Every now and then, we screw up. Forgetting to put the clothes in the dryer, leaving the milk out over night, or going to bed without setting the alarm. ShIt happens, just ask Forrest Gump. It also happens in the beer world too. Any homebrewer out there likely has had a batch or two they needed to choke down or perhaps the bottle fermentation left a few six packs shattered. Commercial brewing is not immune to these mistakes either, but it’s how you adjust to these mistakes that helps you learn. Tilquin, a Belgian Gueuzerie, adjusted nicely.
Tilquin’s Gueuze is their flagship beer, however, as we all know wild beers can be a bit unpredictable and their Gueuze is no exception. When bottling a batch, they found it to be a bit over carbonated for their tastes. Rather than drain pouring all of that beer, Pierre Tilquin decided to throw it in oak barrels again, let it ferment for a second time, and bottled it up once more. However, with that second fermentation, the alcohol in the brew crept up – new labels were needed and a new, mistaken beer was created, Tilquin2. Will it be on par with the rest of the Tilquin line up? Time for the numbers…
Appearance: Very little head from this beer, but a nice golden brown body. Merkyness is there, as expected, but was much more cloudy on the second pour.
Smell: Creaminess and lactic acid jump out on first sniff. A definite presence of oak lingers with some mustiness. Smells like a damp basement with cobwebs draped in every corner. I get a little lemon and lime citrus here as well, but not an abundant fruity smell.
Taste: This guy is sour. My one gripe against Tilquin’s regular Gueuze was that it was tart, but somewhat reserved for the style. Not here… not at all. A massive sour and lactic blow is delivered across the taste buds. Unlike its younger brother, it is not bitter in any sense; like its brother, Tilquin2 has a brineyness to it similar to Spanish olives. It is also a little vinegary, and while very tasty, it could also multitask by unclogging that stubborn drain or erasing those streaks in the bathtub – just pair it with a little baking soda. The extra time in oak does little to quell the sourness, but does impart some tannins and earthy undertones. The cobweb mustiness from the smell is not easily identifiable in the taste, but what does transfer over is the creaminess. The finish of this beer is surprisingly smooth and buttery, which eases the sourness of the beer going down.
I would say that Tilquin2 has medium body which I would contribute to its ramped up ABV. At 7.6%, this Gueuze packs a wallop that many beers from the same style simply don’t have. It may be the sourness or it may be the carbonation, but as you swallow you do get a sense that this beer is boozier than others in its class. Speaking of the carbonation, Tilquin got it right this time and its perfect for the style.
Overall: I found this version of Tilquin Gueuze to be much better than their regular version. The added ABV contributed to some complexities that their typical Gueuze didn’t have. The sourness was noticeably more present in this brew, but still gave way to some of the qualities of the barrel it was aged in. I give Tilquin2 an A. This was one mistake most consumers won’t be too upset about.