Brouwerij Timmermans Oude Lambiek and Kriekenlambiek

Brouwerij Timmermans of Itterbeek has just launched two lambics for sale that beer lovers should be very interested in. The venerable brewery, which I covered in great detail here, just released Oude Lambiek 2011 and Kriekenlambiek 2012 in bag-in-box form.

Photo of a glass of lambic, Timmermans.
A glass of lambic taken from a barrel at Timmermans.

Brewmaster Willem Van Herreweghen and owner Anthony Martin had told me of their plans to offer straight lambic to the public during a 2012 visit, and mentioned this again during the Toer de Geuze in April 2013. It’s good to see these brews hitting the Belgian market, albeit in small quantities. Straight draft lambic is not very common in Belgium, and just a few breweries, such as Girardin, Oud Beersel, and now Timmermans, offer it in bag-in-box form. You can also find lambic from Cantillon on offer at select bars in Brussels from time to time. Both the Timmermans brews are offered in the 5-liter size.

Timmermans Oude Lambiek in a 5 liter bag-in-box.
Timmermans Oude Lambiek in a 5 liter bag-in-box.

The Oude Lambiek matured for at least two years in oak barrels that used to hold Port wine, some of which are more than 100 years old. A press release from Timmermans describes the beer as such: “The aroma is freshly sour, with a suggestion of truffles and humus, and a hint of vanilla. The taste is of slightly smoked oak, and fruity. The finish is that of a pleasantly bitter freshness, a perfect balance between the soft vanilla from the oak vats and the bitter freshness so distinctive of lambic.”

The Oude Lambiek is from pijpen number 23 (pijpen means pipe, a word for a barrel of a certain size.)

Photo of cherries in a barrel
Cherries in a barrel and a glass of kriekenlambic, Timmermans.

From the brewery, about the Kriekenlambiek:

“To brew Kriekenlambiek, Timmermans uses a particular variety of cherry: the Griotte. Following the harvest in late July, 200 kilograms of these well ripened cherries are placed in a 650-litre wooden barrel to which is added lambic that has already been left to mature for at least 12 months. This mixture now ferments a second time and is left to mature for a further 8 months minimum to obtain the distinctive Kriekenlambiek. This Kriekenlambiek forms the basic beer for the range of Timmermans traditional Kriek beers.”

The Kriekenlambiek, which comes from barrel number 273 is further described in the press release as: “The aroma is that of a fresh, fruity cherry, with an undertone of almond from the cherry stone. The full, refreshing flavour of cherry with a slight spiciness, and hint of almond. Aftertaste: Pleasantly bitter, due to the combination of the Griotte cherry and the lambic.”

Photo of whole cherries from a barrel.
Whole cherries (krieken) taken from a barrel, Timmermans.

Timmermans further notes that these two bag-in-box beers should be stored at 32 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit, and for a maximum of three months for freshness. Once opened, the beer should be consumed…nay, savored, within a month. These two special edition brews will only be available in March and April of this year, at “an exclusive selection of cafés and brasseries,” in Belgium.

Both of these lambics come from oak barrels, which is noted on the box. Timmermans also has a number of barrels made from chestnut, and we are likely to see special release brews from these barrels as well at some point. Hopefully sooner rather than later, because I might be thirsty the next time I am in Belgium.

I’d say in my opinion the beer would be optimal around 48 degrees Fahrenheit. Having sampled Timmermans lambics and kriekenlambics of various ages right from the barrels at the brewery, including two year old versions, I can safely say these two brews are well worth seeking out of you happen to be in Belgium sometime this spring. Enjoy!

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