Friday, 30 September 2011
Norfolk Red Ale
Flanders Red is a beer style you don't come across too often. So when I spotted this example brewed in Norfolk I was instantly intrigued. Ole Slewfoot Red Wing Flemish style red ale is a 5.1% ruby red interpretation of a classic spontainiously fermented Belgian beer style that comes in a paper wrapped champagne corked bottle. Spontaneous fermentation means that no yeast is used to pitch the wort, all the fermentation work comes from wild yeast that drift in from the air and micro-organisms hidden within the oak barrels used for fermentation. Flanders Red is usually made from a blend of old and new products, with this one I'm not sure.
On the nose it smells like being back in Brussels. Tart cherry and raw earthy, funky yeast, it sure smells Belgian. The palate sure opens well, loads of barnyard yeasty spice, caramel and sweet cherry with a subtle acidic sourness throughout and a medium slightly oily texture. I'm giving it the thumbs up, good complexity yet quite subtle. What I found it lacked, compared to the Belgian original versions of the style was that hardcore sourness in the finish that really adds a kick. Perhaps my bottle could have developed it better with age but to me it seemed a bit like listening to Dragonforce without the guitar solos, it was just that one element away from being truly awesome (but still sour enough to make the wife pull a funny face). Despite this, still worth a try.