Beerstitution Volume 33: ASSEMBLAGE

Beer Ye! Beer Ye!

So this theme was the idea of our newest member – Laurent. However, it should be noted that he and I began assembling beers 2 years ago whilst winter cottaging together. We mixed many a beer that year and loved the experiments, so it only felt right to taste some Assemblages made by the pros!

Assemblage, or the assembling / blending of beer, has been around for many many years in Belgium and England. In England, they would blend a barrel-aged sour beer with a younger mild ale and call it Stock Ale. This was done to give that mild ale a more interesting finish, a little woody, or wild or even slightly sour. In Belgium however, they would historically blend a few aged lambics and call it a Gueuze. Lambics are fermented spontaneously by being exposed to wild yeast & bacteria which results in somewhat sour beers. They’d take a 1yr, a 2yr and 3yr aged lambic and blend them in order to reach a perfect final beer that blended just the right amounts of the key attributes of each beer. Doing this also enabled them to constantly produce the same beer, even though they were “wild” beers.

Here, in the ‘mericas, however, things are a bit different. We usually use barrel-aged beers to showcase the woodiness of the barrel (oak, cherry, etc) or the past alcohol content of the barrels (wine, rum, etc). As a result, we forget about the actual beer we put in the barrels in the first place. Often now, brewers will blend a barrel-aged version of a beer and blend it with a young, non barrel-aged version of the same beer to control the final result. This way, the alcohol and wood become highlights of the beer rather than totally dominating it.

And, as the Belgians before, when the brewers have a large stock of barrels within which to age their beers, they can control a constant output of their Assemblages for many years to come. Alors – let’s taste!


The Beers

Riverbend – 50/50 [Geneviève]

  • APA-ish, mild bitter

BRSTº Rating: 3/5

Dieu du Ciel! – Ultra Mosaiks [Anna]

  • Not an assemblage, and I can’t remember why Anna convinced us it was ok to bring this one, but we’re happy she did!
  • Citrusy, light & zest on the front, and then dirty, grimy & resin on the back

BRSTº Rating: 3.75/5

Beaus – Tom Green Summer Stout [Dave]

  • This one was kinda cheaty but it did “assemble” two styles, a blonde and a stout
  • That’s a stout without the mouth
  • I swear this beer made an appearance at last years’ Beaus Oktoberfest under the name “Party Line”

BRSTº Rating: 3.75/5

At this point in the game, Laurent cried out “Fuck c’est bonne l’bière!”. I believe he nailed it right on the head with that statement.

Dunham/Kissmeyer – Leo’s Early Breakfast IPA [Jones]

  • Again, not strictly an assemblage, however it does blend beer and tea to some degree so that’s about close enough as far as Beerstitution is concerned

BRSTº Rating: 4/5

Dunham – Assemblage #1 [Laurent]

  • Sour wet sock!

BRSTº Rating: 3.75/5

Brasseurs Illimités – Thorador [Corey]

  • Wow.. this one was a real winner – with nice citrus & lemon kicks!
  • This has wonderful little kicks of Brett, mouth feels like champagne, and is refreshing.

BRSTº Rating: 4/5

Trou de Diable – L’ours [Geneva]

  • Dry, thick, rye with a wet sock smell

BRSTº Rating: 3.25/5

Dieu du Ciel! – Symbiose #8 [Nick]

  • Tart, confusing, and a battle of tastes – sour, fruity & woody

BRSTº Rating: 4/5

Pit Caribou – Symbiose #8 [Val]

  • 18month aged WOW! Black cherry hangs around for a little while.
  • Seems to have a slight sliiiiight saltiness.

BRSTº Rating: 3.25/5

Le Castor – Le Moine Féral [Kristen]

  • “Someone poured scotch in my cereal!” – Corey

BRSTº Rating: 3.5/5


Best in Show (points): Tie between Thorador and Symbiose #8 (both scored a 4.1/5)

Winner of “Favourite Beer” vote: Symbiose #8 (received 5/10 votes)

Surprise of the night: Tom Green Summer Stout (obviously)

Sessionable: Tom Green Summer Stout

Favourite Label: Tie between Ultra Mosaika and Symbiose #8

Blind Test:

Laurent – Abject Failure
Dave – 2nd Choice redemption
Geneva – 2nd Choice redemption
Anna – 1st Choice
Jones – 1st Choice
Kristen – 2nd Choice redemption
Corey – 2nd Choice redemption
Val – Abject Failure
Geneviève – Abject Failure
Nick – Abject Failure

‘Til next time!
That Guy from Beerstitution


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