Flanders Red Ale

Recipes:
1,327
BJCP 2021:
23B
Era:
Traditional
Origin:
🇧🇪 Belgium
Fermentation:
Top
Color:
Amber
Strength:
Normal
Taste:
Balanced

Profile

Flanders Red Ale is a unique and historically rich beer style hailing from the West Flanders region of Belgium. Known for its deep red hue to light brown color, it owes its appearance to long periods of aging in oak barrels, which contribute not only to its color but also to its complex flavor profile. The style emerged from the tradition of farmers brewing with what was available locally and then allowing it to mature over time, leading to the spontaneous fermentation characteristics and the sour profile that we associate with it today.

Upon pouring, Flanders Red Ale's visual appeal is evident; a thin, off-white head may crown its deep ruby body. As you approach the glass, expect a range of aromas characteristic of this sophisticated style – notes of sharp lactic acidity often blend with hints of acetic acid. These sour elements are balanced by an undercurrent of malty sweetness that brings about a beautiful harmony on the nose. The flavor mirrors this complexity – all at once tart, sweet, and robust – with a pronounced sourness typical of aged European beers. It usually showcases a good marriage between the sweetness from Special B or similar malts and various degrees of vanilla-like or almond-like qualities imparted by oak aging. Fruitiness reminiscent of dark cherry or red currant might be present as well. This captivating interplay makes Flanders Red Ale distinct among sour beers and has commonly been likened to balsamic vinegar in both its acidity and depth; however, this comparison does not fully capture its malt richness and potential woody nuances.

Related in some ways to other Belgian-style sour ales like Oud Bruin or Lambics due to fermentation techniques and flavor profiles, Flanders Red Ale maintains individuality with its strong acidity and barrel-derived complexities unmatched by these cousins within Belgian sours.

Specifications

Alcohol

Specification
4.6 – 6.5 %

In Database
4.3 < 5.8 < 7.1 %

Bitterness

Specification
10 – 25 IBU

In Database
4 < 15 < 28 IBU

Color

Specification
20 – 33 EBC
10 – 17 SRM

In Database
17 < 27 < 36 EBC
9 < 14 < 19 SRM

Original Extract

Specification
11.9 – 14.0 °P
1.048 – 1.057 OG

In Database
10.7 < 13.6 < 16.9 °P
1.043 < 1.055 < 1.070 OG

Final Gravity

Specification
0.5 – 3.1 °P
1.002 – 1.012 FG

In Database
1.0 < 2.8 < 4.8 °P
1.004 < 1.011 < 1.019 FG

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