The last time I had this beer was in August of 2013 with Fuj. I don’t think he was a huge fan but I certainly loved it. I think Faro is an under appreciated style and in America, real-Faro is impossible to acquire. It’s young lambiek with added sugar that’s served cask-only because in a bottle, it would surely explode. It’s a way to sell young Lambiek and that means it’s very cheap!
3F Straffe Winter is a Faro that was somehow bottled and conditioned and you could still find bottles quite easily a year or two ago. I traded for 2 bottles in 2013, drank one in August and kept my other. While the bottle says best by 2012, it’s Lambic! cmon! As it’s a 2008 bottling, this beer was 1-2 year Lambiek with added candi sugar so one would assume a 2006 season brew and it was released in 2010. The fact that I’m enjoying this in 2016, exactly 8 years and 5-10 days after bottling means it is basically a 10 year old Lambiek / Faro at this point. Kind of crazy!
The only reason I opened it was because in my bi-yearly inspection of my bottles in my cellars, I noticed the fill line had dropped. The cork was covered in black wet mold and about 6 of the 26 ounces of beer were missing from the bottle. It was stored side-ways and while none of my other bottles are leaking, this one had to be cracked open. I was afraid of how the beer would taste…upon twisting the cage holding the cork in, the bottle immediately pushed the cork out which sent moldy crap everywhere. I poured the bottle into 2 glasses carefully and allowed it to decant for 30 minutes. The smell and taste at first was bad but after it was allowed to breathe, it really opened up.
Sweetened Lambiek with a great wheat presence, sour grape, even spices were present. Really delicious and although there was a lot of cork pressure, the beer was essentially flat.
However, I loved it! Heather didn’t finish her glass but I gladly finished hers. Just a sign that Lambic knows no bounds. A moldy cork, a best by date 4 years earlier and 15% volume leakage and it’s still a beautiful beer. I love this style so much!
Sadly, no more Straffe Winter in my cellar. Oh well.