Technological and Environmental Features Determine the Uniqueness of the Lambic Beer Microbiota and Production Process

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15 Citations (Scopus)


Lambic beers are beers produced through spontaneous fermentation and maturation in wooden barrels. The production process of lambic beers differs from the production processes of lagers and ales in process technology, environmental parameters, and the use of specific raw materials. Moreover, every lambic beer production process is unique in terms of microbiology and flavor formation because of its dependence on the spontaneous inoculation of microorganisms coming from the environmental air (contacting the open coolship and other brewery equipment) and the inner surfaces of the barrels. Several factors influence the inter- and intraspecies microbial successions during lambic beer wort fermentation and maturation and determine the final quality of the end products. The possibility to manually acidify the wort, the presence of species-specific metabolic traits, the environmental temperature, the co-occurrence of lactic acid bacteria and acetic acid bacteria, as well as yeasts, and the quality of the wooden barrels all determine the progress and outcome of the lambic beer production process. Further alterations in quality and flavor of lambic beers can be achieved by blending practices and additional bottle refermentations. This results in a vast array of lambic-derived beer products (e.g., gueuze) with complex taste and aroma profiles and specific characteristics, which separate them from most other commercially available beers.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere00612-21
Number of pages18
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2021


  • lambic beer
  • Gueuze
  • Lactic acid bacteria
  • yeasts
  • Brettanomyces
  • Brett Flavor


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