Big Beer Year #2: Flanders Brown from Brewing Classic Styles

The second beer of the Big Beer Year is Jamil Zainascheff’s Flanders Brown in as described in his book Brewing Classic Styles.

Well mostly. I made a couple malt substitutions based on availability and quantity tweaks to get closer to the numbers he specifies in the book.

On the process side, inspired by my torn bag mishap, I decided to do an overnight mash in the cooler. Last night, after I crushed the grain, I heated 7 gallons of water to in my boil pot. As that heated, I put the crushed grain in the bag and put the bag in the cooler. When the water got to temp 162°F (I estimate ~10°F loss once the water hits the grain) I poured it into the cooler. Once all the water was in, I jostled the bag around to make sure all the grain was sufficiently wet, folded the end of the bag outside the cooler and closed the lid. And ignored it until morning.

After I made a starter from 2 packages of Wyeast 1056, I went to bed. Easy.

This morning, I pulled 6 gallons off the still warm mash, boiled for 60 minutes, cooled the wort, and pitched the starter all by 10am. Brilliant.

Recipe:
8# Dingemens Pilsner Malt
4# Belgian Munich
12oz Belgian CaraMunich
8oz Belgian Aromatic
8oz American White Wheat
5oz Belgian Special B
1oz Belgian Debittered Black Malt

1oz Kent Goldings 5.8AA @ 60min
BU:GU: 0.24

Wyeast 1056 American Ale in the primary
Wyeast Roeselare Belgian Blend in the secondary

1.083 OG (Hopville says this is 82% efficiency – WOOT!)
1.015 FG (estimated)
18.5 IBU
9.1 ABV (estimate. perhaps this is an Imperial Oud Bruin?)

Flanders Brown from BSC @ Hopville

I need to keep an eye out for the DMS levels in this beer. If they’re at all noticeable then next time mash with 7.5-8 gallons of water so there’s at least 1.5 gallons to accommodate a 90 minute boil.

Update 6 Feb 2013

On Sunday, February 3rd, I pitched a starter of Roeselare right atop the finishing American Ale. Tonight, as I was checking what the gravity was (1.011) and what it should be according to BSC (1.012) I re-read the brewing instructions. It clearly says, move the beer to the secondary before pitching the Roeselare. Heck – my notes just a few lines above here say the same thing. Oh boy. Well, maybe I cut my losses and bottle this once the Roeselare completely falls – independent of sourness. Drat.

Update 5 Apr 2013

Arg, this batch turned out thin, grainy, and fusel-y with only the slightest background hint of the full rich, red-wine-iness I love in Oud Bruins. I’m pretty sure there are 3 culprits: inept sparge technique, weak yeast starter, and pitching the Roselare before removing the 1056. I don’t expect it to get better with age. Learning experience for sure. Level up! I’m interested to see what the judges at the NHC this weekend suggest.

Update 18 Apr 2013

This beer received a 27 & 30 @ NCH Round 1. Higher than I anticipated. Primary fault identified by the judges: diacetyl (caused by weak yeast & too warm storage) and lack of complexity (I’m blaming the sparge & yeast)

2 Replies to “Big Beer Year #2: Flanders Brown from Brewing Classic Styles”

  1. I’ve thought about doing the overnight mash quite a bit. Good to hear it working for someone. That would help get my brewing schedule back on track while maintaining my insane schedule at the moment. I’ve also got a temp controller and electric bucket heater I want to set up to easily preheat my mash water without having to watch it. Really want to make the time-consuming bits “idiot proof” and able to happen when I don’t care about the time.

    I’ve gone to 90 minute boils on anything using pilsner malt (unless it needs to stay really light in color) because I did have a DMS problem in a batch. Probably overcompensating, though.

    Oh, and Flanders Brown is one of my favorite styles. Also works really well with a bit of oak, IMHO. My 5 gallon barrel is Roeselare “infected”. Last batch through it was a Flanders red, currently holding a sour porter in there.

    1. J – great to hear from you. Splitting the brew day in half feels really good. So good, I nearly attempted to try it a second time over the weekend. Well planned – I can see getting 3-4 batches in over a single weekend using this technique.

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