Monday, June 21, 2010

Sour Beer : 2010 Flanders Red

I just realized I forgot to post this when I brewed it. I brewed it at the beginning of April, hoping that it will be ready for my birthday next June. Without a doubt Flanders Red is my favorite style and I think it is one of the more challenging style for the homebrewer. But also one of the most rewarding since to buy these beers they are hard to find and expensive. On the same note it also takes a year to figure out if you wasted all that time.
I did a lot of reading on this subject, here are a few good references:
Jamil Show - Flanders Red Show
Wild Brews Book
Brewboard Discussion
The Mad Fermentalist
I decided to go with Jamil's method and recipe. Then just this past week I added the oak dowel in the stopper method mentioned somewhere in the 35 page discussion on Brewboard. I'll keep posting updates so you can see how this monster changes over time.

Recipe: Flander's Red
O.G.-1.062  F.G.-TBD   IBU-17 
SRM-13   ABV-6.5-7.5%%   Cal-200

Grain Bill (75% Efficiency):
4 lb Vienna Malt (35.6%)
3.5 lb Pilsner  Malt (31.1%)
2.25 lb  Munich Malt 10L (20.0%)
6 oz Aromatic Malt (3.3%)
6 oz Caramunich I (3.3%) 
6 oz Special B (3.3%) 
6 oz White Wheat Malt (3.3%)  

.75 oz Golding, 5%, pellet, 90 min 17 IBU
1 vial White Labs WLP001 California Ale
1 pack Wyeast Rosealare in secondary

Brew Day:
Brewed: 4/6/10
Kegged: 2011?

San Diego (Alvarado) Tap Water
1 campden tablet for 5 gal.

Mash Details:
H2O/Grain Ratio: 1.07 qt/lb
Mash Volume: 3 gal
Sacc Rest. Temp/Time: 154F @ 60min
Strike Temp: 171F
Batch Sparge Volume: 5 gal
Sparge Temp/Time: 170F @ 30min

Boil Details:
Boil Volume: 6.5 gal
Boil Time: 90min
Post Boil Volume: 5 gal

Ferment Details:
O.G.: 1.062
Ferment Temp: 65-68F
Length: 10 days in primary
#1 F.G.: 1.020
Moved to Better Bottle and pitched Rosealare. In closet so temperature will change with season. 
7/13/10 Update - This is with a couple weeks of adding the oak dowel
7/21/10 Update - that looked way to nasty so I'm done with the wood and back to a regular stopper.
11/10/10 Update - First Sample - developing nice Flander's characteristic flavors. Just barely tart and low acetic. Can't wait for the Pedio to kick in. 1.009
2/5/11 Update
Gravity - 1.010
This beer is just coming into its own. Nice aroma with some sourness and cherry. The sour in the taste is getting there. It has a touch of sharpness. Added .5 lb of maltodextrin and some Jolly Pumpkin bugs from the Black Jolly Sour   (wtf...the floater(there is a big chunk at the bottom too), I have no idea but I also don't taste a big off flavor from it)
5/4/11 Update
Gravity - 1.010
The smell is just fantastic. It was a sour cherry explosion while racking. Very little funk. But the taste is still lacking and does not live up to the smell. Just barely tart and the malt is a bit muddled. It has some good body though. Lets hope some time in the bottle will help.

 I bottled 3 gals with 110g of corn sugar - hoping around 2.5 Volumes (Tasting)
I transferred one gal into jug on top of 1 lb sour cherries (frozen from last year) (Post to come)
I kegged one gal to drink and adjust with some lactic acid and cherry juice. It was interesting to see how the lactic acid brought out the other flavors, but it was very easy to over do and give a sterile medicinal taste.


  1. I'm wondering how this one turned out. I'm thinking about blending and bottling my first Flanders Red. I have a 1 yr 2 month (3 gallons) that smells and tastes very similar to Rodenbach Gran Cru right now. I also have that same base on 4 lbs of tart cherries that tastes like Cherries and almonds. I also have a 8 month old that's been sitting on the yeast cake from the first version.

    I'm considering having a blending party soon to figure out if it's ready, and what blend to go with.

    I'm thinking 1 gallon old + 1 gallon old w/cherries + .5 gallon young.

    Not sure though. I also bought some Lactic Acid just to put a few drops into a sample to see what that does for it just to understand that Acid better.

    1. I guess I forgot to do an official tasting(I'll post that soon), I did mention in the 2011 version ( that it was very nice, but could use a few tweaks.

      I am a huge advocate for blending and wish I had more room to have multiple batches. It is a good idea to have a good group of varying tasting skills to help you pick out flavors you want to focus on. We have done a few blending parties and made some nice Cuvees. I'm about to blend last year's Oud Bruin and will do a post on my method.

      I think you have a good starting point, but it is amazing how flavors change when blending so keep an open mind. It also helps to have the beer at proper serving temps and to carb them because the flavor will change.


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