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I am about to brew my first test batch of a Flanders Red/Brown. I am thinking Rodenbach, but with local ingredients. So, for me Maris replaces lager malt, Admiral and Progress replace nobel hops. Basically harking back to Porters of London from the late C18, early C19.

Malt

  • 8 Kg Maris Otter
  • 1.5 Kg flaked corn
  • 0.2 Crystal 150L
  • 0.2 Chocolate Malt

Hops

  • Admiral 20g @ 60 min
  • Progress 30g @ 60 min

Yeast/Bacteria

I have a few questions.

  1. How long is the minimum time I need to leave this before it gets the right flavour profile. Wyeast say up to 18 months, but is there any reliable way anyone knows of has tried to speed this up?
  2. Has anyone any experience pitching Roesalare Blend with other yeasts? eg SO4 or US-05?
  3. I am thinking of using a cork bung to allow slow oxygen transfer in/out of my stainless FV for the againg? for 50l should a 25mm/1in bung allow suffcent oxygen trasfer?
  4. Has anyone tried repitching the Roeslare or similar blend, wyeast website says not to do so, but I hate buying yeast/bacteria when I am growing them in my basement?
  5. I am going to age this with oak cubes 25mm/1in on a side, how many should I use? How should I toast them?

=== EDIT === Calculated values from recipe with Final Volume 50l

  • SRM 13
  • OG 1050
  • FG 1008-1004 [depending how aggressive the Brett is]
  • ABV ~6%
  • IBU ~18-24
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Well, first of all, the grain bill is not one of red flanders. There's no place for chocolate malt, nor for flaked corn. 8 kg base malt is gonna give you too high OG for the style (assuming you're doing 5gal/20l batch). Too much hops, too (again, assuming 20l batch, but too much even for 40l). The share of special malt of caramel-ish type should be much higher - 15-20%.

Now to your questions (and when answering those I assume the grain bill is already corrected).

  1. 3 months in primary and 3 months in bottles gets you a base beer that is worth talking about. 6+ months in bottles is what I would (and normally do) aim for (actually I blend 9-months old beer with 18-months beer for bottling, and then let it sit in bottles for another month before drinking). In any case, your palate is the best judge here, and you should calibrate it with enough commercial samples (they will also give you precious bottle dregs that you can dump into your beer). There's no way to speed it up.

  2. Jamil Z. says that Roselaare blend already has US-05. I don't see why you can't add extra S-04, US-05 or any other yeast, for that matter. I don't believe it's a critical factor here.

  3. Should be OK. Tbh, most "newbie sour" beers have vinegar note, which hints over-oxidation. So I'd rather worry about limiting oxygen exposure, rather than whether the bung would let through enough oxygen.

  4. I repitched them, added extra strains (other normal yeast, pure Brett cultures, bottle dregs) and I guess over a few batches my house blend differs from Roselaare. Still tastes good. There are two key points, probably: a) add some fresh "normal" yeast when repitching to a new batch, b) use oak cubes, which would act as "storage" of the cultures in between batches.

  5. Not too much, I'd say 50-60 grams of wood should be enough. I didn't toast mine, but they were originally from a burbon barrel, so guess the issue had been fixed prior. Tbh, should they have come as a regular dry wood, I wouldn't have bothered with toasting. Just sterilize them in microwave (put then in water and let them boil for 1 minute, then dump into fermenter together with water). Presence of wood is beneficial for Brett cultures, plus, as I said, these cubes become valuable at repitching time (after bottling I collect them from the fermenter into a mason jar and store in a fridge).

  • Rodenbach uses 17% maize in their mash of highly fermentable sugars. That is why I have the flaked corn. – Mr_road Mar 19 '18 at 10:44
  • I have edited the question to clarify this is a 50l batch. – Mr_road Mar 19 '18 at 12:19
  • @Mr_road I didn't check Rodenbach's grain bill tbh. I'd guess they use it together with turbid mach, so that that maize would give dextrines without adding extra proteins (as barley would've done). Dextrines are required for Brett and Pedio to work on and contribute funk/cheese. There are reported successful "cheat" lambic-style brews with extra maltodextrine added directly to the kettle at the end of the boil, doing pretty much the same work. – Roman Mar 20 '18 at 1:25
  • as you correctly assume Rodenbach said that they were using it for extra sugars, without much colour or protien, I don't know about turbid mashing they didn't tell us that much on the brewery tour. – Mr_road Mar 20 '18 at 8:39
  • @Mr_road then may I suggest that you look up turbid mash procedure. Brett and Pedio are specifically after high-order dextrines, not just sugars. If there aren't enough dextrines in the wort, you won't get the right taste profile. – Roman Mar 20 '18 at 21:53
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Answering my own question. This answer will answer section 1, regarding accelerating brewing of Flemish Red/mixed fermentation style ales.

@Roman Thank-you, your answers have helped me sort a few things, and you definatly desreve the upvote for the help, your answer to point 2 and 5 are especially useful.

Having read alot more around the subject over the last week, I will likely stick with Roeselare Blend as my starter blend to get my initial Brett and Pedi cultures, but will not use it as the initial pitch.

My reading has consisted of the Milk the Funk Wiki. The section I found particually interesting was this the Fast Funky Fermentation Section of their mixed Fermentation page.

I am going to cool the wort to 37C/98F then pitch in a starter of Lactobacillus, leave it for 48/72H or until the pH drops to 3.4. OR I will Kettle sour, still unusre which to choose for this.

Further research settled this, pitching Lactobacillus plantarum at 98F should allow me to kettle sour in 20-22 Hours. As any hop level above about 7 IBU will hamper my lacto culture; kettle souring is really my only option for this beer.

Cool the now slightly soured wort to 22C/77F then pitch a mix of Sacc and Brett, which will consist of ~ 500ml Lees from the last brew, plus a fresh S04/US05 mix. Leave at 22C for 48H, then gradually cool to 18C and leave for 2 weeks.

This will then be cooled to about 14C to drop most of the sacc yeast out, then transfered to a conditioning vessel for ~3 weeks, to let the Brett and Pedi finish doing their thing, then bottle with 1 pt of gravity left.

I will then have to see how bottle conditioning goes.

To ensure I don't get bottle bombs I will pull off 500ml before the conditioning vessel and force fermentation at 25C to find my expected final gravity. As 1008-1004 is a pretty wide range.

==== will expand this later when I get a moment ====

  • What you're trying to speed up here is sourness. There are a few nice kettle-soured beers. I find them somehow single-dimensioned, though. Brett takes at least a month to just give a hint of funk. Pedio even longer. You need proper time to get right taste profile with funk and cheese in it. – Roman Mar 20 '18 at 1:20
  • What I am trying to speed you is the time before I can get it our of my FV and start brewing another beer. I want to be able to bottle as quickly as possible without creating bottle bombs, but with a mixed fermentation. A side effect of this is far faster souring but that is not my primary objective. Getting the lacto sourness early means it is not competeing with Sacc and Brett. Sacc has its fermentation profile strangley affected in the precense of lacto, therefore an additional benefit is you can get better consistency if you keep the 2 stages apart. – Mr_road Mar 20 '18 at 8:43

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