What was the oldest bottle of bottle of lambic you've tried, and how was it?

Discussion in 'Cellaring / Aging Beer' started by redmagik99, Apr 8, 2013.

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  1. redmagik99

    redmagik99 Initiate (0) May 15, 2007 California

    Just trying to get a sense of how old is too old, and whether anything is worth holding onto on the order of decades. Any standout experiences, good or bad? I for one sampled some Hanssen's gueuze from the late 90s, and it was probably the best gueuze I ever had.
  2. kscaldef

    kscaldef Initiate (0) Jun 11, 2010 Oregon

    1991 De Neve. It was great.
  3. ShanePB

    ShanePB Poo-Bah (2,011) Sep 6, 2010 Pennsylvania

    1993 Cantillon Rose de Gambrinus. Had it about 3 weeks ago. It was absolutely phenomenal.
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  4. stupac2

    stupac2 Initiate (0) Feb 22, 2011 California

    It depends a lot. I had a gueuze from the 1970's that was great (I think Hanssens but I'm not sure), but I had an Eylenbosch from 1990 that was nothing special. Then again, just yesterday I had another Hanssens from late 90's/early 00's that was phenomenal. Then again again, a Cantillon Framboise from 1982 was definitely too old. I haven't personally had it, but I head a similar vintage Cantillon Gueuze was oxidized and gross.

    My experiences with <15-year-old lambic are pretty much universally positive.

    I think that there are a lot of variables in it. Gueuze seems to go longer provided the cork holds up and the environment is good, but I haven't had as many really old fruit lambics from breweries I trust (no clue how good Eylenbosch was, really). It's largely just preference but I like my fruit lambics fresher, when the fruit is still singing (of course, I won't turn down older ones...). I like gueuze a bit older, and when you find that one that's over a decade old it can be magical (you know, provided the cork kept, etc etc).
  5. UCLABrewN84

    UCLABrewN84 Initiate (0) Mar 18, 2010 California

    Same here.
  6. OddNotion

    OddNotion Defender (600) Nov 1, 2009 New Jersey

    I have a bottle of this but just cant get myself to open it up!
  7. mikecharley

    mikecharley Devotee (401) Nov 6, 2008 Pennsylvania

    1985ish Cantillon super Gueuze opened last summer

    Was absolutely phenomenal. Still had a great pucker to it, really earthy. Had a fair amount of carbonation as well.
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  8. SpeedwayJim

    SpeedwayJim Poo-Bah (3,326) Jun 19, 2009 New York

    1959 Drie Fonteinen Gueuze. Tasted like stale vinegar. Glad to try it though!
  9. waltersrj

    waltersrj Initiate (0) Dec 16, 2010 Washington

    I was fortunate to be able to try Cantillon Brabantiae from 1989 I believe. The cork actually came out just fine and Brabantiae actually tasted very good and had carbonation which blew my mind. Awesome stuff.
  10. Pundarquartis

    Pundarquartis Initiate (0) Mar 13, 2010 Denmark

    1984 Eylenbosch Gueuze. Still lively in carbonation and tasted phenomenal. Stored and cellared properly in Akkurat's cellar though.
  11. peteinSD

    peteinSD Initiate (0) Apr 25, 2010 California

    '01 LP Gueuze in '11 - kicked ass!
  12. olympuszymurgus

    olympuszymurgus Initiate (0) Nov 24, 2009 California

    Early 80s hansens kreik. Phenomenal, sharp and crisp, acidic with minor funk.

    94 rose de Gambrinus, stately, oxidized, funky, sharp.
  13. errantnight

    errantnight Savant (944) Jul 7, 2005 District of Columbia

    1985 Belle Vue Gueuze at In De Heeran Van Liedekercke and a 1987 Elyenbosch Kriek and 1988 Mort Subite Gueuze at In De Verzekering De Grote Dorst last July.

    All three were superb/phenomenal. In particular I was shocked at the huge cherry character of the Kriek.
  14. stupac2

    stupac2 Initiate (0) Feb 22, 2011 California

    I had that same vintage in the same bar and thought it was terrible. Oxidized mess. Palate differences or bottle variation?
  15. errantnight

    errantnight Savant (944) Jul 7, 2005 District of Columbia

    Bottle variation, for sure, I'm sensitive to oxidation, had other less old beers on the trip ruined with age... Either we got lucky or you unlucky, I'm afraid.
  16. davey101

    davey101 Meyvn (1,119) Apr 14, 2009 Connecticut

    Oldest is just an '02 :slight_frown: De Cam Oude Lambiek which was obviously flat but it blew my mind and is a top 3 beer for me. I've also dabbled in vintage "lesser" aged sweetened fruit lambics. '07 Liefmans Frambozenbier, '06 Liefmans Kriekbier, '05 St. Louis Premium Peche, '05 De Boomgard Peche, etc. All of those have been heavily oxidized and not great.
  17. stupac2

    stupac2 Initiate (0) Feb 22, 2011 California

    That's what I figured. Oh well, I knew we were gambling with something that old, luckily it wasn't terribly expensive.
  18. RblWthACoz

    RblWthACoz Initiate (0) Aug 19, 2006 Pennsylvania

    '84 Mariage Parfait. Was quite good.
  19. ridglens

    ridglens Aspirant (286) Jan 10, 2010 Indiana

    wow '59?! that's pretty slick, was there any label left?
  20. SpeedwayJim

    SpeedwayJim Poo-Bah (3,326) Jun 19, 2009 New York

    No label. Just a half disintegrated cork IIRC.
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  21. ridglens

    ridglens Aspirant (286) Jan 10, 2010 Indiana

    pretty cool.

    I'll add that to my bucket list: "try beer 2x as old as i am"
  22. TheBandit1

    TheBandit1 Initiate (0) Mar 19, 2011 Michigan

    1997 Cantillon Kriek. 375 at Monks in Philly last summer. Just great. I kept turning to wife and saying that I couldn't believe I was drinking a beer from the year I graduated from high school.
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  23. TurdFurgison

    TurdFurgison Poo-Bah (3,424) May 29, 2005 Ohio

    1959 Drie Fonteinen Framboos is my oldest. Tasted horrible, loads of acetone.

    The oldest good lambic/gueuze would be mid-1980s Cantillon Gueuze I guess. The oldest GREAT lambic/gueuze I've tried might be late 90s Drie Fonteinen Oude Gueuze.
  24. mathieu87

    mathieu87 Initiate (0) Jun 22, 2011 Belgium

    Had several oude geuze and kriek that was between 45 and 20 years old. The old Moriau, De Neve, Oud Beersel. I really love those sour beers. The age gives them a whole different level of complexity!
  25. traPISSED

    traPISSED Initiate (0) Apr 18, 2013 Brazil

    I've tried quite a few old bottles over the last few years.

    1976 Dekoninck Gueuze: this was the original version made before they closed. Not the Frank Boon sweetened stuff. It was fantastic and had really held up well. You could tell it was a very well made Gueuze. It's a shame they went out of business. It was very musty and sour with a hint of port (oxidisation) and still lots of citrus and funk. Plenty of carbonation. Very spritzy.

    1979 Boon Kriek: the cork blew out and the beer poured murky burgundy. It poured with lots of carbonation. It was still conditioned beautifully. The beer was like a Gueuze until I got midway through the bottle. Then the colour changed and the cherry really came to the front. Lots of fruit. This was the first vintage of Boon Kriek and he produced only around 300 bottles. The base lambic was actually from the defunct brewery De Vits.

    1981 De Troch Gueuze and Kriek. The Kriek was still very red in colour and was very very sour. Though even when new these original De Troch lambics where some of the most sour in Belgium. Still plenty of carbonation too. The Gueuze was a drainpour. Oxidisation did its worst to this one sadly. However you could tell it had been a very traditional Gueuze.

    1982 Moriau Kriek: was a true delight. Had a few bottles of this and it was actually an unblended kriekenlambic that had been bottled. It poured bright pink and perfectly still. It was like one of the lightest and fruity burgundy wines. These where truly stunning. So fresh tasting and balanced between the fruit and the base lambic. I think the base lambic was the original Vanderlinden lambic as Moriau just blended.

    1989 Selection Lambic: was a very good Gueuze. Very bright and citrusy. It reminded me of a Hanssens Gueuze in its character. Not as sour as the later 1999 vintage but the sourness was aggressive in a bright, refreshing way. There was not much funk and there was certainly no hint of how old it was.

    1972 Felix Kriek Speciaal: is not a lambic but actually a sour ale with cherries added. Similar to Rodenbach Alexander. I've had three bottles recently and without a doubt it is the best aged beer I've ever had. It still has lots of cherry, funk and a very mellow carbonation. All three bottles where good with one being out of this world good. I'd never imagine a 40 year old beer to be so good. These bottles where from the original brewery and they where aged in the old oak barrels. This was a proper wild fermentation beer from a great brewery. Unfortunately in the mid 80's they had to modernise/got bought out. The beer from then on was sweetened and not that great. I've still got one more and it will keep for another 10 years.

    1966 Rodenbach: was surprisingly good for the age. I opened it when it was 45 years old. It was unmistakably Rodenbach. It had to breathe for a few minuets to let an intense mustyness clear but after that it was a rather pleasant beer. It was certainly well past its peak but I wouldn't say it was too old.
  26. Mandark

    Mandark Initiate (199) Apr 8, 2008 Illinois

    That was a pleasure to read, thank you. I'll BM you my address for an invitation to your next tasting!
  27. traPISSED

    traPISSED Initiate (0) Apr 18, 2013 Brazil

    Haha, thanks :wink:
  28. HomeBrewed

    HomeBrewed Initiate (0) Dec 10, 2006 Minnesota

    Did we try the same one at the Wild Beer Fest in Mpls. last year? I thought it was good, but fresh Rose is much better IMO.
  29. MatthewPlus

    MatthewPlus Aspirant (272) Jan 2, 2013 Idaho

    did a 1978 bruoscella at zwanze day this past year. it tasted like sour blue cheese... tremendous amount of funk, but pretty much just wheat i expected.
  30. olympuszymurgus

    olympuszymurgus Initiate (0) Nov 24, 2009 California

    Yep, same bottle. I just traded for an identical bottle too.

    Better? Maybe. Different? For sure. An interesting experience I want to try again.

    I bet we have run into each other, at WTwBA and some other shit.
  31. SpeedwayJim

    SpeedwayJim Poo-Bah (3,326) Jun 19, 2009 New York

    Like TurdFurgison states above, the '50s lambic/gueuze are way, way past their prime at this point. It might be cool to try but its not worth the price of admission at all. Just have some white vinegar mixed with nail polish remover... you'll get a sense of what the gueuze tasted like.

    The early-mid '90s lambic/gueuze are the ones to be chasing right now IMO.
  32. ridglens

    ridglens Aspirant (286) Jan 10, 2010 Indiana

    Well, they are likely all out of my "price range", i'm probably better off getting some new and/or 5-10 yr old ones and just hanging out for a decade waiting haha.

    Thanks for the advice though!
  33. ridglens

    ridglens Aspirant (286) Jan 10, 2010 Indiana

    wow, that is awesome...

    From time to time i am reminded that i truly only dabble in beer haha.
  34. traPISSED

    traPISSED Initiate (0) Apr 18, 2013 Brazil

    Thanks ridglens, I love my lambics but I got lucky with most of those bottles. Many old bottles I found in cellar clearances in Belgium and Italy. Right place at the right time sort of thing.
  35. traPISSED

    traPISSED Initiate (0) Apr 18, 2013 Brazil

    That's what I did recently, my wife bought me 17 75cl bottles of cantillon. Assorted types. All vintages where from 2002 or 2004. Even had a first batch Cuvee Des Champoins. It's great because they are all near 10 years old and for my preference they will only need another 5 or so years!

    I agree with an above poster that the best age is about 15 years in the bottle.
  36. ejeffer11

    ejeffer11 Aspirant (214) Feb 15, 2008 New York

    guess i'll hang on to that cuvee des champions i have for a while longer - thanks for sharing
  37. awinkro

    awinkro Initiate (0) Oct 15, 2008 Texas

    As mentioned before, '91 De Neve is my oldest. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Poured like mead but didn't have the viscosity you would think. The flavor lingered on the palate for a good 3-5 minutes, but in the best way possible. Like a sour peach flower that blossomed in your mouth with each passing minutes.
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