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EUROPEAN SOUR ALE
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Overall Impression: A tart, lightly-bittered historical central European wheat beer with a distinctive but restrained salt and coriander character. Very refreshing, with a dry finish, high carbonation, and bright flavors.
Aroma: Light to moderately fruity aroma of pome fruit. Light sourness, slightly sharp. Noticeable coriander, which can have an aromatic lemony quality, and an intensity up to moderate. Light bready, doughy, yeasty character like uncooked sourdough bread. The acidity and coriander can give a bright, lively impression. The salt may be perceived as a very light, clean sea breeze character or just a general freshness, if noticeable at all.
Appearance: Unfiltered, with a moderate to full haze. Moderate to tall white head with tight bubbles and good retention. Effervescent. Yellow color.
Flavor: Noticeable sourness, medium-low to medium-high. Moderate bready or doughy malt flavor. Light to moderate fruity character of pome fruit, stone fruit, or lemons. Light to moderate salt character, up to the threshold of taste; the salt should be noticeable (particularly in the initial taste) but not taste overtly salty. Very low bitterness. No hop flavor. Dry, fully-attenuated finish, with acidity not hops balancing the malt. Acidity can be more noticeable in the finish, and enhance the refreshing quality of the beer. The acidity should be balanced, not forward (although historical versions could be very sour). No THP.
Mouthfeel: High to very high carbonation. Effervescent. Medium-light to medium-full body. Salt may give a slightly tingly, mouthwatering quality and a rounder, thicker mouthfeel. Yeast and wheat can also add a little body, but shouldn’t feel heavy due to the thinning effects of acidity.
Comments: Historical versions may have been more sour than modern examples due to spontaneous fermentation, and may be blended with syrups as is done with Berliner Weisse, or with caraway liqueur. Modern examples are inoculated with Lacto, and are more balanced and generally don’t need sweetening. Pronounced GOH-zeh.
History: Minor style associated with Leipzig but originating in the Middle Ages in the town of Goslar on the Gose River. Documented to have been in Leipzig by 1740. Leipzig was said to have 80 Gose houses in 1900. Production declined significantly after WWII, and ceased entirely in 1966. Modern production was revived in the 1980s in Germany, but the beer was not widely available. Became popular outside of Germany recently as a revival style, and is often used as a base style for fruited sour beers and other Specialty-Type beers.
Style Comparison: Perceived acidity is not as intense as Berliner Weisse or Gueuze. Restrained use of salt, coriander, and Lacto – should not taste overtly salty. Coriander aroma can be similar to a Witbier. Haziness similar to a Weissbier.
Commercial Examples: Anderson Valley Gose, Bayerisch Bahnhof Leipziger Gose, Original Ritterguts Gose, Westbrook Gose