On Saturday May 16th 3 Fonteinen’s Armand Debelder entered his storage place in Halle, Belgium and found that a failure of the thermostat had allowed the temperature to rise from 16 degrees Celsius to around 60 (!) degrees Celsius for at least 36 hours. As a result, a small number of the fermenting bottles of geuze and kriek had simply exploded and others had started leaking. Upon tasting some of the intact bottles, DeBelder observed that the beer was slightly oxidized; still better than a lot of beers that can be found on the shelves, but not worthy of the name 3 Fonteinen. As a consequence, close to 100,000 small bottles (50,000 liters of beer), had to be discarded.
Volunteers and supporters from different countries flocked to Halle to help Debelder uncork all the bottles by hand to save them for future use. To salvage some of his investment (around 315,000 dollars), Debelder will be using the lambic from the intact bottles for distillation to produce a non-sweetened 40° eau de vie at Distillerie de Biercée in Tuin, which will be offered in small bottles of 50 cl.
Naturally, DeBelder is devastated about what happened but notes that the support from lambic supporters and other lambic breweries has been heartwarming. Please support 3 Fonteinen by purchasing its excellent products and the unique eau de vie upon release.