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J Sci Food Agric. 2019 Jan 15;99(1):25-38. doi: 10.1002/jsfa.9291. Epub 2018 Sep 24.

Microbial acidification, alcoholization, and aroma production during spontaneous lambic beer production.

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Research Group of Industrial Microbiology and Food Biotechnology (IMDO), Department of Bioengineering Sciences, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium.


Acidic beers, such as Belgian lambic beers and American and other coolship ales, are becoming increasingly popular worldwide thanks to their refreshing acidity and fruity notes. The traditional fermentation used to produce them does not apply pure yeast cultures but relies on spontaneous, environmental inoculation. The fermentation and maturation process is carried out in wooden barrels and can take up to three years. It is characterized by different microbial species belonging to the enterobacteria, acetic acid bacteria, lactic acid bacteria, and yeasts. This review provides an introduction to the technology and four fermentation strategies of beer production, followed by the microbiology of acidic beer production, focusing on the main microorganisms present during the long process used for the production of Belgian lambic beers.


Brettanomyces; acetic acid bacteria; enterobacteria; lactic acid bacteria; lambic beer production; saccharomyces

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