Sunday, December 9, 2012

Flanders Red, The Sequel

It's that time of year again, around 14 months after my first Flanders Red went into primary it's time to go again. I'll be sampling my sours as soon as I can get a friend in spring lake to help. (hint: Derek or Kyle time to help), but before then I'll need to brew another Flanders Red before it get's really cold. Looking back at a blog post from a year ago I realize how naive I was. I honestly thought I would be drinking a Flanders Red aged on cherries by now....hahaha DOH!

To make superior sour beers blending is a must. It's not hard to see why, souring organisms are fickle and two batches pitched at the same time, from the same vial can have differing results. The following factors can have a varrying effects on your sour beer: dissolved oxygen, ambient temperature, wort PH, and Fermentor size/shape/type. A plastic bucket and a better bottle will turn out two different beers. A glass carboy with a wooden stopper could produce radically different results than with a rubber bung.

(read more after the break.)

For my second go around I am making a minor adjustment to the malt bill. I am dropping the pilsner and going making up the difference in vienna malt. Pilsner malt has issues with DMS and I am constantly paranoid about such things. There is no reason I would end up with a high degree of DMS in this brew, but I am going to avoid it all together by using vienna. Vienna malt is kilned at a high temperature, and maintains it's enzymes. It is suitable for use as a base malt in Vienna Lager, Saison, Biere de Garde and other styles. It has a rich bread and nut flavor with a medium amount of biscuit toast.

The rest of this beer is the same as before I am going to use my straight pitch of ECY Flemish Ale that I got a few weeks back to funk things up. I'll initially ferment with a rubber bung but after a week or so I'll switch to a wooden stopper.

More on blending:
You blend to build complexity. A beer might ferment out to have the prefect balance of tart, acetic, vinigar, sweetness, fruit, and funk. That is the unicorn of sour beers though. The rest of us have to deal with reality and make what we want. You blend grains to get the perfect flavor; why not blend fermented beers?

Recipe Specifications:
Boil Size: 6.43 gal
Batch Size (fermenter): 5.00 gal
Bottling Volume: 5.00 gal
Estimated OG: 1.049 SG
Estimated Color: 16.1 SRM
Estimated IBU: 9.3 IBUs
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

4 lbs 2.0 oz Vienna Malt (3.5 SRM) 43.6 %
2 lbs 2.0 oz Wheat - White Malt (2.3 SRM) 22.4 %
2 lbs Munich (5.5 SRM) 21.1 %
6.5 oz Special B Malt (180.0 SRM) 4.3 %
6.5 oz Aromatic Malt (26.0 SRM) 4.3 %
6.5 oz Caramunich Malt (56.0 SRM) 4.3 %
0.5 oz Goldings, East Kent [5.00 %] - Boil 60.0 Min 9.3 IBUs
1.0 pkg Flemish Blend (ECY 02)

Mash Schedule: Flanders Infusion Mash Schedule
Total Grain Weight: 9 lbs 11.0 oz
Mash In Add 11.0 qt of water at 129.8 F 122.0 F 20 min
Mash Step Add 4.5 qt of water at 212.0 F 145.0 F 40 min
Mash Step Add 6.0 qt of water at 212.0 F 162.0 F 30 min
Mash Out Add 4.0 qt of water at 212.0 F 169.0 F 10 min
Batch Sparge with 6.0 qt of water at 169.0 F

The brew day was fine. I hit all of my mash temps. The sparge was slow but constant and the grain bed was dense. The grind from my new malt mill is superior. The grains were a solid tight mass after sparging. The boil was quick and simple, my only questions were on some oily patches on top of the wort post cooling. Not much to do other than see if it was a problem in 8-12 months.


  1. Nice looking recipe. Over time I have kept moving toward less Pilsner in my Flanders Red. I feel like the richer I can make the malt flavor the better balance I get with the strong flavors from the mixed fermentation.

    Any oak?

  2. Thanks for the recipe praise! I found a cherry wood barrel substitute stave at the home brew story and thought to give it a try here. I'm hoping it has that rich cherry wood flavor in the final version. We'll see if it all works out in a while. How are your Flanders turning out?

    1. The cherry wood will be neat. I actually have some too from Black Swan Cooperage. I might have to try some as well in my Flanders Red. I usually put at least a gallon each year onto cherries and it is one of my favorite beers of the year.

      I have been very pleased with my Flanders, but they do always take some blending to make them competition worthy.