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Kriek lambic is a style of Belgian beer, made by fermenting lambic with sour Morello cherries. The name is derived from the Flemish word for this type of cherry (kriek). Traditionally "Schaarbeekse krieken" (a rare Belgian Morello variety) from the area around Brussels are used. As the Schaarbeek type cherries have become more difficult to find, some brewers have replaced these (partly or completely) with other varieties of sour cherries, sometimes imported.
Traditionally, kriek is made by breweries in and around Brussels using lambic beer to which sour cherries (with the pits) are added. A lambic is a sour and dry Belgian beer, fermented spontaneously with airborne yeast said to be native to Brussels; the presence of cherries (or raspberries) predates the almost universal use of hops as a flavoring in beer. A traditional kriek made from a lambic base beer is sour and dry as well. The cherries are left in for a period of several months, causing a refermentation of the additional sugar. Typically no sugar will be left so there will be a fruit flavour without sweetness. There will be a further maturation process after the cherries are removed.
More recently, some lambic brewers have added sugar to the final product of their fruit beers, in order to make them less intense and more approachable to a wider audience. They also use cherry juice rather than whole cherries and are matured for much shorter periods.
Framboise or Frambozenbier is a related, less traditional Belgian beer, fermented with raspberries instead of sour cherries. Kriek is also related to geuze, which is not a fruit beer but is also based on refermented lambic beer. Some breweries, like Liefmans, make cherry beers based on oud bruin beer instead of lambic.
Traditional krieks include:
Sweetened krieks include:
'Kriek' based on Oud Bruin include:
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