Three years in the making (Flanders Red)

Flanders Red style has been my favourite style ever since I tasted Rodenbach Grand Cru. I have always wanted to brew this style well to do it justice. After reading about it I found it can be a trick style to brew and can take over two years to full mature. In terms of time and space this beer is a real investment. If you mess it up you might no truly know until a year or two into its maturation. Classically this beer is normally a blend between younger and older foeders to get the correct flavour profile. I do not really have that luxury so I needed to make something like Rodenbach vintage 2012, which comes from a single foeder.

I understood with this beer the flavours really come from the culture overtime, specifically how Brett and Pediococcus like to play together. From reading some homebrew sites, I found out that Pediococcus can be very particular and take a long time to develop the flavour in the beer. I used this Rodenbach clone recipe to get the malt recipe about right:

5 lbs……….Vienna Malt………………………..(3.5 SRM)
4.5 lbs…….Pilsner (2 Row) Bel………………..(2.0 SRM)
3 lbs……….Munich Malt – 10L………………..(10.0 SRM)
8.0 oz……..Aromatic Malt……………………..(26.0 SRM)
8.0 oz……..Cara 45 (Caramunich) Malt………(56.0 SRM)
8.0 oz……..Special B Malt…………………….(180.0 SRM)
8.0 oz……..Wheat Malt, Bel……………………(2.0 SRM)
1.00 oz……Goldings, East Kent [5.70 %] (60 min) (16.0 IBU)

 

I then fermented it at room temperature with WY3763 and left it to develop in the fermentor over 2 month. It was then transferred to corny keg where it stayed for the next 3 years. I tasted it at 3 monthly intervals to see how it developed. The beer quickly soured, but had a lot of Brett funk there. After 6 months the acetic acid flavour started to develop and some acetone. After 6 months it basically reminded the same for another year. I felt the flavour would not develop any further and it just seemed a bit lifeless and one dimensional. I was very disappointed and felt I had to dump it down the toilet. From this point I felt I should try and save it. To do this I basically just started throwing different sour blends I had from other beers into the keg. I had one blend that was just super sour and funky, which I added with some fresh wort to feed the blends. I then left it for another 6 months and over that time it really improved. It is now at the point where it has some life and is defiantly enjoyable to drink. But I would not say it is strictly a Flanders Red, it is somewhere between a Flanders and an Gueuze. I am not sure I will brew another one considering how long this one took to develop, but the main thing is I am happy with how it turned out. The only think I would change is the colour as its not very Red.

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