Belgian-Style Lambic – Belgian Origin Ale Styles

Belgian-Style Lambic Style

  • Color: Gold to medium amber
  • Clarity: Cloudiness is acceptable
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Sweet malt character should not be present
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Not present to very low, and can include cheesy or floral lavender-like attributes. Hop character is achieved by using stale and aged hops at low rates.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Very low
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Characteristic horsey, goaty, leathery and phenolic aromas and flavors derived from Brettanomyces yeast are often present at moderate levels. High to very high fruity esters are present. Traditionally, Lambics are unblended and spontaneously fermented. They express high to very high levels of fruity esters as well as bacteria and yeast-derived sourness. Some versions are fermented with the addition of cultured yeast and bacteria. Carbonation can range from very low to high. Vanillin and other wood-derived flavors should not be present.
  • Body: Very low with dry mouthfeel
  • Additional notes: Lambics originating in the Brussels area of Belgium are often simply called Lambic. Versions of this beer style made outside of the Brussels area cannot be called true Lambics. These versions are said to be “Belgian-Style Lambic” and may be made to resemble many of the beers of true origin. Historically, traditional Lambic is dry and completely attenuated, exhibiting no residual sweetness either from malt, sugar or other sweeteners. Sweet versions may be created through the addition of sugars or other sweeteners. Traditionally, Lambics are brewed with unmalted wheat and malted barley.

Belgian-Style Lambic Vital Statistics

  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.047-1.056 (11.7-13.8 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.000-1.010 (0.0-2.6 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 4.0%-6.5% (5.0%-8.2%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 9-23
  • Color SRM (EBC) 6-13(12-26 EBC)

2020 Brewers Association Beer Style Guidelines used with permission of Brewers Association.

Credit: 2020 Brewers Association Beer Style Guidelines – Ale Styles – Belgian Origin Ale Styles – Belgian-Style Lambic