Anything Geueze

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By Jacques Marais

Recipe is part of Recipe Index

BJCP 2021 Style 23E Gueuze

A difficult style and takes about 3-5 years to make! Worth the effort though. I like the wheat character, so use wheat as a base malt. A three vessel system is almost essential as it’s difficult to do a turbid mash and big boil with an all-in-one brewery.


Sour and Session 2023 (Phantom Brewing Co, Reading) 1st - Belgian & European Sour


  • IBU ~2
  • ABV 5.9%
  • OG 1.048
  • FG 1.003
  • EBC 8, but it darkens with age



  • Wheat malt: 40%
  • Pilsner: 20%
  • Flaked wheat: 15%
  • Oats unmalted: 10%
  • Oats malted: 5%


Aged hops are added at start of the 4 hour boil.

Aged hops are brown, low AA, and preferably about 7 years old, otherwise leave them in the direct sun to brown. The AA is about 10% of original after 7 years.


  • Clean, low attenuation yeast. Safale SO4 is ideal.



  • Turbid mash
  • Dough in at 50C leave for 20min
  • Remove 10% of liquor, keep aside + raise to 90C
  • Add boiling water to get to 57C, stand 20min
  • Remove 20% of liquor, keep aside + raise to 90C
  • Add boiling water to get to 72C, stand 120min
  • Add boiling water to get to 76C, mash out 10min
  • The portion kept aside (turbid liquor) should be raised to 90C and kept there.
  • Sparge with 90C water and the turbid liquor. You’ll need a lot of sparge water and stop when total gravity is around 1.025.


  • Boil for 4 hours or until OG is 1.048
  • Add aged hops at start of boil

Fermentation and Aging

  • Ferment for 1 week.
  • Rack to vessel with low permeability and as little headspace as possible (I use glass demijohns)
  • Check the pH is now below 4.5 otherwise add some lactic acid to adjust.
  • A mixture of Brett, Lacto and Pedio. Blends are good, but use about 3 packs for 20l initially. WLP655 sours fairly quickly.
  • Add dregs from as many lambic/geueze you can find. Keep adding more dregs over time.
  • Leave somewhere where it’s between 12C and 20C. Too warm and it won’t sour as the Brett takes over. Too cold and it lacks complexity.
  • Add a tiny bit of wood, like a few chips. The Brett uses it to create some complex flavours.
  • Check the sourness levels in the first 6-12 months. Add some maltodextrin dissolved in water after 6 months and then again if it’s not sour.
  • It changes a lot over time and can even be disgusting after a few months. Just give it more food and leave it and notice how it recovers.
  • Most issues: not sour enough (add more food), too acetic (reduce headspace), mousy (Add more Brett and wait 6 months), thin (use more unmalted adjuncts). Other rotten off flavours also occur if the cell count is too low.
  • Preferably open it up as infrequent as possible, but if you’re tasting it then try to purge with CO2 afterwards.
  • A pellicle will form which is normal and usually has a bubble surface, but if it’s very thick then it usually means ascetic acid is produced. White or light brown pellicles are fine, but black, green or spotted ones usually means there’s a problem, like mould.

Making it a Geueze

  • Repeat the whole process every year. Brewing in the autumn helps as you don’t want to leave it too warm initially.
  • Preferably keep the dregs at the bottom of the fermenter and add more wort immediately. Keep the previous batch separately to age. They tend to get better with each cycle.
  • A Gueuze is then a blend of a 1,2 and 3 year old, so plan ahead. I find a 70:20:10 blend of 1,2,3 year olds is a good starting point.

Bottling and Serving

  • Bottle at 4.0 vol CO2, so use champagne bottles. Racking from below the pellicle is not an issue.
  • Add some wine yeast at bottling to help carbonate and reduce mousy flavours.