Podcast Episode 234: Pierre Tilquin of Gueuzerie Tilquin Makes Lambic and Gueuze with Lively Spirit and Mathematical Precision

Tilquin’s strategy for blending gueuze is one part romance, one part math, as the experience he’s developed with lambics from different Belgian brewers informs every piece of the blend—from age to technical performance and flavor.

Jamie Bogner , Joe Stange Apr 16, 2022 - 6 min read

Podcast Episode 234: Pierre Tilquin of Gueuzerie Tilquin Makes Lambic and Gueuze with Lively Spirit and Mathematical Precision Primary Image

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Passionate people tend to have exacting ideas of how to do things, and Pierre Tilquin is no exception. The founder of Gueuzerie Tilquin has spent more than a decade now buying lambics from classic houses such as 3 Fonteinen, Cantillon, Boon, Lindemans, and Girardin, aging them in his own facility, and finally blending them in carefully considered ratios. A perfect blend isn’t solely based on taste. For example, making sure that the blend has the perfect amount of residual sugar to re-ferment in the bottle to the appropriate carbonation is of utmost importance.

But some of the assumptions about lambic—such as the idea that young lambic provides the fermentable sugar for bottle-conditioning—has not always proven true in Tilquin’s experience. Certain producers tend to produce lambic that finishes at higher or lower gravities. Some years, weather and culture conditions can alter the expected fermentation arc. That leaves Tilquin to do what blenders have done for centuries: use the tools at their disposal to build blends that are not only artful and inspired, but also functional.

In this episode, Tilquin discusses:

  • the characters of each of the brewers’ lambics he uses
  • using specific barrel sizes for lambics with different aging goals
  • maintaining the terroir of the producer with a strict barrel-cleaning regimen
  • temperature control in the barrel facility
  • developing a signature Tilquin style of gueuze
  • using trace amounts of certain “off” flavors in blends
  • trialing different unusual fruits for addition to lambic
  • brewing his own lambic on premises for the first time

And more.

This episode is brought to you by:

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Jamie Bogner is the Cofounder and Editorial Director of Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine®. Email him at [email protected].