Girardin Black Label Gueuze

The past few years, I’ve cracked open a big, effervescent saison beer to ring in the New Year. Such saisons are a solid fit for the occasion, but they’re not quite the champagne of beers, which is clearly the Gueuze style. A blend of spontaneously fermented beer aged in oak, incorporating beer that’s at least 2 years old, Gueuzes are also quite bright and effervescent. They are usually even caged and corked, just like champagne. Alas, I appear to have misplaced my sabre, so I had to open it the old fashioned way.

This Girardin variety seems to be pretty well regarded for a gueuze not made by Cantillon or Drie Fonteinen, so let’s see how 2013 began, beerwise:

Girardin Gueuze

Girardin Black Label Gueuze 1882 – Pours a bright orange color, slightly hazy, with a finger of white head. Smells of fruity funk, with that twang that indicates sourness. Taste is very sweet, with some tart fruit hitting in the middle and evolving into true sourness in the finish. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, but crisp, well carbonated, drinkable, but that sweetness gets to be a bit much as you finish this off. Still, it’s all pretty well done. Not quite the revelation that, say, Tilquin was, but very good in its own way. B+

Beer Nerd Details: 5% ABV bottled (375 ml, caged and corked). Drank out of a tulip glass on 1/1/13.

The sour march goes on, some other exciting stuff in the pipeline too, so stay tuned.

3 thoughts on “Girardin Black Label Gueuze”

  1. Geuzes are supposed to be a blend of 1, 2, and 3 year old lambic. However, I’m not sure if that is a rule or just a guideline, if you know what I mean. I know the proper geuze produces follow that for the most part, sometimes adding in a 4 year old barrel if they are doing something special.

    And the black label version is much better than the white label. I had the latter in Belgium and thought it was too sweet.

  2. Yeah, I meant to link to my Tilquin review, which covers the whole Gueuze blending thing a little better, but then I forgot! In an interview, the Tilquin guy said their first release was a simple 2 year and 1 year blend, but they only did that because they were brand new and needed to get some revenue flowing (understandable – waiting three full years to get any return on investment must be difficult if you’ve got no revenue stream at all).

    As I understand it, the Black Label used to be a top 100 beer, but it’s been crowded out by the glut of new beers (or maybe BA’s new inclusion of hads)…

  3. I haven’t had it so I don’t know how it compares to other geuzes. I have heard positive things about it and that it is generally more available and cheaper.


Leave a Comment