Sunday, January 6, 2013


Flanders Red
I recently attempted my first beer blending. About two years ago New Belgium released a beer called Clutch. It was an awesome combination of sour and stout. It was a tasty combination of chocolate, coffee, and something lying just at the edge of sour. I decided to save a gallon of my Flanders Red to try to recreate this beer.
I had two hurdles to overcome 1) create a base beer that would include the flavors that would transform the Flanders Red into Clutch without conflicting with it and 2) find a way to keep the bugs in the Flanders Red from turning the stout part of the blend into a bomb as they slowly ate all the sugars that the primary stout yeast left behind.

I decided to use a tame stout recipe to create the base beer using a yeast strain (scottish ale) that would create few esters and leave the beer malty. Here is the recipe I used...

4.5 gallons

OG 1.075

72.5% Belgian Pilsner
10 % Cara Vienna
10% Cara Munich
2 % Caramel 80 L
5 % Chocolate Malt

Mashed at 155 F

Bittered to 50 IBU with 60 minute boil of zeus hops.

Used 1056 yeast

Flanders Red in pot with blanket of CO2
I then took the gallon of flanders red that I had and purged a 1.5 gallon pot with CO2. I added the flanders red to the pot and then added more CO2 over the top. I heated it to 170 F for 30 minutes to try to kill all the bacteria in the beer.

A weird foam formed over the beer as I heated it

After the brown ale finished I added the two beers together and bottled them.


Beer pours a very hazy brown color with amber highlights. A strong fluffy head sits atop the beer for the entire tasting session, never falling back into the glass.

The aroma is a mix of the fruit, funk, and sour of the Flanders Red with a little bit of roast from the Stout half. No notes of chocolate of coffee as I anticipated.

The beer is sweet, malty, and sour in the finish. I can pick out some chocolate and roast at the end but the sour kind of overtakes them.

The mouthfeel is wonderfully full and very creamy.

Overall the beer is a curious creation. It is certainly tasty but it was not what I was going for. The sour seems a little over the top and I am suprised that at 20% it is able to dominate the finish.

Note: I have had a couple of bottles since the original tasting and they are continuing to develop more sourness, so I am not sure I held the beer at a high enough temp for long enough to kill all of the bugs. That being said the malt and sweetness is still present so at least the desired affect has been achieved. I have moved all the bottles to the fridge to prevent much further change in the beer.

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