Something Sour This Way Comes: Flanders Red Ale


Straight from the brewery, written by Tim Torres; Our Lab and Quality Assurance Expert.

To produce such a demanding beverage requires time, space and a little luck. Most consumers correctly credit the “bugs” (non-yeast microorganisms) for the resulting flavor in barrel aged sours. However, the barrel too deserves some of that spot-light; as the wood allows the contents to breath and French Oak lends subtle notes of spice. Their journey starts before the brew house, at a large production winery. A waft of the second-hand barrels reveals a history of sophisticated red wine, with notes of plum and worn leather. It’s common for breweries to use these second-hand French Oak barrels to produce sour beers; as the barrel also lends character from the previous occupant. They then received fresh wort from the brew house based on a solid Bière de Garde recipe. The grain bill utilized 7 malts, primarily of German origin, with American 2-row providing additional support. Additionally, the recipe called for a dash of American-Wheat and Belgian malts to create the dynamic blend of light and dark caramels, mild-toast and hints of biscuit. The malt was accompanied by a humble addition of Tettnanger hops during the boil before being transferred out of the brew house for fermentation and aging. After the barrels stopped leaking, as they tend to do whilst filling, they received an organic yeast blend of Saccharomyces Cerevisiae, Lactobacillus and Brettanomyces before undergoing primary fermentation. Fermentation started out aggressive, blowing off some airlocks, likely provoked by the temperature of our warehouse during summer. They soon calmed down and were left to marinate with their new occupants. Their journey proved long, as 6 months were required to obtain the right sour profile. Having lost some volume through barrel absorption, evaporation and tiny leaks, they were topped-off with a finished beer of a similar recipe, Bière de Garde. The resulting contents were a blend of spry sourness and youthful malt richness. Further blending of all barrels led to our Flanders Red Ale, a decidedly sour yet approachable style of the same name. It’s been a long road for this brew, even longer for the barrels, but the journey concluded for your enjoyment. Your Welcome!

Our Flanders Sour Red Ale hits the market March 9th along with a limited time Travis Bruce Black designed glass. Bombers will be available for purchase at both locations, and it will only be on draft at Wells Park.