Whiskey Barrel Aged Flanders Style Red With Cherries

cherriesThe wonderful thing about brewing and aging 63 gallons of beer in a whiskey barrel is that you can save a couple of uncarbonated kegs worth of the beer and use these portions as a canvas to create further iterations down the line.  August 2015, a portion of our Westland whiskey barrel aged Flanders style red was added to wild picked blackberries (detailed here).  Additionally, this past July I crafted two more versions of this beer — another wild picked blackberry version (using over two pounds of fruit per gallon), and a cherry version which I’ll detail in this post.

We brewed the base beer on 06.12.14 (detailed here: Barrel Project #02).  On 07.07.16, I took a six gallon portion of that beer and aged it on 6 LBS of Red Cherries (store bought, fresh) for seven weeks and five days.  I kegged the beer on 08.30.16 and have been enjoying it ever since.

cherry-flanders-pelicleAs you can see in the photo on the right, after aging on the cherries was complete, the beer had a lovely pellicle dusting the surface of the beer.  “That looks gross,” you say; however, pellicles are very important in the production of funky and/or sour beers.  “What is a pellicle?” you ask.  Check out this blog post from A Ph.D. in Beer to learn all sorts of great information on the topic: What is a pellicle?

The actual brewing process and recipe can be found in the linked post above.  Below I will only detail the cherry additions, kegging date, and the tasting notes.

Whiskey Barrel Aged Flanders Style Red With Cherries

Notes

07.07.16 — Red cherries added to Flanders Style Red (6 LBS — one pound per gallon)

08.30.16 — Kegged beer and began force carbonating for approximately 2.5 volumes CO2

cherry-flandersTasting Notes — 11.12.16 (poured off tap)

Gorgeous deep burgundy color with a moderate pink-white head which dissipates quickly and laces thin.  Aromas of cherry preserves, oak and whiskey.  The cherries are certainly present, but they meld fantastically on the palate.  Juicy-ripe stone fruit note in the middle followed by a sharp lactic acidity.  Drying oak tannin with hints of vanilla, earthy fruit pit, and barrel char follow.  Finishes with a clean and strong lactic sourness, no vinegar notes detected.  Woody notes linger.

Calculated OG: 1.076
Calculated FG: 1.000
Approx. ABV: 9.99%

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Wild Blackberry Sour Ale

Blackberry Flanders 01This beer’s story began almost two years ago, brewed on 06.12.14 (detailed here: Barrel Project #02).  I took a five gallon portion of that beer and aged it longer still, on 4 LBS, 12.6 OZ of blackberries (mostly wild berries I foraged) and 12.3 OZ of raspberries (store bought, fresh) for the final two months.  Now after nearly 6 months in the bottle, this beer has just hit its stride; it is my favorite beer that I’ve made.

This beer earned me and Gregory a bronze medal in the Specialty Beer category at a local homebrew competition (the new sour categories had not yet gone into effect), and received a score of 41 (excellent) in the Mixed Fermentation category at this year’s annual AHA (American Homebrewers Association) sponsored National Homebrewer’s Competition.

The actual brewing process and recipe can be found in the linked post above.  Below I will only detail the berry additions and bottling date.  However, as usual, the tasting notes will follow those details.

Foraged BlackberriesWild Blackberry Sour Ale

Notes

08.16.15 — After a couple separate additions, a couple days apart, all fruit added to Flanders Style Red (4 LBS, 12.6 OZ blackberries, 12.3 OZ raspberries)

10.19.15 — Bottled beer with champagne yeast & corn sugar for approximately 2.5 volumes CO2

Blackberry Flanders 02Tasting Notes — 04.14.16 (Bottle Pour)

Gorgeous burgundy color with an off-white head which dissipates quickly and laces thin.  Aromas of jammy blackberry, raspberry, and cherry with background notes of wood and acidity.  The berries dominate the palate, followed by some drying oak tannin in the middle with a hint of vanilla and barrel char.  Finishes with a clean and strong lactic sourness, no vinegar notes detected.

Barrel Project #02 — Flanders Style Red

Flanders BatchesJust about a year after it was brewed, our Westland Distillery whiskey barrel aged Flanders Style Red has been removed from the barrel and is tasting wonderful.  This project saw four brewers collaborating on the recipe and brewing approximately fifteen gallons of beer each; we then blended them all into the barrel, souring it with White Labs Flemish Ale Blend WLP665, Wyeast Roeselare Blend 3763, and select bottle dregs from our favorite unpasteurized commercial sours.  We decided to do a couple of batches with a Belgian yeast strain and I included White Labs California V WLP051 in two of my batches.

Before this beer, we did a clean stout in the barrel (see Merry Christmas, It’s Endless Stout) to knock down the whiskey flavors from the freshly dumped barrel.  It worked well as there is now a pleasant hint of whiskey on the nose and far in the background on the palate of the red, lending some subtle nuance and depth.

Gregory and I have two kegs going of the straight Flanders Style Red and plan to put the remainder of our share onto different fruits, spices, and hops.  We’ll bottle condition some of these and keg the rest and I will make a new post detailing the variants as they happen.  I also saved some of the non-barrel aged portion of this sour and blended it with a funky pale ale that I will discuss in a forthcoming post.

This beer turned out great and I am very proud of it!

Flanders BarrelBarrel Project #02 — Flanders

Recipe Specifics

Batch Size (Gal): 5.5
Total Grain (Lbs): 15.75
Anticipated OG: 1.076
Anticipated SRM: 16.0
Anticipated IBU: 10.0
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75%
Wort Boil Time: 90 Minutes

Grain

57% – 9.00 Lbs. US Vienna
19% – 3.00 Lbs. Pilsner
06% – 1.00 Lbs. Flaked Oats
04% — 0.75 Lbs. Special B
04% — 0.75 Lbs. CaraMunich
04% — 0.75 Lbs. Aromatic
03% — 0.50 Lbs. White Wheat

Hops

0.40 oz. Magnum (Pellet, 13.0% AA) @ 30 min.

Extras

1.00 Whirlfloc @ 15 min.
1.00 tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 15 min.

Yeast

White Labs WLP051 – California V Ale Yeast
White Labs WLP665 – Flemish Ale Blend
Wyeast 3763 – Roeselare Blend
Bottle Dregs

Water Profile

Seattle
0.20 tsp Calcium Chloride
0.30 tsp Gypsum

Mash Schedule

Single Infusion – 60 min @ 154F

Notes

06.10.14 — Made a 1L starter with 1 White Labs WLP051 California V Ale vial.  Brewtoad suggests 285 billion cells to ferment 5.5 gal.  Cold crashed and decanted morning of brew day.

Brewed on 06.12.14 / 06.13.14 / 06.26.14

06.12.14 — Chilled wort to 60F and pitched the California V Ale Yeast and the Flemish Ale Blend

06.15.14 — Signs of fermentation activity

06.26.14 / 06.27.14 / 07.10.14 — Transferred batches to secondary after two week primaries each

07.21.14 — Transferred everyone’s batches to the barrel

06.08.15 — Transferred beer to kegs and carboys for further experimentation

7.07.16 — Added 6 Lbs. Red Cherries to Flanders #1 (Whiskey Barrel Aged Flanders Style Red with Cherries)

07.31.16 — Added 13 Lbs. hand foraged Blackberries to Flanders #2 (Second blackberry version — see Wild Blackberry Sour Ale for the first)

08.30.16 — Kegged Cherry Flanders — FG: 1.000 / 9.99%

 08.30.16 — Added 1 gal. Cherry Flanders to #2 and kegged sometime in October ’16
 Tasting Notes (Regular Version, bottle pour)

Along with the mild whiskey character, this beer exhibits the classic fruity Flanders Red notes of black cherry and orange with some mild vanilla peaking through.  Firm lactic sourness with just the right amount of acetic acid to balance, reminiscent of balsamic vinegar.  Very slight brettanomyces funk on the nose.  Beautiful red-brown color and clarity.

Calculated OG: 1.080
Calculated FG: 1.020
Approx. ABV: 7.9%

Calculated OG: 1.076
Calculated FG: 1.020
Approx. ABV: 7.3%

Calculated OG: 1.072
Calculated FG: 1.020
Approx. ABV: 6.8%