Flanders Red #2

>> Wednesday, April 25, 2012

My first attempt at a Flanders Red has been coming along really well so I decided to get started on batch #2.  I brewed this batch on 4/6/2012 and the brew session was fairly uneventful.  

The recipe itself was basically the same as the first batch, but some of the grains were from different maltsters.

One other note, I bought two Roesalare blends back in October when I brewed the first batch, but only used one.  I used the second one for this batch but ran into some issues.  The smack pack didn't swell at all and after a couple days there was no visible signs of fermentation...no krausen, no positive pressure in the airlock, nothing.  I suspect the viability of the saccharomyces strains must have diminished quite a bit.  I had some WLP001 that I'd saved from a previous batch so I went ahead and pitched it and the brew showed signs of active fermentation later in the day.  It'll be interesting to see if this one develops differently than batch #1.

5.25 # Weyermann Pilsner Malt
5.25 #  Weyermann Vienna Malt
1.00 # Weyermann Munich II Malt
0.5 # Briess Red Wheat Malt
0.5 # Castle Aromatic Malt
0.5 # Weyermann CaraMunich II
0.5 # Dingemans Special B
0.8 oz Aged hops** (60 minutes)
1.0 oz Oak cubes (French Medium Roast) soaked in a couple ounces of Cabernet Sauvignon
Wyeast 3763 Roesalare Blend (no starter)

Mashed at 154F for 90 minutes.  90 minute boil.

** The aged hops are my homegrown hops from the 2009 harvest.  This was when my hops were in their temporary locations, so it's a mix of varieties resulting from intertwined bines.  For sour beers you don't really want any hop flavor or aroma; that's where aging comes in.  I aged these hops by placing them in brown paper bags above my kegerator.  The changing temperatures over the years has completely stripped them of any hop aroma.

Fermentation Notes
As noted above, the start of fermentation was sluggish until I added the WLP001.  Fermentation picked up but it wasn't quite as active as the first batch (no threat of pushing up through the airlock).  Things slowed down after a week then picked up again after a couple weeks (much like batch #1).  I've already added some dregs from commercial sours (e.g. Petrus Aged Pale).

Update 5/4/2012
Fermentation is still chugging along.  I've been fermenting it in my ferm chamber at 70F.  I'm going to move it to the basement utility room next to batch #1 today because we're doing a Big Brew tomorrow and I need to set the ferm temp at 66F for that.  There are mild seasonal temp changes in the utilit room, but overall the temps stay pretty stable so it's a good place for aging.

Update 5/27/2012
Pitched dregs from Russian River Supplication and oak soaked in Cabernet Sauvignon.

Update 6/8/2012
Added dregs from Petrus Aged Ale.  I noticed the airlock had some positive pressure and there was a burp before I removed the bung

Update 9/15/2012
Added dregs from Sophie from Goose Island.

Update 9/22/2012
This beer is much more sour than the last time I tasted it (forgot to log the date but it was probably 6/24), but it's still much more of a mellow sour compared to the October Flanders Red.  There is a small pellicle.  My refractometer shows 10.4 brix down from 12 brix on 6/24/2012.

Update 10/30/2012
Added dregs from Duchesse De Bourgogne.

Update 1/29/2013
Checked this one again today and it's down to 10.2 brix. It's tart but still not quite as tart as batch #1. It still has a dusty looking pellicle, although it doesn't cover the entire top. Seems to be progressing nicely.
Dusty pellicle on Flanders #2

Update 4/6/2013
Pulled a sample today. It still has a little bit of a dusty pellicle. The gravity hasn't changed at all since the last reading (10.2P) but the tartness level has increased significantly and is on par with batch #1. I think I'll try to bottle this later this month.

Update 8/22/2013
So I just barely got around to bottling this batch. It's tart but it's definitely different than batch #1. I'd say it's much more fruity or at least the fruity character is more complex. I get pie cherries like #1, but there's also some darker stone fruit character. This is still carbing in the bottle so I'll prob give it another month before cracking one open.

Update 8/26/2014
This beer just took a gold medal for Category 17 in the 2014 Beehive Brew-Off! Pretty excited and happy that a more acidic example was chosen by the judges. Pretty much all my sours tend to be really sour and they haven't done all that great in competition. They usually score well, but time after time I've gotten comments like "I really like this beer but it's too sour for the style." At some point they'll add an American Sour category that will allow for higher intensity sours.