Monday, October 8, 2012

Experimental Flanders Red

Flanders Red is one of my favorite beer styles: La Folie, Rodenbach Grand Cru, and Duchesse de Bourgogne are all worthy of clone attempts. The problem is that a good Flanders Red takes a long time to brew, at least the way I did it last time. I went with the Cal Ale yeast in the primary, followed by Roselaire blend in the secondary. After about eight months it was rather nice. This probably isn't far from the commercial formula of ale yeast fermentation in the primary for one week, lacto secondary for four weeks, and Brett tertiary conditioning for months or years.

There seems to be an almost standard malt bill that involves varying quantities of Munich, Vienna, Aromatic, CaraMunich, Special B and Wheat along with base malt, so this part of the recipe isn't so experimental. Hops don't play a significant part because this is a sour, malty beer. My ideal Flanders Red has a combination of the soft lactic sourness and touch of the sharper acetic sourness, but several of the homebrews I've tried by some pretty good brewers have come up a bit short on any sort of sourness. Hence the experimental part...

This time I'm going to mix the ferment and souring up a bit differently. I'll start off with a four-day sour mash using about half of the Pilsner malt, then do the normal mash on brew day, with a one week ale yeast primary and a tertiary with Lambic Blend. The contents of the sour mash won't be added to the regular mash until it is more than half done, so I don't throw off the mash pH. I would prefer to go with Roselaire Blend to finish it off, but it won't be available right now, so the substitute will have to do.

My hope is that I get the tartness without having to wait forever, and I get some complexity in the sourness to match the malt bill. We shall see.

Batch size
5.5 gallons
Original Gravity
1.053/ 13.1° Plato
(1.048 to 1.056)
Final Gravity
1.013 / 3.3° Plato
(1.012 to 1.015)
13.18 IBU / 4 HBU
ƒ: Tinseth
31° SRM/ 16° EBC
(Light Brown to Medium Brown)
Mash Efficiency
5.3% ABV / 4% ABW
173 per 12 oz.


% LB OZ Type ppg °L
32% 3 8 Vienna 36 3
28% 3 0 Weyermann Pilsner 37 2
23% 2 8 Munich 36 10
5% 0 8 Wheat 39 2
5% 0 8 Aromatic 34 23
5% 0 8 CaraMunich 33 75
3% 0 6 Special B 33 220
11 10


Use Time oz Variety Form aa
boil 60 mins 0.75 Goldings pellet 5.0


Primary: Safale US-05, low to medium flocculation and 73% attenuation
Secondary: Belgian Lambic Blend (3278), 75% attenuation


Use Amount Ingredient
Secondary fermenter 3 ounces Oak Chips

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