Sour Beer Studies: Vichtenaar, Verhaeghe, Belgium

Sibling to the more popular Duchesse De Bourgogne, I got this one at Beers of the World in Rochester at the beginning of August. Frankly, I can’t believe that it’s lasted this long as one thing I am learning from these sour beer studies is that I could be a wee bit obsessed with these Flemish ones.

At 5.1%, not a heavy-weight by any length but not many of these are. The brewery’s explanation of the beer is in Flemish but have a go, tell us what you think it says – this bit especially:

De smaak van de “Vichtenaar” kan men omschrijven als licht zurig en complex en dit door de lange gisting in eikenhouten vaten.

If you need a hint, I recall that “smaak” is taste, which you might have figured out yourself. “Omschrijven”? – not so sure.

Translucent mahogany ale under fine tan froth and foam, the aroma is sherry and nuts, vanilla and a little vinegar. Very soft water, as the website states, makes this very moreish – surprisingly so with one of this style. Initially I thought that this was less complex than other Flemish sours I had had but it’s just a bit less strident, the sour a bit recessed, the yeast milky, the malt all full of cherry and pear and maybe, just maybe, a tiny note of maple. Plenty of BAer respect.

One thought on “Sour Beer Studies: Vichtenaar, Verhaeghe, Belgium”

  1. Mark Tichenor – September 19, 2007 11:44 AM
    De smaak van de “Vichtenaar” kan men omschrijven als licht zurig en complex en dit door de lange gisting in eikenhouten vaten.

    My nigh-fluency in German helps me puzzle out Dutch/Flemish. ‘omschrijven’ is ‘describe’ in this context. It kinda says ‘One can describe The flavor of Vichtenaar as’ and then a bunch of stuff I can’t figure out.

    Alan – September 19, 2007 12:17 PM
    That makes sense as I remember from my Dutch residency of 21 years ago that “schrijvener” (author?) was a key word in proving whether you could speak Dutch with the “ch” being quite a horky gutteral. Being a kid of Scots immigrants such robust consonants are a piece of cake.

    Ethan Cox – September 19, 2007 11:16 PM
    Definitely means “to describe”, the root “schriven” means “to write”

    For the rest, though, I need my NE/EN dictionary. Basically, something about being lightly sour (licht zurig) & complex as as a result of a long fermentation in oaken vats.

    Lew Bryson – September 24, 2007 10:24 AM
    Nice beer, I’m sure, but…what a gorgeous background!

    Alan – September 24, 2007 10:32 AM
    I have been invited to the book launch for Beer and Philosophy, Lew, to be held in Baltimore so I need to check the best references available.

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