I brewed my first Flanders Red – my first sour beer – in 2010. Other AABGers brewed sour beers but they weren’t yet commercially ubiquitous. I knew mine was good when in a head-to-head tasting it was plainly superior to Jolly Pumpkin’s La Roja.
In a stroke of beginner’s luck, that beer placed 1st out of over 1,000 entries at the 2012 Homebrew at the W.E.B. competition. I won a $1000 gift certificate, which I spent on the two kettles that are are the foundation of the brewing system I use today.
Coming full circle: this is my third Flanders Red, all using the same recipe. This time, instead of fermenting with my own microbial culture mix, I’ll be doing a clean ferment and adding it to the Knob Creek barrel (round 10!) along with my co-brewers.
The recipe was formulated by the AABG’s Jeff Rankert. Hard to see how the maize would be historical, but it should give non-yeast microbes more to chew on.
- 42% Pale malt (2-row) 2L
- 25% Vienna malt 3L
- 17% Flaked maize
- 4% Aromatic malt 25L
- 4% Caramunich 60L
- 4% Wheat malt
- 4% Special B 120L
- 14 IBU Kent Goldings at 60 min
- OG ~1.065
- US-04 / London ESB dry yeast / *Wyeast 3278 Belgian Lambic Blend
* I did not use this blend. I have always fermented with a clean ale yeast like US-04 and then either repitched dregs from sours I like or, in the case of this batch, added to an already-soured barrel.
I brewed with Spencer, targeting a 12 gallon batch. We were fast: we had the yeast pitched before noon (!) and were cleaned up by 1pm.
Efficiency was low. Looking at kernels as we emptied the mash tun, Spencer suspected a too-weak crush of the grain by the local homebrew shop and I think he’s right. (I normally crush at home from 55 lb sacks of grain but had no time this week). We compensated by adding about a pound of DME and landed at about 11.5 gallons in the fermenters with OG around 1.057. Lower than our target, but at the very top end of the BJCP style guideline range.
This was only my second brew with Ann Arbor municipal water and I forgot to add campden tablets to remove chloramine. Hope that isn’t detectable in the finished beer. Even if it is, this is only 20% of the beer that will go into the barrel.
The fermentations were churning away by evening, despite direct-pitching the dry yeast. Ambient temp in the room is about 65F.