Sunday, October 2, 2011

Flanders Red Ale

With my East Coast Yeast in hand I set about brewing the Flanders ale of my dreams; a Flanders Red aged on tart cherries/sweet cherries. I want to have some cherry flavor when it's fermented and I find that tart cherries don't pack enough punch on their own in the "cherry" department. Also this cherry addition will be subject to how the Flanders tastes in a year or more, if it's tart to the extreme I'll probably blend the cherries 50/50 to give it that funk/fruit/tart edge. If the tart is right about perfect It'll be more like 75 tart/25 sweet. All Michigan cherries will give the beer a nice terrior next summer.

The start of this beer will be the yeast. ECY 02 has a profile that is "A unique blend of Saccharomyces, Brett, lacto & Pedio perfect for flemish reds and sour browns. Dry, sour, leathery and notes of cherry stone." I received this yeast in the mail on 9/10/11 and brewed the beer on 9/24/11 So the yeast is fresh and viable.

(read more after the break)

This is another beer inspired by The Bruery, the Oude Tart with Tart Cherries was sublime.While reading about the Flanders region in Wild Brews I came across a description of the beer, a recipe, and techniques for making the beer. I won't repost verbatim from his book because it's a good book and you should go buy it, it's packed with good information if you plan on brewing wild brews.

Recommended for this style is a traditional malt bill based Pilsner Malt or Vienna malts featuring, Special B, Aromatic, Munich, and Wheat Malt(or sub Flaked Maize). Then to get the right mix of starches, sugars, ect. you use a traditional stepped mash: protein, intermediate, saccharification, and mash out. This specialized mash gives the yeast the simple sugar they need to produce the alcohol which makes it beer, and the 'bugs' what they need to funk it up. Over time I hope to develop a feel for whether these traditional style beers really benefit from these complicated mashing or if a simpler mash could yield as good of results.

Recipe (5 gallon):
2 lbs 2.0 oz Vienna Malt (3.5 SRM) 22.5 %
2 lbs 2.0 oz Wheat Malt, Ger (2.0 SRM) 22.5 %
2 lbs Munich Malt (9.0 SRM) 21.1 %
2 lbs Pilsner (2 Row) Ger (2.0 SRM) 21.1 %
6.5 oz Special B Malt (180.0 SRM) 4.3 %
6.5 oz Caramunich Malt (56.0 SRM)  6 4.3 %
6.5 oz Aromatic Malt (26.0 SRM) 4.3 %
0.6 oz Goldings, E.K. [5.0%] - Boil 60.0 11.1 IBUs

Mash In 13 qt of water at 162.7 @ 152.0 for 60 min
Batch Sparge 3.5g @ 168 for 30 min

OG: 1.049 SG
FG: 1.008 SG
SRM: 13.7
IBU: 11.1 IBUs

The brew day went well. I started working on it at 7am, 7 hours later I was nearly done. Nothing really went wrong. I was worried that I'd run out of propane midway through the batch; it ran through the end with a bit of room to spare. I boiled going towards 90 minutes until I ran totally out of propane. I cooled it and siphoned it into my 6.5g carboy. I am excited to see how Al's bugs work and see if I get a peticle in this brew.


  1. Any news on how this turned out? Probably too early but I was curious because I am about to order the exact strain from ecy.

  2. I can tell you that it smells like it's getting there, I had the bung out a month or so ago when I was visiting my mom's(I cellar my sours in her basement). Al's sour yeasts are aggressive and if the aroma is any indication it'll be complex and good. I'll take a sample the next time I am there visiting (which will be 2-3 weeks).

  3. We currently have a batch of Flanders Red aging in a thrice used 8 gallon bourbon barrel that we brewed with Roeslare and ECY 04 mix (Ménage á Huit). So we have some brews to mix, we scored some ECY 04 bugfarm and are thinking of doing a split batch with safale 04 in primary and ECY 04 in secondary and just ECY 04 in a primary. Question is; DO YOU RACK TO SECONDARY FOR THE LONG-TERM STORAGE (GLASS OR PLASTIC?)

  4. I typically use the BPA free better bottles for bulk aging. I have a few glass carboys 4-5? but mostly I use the better bottles because they are lighter and easier to move around. I'm not as worried as some about the long term aging effects of plastic. They are allegedly BPA free and non reactive. I don't know that 10 beers for 45 days each or 1 beer for 450 days makes much difference.