Belgian Flemish Old Brown Beers also known as Oud Bruin or Flanders Brown is a kind of beer which has its roots in the Flemish region of Belgium. The name itself literally means “Old Brown” and has a long process of manufacturing which takes up to a year.
Special characteristics of Belgian Flemish Old Brown Beers:
- Reddish-brown in color.
- Medium bodied.
- This beer has no bitterness.
- The aroma involves a combination of fruits like plum, raisin and cherry.
- The flavor is malt-like, sweet, caramel, tart and slightly acidic caused by various bacteria in the fermentation process.
- Briefly speaking it has a sweet and sour-like taste.
The Belgian Flemish old-brown beer is produced in the South-West of Flanders and gets it reddish color from barley malts used for brewing and from a long-period of maturation in oak barrels. This unique beer is brewed under a complex process of high fermentation which involves both technology and tradition. This peculiar beer undergoes fermentation which involves mixing of yeasts Lactobacillus and acetobacteria. After this the beer undergoes a maturation process which may extend from 18 to 24 months in oak barrels. And then finally it is filtered and/or pasteurized and nowadays blended with some younger or sweeter beer to lessen the acidic taste and to create a complex flavor.
History of Belgian Flemish Old Brown Beers
The history of Belgian beers goes back to the Middle Ages. During the time of Pharaohs, it was brewed and offered to God but later made its way in Europe in 5,000 B.C. and was consumed before wine took its place. Approximately 2,000 years ago, the brewing of beer was mainly a cottage industry in Belgium and was handled by women and during that time the pottery were replaced by oak barrels to manufacture and also to store beer.
It was only in the 14th century after the fall of the Roman Empire that the monks took hold of the church and took interest in manufacturing of beer and they set up breweries in every abbey. From then onwards, the quality of the beer improved considerably and a better fermentation process was established. Today, there are many breweries who still manufacture beer as per the same middle-aged recipe.
The most common breweries that manufacture Flemish Old Brown make different versions of beer like an un-blended version, blended version and sometimes a fruit-type version by adding cherry juice or essence of fruit and sweetener.