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Better to drink Cantillon Kriek old or young?

Discussion in 'Cellaring / Aging Beer' started by 1up, Mar 29, 2013.

  1. Cantillon's website has a writeup (http://www.cantillon.be/br/3_102) explaining why or why not to drink Cantillon's 100% Kriek while it's fresh. Has anyone tried both ways?
  2. merc7186

    merc7186 Savant (360) New York Dec 5, 2010

    Ive had a 2012 Kriek and a 2007 Kriek within the last 12 months and thought that the older version was much dryer...and I like it. I also had a 2002 Lou Pepe Kriek and it was super tart and dry....I know that is not an apples to apples comparison but just dropping some perspective. BTW, the 02 LP Kriek was out-freaking-standing.
    corby112 and 1up like this.
  3. There are many people who have had a lot more experience with Cantillon than I, but just in case they don't answer, I would echo the sentiments on Cantillon's site that it's a matter of preference. The cherry stays around for awhile, but gets a little more muted each year, as the funk and tartness come to the forefront. The perfect ratio of those flavors changes from person to person, and through the years as a person's palate develops and changes.
    BigBarley and 1up like this.
  4. Yeah I definitely understand the facts, was just wondering more about people's opinions on which they prefer...
  5. clegolfski

    clegolfski Savant (315) Ohio Jul 13, 2008

    Fresh Kriek is thick cherry taste, almost like a cherry pie kind of deal which is very very cool. I will also support what was previously said about it drying out and becoming funkier. I think a good comparison (if you have had it) for fresh are the Upland lambics. I have not had any experience with them with age on them however.
  6. Ah sorry. In that case, I currently prefer an iteration with two to three years on it. Still plenty of cherry, but the funkiness has started to become more prominent and complex without taking over yet.
    westcoastbeerlvr and 1up like this.
  7. I prefer the bright fruit of a fresh bottle, but in my experience, krieks hold up so much better than other fruit lambic (I'm looking at you, Lou Pepe Framboise).
    1up and hooliganlife like this.
  8. clegolfski

    clegolfski Savant (315) Ohio Jul 13, 2008

    What happened to the lp fram? I had a draft version that was a couple years old and may have been the sourest thing I ever tasted.
  9. stupac2

    stupac2 Initiate (0) California Feb 22, 2011

    The difference between that LP Kriek and LP Framboise was crazy, especially since the Kriek was older. Definitely didn't expect THAT much.

    Anyway, age your kriek if you want something so sour that your dentist will ask if you've been drinking battery acid. That shit gets SOUR. I mean, it's already a sour beer, but with age on it you end up in some pretty ridiculous territory. I think that in general kriek holds up the best of the fruit lambics, in terms of how much fruit remains, but it still falls off. The main thing is really the ridiculous sourness, though.
    iguenard and 1up like this.
  10. Having had a 10+ year old kriek, I didn't think it was that sour. Nothing like the other fruit lambics cantillon makes. The kriek ages great
  11. The great thing about Lambic is that there isn't really an answer to this question. It's so good young and the beer changes over time and is delicious in a new way. Best advice: stock up on Lambic and both age and drink fresh.
    OtisCampbell, BigBarley and 1up like this.
  12. clegolfski

    clegolfski Savant (315) Ohio Jul 13, 2008

    Part of the issue with the older Cantillons is the transition to Jean Van Roy. His father tended to make very sour beers. I want to say the switch took place in 2007 but I may be wrong. That may play into the perception of Cantillons becoming insanely sour as they age.
    westcoastbeerlvr likes this.
  13. stupac2

    stupac2 Initiate (0) California Feb 22, 2011

    Fou Foune is the only one that gets more sour faster than Kriek, in my experience. Though I haven't had a lot of aged St. Lam/Vigneronne.
  14. Yeah that's what I'm leaning towards doing. It's hard to come by so I'll just keep my bottle for awhile. If I ever get another one I'll drink it fresh. Plus I have plenty of beer to keep me busy in the meantime!
  15. fou'foune is hands down the fastest, lamvinus is pretty fast too. the rest arent too bad. the only two that really age well long term that do not become acidic sour bombs are viggy and kriek (not including lou pepe series)
    Number45forever likes this.
  16. stupac2

    stupac2 Initiate (0) California Feb 22, 2011

    Shrug, I had an '07 the other day and my notes on it are just "sour sour sour". I think kriek gets really sour. What's interesting about it, too, is that I got some pretty fresh in Belgium, only a few months old I think, and it hardly reminded me of Cantillon Kriek at all. Even the ~6 months it takes to get over here gets it way more sour than it is when you get it from Cantillon.

    Then again, ymmv, sounds like we've had pretty different experiences.
  17. Young, but both are great.
  18. A group of us just opened a 1993 Cantillon Rose de Gambrinus (thanks Jason!) alongside of a 2011 vintage. Both were wonderful in their own right, but they were so far apart in taste. If you want the fresh fruit characteristics, obviously open it sooner than later. But I can tell you first hand, a 20 year old Cantillon Rose was pure bliss. Sour as hell, subtle raspberry, just sublime. It all depends what you're looking for.

    Anyone who tells you their fruit lambics don't age well are completely wrong.
  19. Haha, maybe someone should tell their website this info
  20. I think their point is to experience the fresh fruit flavor in which case I agree with them. But if you're patient and want a super sour fruit lambic, age them bitches.
  21. stupac2

    stupac2 Initiate (0) California Feb 22, 2011

    Well, to a point. I had a 1982 Cantillon Framboise and it was way, way over the hill. I think that when you're talking about 10+ years you're gambling on things like storage and cork condition a lot more than with younger beers, and even if those are okay (the cork in the 1982 was actually in pretty good condition) you still might get boned.

    But I do agree that if you want them super sour to age them. There will still be SOME fruit left (even after 30 years there was some), but if you want vibrant fruit you need to drink ASAP.
    ShanePB likes this.
  22. Agreed. And completely agree with the bold. If you're lucky, it pays off big time.
    iguenard, mikecharley and stupac2 like this.
  23. clegolfski

    clegolfski Savant (315) Ohio Jul 13, 2008

    This thread is what BA is all about. I love the dialogue and education happening.
    jlenik likes this.

  24. Strange, I've mostly experienced vigneronne as being the more sour of the two "regular" grape lambics
  25. I find it more sour but less acidic. I find lamvinus to be more acidic.
  26. adamant1912

    adamant1912 Savant (415) Michigan Jan 10, 2010

    I just had the Lou Pepe 2010 Kriek last week which was one of the best beers I've had. Had a chat with a guy at the Cantillon brewery last week and he said with proper aging the goal is to balance the lambic and the fruit, where the cherry loses presence but is still apparent. Basically, if you want more fruit taste drink early, if you want more funk/lambic and have the fruit in the background, age it. The Lou Pepe also has 300 g of cherry vs the regular kriek at 200 g so that might make a slight difference in the aging process, in addition to them using cherries sources from different growers for each.
  27. Do you mean "acetic?" Are you trying to draw a distinction between lactic sourness (lemon-y sourness) and acetic sourness (vinegar sourness)? Because generally speaking, being more acidic IS being more sour.
  28. lamvinus = more acidic sour. teeth shattering. anti dentite

    viggy = more vinegar, maybe some lemon. but i recall a deeper sour, not bright and sharp.
    paulys55 likes this.
  29. so lamvinus is lactic (lemony, up front, super bright sour), vigneronne is deep, back of the throat, burning sour.

    yes, i'd agree. but you're confusing things by saying one is "sour" and one is "acidic" for they are BOTH sour AND acidic, but the nature of the acid is different.
    OtisCampbell likes this.
  30. stupac2

    stupac2 Initiate (0) California Feb 22, 2011

    Yeah, I think he really does mean "acetic" from the descriptions. I was wondering the same thing.

    I haven't really noticed a different in the sour qualities of either, and I have done a side-by-side. Shrug.
  31. "acetic" should really only mean acetic acid, as in vinegar. it has a prominent smell. anything more than a trace is considered a flaw to native belgian lambic brewers and blenders.
  32. Oldest lamvinus I have had was 5-6 years old. Oldest viggy was 11-12 years old.
  33. TheBandit1

    TheBandit1 Initiate (0) Michigan Mar 19, 2011

    I had a1997 Kriek at Monks in Philadelphia last summer and it was phenomenal. Slight cherry. Tons of funk. Just superb. Probably don't have the patience to let one of my 2012 bottles cellar until 2027, though.
  34. That's MOSTLY true, but clearly Hanssens does not agree, and Cantillon did not always (Jean Van Roy has worked very hard to reduce the acetic character of Cantillon, I have read).
  35. I remember that vintage being over the top sour when it came out. It was pretty awful. The year after is when the kriek started getting sweeter and less acidic.
  36. stupac2

    stupac2 Initiate (0) California Feb 22, 2011

    Definitely could be, I've never done a vertical.
  37. I've drank a lot of Cantillon in my day and have never detected any acetic character. I love their fruit lambics fresh or aged, but as many have stated the character does change over time. Older bottles are dryer, flatter, more brett-funky and more sour. My 07' Lou pepe gueuzes are almost totally flat now, and are less sour than a fresh classic gueuze for example. The Cantillon lambics with more delicate fruits (Fou foune, Vigneronne) seem to be best fresher, but they're always delicious IMO.
  38. This thread has a lot of good info. that that matches my experiences. I'd only like to add regarding Lou Pepe Kriek:

    - I drink a lot of Lou Pepe Kriek, 2007 is my favoriate vintage, 2008 a close 2nd, 2009 a WTF this isn't in the same league, and pre-2007 I'm all out so I'll just pretend that one no longer exists. :p For 2007 and 2008, I don't get the extreme sour thing at all. Very funky with a nice bite, yes, but not overly sour. I find 3 year old Gambrinus is a lot more sour that 2007 LP-K at this point.

    - Everyone always says that the cherry flavour fades. I had an epiphany a while back. It's not so much that the fruit fades (it does, but fades might not be the right word, changes is probably more accurate), but that the funk/sour intensifies and masks that fruit taste. This starts to really kick in at the 1 year point and on.

    Also, Lou Pepe Framboise is hardcore after a year or two. Develops the sour/acid thing much quicker than LP-K. Like on a different planet after about the 2.5 year point.
    1up likes this.
  39. I must say over the years I've seen conflicting info coming out of Cantillon. I think they've change their stance to what you write above, as they wanted to stop telling their customers who like aged Krieks "You're doing it wrong!". The old way was not a good business strategy in some ways, customer being always right and all...:p
    1up likes this.
  40. Not saying your palate is wrong or anything, but there is something amiss here? Are you comparing 2007 LP-K to 2008? Keg or bottle? Because 2008 is simular but with a much stronger cherry finish, but less funk and lively carbonation from what I've found.

    (If there is one beer that I've drank enough to know something about, or at least have an opinion on, it's Lou Pepe Kriek! :p)