I’ve mentioned before that I love sour beers, but they take a long time to ferment and age. This means their feedback loop is long, and that it is difficult to tweak recipes and experiment with them in timely way. Jeff gave me a good suggestion about tasting them every few months and taking notes.
Despite the fact it is common for these styles to simply taste awful until one arbitrary day, many months later, when they turn into something magical, I think I will try to do that. It may or may not be valuable data, but it is taking an action of sorts and that is a tiny bit of relief.
This is a Flanders Red, and it started with an original gravity of 1.058 on May 23rd and it dropped to a 1.026 two days later with the help of a packet of Safale-05. At that point, I racked it into a secondary PET carboy, pitched the Wyeast Roeselare blend, and added 1 ounce of medium toast French oak cubes that I had steamed and soaked in pinot noir for 2 weeks.
A mere month and a half later, the gravity is down to 1.012. The PET container had small, floating bits of pellicle, but no noticeable other activity. I pulled a 4 ounce sample off the carboy, measured the gravity and poured it into a tasting glass.
The appearance was a light brown with gold and ruby highlights. Very warm and inviting. It appeared at bit thin, which is not unusual for a style that ferments down so low.
It is very early in this young beer’s life, but there were hints of subtle barnyard notes in the aroma and taste. (More so in the taste.) I couldn’t not detect any sourness and they was plenty of malt flavor in there for the bugs to dig into for the next year.
It was interesting for me to see how quickly the yeast and lambic cultures have torn into the beer. It appears that it will take quite a while for the lactic bacteria to do its job and to sour and acidify. I’m not known for my patience, but I will try to be.
I’ll taste this one again at the six month mark.