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I had a most-delicious, cherry-red beer last night that tasted like raspberries. It was tart, a little low in alcoholic content (4%), and tasted like no other beer I've had. It was intriguing enough that I think I'll go back for a growler today.

The chalkboard said it was a 'lambic'. What exactly is a lambic? What are typical characteristics of one?

I quite enjoyed it, but it seemed a little sweet. Is there a variety of lambic I should keep an eye out for that is dry, but still tart?

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marked as duplicate by Andrew Cheong Mar 11 at 16:18

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Welcome to Beer.SE! I'm voting to close this question as I'm in agreement with @Fishtoaster, but, as I'm sure you know from being an active user on SU/SF/SO, it's of course nothing personal, and no rep is lost. Please do come back to post more; these are the types of questions that are most relateable to beginning beer-enthusiasts. –  Andrew Cheong Mar 11 at 16:17

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up vote 13 down vote accepted

For how lambics are made and what distinguishes them from other beers, see this Wikipedia article. To summarize, lambics are exposed to wild yeast (rather than the usual cultivated yeasts) and tend to have a dry, tart taste. These are not heavy-bodied beers, nor are they bitter. (Hops are used for their preservative effect, but old, dry hops are used to minimize the flavor impact.)

Frequently, lambics (like the one you had) have fruit added later in fermentation. Common fruits for this include raspberry, peach, and cherry, and I've also encountered apple. The sweetness you're tasting probably comes from the fruit (and some of these varieties taste sweeter to me than others). If you'd like to try a lambic that doesn't have the fruit, which is likely to be less sweet, look for "gueuze".

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Peach? Hm, I must look out for that one. I've only seen peach flavoured white beers. Thanks for the tip! –  Mr Lister Mar 8 at 13:46
    
@MrLister the peach is my favorite, followed by the gueuze. (It's less sweet than some of the others -- I would order them peach & apple (about the same), raspberry, and then cherry.) –  Monica Cellio Mar 9 at 0:09

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