Thursday, October 21, 2010

Cherry Flanders Red Tasting

This sour beer started life two and a half years ago as a five gallon batch, that was back before I bought a house, shortly after I met Audrey (and right after she stopped talking to me for a year).  Two years ago it went into a red wine barrel with 55 gallons of beer brewed by my friends (two of whom have since moved away).  A year ago we racked the beer out of the barrel, with four gallons of my share going onto two pounds of local sour cherries.  Six months ago I bottled it.

A lot of time and effort has gone into making this liquid, makes for a contemplative beverage. 

Cherry Flanders Red on my new kitchen countertop.Sour Cherry Flanders Red

Appearance – Clear reddish brown. Thin off-white head, good retention despite the age and hard work of the bacteria and wild yeast.

Smell – Dried sour cherries, hints of balsamic vinegar, and maybe some aspirin.  Mouthwatering, or should I say saliva inducing (like smelling a grapefruit).

Taste – The first sip is electric, bright acidity, sharp cherry funk. I can feel the acid on my lips, the roof of my mouth, and all over my tongue. The finish is nicely malty, with just a touch of acetic acid. The cherries are juicy and at just the right level, playing with the malt and Brett funk, but not obscuring them.  Not much sweetness remains, but it isn't completely dry.

Mouthfeel – Medium-low carbonation on a moderate body. Any more carbon dioxide and this one could have been too thin/harsh, but it is fine as is.

Drinkability & Notes – Certainly one of the better sours I've had a hand in making, not much I would change about it. The aggressiveness reminds me of my first bottle of Cantillon six years ago (a 375 ml of Rosé De Gambrinus that took me about two hours to finish), my taste buds have gotten more accustomed to the acid since then.  I'm glad I've still got about a case of this left in the basement.


Nick Barbre said...

That sounds like the perfect beer. You sir, have inspired me to make another go of it with sour beer. I would sell my firstborn child into slavery to be able to produce 5 gallons of something I drank standing in the Cantillon brewery.

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

I certainly wouldn't say that it's as good as Cantillon, but it certainly has a similar "balance" of aggressive acidity and restrained fruit (although it is certainly maltier, and lacks the deep complex funk of their lambics.)

Jim said...

Hi. The Mad Fermentationist is the subject of the October 23rd entry on my site/blog that I keep for family and friends. I really enjoy poking around your blog - thanks for taking the time to make it so interesting!


The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Glad you've enjoyed the blog Jim, thanks for the write-up (hope your family enjoys it as well.)

mark said...

Do feel that .5lb of sour cherries/gallon was about right?

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

For this beer I think it was. It already had some dark fruit character that enhances the cherry. For most beers I go closer to 1 lb/gal, but it is all about what you want from the beer.

Anonymous said...

Met Michael last night when he hosted the DC Homebrewers, cramming 60-80 beer nerds into his house at once. I was one of the lucky few who got to try a bottle of the cherry flanders red before it was killed, and it's everything he says it is. Thanks for hosting last night, Michael, and for the bottle of B3. I promise not to touch it for at least a week. Now where's that waldmeister syrup...


--Mark Johnson

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Glad you enjoyed it, let me know what you think of the Berliner.