Sour/wild ale style beers have a amber brown colour
Sour/wild ale characteristics
A sour ale, also known as wild ale is a category that englobes all type of ales that are brewed with other bacterias than traditional brewing yeasts—Brettanomyces, Lactobacillus, Pediococcus or Acetobacter to name the most common. The composition of this microflora varies a lot even between short geographical distances—probably due to the evolutionary pressure of human brewing activity—making each local variation unique.
Berliner Weisse is a low alcohol German wheat beer. Very pale in color, with a clean sourness—produced by the fermentation with lactobacillus—and a very high carbonation level, aromas are very sour and sometimes fruity. Flavour is sour, funk and quite strong sometimes, with a dry finish and no hop flavours at all. It is generally not as acidic and has a lower ABV than a Lambic.
Fruity Lambic is a variety of Lambic often produced like Gueuze Lambic—by mixin one, two and three year old Lambics in the same bottle. Fruit is added halfway the aging process, so the yeast and the bacteria can ferment all the sugars from the fruit. Most traditional styles of fruit lambic are kriek (with cherries), framboise (with raspberries) and druivenlambik (with muscat grapes). The flavour of the fruit should be evident, coming in hand with a sour flavour. When young, the beer preserves its fruity taste, but when aged the lambic character becames more dominant.
Gueuze Lambic is a variety of Lambic, traditionally produced by mixing blends of one, two and three year old lambics in the same bottle. While the young Lambic contributes with the sugar for the fermentation, the old Lambic gives the sour and wild character of aged Lambic.
Another difference with normal Lambics is that Gueuze is served carbonated. Finally, the mixture of blends give them a more complex character, being the oude and ville gueuzes considered as the more traditional examples.
Gose is a wheat beer brewed with lactic fermentation, and flavoured with coriander and salt. It includes at least 50% of malted wheat and it has a hazy appearance with a medium yellow color. Aroma is slightly fruity with presence of coriander. Flavor is sour with lemon character, fruity notes and noticiable salty taste. Carbonation is high and acidity is not as intense as Berliner Weisse or Lambic.
Straight lambic are unblended—in contrast with Gueuze or Fruity Lambics, and are more variable in character. They are usually served as an in-house drink, with little or no carbonation. Younger versions are less complex, as Lambic character is not fully developed before a year. Young examples have a lactic-sour flavour, while more mature ones tend to be more ballanced. There is no hop character at all. Aroma is also sour and sometimes fruity, and finish is always dry.
Saison style can have different appearances—pale or dark—and strenght—table, standard or super—, but generally it is a refreshing and low ABV beer with a high carbonation. It can have complex aromas, with fruits or spices, and the flavor also have that attributes, with a almost non-noticiable alcohol and always a dry finish.
Bière de Garde
Bière de Garde is a traditional style from Northen France. Its name means beer that has to be lagered, and it was the beer produced during winters in order to avoid problems with yeast and then consumed in summers—like the Belgian Saison. There are three substyles: ambrée (amber), brune (brown) and blond (blonde) and also the Bière de Mars, a beer that is supposed to be brewed in March and not to be aged. The differences with the Saison style is that Bière de Garde is more based in malts and it does not have a spicy or bitter character.
Sour Red / Brown is a cathegory that covers two styles that share a continuity and are originary from Flanders. Their defining character is the fruity character, pressence of malts, and a very wine-like character. The Flanders Red Ale style is closely related with the products of Rodenbach brewery.