Flanders Red Batch 2009 – Brew Day
This one is my first attempt at a Flanders Red. And with how much I’ve been digging on and obsessing about sour ales, it was only a matter of time. Although this one will test my patience in aging it full term.
I brewed it on the Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend (5/23/09), and the base formula was riffed off of Jamil’s Recipe despite the fact that his grain bill seems a little complicated for the style. I played it loose with the base grains, and used some of my British Golden Promise instead of Pilsener malt. I rounded that out with Vienna, Munich, Wheat, Aromatic CaraMunich and Special ‘B’.
I also used hop plugs for what might be the first time in my ~14 years of brewing. Now that my keggle is up and in action, I might be leaning more towards whole hops over pellets since they should filter out better with the new set-up.
The game plan here was to control some of the sourness by initially fermenting it with a clean, American yeast. So the original gravity was a 1.058 when I pitched the Safale-05. I let that go for 48 hours and then I racked it into a secondary, which is my wild and funky PET container, and pitched the Roeselare blend. (The Wyeast 3763 Roeselare is a Rodenbach blend of lambic cultures and lactic bacteria.) By that time, the batch had fermented down to a 1.026, and I figured that would give the wild bugs a lot of sugars to slowly eat through over the next 18 months.
It is standard to age these beers in oak barrels as well, but that is a little harder to do on the homebrew level. To compensate for this, I added 1 ounce of medium toast French oak cubes to the secondary. My twist is that I first sanitized the cubes by steaming them, and then I soaked them in pinot noir for about a month before pitching them in the secondary. This is not a standard practice, but the Flanders Red style is red-winish and often called the “Burgundy of Belgium”. Inspired the Avery Brabant, which is aged in zinfandel barrels, it seemed like an interesting thing to do. I’m hoping it’ll add a tiny bit more complexity.
One week down and 71 one more to go. Damn.
And, yes, this already has been named “Stupid Sexy Flanders”. (Thank you, Matt.)