Rick Franckhauser's picture

Judge's Review: 92 Rating - Red Flag by Heavy Seas Beer

June, 2019
Judges Rating: 
22 / 24
5 / 6
38 / 40
9 / 10
Overall Impression: 
18 / 20

Red Flag by Heavy Seas Beer was evaluated as BJCP category 23B, Flanders Red Ale.

Red wine-like fruity esters with an impression of tart cherries, raisins and plums start off in the aroma. A rich toasty malt character comes in and overtakes the sour impression and complements the dark fruits. Imagine a slightly sour English Barleywine. It pours a deep amber color with ruby highlights. Very good clarity. The head starts out light tan and creamy but drops rather quickly to a wispy foam ring. The flavor opens with the tart cherries and sweet raisins. The beer is balanced toward sourness but is softened by a rich Munich malt toasty character. The dark fruits are more complex and pronounced in the flavor than the aroma and add some additional fig esters. A faint vanilla note comes in mid-palate to remind you of the barrel-aging. A low-level tannin blends with a slight acidic note to help keep the malt in check. The tart cherry and dark fruits persist into the finish accompanied by some caramel malt sweetness and a little alcohol warmth.

The overall sourness is lower than many Flanders but still in keeping with the style guidelines and enough to balance the malt. The finish would benefit from some additional tannins but the barrel-aging effects are somewhat muted. However, the esters and malt complexity are wonderful. Overall, Red Flag is a solid example that leans toward the malty side of the style, which I very much enjoyed. Perhaps some additional cellaring will change the balance toward the sour. So, set a few aside for a year or so and enjoy some now.