Funky Barrel III - Oud Bruin Flanders Brown

This project was concluded on November 21st, 2010 when all shareholders racked the beer out of the barrel and took them home. Since Jody moved out of state, he donated his share. Bob S also got worried about handing a sour beer and potentially infecting his brewery so he donated his share. We kept one of the shares for club functions and the other was equally distributed across the remaining shares by overfilling the carboys and kegs slightly.

We're looking forward to tasting the beer after carbonation but it's certainly more dry and sour than the style dictates. This was to be expected due to the 12 months of aging. A blend with a very malty Brown ale prior to packaging would be a worthy experiment. More notes on this beer will be added after tasting.

Note: The following text was the original pitch to the club for this project. The batch was actually brewed at Teach a Friend to Brew day on November 10th.

Whales Funky Barrel III - Oud Bruin (Old Brown) - September 15, 2009

As many of you Whales know, there is 60 gallons of cherry Lambic (Kriek) doing its funky thing in a Cabernet barrel in Bobby’s basement and it’s been there since January 2009. The barrel was previously home to a Flanders Red that got its start in early 2008. Racking of the Kriek will coincide with the addition of the next project…….

Of course, we don’t want to leave the barrel dry so Project Funky III is in the works. As to not be too repetitive, this time it’s going to be a Flanders Brown or “Oud Bruin”. This beer is bigger than the red with an OG of 1.070 and it should be sweeter, maltier, and darker too.

While barrel aging and the oak flavors associated are acceptable in a Bruin, they are much less pronounced likely due to blending with a good deal of non-soured, non-bulk aged beer

The reason for blending is that once bugs like Brett, Pedio, Lacto, etc have access to a food source, they will attenuate to near 1.000 or until alcohol poisoning (~12%ABV). Much of the challenge in making this beer at the correct balance will come down to the blending and ultimate packaging. The easiest way to handle it is to keg the blend and refrigerate immediately. It will stop the bugs from further souring. The challenge comes if you want to bottle some portion. That would require killing off the bugs before the blend. Advice received so far says to crash cool the sour beer, stir in some liquid gelatin to knock the bugs out, rack to a clean carboy/keg and add 1 campden tab per gallon. After a week, blend with non soured beer, prime with sugar and neutral ale yeast, and bottle. If it were me, I’d use champagne bottles just in case.

Jamil Z. uses a cheater method whereby the souring takes place in a corny keg and when the right level of souring is achieved, it goes directly in the cold room. Obviously this wouldn’t work for a barrel project.

Given the fact that blending is likely required to balance the end product, there are two different ways to approach shares:

  1. Five gallon shares are brewed, ale yeast fermented, then added to the barrel. At completion, shareholders take their fully soured beer and do with as they please, drinking as is or brewing more to blend with. - 9 shareholders 1st barrel with the option of another barrel for a total of 17 shares. (I think the 2nd barrel is only 55 gallons).
  2. Same as above, However, additional shareholders are accepted when souring/aging is completed and they will supply the non-soured blend beer in exchange for a small portion of aged beer. This starts with 9 shareholders at the start with a single barrel, expandable to up to 9 more if the blend is 50/50.

In all cases, there is a second barrel available if needed, but a steward is needed. If by chance there is not enough demand for a second barrel or a steward for that barrel does not volunteer, first dibs on Bobby’s barrel will go to folks who paid into the Flanders Red project. Those folks are noted on the sign in sheet.

For those of you who don’t frequent the website, a sign in sheet will be passed around at this meeting.

The recipe for this batch will be taken from Jamil’s BCS book but boosted to 1.070. It is already posted on the discussion forum in the Funky III thread.

Bobby is acquiring the malt (grain) for the project and will weigh out the amounts necessary keeping the cost extremely low (approximately $15 for a 1.070 beer). Barrel Alpha will not require any additional bugs. Bravo, if it happens, will use a pack of Roeselare blend that Gary has already purchased. Extract brewers are encouraged to join the project and it would be a great opportunity to buddy up with an all grain brewer to learn more about it. If you ultimately end up brewing it as extract, you must get the ingredients yourself as specified in Brewing Classic Styles. Bobby will post the recipe.

The target brew date is going to be Oct 17 or 18, racked into the barrel the following weekend. We can get together for a group brew or everyone can do it on their own. Regular ale yeast will be pitched into your own vessel anyway so there is some flexibility. The plan would be to rack to the barrel anywhere between 3-10 days after pitching. Of course, folks are always willing to transport product in your absence so don’t let timing discourage you from joining.

Note, the Kriek will be racked out on the same day as Oud Bruin goes in. Shareholders of the Kriek are: Bobby, Brad, Nick, JD, Gary, Bill, Nate, Jody, Gene and Luke.

Please watch the Funky III thread on the WHALES discussion forum for up to date info on this project. If anyone has trouble finding it or gaining access, feel free to email

BJCP Excerpts on Oud Bruin:

Aroma: Complex combination of fruity esters and rich malt character. Esters commonly reminiscent of raisins, plums, figs, dates, black cherries or prunes. A low sour aroma may be present, and can modestly increase with age but should not grow to a noticeable acetic/vinegary character. Hop aroma absent.

Appearance: Dark reddish-brown to brown in color. Good clarity. Average to good head retention. Ivory to light tan head color.

Flavor: Malty with fruity complexity and some caramelization character. Fruitiness commonly includes dark fruits such as raisins, plums, figs, dates, black cherries or prunes. The sourness should not grow to a notable acetic/vinegary character. Hop flavor absent.

Overall Impression: A malty, fruity, aged, somewhat sour Belgian-style brown ale.

Comments: Long aging and blending of young and aged beer may occur, adding smoothness and complexity and balancing any harsh, sour character. A deeper malt character distinguishes these beers from Flanders red ales. This style was designed to lay down so examples with a moderate aged character are considered superior to younger examples. As in fruit lambics, Oud Bruin can be used as a base for fruit-flavored beers such as kriek (cherries) or frambozen (raspberries).though these should be entered in the classic-style.fruit

Commercial Examples: Liefman’s Goudenband, Liefman’s Odnar, Liefman’s Oud Bruin, Ichtegem Old Brown, Riva Vondel

Shareholders in this project:

Bobby and
Bill C
Bob Sodon
Keith Story
Jay D.