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General Category => Yeast and Fermentation => Topic started by: Pinski on July 24, 2012, 02:44:09 PM

Title: Flanders Red fermentation
Post by: Pinski on July 24, 2012, 02:44:09 PM
I have 5 gallons of Flanders Red that's been in the fermenteezer for almost two weeks.  I'm about to tuck it away in a closet for the next year and have a couple questions.
1. Should I leave the beer in the primary carboy with the oak chips and the pellicle for the entire fermentation or rack to a clean carboy at some point?
2. I was thinking about whittling an oak stopper for the carboy to replace the airlock now that fermentation has slowed down. I read that this will allow oxygen to penetrate the headspace and aid in the development of sour characteristics. Have folks had good results with this technique?  Anyone ever blown up a carboy from pressurizing it by using an oak stopper? 
Any Flanders tips are welcome.
Title: Re: Flanders Red fermentation
Post by: kylekohlmorgen on July 24, 2012, 03:03:50 PM
1. Rack it to secondary before tucking it away. Lambic is really the only fermentation profile that benefits from autolyzed and trub.

When you add oak chips it depends on your preference for oak flavors in the style. I really like the vanilla character in mine, so I add cubes when I rack to secondary. I use 0.25 oz or so since it will still sit on them a long time, but so I dont have to pull a lot of samples to taste for oak when I know the beer isn't nearly ready. A little goes a long way for a Flanders, and it isn't necessarily traditional to have a lot of oak character, so judges can ding you for it.

I always err on the side of keeping as much O2 out as I can through conditioning. Acetic WILL develop over time, so don't worry about an oak stopper. Use a rubber stopper w/ filled airlock since you will get some gas evolution over time.

If the beer is ready and it doesnt have enough acetic for your liking, you can doctor it with actual vinegar (or older flanders as you brew more).

If its for a competition, judges are many times over-sensitive to acetic. I doubt a judge will comment "boy, this could SURE use some more vinegar!"

Limit samples. I don't even touch it for 6 months.

Title: Re: Flanders Red fermentation
Post by: nateo on July 24, 2012, 08:34:57 PM
This doesn't really help you now, but I'd look into the fast lacto method of making sour beers. A lot of people say you need extended aging, but with the fast lacto method I've made sours better than many commercial sours, though not better than the best commercial sours. You can dial in the acidity really well with that method. I've had some homebrewed sours that went way past "sour" to the point where they were hard to drink.

Basically, you can make a clean sour this way in about one or two days longer than a "normal" beer, and if you want to use Brett that cuts the time down to about 2-3 months, vs 12-18 months for "traditional" souring.
Title: Re: Flanders Red fermentation
Post by: tschmidlin on July 25, 2012, 07:13:07 AM
Get a breathable silicon bung - it will let in a little O2, but not too much, and will release pressure if needed.

I usually don't rack before aging, although I rack it off the primary yeast before adding the bugs.
Title: Re: Flanders Red fermentation
Post by: Pinski on July 25, 2012, 08:42:05 AM
 Silicone bung? Well, that sounds better than sanding down a hunk of oak.
I pitched with Roeselare blend and added my oak to the primary so everything that needs to go in is in.  Thats why I'm wondering about the necessity of racking it off of the yeast and the sludge in neck of the headspace.
Title: Re: Flanders Red fermentation
Post by: kylekohlmorgen on July 25, 2012, 02:13:26 PM
You can refill that primary with a simple wort to make another wild beer. Maybe pitch dregs from a few bottles.

Those chips will harbor the bugs for future batches - AND you'll have more wild beer! (eventually)
Title: Re: Flanders Red fermentation
Post by: Pinski on July 25, 2012, 02:42:48 PM
You can refill that primary with a simple wort to make another wild beer. Maybe pitch dregs from a few bottles.

Those chips will harbor the bugs for future batches - AND you'll have more wild beer! (eventually)
I'd love to keep it rolling but I'll need to carefully plan my sour fermentations so as not to take over all of the closet space.  That would be agressive following the assimilation of the garage.  ::)
Title: Re: Flanders Red fermentation
Post by: Pinski on July 25, 2012, 02:53:55 PM
I usually don't rack before aging, although I rack it off the primary yeast before adding the bugs.
I thought that the bugs go in prior to aging to produce the sour. 
Or, are you saying that you:
-do a primary yeast fermentation
-rack to second carboy
-add bugs
-secondary/aging

I'm just trying to decide if at this point I will make a better beer by leaving everything in the primary carboy for the duration or if there is a reason I should transfer to a new carboy since I won't be adding more bugs or oak. (unless I rack, then I'll need to add more oak)
Title: Re: Flanders Red fermentation
Post by: mihalybaci on July 25, 2012, 05:52:24 PM
As I recall, the book "Wild Brews" suggests not racking the beer at all for either lambic or Flanders reds to give the Brett something to eat over the course of the 1 - 2 year fermentation. My latest attempt scored pretty well in a recent competition and I just pitched a pack of Wyeast Roselare blend right at the beginning and let it go. After 15 months I racked it, not to get rid of the yeast, but because I wanted to clear out that carboy for a different beer and I wanted to add some heavy toast oak chips for the last 7 months.
Title: Re: Flanders Red fermentation
Post by: kylekohlmorgen on July 25, 2012, 07:05:27 PM
As I recall, the book "Wild Brews" suggests not racking the beer at all for either lambic or Flanders reds to give the Brett something to eat over the course of the 1 - 2 year fermentation. My latest attempt scored pretty well in a recent competition and I just pitched a pack of Wyeast Roselare blend right at the beginning and let it go. After 15 months I racked it, not to get rid of the yeast, but because I wanted to clear out that carboy for a different beer and I wanted to add some heavy toast oak chips for the last 7 months.

Leaving it on the trub is normally a lambic procedure, where Brett is a much more dominant component. Lambic is conditioned much longer, and the trub/yeast cake aids the Brett in continuing to produce esters and reduce diacetyl produced by Pedio. Since Flanders beers are primarily soured with Lacto, the conditioning period can be shorter and does not rely on a Pedio/Brett combo.

That being said - if you like a Funky and more acidic Flanders, GO FOR IT.
Title: Re: Flanders Red fermentation
Post by: tschmidlin on July 26, 2012, 06:45:13 AM
Silicone bung? Well, that sounds better than sanding down a hunk of oak.
This: http://www.mountainhomebrew.com/breathablebungsmall.aspx  No airlock to dry out for extended aging.

I usually don't rack before aging, although I rack it off the primary yeast before adding the bugs.
Or, are you saying that you:
-do a primary yeast fermentation
-rack to second carboy
-add bugs
-secondary/aging
Yep, this exactly.  I typically use 1056 for the primary.  Mash high, don't aerate, underpitch, ferment cold.  I leave lots of stuff for the Roeselare blend to work on when it goes in.  I might just go straight with Roeselare next time, but the method above works well.
Title: Re: Flanders Red fermentation
Post by: dbarber on July 26, 2012, 08:51:27 PM
The first batch of flander's I made didn't turn out nearly sour enough for my tastes.  I fermented with 1056 and added the Roselare bugs in the secondary and inserted a rubber stopper with an oak dowel in it.  The second batch I made I pitched directly on the bugs and added a pack of US05, let it ferment out and tranferred when the pellicle fell after 1 year.  That beer took 2nd at the NHC this year.

I've heard from other brewers that the 1st generation of Roselaere isn't sour enough, the 2nd generation is just right and 3rd generation is too sour.  YMMV.
Title: Re: Flanders Red fermentation
Post by: Pinski on July 26, 2012, 09:17:22 PM
The first batch of flander's I made didn't turn out nearly sour enough for my tastes.  I fermented with 1056 and added the Roselare bugs in the secondary and inserted a rubber stopper with an oak dowel in it.  The second batch I made I pitched directly on the bugs and added a pack of US05, let it ferment out and tranferred when the pellicle fell after 1 year.  That beer took 2nd at the NHC this year.

I've heard from other brewers that the 1st generation of Roselaere isn't sour enough, the 2nd generation is just right and 3rd generation is too sour.  YMMV.
Congrats!
So wait, you pitched round 2 on top of the bugs left from round 1 (year old)?
Also, do you rack after primary or do you complete all fermentation and aging in one carboy?
Title: Re: Flanders Red fermentation
Post by: dbarber on July 26, 2012, 09:51:37 PM
The first batch of flander's I made didn't turn out nearly sour enough for my tastes.  I fermented with 1056 and added the Roselare bugs in the secondary and inserted a rubber stopper with an oak dowel in it.  The second batch I made I pitched directly on the bugs and added a pack of US05, let it ferment out and tranferred when the pellicle fell after 1 year.  That beer took 2nd at the NHC this year.

I've heard from other brewers that the 1st generation of Roselaere isn't sour enough, the 2nd generation is just right and 3rd generation is too sour.  YMMV.
Congrats!
So wait, you pitched round 2 on top of the bugs left from round 1 (year old)?
Also, do you rack after primary or do you complete all fermentation and aging in one carboy?

The first batch I racked to a secondary and added the bugs.  The second batch I pitched on the the 1 yr old bugs.  The second flanders I completed all fermentation in one carboy and transferred after the pellicle dropped.
Title: Re: Flanders Red fermentation
Post by: kylekohlmorgen on July 27, 2012, 05:37:09 PM
I read through Raj Apte's article on Flemish Red yesterday. One HELL of a resource!

Take a look: http://www2.parc.com/emdl/members/apte/flemishredale.shtml


Title: Re: Flanders Red fermentation
Post by: Pinski on July 31, 2012, 06:44:21 AM
I read through Raj Apte's article on Flemish Red yesterday. One HELL of a resource!

Take a look: http://www2.parc.com/emdl/members/apte/flemishredale.shtml
Excellent, thank you Kyle!
Title: Re: Flanders Red fermentation
Post by: jmcamerlengo on July 31, 2012, 01:13:03 PM
When I do sours I generally primary with yeast and rack to a secondary after 3 or 4 days and pitch the bugs. I use an Oak bung that I fashioned. I really like the results, especially in lambics. To me it lets enough O2 in but not to much. Never had a broke  carboy, although the bung does expand quite a bit after a year and it can be a bit difficult to pull out when you eventually take it out.

I think this thread is another example that theres more than 1 way to de-intigument a feline. Do what works for you :)
Title: Re: Flanders Red fermentation
Post by: redbeerman on August 01, 2012, 07:00:31 PM
The first batch of flander's I made didn't turn out nearly sour enough for my tastes.  I fermented with 1056 and added the Roselare bugs in the secondary and inserted a rubber stopper with an oak dowel in it.  The second batch I made I pitched directly on the bugs and added a pack of US05, let it ferment out and tranferred when the pellicle fell after 1 year.  That beer took 2nd at the NHC this year.

I've heard from other brewers that the 1st generation of Roselaere isn't sour enough, the 2nd generation is just right and 3rd generation is too sour.  YMMV.

I pitched bugs and Brett in the secondary as well and didn't get enough sourness for my tastes, so I adjusted by adding a little bit of lactic acid.  My next batch everything goes into the primary.  The commercial examples of this style are really all over the place as far as sourness and Brett character, so you really have to dial it in or blend for your own tastes IMHO.
Title: Re: Flanders Red fermentation
Post by: AmandaK on September 14, 2012, 04:25:27 PM
I read through Raj Apte's article on Flemish Red yesterday. One HELL of a resource!

Take a look: http://www2.parc.com/emdl/members/apte/flemishredale.shtml

1) Thanks for all the good info, guys! I'm looking into doing 10 gallons of Flanders Red/Brown before the end of the year and splitting it with Roeselare and WLP665.

2) Am I the only one this link doesn't work for? It redirects me to here: http://www.parc.com/about/people/5/raj-apte.html Sad panda.
Title: Re: Flanders Red fermentation
Post by: nateo on September 14, 2012, 04:39:42 PM
1) Thanks for all the good info, guys! I'm looking into doing 10 gallons of Flanders Red/Brown before the end of the year and splitting it with Roeselare and WLP665.

2) Am I the only one this link doesn't work for? It redirects me to here: http://www.parc.com/about/people/5/raj-apte.html Sad panda.

1) I've been blown away at the results by doing a fast-lacto souring upfront, combined with wine yeast (for underattenuation) and Brett, and fractional blending to taste. I know I'm a heretic and I know everyone else disagrees with me, but the Flanders Red I made that way was better than any other Flanders Red, commercial or homebrew, I've ever had, and it only took about 4 months.

2) You can use the wayback machine to find a copy of Raj's article.
Title: Re: Flanders Red fermentation
Post by: saintpierre on September 14, 2012, 05:32:14 PM
2) You can use the wayback machine to find a copy of Raj's article.
Sorry, can someone provide the link for this.  I did not find it using the googler.
Title: Re: Flanders Red fermentation
Post by: nateo on September 14, 2012, 05:41:30 PM
http://web.archive.org/web/20100410025103/http://www2.parc.com/emdl/members/apte/flemishredale.shtml
Title: Re: Flanders Red fermentation
Post by: saintpierre on September 14, 2012, 07:04:27 PM
Thank you. Link bookmarked!
Title: Re: Flanders Red fermentation
Post by: kylekohlmorgen on September 17, 2012, 12:52:44 PM

1) I've been blown away at the results by doing a fast-lacto souring upfront, combined with wine yeast (for underattenuation) and Brett, and fractional blending to taste. I know I'm a heretic and I know everyone else disagrees with me, but the Flanders Red I made that way was better than any other Flanders Red, commercial or homebrew, I've ever had, and it only took about 4 months...

No disagreement here - My way is the lazy way. And once you have a few vintages laying around, you can use the quick way and blend in some older, super sour (and in my case, oaky :)) stuff for complexity and depth.

Do you bottle-condition your Flanders? I just have mine sitting around in kegs, but I wondered if such a young wild brew would bottle condition much quicker / more successfully than stuff that's sat around awhile (1-2 yrs).
Title: Re: Flanders Red fermentation
Post by: nateo on September 17, 2012, 01:52:53 PM
Do you bottle-condition your Flanders? I just have mine sitting around in kegs, but I wondered if such a young wild brew would bottle condition much quicker / more successfully than stuff that's sat around awhile (1-2 yrs).

I only bottle condition, and I always re-yeast at bottling for every batch. My target is carbonation in under a week. Usually it's carbed within 2-3 days this way.

Isn't that completely unnecessary? Well, I had a weizen that tasted amazing right before bottling time, but it took about 2 weeks to fully carb. By the time it was carbed, it had already peaked, and by week 3 it was obviously worse than it was at week 2. So now I bottle when it's ready, and carb, then chill it as quickly as possible. Not every beer ages gracefully (just like not every wine ages well), and I don't want to be waiting for it to carb while it's peaking.
Title: Re: Flanders Red fermentation
Post by: erockrph on September 17, 2012, 03:23:56 PM
I only bottle condition, and I always re-yeast at bottling for every batch. My target is carbonation in under a week. Usually it's carbed within 2-3 days this way.

Isn't that completely unnecessary? Well, I had a weizen that tasted amazing right before bottling time, but it took about 2 weeks to fully carb. By the time it was carbed, it had already peaked, and by week 3 it was obviously worse than it was at week 2. So now I bottle when it's ready, and carb, then chill it as quickly as possible. Not every beer ages gracefully (just like not every wine ages well), and I don't want to be waiting for it to carb while it's peaking.

Not to take this too far off on a tangent, but every day I pick up something really useful on this forum. This was definitely an "A-ha!" moment for me, and I'm going to be trying this out soon with my hoppy beers and weizens. I never gave a second thought to bothering with adding yeast at bottling before, but this makes perfect sense to me now.

Do you always pitch the same yeast at bottling that you fermented with, or do you have a particular strain you prefer?
Title: Re: Flanders Red fermentation
Post by: nateo on September 17, 2012, 04:15:30 PM
Do you always pitch the same yeast at bottling that you fermented with, or do you have a particular strain you prefer?

Sorry to hijack the thread, but: the best (IMO) and cheapest option is to use 2 packs of a prise de mousse strain (Premier Cuvee from Red Star or EC 1118 from Lalvin). You could use one for most beers, but the recommended rate for sparkling wine is 10g/20L, so I use two.
I like wine yeast because it's cheap and there's no way it'll touch any complex sugars. I like the prise de mousse strains because they're fast, clean fermenters with low nutrient needs and high alcohol tolerance. For beer yeast, you can use T-58. It's not a great attenuater so it probably won't touch any complex sugars, but it's a bit stickier than the prise de mousse strains.

If you properly rehydrate the yeast (tap water somewhere around the 105*F range), you should get Kraeusen in the necks of the bottles. Some wine and beer yeasts are stickier than others, so I've ended up with stubborn Kraeusen rings when using other wine/beer yeasts. The prise de mousse strains are good flocc'ers but also not so sticky they leave rings in the neck.
Title: Re: Flanders Red fermentation
Post by: AmandaK on September 19, 2012, 06:06:22 PM
1) I've been blown away at the results by doing a fast-lacto souring upfront, combined with wine yeast (for underattenuation) and Brett, and fractional blending to taste. I know I'm a heretic and I know everyone else disagrees with me, but the Flanders Red I made that way was better than any other Flanders Red, commercial or homebrew, I've ever had, and it only took about 4 months.

2) You can use the wayback machine to find a copy of Raj's article.

1) Can you go into this in more detail? I'm hard up for some homebrewed sours right now and I don't know if I can wait until the 20 gallons in planning age out.

2) Thanks for the lesson on the interwebs. <facepalm>
Title: Re: Flanders Red fermentation
Post by: nateo on September 19, 2012, 07:06:18 PM
1) Can you go into this in more detail? I'm hard up for some homebrewed sours right now and I don't now if I can wait until the 20 gallons in planning age out.

I'm obviously biased and think my* technique is good, so I took a bottle to the brewclub meeting last night. The people who liked sours liked it, and they were all surprised it was only 4 months old.

In a nutshell (20L batch, 1.050-1.060):
1) prepare a 2-3L sour starter with 100g/L of dextrose, 1/2-1 cup of base grain, and keep in the 100-110* range for 2-3 days before brewday.

2) On brew day, mash as usual for a target of 17-18L finished wort.
option a. Mash and boil 100% of the wort as usual
option b. Mash as usual, reserve 7-8L unboiled wort, boil the balance as usual to end up with ~ 10L of boiled wort.

3) If you did option a., separate the boiled wort into 10L and 7-8L, add B. lambicus and BM45 (or wine yeast of your choice) to 10L, add sour starter to the remaining 7-8L. If you did option b. add the Brett and wine yeast to the boiled portion, add the sour starter to the unboiled portion.

4) Ferment the 10L non-sour portion as usual. If you want to start layering oak flavor, add about 15g~1/2oz oak of your choice.

5) Keep the 10L sour portion hot (100-110*) until it's fully soured. If you have a pH meter, mine usually bottoms out around 2.3-2.6 within 2-4 days. Once it's dropped into the 2's you don't need to keep it hot anymore. 

6) Once the non-sour portion is in the double-digits (a month or so), you can blend the portions to taste. You have to use a little bit of imagination, because it'll taste a more sour when it's carbonated, and it'll taste more sour when it hits terminal gravity, but it's not a huge difference. Just err a little on the less-sour side. You can check pH of the blended beer too. I like 3.5-3.6, if you want more sour you can just increase the % of the sour wort in the blend. Don't be afraid to waste some wort if a 60/40 blend tastes better than a 50/50 blend. 

7) Oak your blended beer as usual (maybe another 1-2oz, depending on how oaky you want it).

#8 Once gravity has bottomed out, prime with fresh yeast and bottle in a heavy bottle. If you want to get fancy, you can use Kai's priming calculator based on where you think the Brett may drop the gravity over a long period, and take that into consideration. But if you use a Champagne/Belgian bottle rated to 5 vol and carb to 4 vol, you'll most likely be fine.

OK, so that's really complicated and a lot of work. Why bother? With this technique you can lock in the sourness where you want it. In my experience, the grain-cultured Lacto won't further drop the pH if put into an alcoholic environment with little sugar left to eat. It may form a pellicle again in the blended beer, but from my measurements pH remains stable. You'll need to pull samples to taste every couple weeks. Let your tastebuds guide the process and timing.

What I've done most recently is keep a bucket full (18-20L) of sour wort at all times, and taking off portions as I need it, topping up with excess wort from whatever batch I'm brewing. If you build up a large enough colony of Lacto in the bucket, you won't need to keep it hot, or mess with making a sour starter before each batch.

*This technique is an amalgam of other people's techniques, notably the "fast lacto and brett" thread on HBT, and Mike's (the mad fermentationist) blog. And people have been using fractional blending for a long time, so I'm not trying to take an undue amount of credit. 
Title: Re: Flanders Red fermentation
Post by: kylekohlmorgen on September 19, 2012, 07:20:33 PM
+1 to having sour beer around for blending. I read that, even in Cantillon, they have barrels that are so acidic they're "only good for shining the copper".

Not quite as romantic, but it will get the sour stock up a bit quicker!

Nateo - are you worried about over-carb'ing / bottle bombs with such a young, non-soured portion? Do you just drink them quickly enough to avoid this issue?

I'm still in the "low and slow" camp when it comes to wild/mixed fermentation, but I may have to try this to get some acid beer that I can blend into saisons or the second runnings of a wheat beer to make berliner weisse.
Title: Re: Flanders Red fermentation
Post by: AmandaK on September 19, 2012, 08:25:05 PM
Nateo,

Thank you for such a detailed process write up. I still have one foot in the 'low and slow' sour camp, but your technique is so much quicker, albeit a bit more complicated. I may just put my other foot in your camp for the time being. You know, for experimental purposes. :)
Title: Re: Flanders Red fermentation
Post by: nateo on September 19, 2012, 08:28:16 PM
+1 to having sour beer around for blending. I read that, even in Cantillon, they have barrels that are so acidic they're "only good for shining the copper".

Nateo - are you worried about over-carb'ing / bottle bombs with such a young, non-soured portion? Do you just drink them quickly enough to avoid this issue?

I still wait for gravity to stabilize after blending. On the latest Red that I was talking about, that meant blending, then sitting for 3 months. Gravity was stable for the last 2 months, so I bottled. I'm using Champagne bottles to avoid bottle bombs. They might carb up more, but I estimated a "worst case" Brett overattenuation figure using Kai's carbonation spreadsheet, and adjusted my priming amount to account for that, so it's not likely they'd "over carb."

I'm not really sure what the shortest turn-around time is, but I'd guess it's around 1 month. I haven't tried that yet, so do so at your own risk. Still, 3 months for a Red is a lot faster than 1-3 years.
Title: Re: Flanders Red fermentation
Post by: beer_crafter on February 20, 2013, 12:54:56 PM
Looks like Mr. Apte's Flemish Red page is down (it links to a profile page for him at Xerox)... Does anyone have this cached?  If not I will email him to see if I can get a copy and we can add it to this site, hopefully.
Title: Re: Flanders Red fermentation
Post by: kylekohlmorgen on February 20, 2013, 01:41:45 PM
http://web.archive.org/web/20100410025103/http://www2.parc.com/emdl/members/apte/flemishredale.shtml

Some of the pictures/charts don't show up, which is a shame, but most are also given in Wild Brews.

You could also probably just email him for a .pdf. He sounds like a nice guy.