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07/31/13 02:29 PM  
Lambic Protection
I am trying to find out what protection exists over the use of lambic in Belgium. I found the EU's "Traditional Speciality Guaranteed" (TSG) protection, and have summarized the rules here:


Are there any other agencies that protect the term?

08/13/13 07:31 PM  
Re: Lambic Protection

Anyone have a source for the Belgian "Royal Decree" of 1965? I'd like to read how it protects lambic.

08/14/13 11:29 AM  
Re: Lambic Protection
I've only ever read the TSG but do know how it's enforced or protected. I did find it interesting that lambic has no geographical protection since TSG doesn't specify the location. It appears a TSG is simply a of product identity attributes. So, in my book, if you make something that follows this product identity specifications you can call it lambic. It doesn't matter if its made in Belgium, Germany, or Cyprus. If a brewery like Allagash wanted to call their coolship series lambic I wouldn't get bent out of shape because it very much is a lambic. It might even more so be a lambic in the traditional sense compared to Mort Subite. Well that's based on what you guys discussed here of them pumping air into a closed fermentor to begin spontaneous fermenation.

So in a way it's like bourbon within the borders of the USA. It can be made in any state but if all other conditions are met it cannot be called bourbon if made in Canada or any other country. So if we compare the EU's nations as states in the USA we're comparing apples to apples when it comes to a product identity if comparing lambic TSG to bourbon identity.

08/14/13 02:40 PM  
Re: Lambic Protection
Here is some information from a RB member:

Iíve been looking into this matter recently. It was indeed a Royal Decree of May 20, 1965 concerning the names one can give to certain beers. As far as I can Google, I canít find the details of the decree. It came into existence because of pressure of some lambic brewers of which Edgar Winderickx was one (for which he got rewarded some years ago by HORAL. The Decree was abolished on June 4, 1993. This Royal Decree never got put in practice, as no single brewery has ever been visited to check if they do things according to the Royal Decree. The reason it was abolished in 1993, is because there was a new Royal Decree on March 31, 1993. If I look into the details of that decree, I can read this info concerning sour beers :

- Art. 2.2 sour beer : the beer with a total sourness of at least 30 milli-equivalents NaOH per liter and a grade of volatile acids of at least 2 milli-equivalents of NaOH per liter. In sour beers of spontaneous fermentation at least 30% of the total weight of the grain bill should be wheat.

- Art. 4.1.3 (concerning the product names) "geuze", "lambic" of "geuze-lambic" for sour beers where spontaneous fermentation is part of the production process.

- Art. 5.3.b (concerning the bottle sizes that are allowed) sour beers of spontaneous fermentation : 0,25 - 0,375 - 0,50 - 0,75 - 1 - 1,5 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 -

8 - 9 - 10.

- Art. 7.1 : this clearly mentions the abolishment of the decree of 1965 as this one replaces it.

If Iím not mistaken the Royal Decree of 1993 was lobbied by OBP (Objectieve Bierproevers). The fact that we can still enjoy a good variety of lambic based beers these days, is for a big part thanks to OBP. They meant a lot for many lambic brewers and gueuze blenders.

08/14/13 03:08 PM  
Re: Lambic Protection

I also find it interesting that there is no geographical protection on lambic. You always hear people say "lambic can only be made in Belgium", but I can't find any EU/Belgium protection law stating that.

I get your bourbon comparison, but it is a bit of apples and oranges there. Bourbon actually has laws detailing the production method allowed and geographic boundaries. These laws are strictly enforced. The laws are enforced in other countries through trade agreements. Lambic doesn't have that. The protections laws have all been very vague as to production method, there are no geographic boundaries that I've seen, and it isn't apart of any trade agreement. Even within Belgium you can't find a required production methodology for lambic (why hasn't HORALs done this?!).

Absolutely Allagash is producing a more traditional lambic than Mort Subite (and Belle-Vue, Lindemans, Timmermans...).

08/15/13 08:09 AM  
Re: Lambic Protection
Well of course bourbon has more details concerning production but it was as close as I could think of for something people know about. Then again you and I are the only ones posting on the thread so what do other people matter hahaha.

I think a lack of required production methodology is an attempt to keep it very Belgian in spirit. That is the spirit of not fitting in a neat little box. They all have the freedom to make it how they want as long as it checks off the spontaneous fermentation, acidity, and other identifying attributes. I believe it allows freedom and creativity. With specific production methodologies it would just limit them in the future for innovation whether with equipment, or never before considered ingredients. Sure it allows some producers to make beer using what some would consider short cuts but it allows others to make it the old timey ways too.

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