|Country of origin||Belgium (Zenne Valley, Pajottenland)|
|Yeast type||Spontaneous fermentation|
|Alcohol by volume||5-9%|
|Flavour||Dry, cidery, musty, sour|
|Related products||Kriek, Framboise|
Gueuze (Dutch: geuze, pronounced [ˈɣøzə]; French: gueuze, [ɡøz]) is a type of lambic, a Belgian beer. It is made by blending young (1-year-old) and old (2- to 3-year-old) lambics, which is bottled for a second fermentation. Because the young lambics are not fully fermented, the blended beer contains fermentable sugars, which allow a second fermentation to occur.
Due to its lambic blend, gueuze has a different flavor than traditional ales and lagers. Because of their use of aged hops, lambics lack the characteristic hop aroma or flavor found in most other beers. Furthermore, the wild yeasts that are specific to lambic-style beers give gueuze a dry, cider-like, musty, sour, acetic acid, lactic acid taste. Many describe the taste as sour and "barnyard-like". Because of its carbonation, gueuze is sometimes called "Brussels Champagne".
In modern times, some brewers have added sweeteners such as aspartame to their gueuzes to sweeten them, trying to make the beer more appealing to a wider audience. The original, unsweetened version is often referred to as "Oude Gueuze" ("Old Gueuze") and became more popular in the early 2000s. Tim Webb, a British writer on Belgian and other beers, comments on the correct use of the term "'Oude gueuze' or 'oude geuze', now legally defined and referring to a drink made by blending two or more 100% lambic beer."
Traditionally, gueuze is served in champagne bottles, which hold either 375 or 750 millilitres (12+3⁄4 or 25+1⁄4 US fl oz). Traditionally, gueuze, and the lambics from which it is made, has been produced in the area known as Pajottenland and in Brussels. However, some non-Pajottenland/Brussels lambic brewers have sprung up and one or two also produce gueuze – see table below. Gueuze (both 'Oude' and others) qualified for the European Union's designation 'TSG' (Traditional Speciality Guaranteed) in 1997/98.
The name was first seen as the Flemish word 'geuze-bier' in a French text in 1829.
There is some debate on where the word gueuze originated. One theory is that it originated from geysa (geyser), Old Norse for gush, since, during times of vigorous fermentation, gueuze will spew out of the bunghole of its enclosing oak barrel.. Another one derives it from a street called 'Geuzenstraat' (Geuzen Street) in Brussels, but such a street does not exist there.
Another theory derives it from the French word 'gueuse' (meaning pig iron or raw iron), as originally, gueuze was defined as raw (unblended), aged, but fine-tasting lambic.
Some American craft breweries have begun blending young and old sour beers, to produce their own versions of the traditional gueuze. In 2016 Jester King Brewery released a blended, spontaneously fermented beer which it labelled as "Méthode Gueuze." However, the High Council for Artisanal Lambic Beers (HORAL) objected to the name, and the two parties arranged a meeting in Belgium. It was agreed that in future the American brewers would use the designation "Méthode Traditionelle" as a style name.
Commercial production of Gueuze
Commercial production of gueuze commenced in the 19th century; modern breweries that produce gueuze include:
- 3 Fonteinen
- De Cam
- Mort Subite
- Oud Beersel
- De Troch
Oude Geuze breweries and beers
This section needs to be updated. The reason given is: These numbers are a decade old and could use an update.(October 2020)
Information extracted from Webb.
Pajottenland / Brussels
- Mariage parfait Oude Gueuze (8%)
- Moriau Oude Gueuze (7%)
- Oude Gueuze (7%)
- Dekoninck Gueuze (6%)
- Gueuze 100% lambic (5%)
- Lou Pepe Gueuze (5%)
- De Cam Oude Gueuze (6.5%)
- De Troch Cuvée Chapeau Oude Gueuze (5.5%)
- 3 Fonteinen
- Vintage Oude Gueuze (8%)
- Oude Gueuze (6%)
- Millennium Gueuze (7%)
- 50e Anniversary Gueuze (6%)
- 1882 Gueuze black label (5%)
- 1882 Gueuze white label (5%)
- Hanssens Artisanaal Oude Gueuze (6%)
- Lindemans Cuvée René Oude Gueuze (5.5%)
- Mort Subite Natural Oude Gueuze (7.2%)
- Oud Beersel Oude Gueuze (6%)
- Timmermans 'Limited Edition' Oude Gueuze (5.5%)
Non-Pajottenland / Brussels
- Gueuzerie Tilquin - Oude Gueuze Tilquin à l'Ancienne (6.4%)
- Van Honsebrouck - Gueuze Fond Tradition (5%)
Gallery of Oude Geuze producers
Geuzestekerij De Cam
- "Lambic - Gueuze".
- "Geuze pronunciation in Dutch", Forvo.com.
- "Second Geuze pronunciation in Dutch - although misspelt", Forvo.com.
- "Gueuze pronunciation in French", Forvo.com.
- Webb, 2010, p.19
- Webb, 2010, p.15
- Jean Baptiste Vrancken, ‘Antwoord op vraag 81’, in: Nieuwe verhandelingen van het Bataafsch Genootschap der Proefondervindelijke Wijsbegeerte te Rotterdam, Rotterdam 1829, p. 77.
- Raf Meert, Lambic. The untamed Brussels beer. Origin, evolution and future, Diest 2022, p. 117.
- Borchelt, Nathan (29 November 2013). "The Bruery Rueuze Review". Paste Magazine. Retrieved 15 February 2014.
- Food & Wine. Belgian Brewers Object to 'Methode Gueuze' Name on American Beers.
- The New York Times. American Beers With a Pungent Whiff of Place.
- "Methodetraditionnelle.org. On Méthode Gueuze, The Disagreement with HORAL, and A New Way Forward.". Archived from the original on 2019-12-03. Retrieved 2019-12-02.
- Webb, 2010, pp.30-53, 56-57
- Jackson, Michael (1998). Michael Jackson's great beers of Belgium (3rd ed.). Philadelphia: Running Press. p. 343. ISBN 9780762404032.
- Protz, Roger (2005). 300 beers to try before you die!. St. Albans: Campaign for Real Ale. p. 304. ISBN 978-1852492137.
- Proz, Roger (2000). The taste of beer. London: Seven Dials. p. 256. ISBN 9781841880662.
- Webb, Tim; Pollard, Chris; McGinn, Siobhan (2010). LambicLand (2nd ed.). Cambridge,UK: Cogan & Mater. p. 127. ISBN 9780954778972.