It feels like a lifetime ago since I started this Solera Project in a Sanke keg. I have been really anxious to remove the first portion to bottle but I wanted to stick to my plan of waiting a full year to remove a portion. Now that a year has passed (plus 3 weeks at the time of bottling, shoot me) of aging in the Sanke keg I removed a sample to taste and bottle off 3 gallons, I started with ~14 gallons in the keg.
The last time I tasted it was when it was 6 months old, and seemed to be coming along despite a lingering sweetness on the back end of the palate. I am happy to report that sweetness is gone, completely, taking its place is even more sourness. Wow! This is a really sour beer, definitely the sourest beer I’ve ever brewed, as you can tell by that 3.32PH at the time of the pull.
I’m glad that I chose to package the first pull prior to brewing the top off batch, post on that is coming soon after, because this may actually be a bit too sour. This gives me the opportunity to modify the wort in hopes of dialing back the acidity a little bit and increasing some of the funky/sweaty/horsey aromas, based on tasting notes I took at bottling.
I bottled up all 3 gallons straight, so to get an idea of what has been going on in there over the 12-month aging process. I would have loved to get some of this on fruit, and there really is plenty, but I would prefer to tackle that with the next pull which I hope will be in 6 months’ time. I re-yeasted with Champagne yeast as I did with the Lambic blend a few months ago, and primed some heavy Belgian/Champagne bottles to ~3.7vols of co2. This will be a highly carbonated, highly acidic beer, fingers crossed.
I’ll go into more detail on my top-off batch in the next post but my goal will be to minimize the sourness and increase the funky flavor/aromas. To do that I’ll try to implement a few methods that I have gathered through a few different sources I’ve read over the years. For starters I plan to turbid mash this batch, half will be fermented aside from the Solera for blending and the rest will be for the top off.
I also plan to hop the hell out of this batch, I recently purchase a ton, ok only 10lbs, of de-bittered aged hops and I plan to use a full pound in a 10-gallon turbid mashed batch. I will start fermentation in a stainless kettle with Abbey Ale Yeast and TYB Brussels Blend and then transfer to the Sanke just as fermentation is slowing but is still active. I believe this plan should help me get to where I want to be for the next pull.
I am getting close to the first tasting of this beer, it has been a long wait but I think it will be worth it in the end. I will judge the beer on first taste, although I probably shouldn’t because I expect this should age well for quite some time, well hopefully.