Flanders Red

Glassware: Tulip
  • Belgium
  • Mixed Ferm
  • ABV = 4.6 – 6.5% (Normal to elevated)^
  • IBU = 10-25
  • SRM = 10-16
A sour, fruity and red wine-like Belgian mixed fermentation beer with a dry, tannic finish.

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


  • Colour^ = Red-brown
  • Clarity = Good

Key Aromas & Flavours:

  • Malt = Low; vanilla and/or chocolate notes
  • Yeast + Bacteria = High; fruity esters (black cherries, oranges, plums or red currants) / Low; spicy phenols / Moderate to high; acetic aroma
  • Hops = None
  • Malt = Low to moderate; soft, toasty-rich, plus low vanilla and/or chocolate notes
  • Yeast + Bacteria = High; fruity esters (plum, orange, black cherry or red currant) / Low; spicy phenols / Moderate to high; acetic sourness
  • Hops = None
  • Perceived Bitterness^ = Low
  • Balance = Towards the malt, with a dominant fruity, sour, wine-like impression

An acidic, tannic bitterness is often present in low to moderate levels and adds an aged red wine-like character and finish


  • Body = Medium
  • Carbonation = Low to medium
  • Astringency = Low to medium astringency, like a well-aged red wine, often with a prickly acidity

Characteristic Ingredients/Processes:

  • Malt = Base of Vienna and/or Munich malts, crystal/caramel malts, and a small amount of Special B, with up to 20% maize (corn)
  • Yeast + Bacteria = Belgian ale yeast, Brettanomyces, Lactobacillus and Acetobacter contribute to the fermentation and eventual flavour
  • Hops = Continental hop varietals, low level
  • Process = The beer is aged for up to two years, often in huge oaken barrels which contain the resident bacteria necessary to sour the beer. Long aging and blending of young and well-aged beer often occurs, adding to the smoothness and complexity.

Historical Development:

An indigenous beer of West Flanders, typified by the products of the Rodenbach Brewery which was established in 1820 but reflective of earlier brewing traditions. Often aged and blended, the aged product is sometimes released as a connoisseur’s beer.

Known as the Burgundy of Belgium, Flanders Red is more wine-like than any other beer style. The reddish colour is a product of the malt, although an extended, less-than-rolling portion of the boil may help add an attractive Burgundy hue. Aging will also darken the beer.

Commercial Examples:

Rodenbach Grand Cru, Duchesse de Bourgogne

^Sourced from the Cicerone Certification Program’s International Certified Beer Server Syllabus.
All other information is sourced from the BJCP 2015 Style Guidelines.

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

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