Friday, March 21, 2014

Beer Review: Oude Geuze (2004 Vintage)

Reviewing a 2004 vintage bottle Oude Geuze from Brouwerij Drie Fonteinen out of Belgium.

Score: 94

Bottled on 02/28/2004, which makes this bottle a few weeks over 10 years old at this point. Served in a Dark Lord snifter and enjoyed on 03/12/14.

Appearance: Pours a brownish color with a slight yellow hue and two fingers of soapy off-white head that quickly settles to a ring around the glass. Murky in appearance, getting cloudier as more yeast gets into the pour further down into the bottle. Poor lacing and retention. 4/5

Smell: Cedar wood and lemon dominate the nose, with notes of must, straw, black pepper and a surprisingly minimal barnyard funk. The cedar character reminds me a lot of Blauw. Quick the enticing aroma. 4.75/5

Taste: Tastes a lot like it smells, but with a lot less tartness than expected. Presumably, this has faded off over time given how tart the four to six year old bottles are currently drinking. Cedar, must, black pepper and a light mix of barnyard and lacto funk that is done just right. A little lemon flavor and tartness upfront too. The cedar character lingers nicely, particularly if you let this brew sit on the tongue for a bit before consuming. Notes of apples and grape too, but subtly. 4.5/5

Mouthfeel: Light bodied, minimal carbonation -- perhaps a bit undercarbonated. The bottle was pressurized when it popped, but the cork did not rocket off the bottle with vigor like the 2010 vintage bottle I opened a month ago. Very dry finish. Less tart than hoped/expected, but also much less funky than anticipated, which, for me, is a good thing. 4/5

Overall: Loved the cedar character here, but the lack of tartness/carbonation relative to other (fresher) vintages was definitely a minus on an otherwise excellent brew with great complexity. It is well rumored that Drie Fonteinen gueuze tends to fall off by the ten year mark, but this and the Blauw I drank recently were both holding up quite nicely. The 2004 magnum consumed on my birthday (July 2013) on the other hand was awful -- lots of feet-like funk, substantially less carbonation than this, and no tartness whatsoever. Maybe it is a synthetic cork issue with the magnums? Regardless, if you have a 750 ml bottle of this vintage and stored it right, drink with confidence now. My preference is for how the 2007's and 2008's are drinking at this moment.

Cost: $20 for a 750 ml bottle.

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