Flanders Red

Glassware: Tulip
  • Belgium
  • Mixed Ferm
  • ABV = 4.6 – 6.5% (Normal to elevated)^
  • IBU = 10-25
  • SRM = 10-17
A sour, fruity and red wine-like Belgian mixed fermentation beer with a dry, tannic finish.

Compared to Fruit Lambic, Flanders Red is more acetic and the fruity flavours are more red-wine like.


  • Colour^ = Red-brown
  • Clarity = Good

Key Aromas & Flavours:

  • Malt = Low; toasty
  • Hops = None
  • Yeast + Bacteria = High; fruity esters (black cherries, oranges, plums, red currants) / Low; spicy phenols (peppery, vanilla, chocolate) / Moderate to high; acidity (lactic, plus low to moderate acetic)
  • Malt = Moderate; toasty-rich
  • Hops = None
  • Yeast + Bacteria = High; fruity esters (black cherries, oranges, plums, red currants) / None to low; spicy phenols (peppery, vanilla, chocolate, if present) / Moderate to high; sourness (lactic, plus low to moderate acetic)
  • Perceived Bitterness^ = Low
  • Balance = Towards the malt; generally as the malt character increases, the sour character fades (and vice versa)

Dry, tannic finish, which supports the suggestion of a vintage red wine.

Some versions are sweetened/blended to be sweet, therefore a range of sweetness levels is acceptable, which can help to soften the acidic bite/ acetic perception.


  • Body = Medium
  • Carbonation = Low to medium
  • Astringency = Low to medium astringency, often with a prickly acidity

Characteristic Ingredients/Processes:

  • Malt = Vienna and/or Munich malt, plus crystal/caramel malt and maize (corn)
  • Hops = Continental hop varietals, low level
  • Yeast + Bacteria = Belgian ale yeast, Brettanomyces, Lactobacillus and Acetobacter contribute to the fermentation and eventual flavour
  • Process = Produced by aging beer for up to two years in large oak vats (called foeders), which contain the resident bacteria necessary to sour the beer. Blending of young and well-aged beer often occurs. The final product may optionally be sweetened (naturally or artificially), therefore, a wide range of products are possible depending on the actual blend and whether any sweeting takes place.

Historical Development:

An indigenous beer of West Flanders typified by the products of the Rodenbach Brewery, which was established in 1821 but reflective of earlier brewing traditions. (Aging in wooden vats and blending of old and young beers was borrowed from the English tradition.)

The “wine-like” observation should not be taken too literally; it may suggest a high-acid French Burgundy to some (hence the style’s nickname, the Burgundy of Belgium), but it is clearly not identical.

Commercial Examples:

Rodenbach Grand Cru, Rodenbach Classic, Duchesse de Bourgogne

^Sourced from the Cicerone Certification Program’s International Certified Beer Server Syllabus (Version 5.0)
All other information is sourced from the BJCP 2021 Style Guidelines.

Discovering Beer is not affiliated with or endorsed by the Cicerone® Certification Program.

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