The 'vintage' edition of Cuvée Armand & Gaston, one of 3 Fonteinen's greatest geuzes; made the same way as the regular version, but some bottles are deemed to possess excellency by the brewery and held back for sale years later, after extensive ageing. In the Armand & Gaston case, there have been only two batches so far, at least to my knowledge: the first one blended in 2015 and released only in 2018 (in magnum bottles I believe) and this second one, blended in 2017 and released in 2020 (in 37.5 cl bottles). For the record, my sample, from the last of these two batches, mentions "assemblage n° 19 - seizoen 16/17". Thickly moussy, audibly fizzing, egg-white, quite large-bubbled head, receding but generally stable, until it does dissolve in the very end; misty deep amber-tinged orange blonde robe with fierce 'champenoise' sparkling rushing throughout - a delight to the eye. Very deep, noble, mature aroma of bitter orange peel, sherry vinegar or at least old dry sherry, old wet wood, oxidized white wine of decades old, grass silage, dusty attic, olive, haystack, apple peel, unripe persimmon, peach kernels, green plums, stale armpit sweat funkiness, dried bitter plant leaves, mugwort from an old herbarium even, old rusk. Fizzy onset in a fine-bubbled, 'crystalline' way, playing with initially quite colourful fruitiness of unripe peach, persimmon, crabapple and rowanberry to even brown olives, becoming more 'contemplative' and vinous further on, as in old oxidized wine, moving over a firm bread-crusty backbone with deep lactic acidity trailing behind - all the while exuding this typical sherry vinegar-, herb tea- and bitter orange peel-like quality common to old lambic of good quality. Pronounced woodiness and this 'old hop' bitter note in the depths of the beer further expand its full complexity, but a lemony acidity keeps things fresh till the end. Very unmistakably 'old' - but in the most graceful, elegant and profound way, like an 'ordinary' 3 Fonteinen geuze which has aged for two decades in optimal circumstances. Glad I got my hands on this bottle, this is one of those great lambic experiences which keep me going through the trouble of searching bottles, opening them and reviewing them in detail. Geuze truly is the king of beers, especially when executed and treated with the wisdom, patience, respect and expertise that shine through here.
Fairly hazy orange with a cream coloured head. Aroma of dry cellar funk, citrus, green apple notes, cobwebs. Flavour is moderate sour. Medium bodied with soft carbonation.
Pours unclear amber. Big white head (mild gusher, even) . Scent is full, creamy lambic. Taste is sharp, medium acidity. Full, oak, high carbo, yet a very mature taste. Lovely, would be interested to see what it does in the years to come. As for the carbo, it might improve - yet tastewise it's already quite a gem.
Cloudy copper with a decent white head. Nice petroleum funk. Soured plum and a nice light funk and clean finish. Nice.
Bottle shared. Slight hazy dark golden to light amber, looks quite dark. Fizzy pale beige head. Deep 3F funk, soft caramel, woody, dried stone fruits. Quite fruity and deep cellar notes. Just medium sour, lighter sweet and light bitter. Solid medium bodied, sparkly carbonation. Maybe not better than some regular blends, but damn this is tasty AF.
Bottled 14/02/17. Pretty loud POP. Pours a fairly dark copper, clear, with lots of carbonation and dense, white foam. Smells woody, sour, some citrus and apple. Loads of sharp carbonation. Taste is light sour, earthy, nicely funky. Very rounded and easy.
Bottle from 3F Webshop. Clear orange with mid-sized off-white head. Loads of red apple skin, high minerality, wet oak. Funky barnyard as well. Multiple layers of complexity. Phenomenal beer!
Pours a darker, orange/blonde. Medium big white head. Smell is funky, dried lemon, oak, bright. Taste is very tart, yet balanced. Loads of lactic and malic acid. Little acetic acid. High (too high, to me) carbo. Dry, oaky. Medium funk. Citrussy ending. Even though it's 'old' upon release, i think this beer will improve much with longer ageing, as the overcarbonation will go down and tastes will grow in depth. looking forward to re-rating this in a few years !