Ichtegem's Grand Cru

Style: Flemish Red Ale
Brouwerij Strubbe, Ichtegem, Belgium

Ichtegem's grand cru is a Flemish red ale. This unique style of beer is brewed as two separate beers, that are blended together to form the final product. Similar to the lambic geuze, one beer is brewed to be aged in oak barrels. This beer is aged for two years, where exposure to oxygen, the wood of the barrels, and naturally occuring microflora alter it's flavor, making it dry and sharp with an acidic tang. The second half of the equation is a sweet young beer, brewed before blending, that the brewer uses to balance the beer to his specifications. The Ichtegems grand cru is nutty, malty, and has a subtle dark cherry tang to it that balances it beautifully.

Base Beer:

Pale Ale brewed at 15 ° Plato with a blend of three malt types
- pilsner malt at 4 EBC
- munich malt at 12 EBC
- caramel malt at 120 EBC

- 2 year old belgian hops of Poperinge
- Kent Golding England
- Styrian hops
- Saaz Zatec at the end of boiling for Aroma

The final IBU of the base beer is calculated to be around 19 IBU.

Maturation: For two years in wooden casks {from the Bordeaux wine area in France) .

Young beer:

The young beer is brewed at around 50 EBC . The young beer is indeed a very important part of the secret of the Real Flemish Red Ale.

It is a "full malt" beer ( with caramel malt and roasted barley ) and a little dark candy sugar. It is hopped with Kent Goldings and Saaz at 22 IBU.

It is very difficult to assign both brews to a specific beerstyle .They are both special brews destined for blend only. The base beer is too acid to drink by itself while the young beer is too sweet and without "special" character.

After maturation the base beer is blended with a younger (sweeter) beer.

Each barrel is tasted and the blending ratio averages about 60 % old and 40 % young beer subject to the acidity of each barrel, the taste and "mood" of the brewmaster .

Alcohol content before maturation is around 7 % and after maturation and blending
it averages 6.5 % alc by vol.

Ichtegem's Grand Cru
Alc./Vol.: 6.5
Plato: 15.0
EBC: 50
IBU: 19

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