Traditional Blended Beer Styles
This sidebar on traditional blended beer styles accompanied “Blended to Perfection,” which appeared in our September 2015 issue.
Gueuze: A blend of one-, two-, and three-year-old lambic that requires the blender’s artful attention to not only bring the various vintages to their full potential, but also maintain each producer’s “house” profile. The young lambic brings a certain joie de vivre to the beer, as well as residual sugars, which the residual Brettanomyces will slowly use to carbonate this champagne of beers.
Barrel-Aged Barley Wine and Stout: Given the spirit barrel shortage, brewers typically have to use a hodgepodge of various barrels, spanning different types of oak and spirits. The beer ages differently in each one and it takes careful blending to ensure that the final product isn’t overwhelmed with oak, or too boozy.
Flanders Red: This beer begins as a malty Belgian brown ale that has been allowed to sour while aging in oak. Traditionally, the aged beer was then blended with a younger batch to merge the tangy, tannic-forward “oude” beer with the sweet fruitiness of the young. Rodenbach’s Grand Cru, a blend of two-year old beer along with its fresh counterpart, typifies this wonderful style.