Dismiss Notice

Site Performance Updates: We're aware of the nightly site outage, and working on resolving the issue.

Follow our progress ...

Flanders Reds & Oud Bruins

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by OneDropSoup, Feb 2, 2013.

  1. OneDropSoup

    OneDropSoup Champion (780) Pennsylvania Dec 9, 2008 Subscriber

    This is my favorite family of beers right now, & I feel that, among the distinct styles, these are the two that have the most blurring between them. So many Reds are labeled Bruins & vice versa. The BJCP calls them one thing, Michael Jackson another, & this site may or may not agree with either of those. And then there are so many anomalies (Petrus Aged Pale, Liefmans Cuvee Brut, et al.). The only ones people seem to agree on are the archetypes - Liefmans & Rodenbach. I propose a synthesis of the two, call it 'Flanders Acetic Ale' or something. Anyone feel me on this?
  2. IceAce

    IceAce Poobah (1,010) California Jan 8, 2004

    ...and so it goes with most Belgian brews.
    BedetheVenerable and OneDropSoup like this.
  3. OneDropSoup

    OneDropSoup Champion (780) Pennsylvania Dec 9, 2008 Subscriber

    True. The BSDA/Quadruple question is another big one. And BSPAs & Tripels. And the Saisons & Bieres de Garde...

    I'd venture that someone could argue the stylistic distinction between American Reds & Ambers, but here they're combined. Why not the same with these two?
  4. gatornation

    gatornation Poobah (1,285) Minnesota Apr 18, 2007 Beer Trader

    i like them both depends on what side of town you are on
  5. OneDropSoup

    OneDropSoup Champion (780) Pennsylvania Dec 9, 2008 Subscriber

    So maybe there's a geographic distinction? Those closer to Roeselare are Reds & those closer to Oudenaarde are Bruins?
  6. I agree about Flander's Red and Oud Bruin. I just call them all Flemish sours. I don't completely agree with the others. Tripel and BGSA is quite close, but BGSA is nearly always drier and paler. And Saisons and Bieres de Garde are really worlds apart, in yeast, hop, and malt character. Have you ever had a biere de garde?
    luwak, FeDUBBELFIST and MrDanno96 like this.
  7. OneDropSoup

    OneDropSoup Champion (780) Pennsylvania Dec 9, 2008 Subscriber

    I've had a few, never close enough together to really get an accurate picture of the style, I'll admit, or what differentiates them from saisons. I feel like there's enough variability with the saison profile that some of them fall very close to a biere de garde anyway.

    And I hear you on the Tripel/BSPA/BGSA categories, but take a look at Chimay Tripel - probably the most ubiquitous example of the style & way drier than most Tripels out there.
  8. Blueribbon666

    Blueribbon666 Advocate (625) Ohio Jul 4, 2008

    The only one I have had to date & I rather enjoyed it, Bellegens Bruin.
  9. EdH

    EdH Aficionado (230) Utah Jul 27, 2005

    You might be more worried about "style guidelines" than the people who make these beers.
  10. OneDropSoup

    OneDropSoup Champion (780) Pennsylvania Dec 9, 2008 Subscriber

    Sure, but then why do the guidelines exist? Plenty of authorities see fit to differentiate two styles, despite the fact that most commercial examples are much blurrier & overlap. It seems that if there are not real world authenticators or standard-bearers, why do the BJCP, Michael Jackson, BA, et al. deem it fit to separate them? The GABF lumps both into one style category, but still calls it "Flanders Red or Oud Bruin".
  11. Danny1217

    Danny1217 Advocate (705) Florida Jul 15, 2011 Beer Trader

    I consider them the same style. Same goes for BSDAs and Quads. Tripels are still sort of their own category, though there are a few BSPAs that could also be considered tripels.

    You'd think it'd be easy to tell the difference between these two though. One should be red, and the other brown.
  12. jrbuckt

    jrbuckt Zealot (95) Illinois Sep 13, 2012

    I'm not sure if it's actually an appellation, but the difference between Oud Bruins and and Flanders Red, as mentioned earlier, is almost entirely geographical.
    IceAce likes this.
  13. MrDanno96

    MrDanno96 Savant (390) Ohio Aug 26, 2009

    This. IMO there is no relevant difference between the two. Indeed, I have seen Duchesse called both at reputable beer bars.
  14. Jonada

    Jonada Advocate (585) New Jersey May 23, 2012 Beer Trader

    I don't care what you call em. They're freakin delicious!
    ThreeFishes likes this.
  15. Dennoman

    Dennoman Advocate (525) Belgium Aug 20, 2011

    Funny how most people associate geuze and lambic exclusively with Brussels. The Pajottenland region, where quite a few of them hail from, is Flemish.
    devlishdamsel likes this.
  16. Tut

    Tut Savant (495) New York Sep 23, 2004

    Good to see someone using the correct form, "Flemish". Saying Flanders Red Ales is equivalent to saying France red wines.
    CarolinaKevin likes this.
  17. CarolinaKevin

    CarolinaKevin Savant (450) North Carolina Feb 28, 2010 Beer Trader

    Since we are on the subject, I'd like to know which Oude Bruins or Flemish/Flanders Reds really blew you away. For me, Oude Tart got me to notice they style, and cascade kriek really converted me
  18. bs870621345

    bs870621345 Savant (410) New Jersey Oct 29, 2009

    IIRC, according to Wild Brews, bruins are fermented in stainless steel and Reds are barrel aged.
  19. OneDropSoup

    OneDropSoup Champion (780) Pennsylvania Dec 9, 2008 Subscriber

    I thought this was a distinguishing characteristics as well, but I swear there is some inconsistency with this (though I can't think of specific examples off the top of my head).
  20. OneDropSoup

    OneDropSoup Champion (780) Pennsylvania Dec 9, 2008 Subscriber

    Which is why I disagree with the term "Flemish Sours", though I appreciate the effort - aside from Gueuzerie Tilquin, all lambic brewers & blenders are Flemish, so wouldn't they also qualify as "Flemish Sours". How about "Belgian Acetic Ales" or "Flemish Acetic Ales", something to capture the distinct taste that exists in both styles. This way is would encompass anomalies like Petrus Aged Pale.
  21. bs870621345

    bs870621345 Savant (410) New Jersey Oct 29, 2009

    I remember a time when Red Poppy was a Brown ale until Tomme said that it was a red. Acetic acid is a characteristic of red ales which is only produced in the presence of oxygen. Since oxygen can get through the oak, red ales have to be barrel aged.

    This is all what I remember, haven't read the book in quite a few years.
  22. Not really. Though the category puts them together they are distinct sub categories with their own style guidelines. Trying to wrap your head around that is difficult.

    Rodenbach prior to the takeover by Palm Breweries was a lot more characterful. It was 'dumbed down' quite a bit. They got rid of Alexander and the old Grand Cru was simply epic. I guess the best way to put it is that it is a shadow of it's former self. The process has been 'sped up' and in the process made more approachable by being 'sweeter' and thus less acidic.

    Oud Bruin on the other has the 'typical phenolics', chocolate malt, dark candi syrup thing going on and tends to be on the restrained side of acidic.
    slander likes this.
  23. Dennoman

    Dennoman Advocate (525) Belgium Aug 20, 2011

    Since the acidity in Oud Bruin is mostly lactic, I'd go for "yoghurt beer", just doesn't sound all that sexy does it? Probably would be best to avoid confusion with the whey beers cropping up in Europe lately.

    I've contemplated the difference between Bruin and Rood quite a few times, I've heard various explanations from geography to addition of fruit to simply the color of it. I decided to give it a rest since they aren't really a style I love. I'll go for a mediocre lambic/geuze over any of the supposedly great oud bruins. The reason they throw me off is the same as with Berliner Weisse: too sharp and vinegary. They don't hold a candle to the depth and complexity that a good lambic offers, so pass.

    That's not to say I won't try as much as I can of the stuff that people recommend to me in the style though. I adored Petrus Aged Pale, but that's really more of a Belgian pale ale with bretts than a clearly definable Flemish Red/Brown.
    luwak likes this.
  24. PuFtonLyfe

    PuFtonLyfe Savant (295) North Carolina Jun 2, 2011 Beer Trader

    Yeah, or India Pale Ale.
    guillemiro likes this.
  25. Tut

    Tut Savant (495) New York Sep 23, 2004

    It's not the same. IPA was originally brewed in England and shipped to India, therefore it was English IPA. The term IPA refered to it's destination, not it's origin. Now we have American(not America) IPA's, etc. If the country of India ever brewed an IPA, it would then be called an Indian India Pale Ale.

    Thought you had me, didn't you? Don't mess with a retired teacher. :)
  26. PuFtonLyfe

    PuFtonLyfe Savant (295) North Carolina Jun 2, 2011 Beer Trader

    Just being facetious.
  27. JxExM

    JxExM Savant (490) New York Mar 5, 2012

  28. PuFtonLyfe

    PuFtonLyfe Savant (295) North Carolina Jun 2, 2011 Beer Trader

    What's you're take on Vienna Lager? Viennese Lager?
  29. OneDropSoup

    OneDropSoup Champion (780) Pennsylvania Dec 9, 2008 Subscriber

    Russia Imperial Stout? :)
    lemongelo and Tut like this.
  30. Tut

    Tut Savant (495) New York Sep 23, 2004

    Cities work differently. If a beer is identified with a city, it uses the formal name of the city, like Sam Adams Boston Lager or London Porter. The style Vienna Lager is also an Austrian beer.

    Understand? - or do you need a homework assignment?
  31. These are my favorite types of beers and I typically just lump them together.

    Subjectively, I find beers labeled oud bruin tend to be a bit more rich, with more of the sweet & sour balsamic vinegar character, while flemish reds tend to be more earthy and mellow, sometimes more sour.
  32. Taste-wise there is a clear distinction between the reds and browns in terms of acidity and funk and to a lesser extent in the malt flavors. The problem is that the labeling is really imprecise and there are beers with a lot of acetic character labeled oud bruins and beers with no acetic character labels reds. The appellations are mostly all marketing and beer people trying to categorize everything. Not really worth trying to overthink it.
  33. Cuvee Des Jacobins for me please.
    BeerBum likes this.
  34. slander

    slander Site Editor (675) New York Nov 5, 2001 Staff Member

    Agreed on the maturation process 'sped up' but I think more so it's the blend ratios have changed significantly...