Tag Archives: Sour Beer

Things are really starting to go sour.

Barrel Aged Flanders Red Sour Ale Bottles

We nerded out on this one and made cheesy labels.

Last December, we had the privilege of joining a handful of fellow hombrewers in filling a Leopold Brothers Blackberry Whiskey Barrel with Flanders Red Ale. This wasn’t just any normal barrel, though. This beautiful barrel was previously use for creating New Belgium Brewing Company‘s award-winning sour beers (La Folie, Le Terroir, e.g.). Loaded with all-star bacteria, the barrel still resides at New Belgium, watched over lovingly by Lauren Salazar and her team of experienced sour-makers. Two weeks ago we pulled the beer out of the barrel and this weekend we finally tasted and bottled it. I’m not going to lie – it’s damn good.

Flanders Red Ale goes into the barrel at New Belgium

Filling the barrel in New Belgium’s Foeder Forest, December 2013

This was only our second sour beer attempt (we have two more fermenting  – one on cherries, and a dark sour wheat) and the entire process is still a little new for us.  For me, one of the craziest things about souring beer is that you intentionally infect them. I supposed it’s a little like cheese, but somehow it feels weirder. Anyway, this is how the top of our beer looked in the carboy before we bottled:

Pellicle formation on a Flanders Red Sour Ale

A beautiful pellicle on the top of the ale.


I know a handful of homebrewers who do not take part in their local homebrew clubs and, honestly, I just don’t understand it. The staggering amount I have learned from my fellow brewers, the opportunities the club presents (like the one at New Belgium), and the friends I’ve made by regularly attending meetings, brew days, competitions and events make it one of the most valuable memberships I’ve ever had. Thank you, Liquid Poets Society!

We’re looking forward to cracking on these bottles open every couple of months to see how they age – and we’re already scheming on how we can make more.





Filed under Making Beer


OK – so here’s the deal – I am looking to finally brew a sour.  This is my wife’s favorite style of beer, and she’s been after me ever since the start of TCB to brew one for here.  So after many hours or research on line, reading books, and listening to podcast, I have finally decided to stop procrastinating and actually start looking into how to make a sour beer.  The style of choice – Flanders Red.  I’m using a base of Munich and Pale, with a little Caramunich, Aromatic, and a touch of Special B thrown in.  Hops are gonna be Saaz and Fuggles to about 20 IBUs.  I may back that down to 15-18.  I’ve got a Belgian Ale yeast (WLP575) that I was going to use for a my last Dubbel, but opted to hold onto it for this Flanders.  Mash will be pretty straight forward ~ 148° F for 75 minutes, mash out and batch sparge.   Then into the primary for a week…and then the fun begins…

For bugs, I haven’t fully decided.  I’ve seen three different types of brett, plus pedio and lacto.  I’ve also heard of just adding a commercial sour beer or two and let those bugs do the work.  Any recommendations?

Also, looking to add some oak and cherries if I can find them.  Should be a fun experiment, even though it will be a few months before we know if it worked.

Be good and brew adventurous.


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Filed under General, Making Beer