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05/21/08 11:03 AM  
flanders problems
Hi all,

SO last July I brewed a flanders. I fermented with 05 and when activity slowed I added roeslare and let it sit. About 2 months ago I decided to pull a sample and see how it had progressed. It had a vomit aroma. I tasted anyways, plugging my nose and it tasted like a mild flanders but the aroma was overwhelming to say the least.

Now after all this time it seems to be forming some sort of pectile, it never got one at the begining and the aroma is still there. What can I do if anything to save this beer, have any of you had this happen?


Mark M

05/21/08 11:42 AM  
Re: flanders problems
DO NOTHING!!!!!! It is still waaaaay too young and the roeselare is just starting to work. Check it after 8 months. I'm sure you'll start to like the smell and taste by then. Funky beers go through several stages of "sickness" and it's best to just leave them alone otherwise you'll freak out at the smell and sometimes viscous feeling body. They seem to be ready for tasting and bottling after a good year's time.
05/21/08 11:45 AM  
Re: flanders problems
What about the pectile forming now? I always thought the epctile would form relativly quickly, after a month or 3. This beer has been sitting for 11 months almost and is just starting to get one. Is that normal or a sign that things are starting to happen?

As you can tell this was my first soured beer. I have 2 others going now so i am getting into them but have many questions still.

05/21/08 12:27 PM  
Re: flanders problems

Did you rack the beer into secondary before adding the Roeselare? If you didn't and your flanders has been sitting on a hefty yeast cake for the past year, then that smell might be yeast autolysis.

05/21/08 12:35 PM  
Re: flanders problems
No I racked it off the primary yeast cake before pitching the roeselare. I did pop the airlock to pull my sample so I wondered if the O2 might have kick started the brett maybe?

The aroma is mighty powerful and vomit is the only word I can use to describe it. It smells exactly like vomit.

05/21/08 01:03 PM  
Re: flanders problems

I'm with Cisco, leave it alone. Fermenting beer never smells particulalry appetizing, especially those fermented with bugs. Tasting such a young sour will lend very little info on what the beer will eventually become.

05/21/08 01:35 PM  
Re: flanders problems
Will do, seems to be the running answer so I will let it sit and see what happens!
05/21/08 01:44 PM  
Re: flanders problems
What type of fermentor? Glass or plastic?

Also, what sort of temperatures did you use once the Roselaire was added since it seems to have run through the summer.

Finally, I assume you have drank and enjoyed flanders reds and other sours before brewing one so you know the tastes that occur like acetic/vinegar, intense puckerfactor, etc? If you haven't had much exposure to them, they're a interesting 'treat' and acquired taste especially LaFolie.

It sounds like its going through the mentioned 'sick phase' that you just need to be patient with.


05/21/08 01:57 PM  
Re: flanders problems
I used plastic for the primary and racked to glass. Once I pitched the roeselare I tucked it away in a closet so it has stayed at about 70 degrees through the whole process thus far.

I have had many a soured beer and love them. My first experiance with soured beers was La Folie and that was what got me into doing the soured beers.

I will let it sit and see what transpired. I was super worried about the vomit aroma and now the newly formed pectile but it seems like I am just going through newie soured beer jitters.

05/21/08 02:04 PM  
Re: flanders problems
BTW the reason for the slow pellicle formation may well be that you're not getting much/any oxygen in glass (with what kind of stopper?). In my experience the Roeselare pellicle seems much stronger and "faster" in a small barrel than in glass--both closed with full airlock or solid rubber stopper.

Whether or not microoxygenation produces beer that you like better, or worse, is another (wide open) question.

05/21/08 02:26 PM  
Re: flanders problems
I'm using a standard rubber stopper with an S type airlock.

Like I said I did open up the stopper to check things out so that may have introduced some air to the beer which caused the pectile formation?

05/21/08 04:01 PM  
Re: flanders problems
Is this the only time you've opened it?

05/21/08 04:09 PM  
Re: flanders problems
Once I pitched the roeselare it sat tucked away for about 8 months I would say untouched. I popped the top for a sample back in early April I would say and got that vomit aroma so I satrted asking quations. There were sometimes more questions from those I asked so i would pop the bung and whiff it now and again to get clearer answers for people so since April I would say I have popped the bung off maybe 3 times, just for a whiff and nothing more. The newly forming pectile is a new development from probably within the last week or so.
05/21/08 09:19 PM  
Re: flanders problems
The only time I've acheived a SERIOUS pellicle is when the airlock evaporated and o2 got in for who knows how long..... I've done (and am doing) lots of brett beers, in fact all of my beers right now have brett and/or bugs, and most of them only have a very thin layer of scum, not a thick white pellicle. I used glass, and standard rubber stoppers. As Baums said, most likely there's just not enough o2. It seems scary to let in that much, but again as Baums said it's undetermined whether a pellicle is necessary for a good result or not. I can say I've had good results with beers that did not achieve a good pellicle.

For what it's worth I was just discussing this yesterday with a head brewer of a well known brewery who thinks plenty of o2 is the key. He's doing a talk on it with Neva Parker of White Labs at this years GABF.

One thing I learned is that you really have to learn mostly from experience, trial, and error. You'll find a good bit of contradictory points of view when it comes to working with bugs. So, you're on your way!

05/22/08 09:56 AM  
Re: flanders problems
Potts, what was the context of the "plenty of O2" conversation? All-brett beers? Or secondary aging with small amounts of brett? Or both?

05/22/08 10:29 AM  
Re: flanders problems
I don't know if he innoculates with pre-bugged beer for primary fermentation or afterwards for secondary (i'm thinking the latter), but it's a house blend of bugs/bretts, and he stores them in golden gate kegs (bunged). We actually didn't get too deep into the subject because I was working quick and trying to get out of the brewery, and he was busy as well...
05/22/08 10:54 AM  
Re: flanders problems
Do any of you do the oak chair leg method or oak dowel through the stopper trick to help introduce O2 to the beers like in this thread.


Seemed like a intersting way to help give more O2 a way to get into the beer as well as a place the bugs can cling to so you could innoculae another batch later down the road.

05/22/08 02:21 PM  
Re: flanders problems
I don't use a chairleg but I use oak cubes or oak stalves to capture bugs and a porous silicon stopper for oxygen introduction as well as plastic buckets for secondary.

My Roselaire batch was made with Roselaire in the primary and then secondaried in a bucket. It was nice and sour at about 8-10 month old and saw a pellicle around month 4. I bottled around month 10 or so. petec

05/22/08 02:29 PM  
Re: flanders problems
I have a flanders red with roeselare in primary now that I will be racking to secondary this weekend and adding some oak too. I don't have any extra buckets so I will likely be using a carboy. I had considered at one point removing the airlock in place of some foil for a month or two to allow some O2 to get in. We'll see what I actually do.

I am not planning on tasting this for a year or so, but we'll see how impatient I get. ;-)

05/22/08 09:22 PM  
Re: flanders problems
I use the dowel method, not chair leg, but basically the same thing. I just toast the oak dowel(red oak) in the oven, and then into boiling water to get most of the flavor out(I use 'real' toasted french oak cubes' for the oakiness) and then into a rubber stopper and then into the beer. This is all directly from Mike T's methods BTW, he may not want to be called a mentor, but what else do you call someone who inspires and directs you.

Anyway, an interesting side not is that my Bourbon Brett Cherry Quad is many months old now and never had a pellicle. After bottling my Flanders I had not thought of what to do with the dowel(now a bug high-rise), so I put it in the BBC Quad, and BAM - here comes a pellicle. I know this partly because of the O2, but I had racked the beer earlier and nothing happened(no pellicle), so in my mind the bugs in the dowel are very happy and seem to be thriving.

I am very happy so far using the oak dowel(I have a few beers with them now) and can say that even at 70-75F temps the beer has only the faintest hint of acetic acid(would prefer a bit more actually - but wanted to end up on the less sour side with this one as opposed to too sour).

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