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Flander's Red

Alright; so I finally took the most important step in making this beer which is just getting up the balls to do it. I chose a recipe from Jeff Sparrow who wrote the Wild Brew book which I have yet to read through. I used the Roeselare Wyeast blend which people seem to say doesn’t produce a super very sour product the first time around which I think I may be alright with seeing that I just had La Roja and it was a bit much for me.

My questions are:

  1. The recipe says to ferment at 70* for a week and then to rack it to a secondary. I was under the impression that I should let these sit for a while in the primary but maybe that is for more the Lambic style? I still will age for at least a year; just fuzzy on when to transfer.
  2. When I do rack I want to toss another beer on that yeast cake right away. Any one have any good suggestions for this?
  3. When I do get around to bottling I would probably like to bottle some of it straight up and some of it blended with something else (again; suggestions?) but was unsure about timing. Is it best to blend it with another beer and let it re-ferment in a carboy and then bottling with priming sugar or take the chance with bottling? Is there a way I can calculate the sugars in the young beer for carbonation?

West Flanders Red Ale
by Jeff Sparrow
(5-gallons/19 L, all-grain)
OG = 1.057 FG = 1.002–1.012
IBU = 11 SRM = 22 ABV = 6.5%

5 lbs. 5 oz. (2.4 kg) Vienna malt
2 lbs. 8 oz. (1.1 kg) Pils malt
15 oz. (0.43 kg) aromatic malt
15 oz. (0.43 kg) CaraVienne malt
2 lbs. 2 oz. (0.96 kg) raw wheat
5.0 oz. (0.14 kg) special B malt
3 AAU Hallertau hops (60 mins)
(0.75 oz./21 g of 4.0% alpha acids)
2.0 oz. (57 g) oak cubes (medium toast)
Wyeast 3763 (Roeselare Blend) or White Labs WLP655 (Belgian Sour Mix)

  1. I’d ferment in the mid-60’s rather than in the 70’s. You don’t want to make fusels. And I’d definitely ferment for at least two weeks to be sure the Sacch yeast do their job.

  2. You could ferment a lambic, thats just 60% pls and 40% wheat malt. Or you can ferment a stout and plan to drink it before it gets too funky. Or a barleywine, I just had a barleywine fermented with Brett and it was interesting.

  3. Don’t bottle for at least nine months. If you blend, do it right before bottling and plan on drinking it within a few months. Its not that likely to take off again but don’t chance it. Not real easy to know what the young beer will bring, if its at 1.015 and the finished product will be 1.007 then you can call it 8pts and blending 1:1 will work. But I’m not sure the Brett and bugs will make enough carbonation that way, I’d add priming sugar.

Good luck, looks like a good recipe. Wild Brews is a good book. I met Jeff Sparrow at a homebrew contest and he’s a real nice fellow, fiarly wild as one would expect.

Thanks for the input. This is definitely one area I know little to nothing about so I’ll be experimenting here but at the same time don’t want to mess something up that will take so long until it’s ready to go. Right now it’s sitting out in the open and is in the mid 60* at high krausen so I don’t think I could get it up to the 70s if I wanted. I’ll ferment for at least a few weeks and try something else on top.

If I do go with a stout or something like that which is more non-traditional is there a rule of thumb for timing on that or is it just kind of let it age to my desired taste? I’m really interested in this whole process and curious to see where it gets me.

These beers can “get sick”, I’ve had them go through stages where they were full of diacetyl and then this ages out. So if you want a hint of funk let it go a couple months then bottle and drink. If you want the full funk, let it go 9mths to a year.

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