I'm not a huge fan (it's not bad, but not in my tops) for 2 reasons:
a) It's a little backsweetened or overly residually sweet, which takes away from the real sour experience
b) it is really vinegary; that's a legitimate, true-to-style Flanders Red taste, but I prefer a broader lacto/pedio sourness rather than an acetic, vinegary sour.

But it's definitely worth
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Old 02-15-2011, 02:44 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SumnerH View Post
Duchesse is certainly a real sour; I'm not a huge fan (it's not bad, but not in my tops) for 2 reasons:
a) It's a little backsweetened or overly residually sweet, which takes away from the real sour experience
b) it is really vinegary; that's a legitimate, true-to-style Flanders Red taste, but I prefer a broader lacto/pedio sourness rather than an acetic, vinegary sour.

But it's definitely worth
Thanks y'all for the quick replies. So Sumner, what WOULD you recommend? I think I would prefer something that is not overly vinegary...
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Old 02-15-2011, 04:27 AM   #6
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Thanks y'all for the quick replies. So Sumner, what WOULD you recommend? I think I would prefer something that is not overly vinegary...
Find 1 good lambic/kriek/framboise: Cantillon, Hanssen's, etc. You should be able to find a Cantillon with a little bit of searching.

Find 1 good sour brown: Russian River Supplication, Lost Abbey Red Poppy, etc. That's a harder find, but well worth the effort.

Those are 2 opposite ends of the spectrum; start with them and see what you like.

I'm sure other people will have other recommendations, too; those are just my favorites.
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Old 02-15-2011, 04:32 AM   #7
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Rodenbach Grand Cru (you should be able to find this)
Russian River Consecration (head to denver, or Santa Rosa CA).

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Old 02-15-2011, 04:37 AM   #8
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Monks cafe Flemish Red is sour but not overly so, no vinegar, and very little brett, its a pretty good intro as its pretty cheap and fairly mild compared to others. From there I would say try a Petrus Aged Pale, and then start stepping into some Gueuze, and once you are used to that things like Rodenbach.

EDIT: After skimming some other responses, I would like to also rec. Jolly Pumpkin if you can find it, they have some fantastic examples of what a sour can be, and their dregs make a great contribution. I don't believe they are on the shelves in TX, but if you have connections in these parts they are readily available and not terribly expensive, I think I pay about $10 a 750 which is not bad for a sour/wild.

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Old 02-15-2011, 04:48 AM   #9
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Belgian #1 - Duchesse de Bourgogne
USA #1 - Jolly Pumpkin's Bam Biere

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Old 02-15-2011, 04:50 AM   #10
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I had a sour brown recently and it rotted my guts like no other. Blowing toxic fumes all night.



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