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Author Topic: Difference Between Solera and Cuvee?  (Read 403 times)

Offline John M

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Difference Between Solera and Cuvee?
« on: February 02, 2024, 09:37:08 am »
Can anyone explain the difference between a solera and cuvee?
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Offline dbeechum

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Re: Difference Between Solera and Cuvee?
« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2024, 11:04:47 am »
There's no real good definition of cuvee - nominally it just means a liquid from a single barrel/vat. For solera, that's easier - solera is a whole process of mixing of multiple vintages in a vessel over time as you pull some previous liquid from it. (ala port and sherry)

As an example - You fill a 60 gallon barrel with a barleywine project. A year later, you pull X gallons of barleywine and re-fill the barrel with another X gallons of fresh beer. You keep doing that over time and the beer becomes a blend of all your different beers over time. That's a solera.
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Offline John M

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Re: Difference Between Solera and Cuvee?
« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2024, 04:50:50 pm »
Thanks Drew! I referred to Utopias as a solera on fb, and someone corrected me that it was not solera, but cuvee. Sounds to me like it is a solera. Or am I misunderstanding?
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Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Difference Between Solera and Cuvee?
« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2024, 06:39:56 pm »
I have to disagree with Drew here and really nitpicking his explanations.

The term cuvee has no specific meaning. It's vaguely used to denote top end products. It's a wine term that is both used for singular releases and blends. A cuvee can be a highly regarded barrel or part of the harvest segregated to produce a special wine. It's also used to label the high end blends. It has a third meaning in champagne, too.

So Utopias can be described as a cuvee but it's a cuvee if they call it that.

A solera is traditionally a multi-vessel system of aging an alcoholic beverage in a set of barrels in which each layer of barrels is never fully emptied and the alcoholic beverage is transferred from one set of barrels into the next in line so that the liquid blends with older liquids along the way. Theoretically, every product of a solera contains every batch that came before it. We've stolen that term to also describe a single vessel with fractional blending but it's really not the right term. It's effectively the same process but you can't consistently make beverages with a long aging process with frequent releases without using multiple levels in a solera.

I believe BBC uses barrels that are never completely emptied which would make the barrels fractionally blended in addition to the overall blend but I do not believe they institute a solera system among the barrels.
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Offline John M

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Re: Difference Between Solera and Cuvee?
« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2024, 06:51:15 pm »
Speaking of which, has anyone seeing this attempted to brew an "extreme" beer, such as Utopias? I am hell-bent on trying to produce a gallon or two of something in the ballpark. I obviously don't have previous batches to blend, or a bunch of different barrels, and I'm ok with that. My first thought, given the low volume target, is to replicate barrels with oak cubes soaked in a few different spirits/port, whatever.

I've read enough to believe that monster fermentation is carried out with Champagne yeast, WLP099, and a couple doses of O2 in the first couple days. Wondering which yeast should go first, or if they should be pitched together.
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Offline dbeechum

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Re: Difference Between Solera and Cuvee?
« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2024, 08:10:11 pm »
I have to disagree with Drew here and really nitpicking his explanations.

I don't see how we disagree

 Cuvee has no real consistent meaning other than something that vaguely communicates "special" like "grand cru"

Solera is a continuous mix of product that ages together and is replenished
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