Author Topic: Solera beers  (Read 5638 times)

boulderbrewer

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Re: Solera beers
« Reply #15 on: January 05, 2010, 09:58:30 PM »
I think that may be the trick, is to keep things in balance. Especially a beer with bugs.

Offline onthekeg

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Re: Solera beers
« Reply #16 on: January 06, 2010, 03:19:59 PM »
Marc, as you know I too have one rolling in this fashion, I have been using my irish red, and have oak chips and dregs from La Roja rolling along in it.  I started it in May 09, and bottled some in Nov. 09, about a gallon and a half.  Added a few more boiled chips and more red into it then.  It is a glass carboy, the only one I have.

The beer is beautiful that I bottled, I just wish I would have remembered to add a little fresh yeast when I bottled...   Its not carbed up properly yet in 2 months..??? :'(

boulderbrewer

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Re: Solera beers
« Reply #17 on: January 07, 2010, 08:24:23 PM »
I know you got me thinking of doing this, by the way I'm still waiting for that beer! Is it carbed yet?

Offline onthekeg

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Re: Solera beers
« Reply #18 on: January 07, 2010, 09:10:15 PM »
I know you got me thinking of doing this, by the way I'm still waiting for that beer! Is it carbed yet?

Sort of.  I am drinking one tomorrow night.  Wanna stop by?

boulderbrewer

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Re: Solera beers
« Reply #19 on: January 07, 2010, 09:17:48 PM »
Yes

Offline enso

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Re: Solera beers
« Reply #20 on: February 14, 2010, 06:19:55 PM »
Looks like I missed the discussion by a bit.  This idea has just started to bounce around in my head.  I figured it could be done in a corney keg, glad to find this thread.

A few questions.  When you remove some beer, how is it then treated?  Does it have to be force carbonated in a small keg or can you bottle condition?

What temp should it be stored at or can that change with the seasons (within reason, i.e. not too wild of fluctuations or extremes of temp)

Are their other styles of beer one can do this with or does everything end up being "old ale" in character no matter what you do.  Old ale is not a particular favorite by the way...   ;)

Something Belgianesque not necessarily wildly funky like a flanders red or a lambic?
Dave Brush

Offline 1vertical

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Re: Solera beers
« Reply #21 on: February 03, 2013, 04:02:26 PM »
Revival of an ole thread....Ron, have you sampled this style yet?
I missed this post somehow and want to contribute. I have a
good solera beer at last pull 1.5 year old cherry brett lambic in oak.
Still getting good reports after all this time.
It is now well over 2 years old and I need to soon make another pull
when I get 2 mt corny kegs.  I think I shall soon retire the oak......
I think I shall retire myself as well....half wages do not lend well to brewing costs.
 :-*
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Offline kylekohlmorgen

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Re: Solera beers
« Reply #22 on: February 04, 2013, 05:53:35 AM »
Sour/funky stuff is what gets my vote!

I have a similar method to Jeff's - I use a keg and keep refilling it with a new beer every year.

One has gone from a Flanders Red, to a blended Flanders Red, and now is a kriek (this year I just added tart cherry juice)

The other was a tripel, then I blended in some sour bugs. Now the keg has about 1 gallon left, I'll blend in more tripel or quad.

I actually just started the blog post on this project last week - I'll post it when I get it finished!
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Offline yugamrap

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Re: Solera beers
« Reply #23 on: February 04, 2013, 10:55:40 AM »
There's a member of our local club who has had a Solera going for several years.  His is a Flanders Red and each year's batch seems to get a little more character than the last.  It's good stuff, and he's won several medals with it in local and regional competitions.
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Offline tomsawyer

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Re: Solera beers
« Reply #24 on: February 04, 2013, 01:20:08 PM »
I've had a Flanders red style beer in a 10gal oak cask for a couple of years now.  The cask first contained a Zinfandel I'd made.  The beer does change, and I will add lighter or darker new beer to it to further change character.  I was taking out every six months but I haven't done a pull in some time now.  In fact my last pull is in a corny keg.
Lennie
Hannibal, MO

Offline cdrsfrg

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Re: Solera beers
« Reply #25 on: April 21, 2013, 08:50:55 AM »
I started a Solera 11/2010. With 2 55 gal oak barrels used for whisky then a barleywine. Every few months I brew 10 gal lambic style with 60% Pilsner and 40% Torified Wheat and one oz old Saaz hops in 120 min boil. So far I have done 8, 10 batches, moving 5 gal to the second barrel each time. This year I will start doing some blending and carbonating to see what I get. What small tasting I have done seems to be working well. The Wyeast Lambic blend is fermenting out to 1.00 in the first barrel before I can move any to the second starting from 1.060.

Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Solera beers
« Reply #26 on: April 22, 2013, 09:07:51 AM »
I have something I've called a solera with lambic although it's not technically a solera because I'm only using one vessel. I think we've all adopted this same single vessel technique as a solera for beer terminology.

I'm using a six gallon better bottle. I have been running it since December 2010. Each December I pull out a portion and replace it with an equal amount of fresh wort. The first year I brewed a very basic and simple recipe with 60% pilsner malt and 40% red wheat malt, decoction mash and pitched the WY lambic blend plus the dregs of a Lindeman's Cuve Rene (the only non-pasteurized sour I could find at the time). In December 2011 I pulled four gallons, put one gallon aside in a separate jug, put one gallon on raspberries and aged it for six months before bottling, and bottled two gallons straight. The first refill I did the same recipe except I used white wheat malt and added a tablespoon of whole wheat flour near the end of the boil to add some starches into the wort. In December 2012 I pulled three gallons, bottled one gallon, put one gallon on blackberries which I will bottle in the next month or two, and put one gallon in reserve in a separate vessel. I replenished with three new gallons, this time using 60% pilsner malt, 40% unmalted wheat and a decoction mash. This coming December I am going to pull another three gallons and blend it with the separate gallons held back from year one and year two to make five gallons of gueuze. It will be a good time in my house next year.  :P

I have definitely noticed a difference between the two bottlings. Year one has a big cherry flavor and the acidity is sharper than the second year. The second year is more funky and leathery with very soft acidity. Other than age and some differences in the wheat, I think the absence of esters from saccharomyces in the second year deprived the beer of the typical cherry pie flavor I saw in year one. This last December when I refilled I added a very fruity Belgian sacc strain to see if the presence of new esters will produce a lambic with more cherry pie flavor. Not that the second year's leathery flavor isn't good but it was a good opportunity to test a hypothesis. Plus having three unique tasting lambic should make for a more interesting blend this winter.

If you want to read more of my ramblings about the solera you can see just the solera posts on my blog on this page: http://homebrewingfun.blogspot.com/p/lambic-solera.html

I think the solera process naturally lends itself to sour brewing because the solera works off time and time is naturally a key ingredient in sour beer. The same is true for brett beers because brett does some really interesting stuff over time with flavor and a combination of fresh and old, brett'd beers could produce some really complex and interesting flavors you may not be able to produce out of a single beer aged with brett.

I can also see it making an interesting beer out of a stronger beer, whether it was a barleywine, a quad, a scotch ale, etc. and then bottled by itself each year or blended with a young beer in the package. I wonder how long a clean beer, even a bigger beer, could last before brett, pedio and other critters showed up and took up residence. Not that it would necessarily be a bad thing.

I think of the solera process in the same vein as blending but you are letting nature decide some of the flavor elements rather than developing all of the flavors through your blending process. There's still control over the grist, hops and to an extent the fermentation products but the maturation and melding of flavors over time in the solera is mostly out of your hands. I don't see that as an excuse to just throw whatever beer into the solera, you should think about each beer you add based upon how the flavors in that beer change over time and how they might blend into the solera and how it is going to change the overall flavors in the solera. It's easier to predict the change in flavor and ensure a positive change with a repeated addition of the same beer or a similar beer. You can always blend the solera beer with a disparate beer in bottling but once a beer goes into the solera you can't take back those flavors or how they will mature.
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Offline kylekohlmorgen

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Re: Solera beers
« Reply #27 on: April 22, 2013, 10:31:04 AM »
^ Excellent post. The blog is a great way to keep record, too.

I have two Solera-esque beers going. One 'light', one 'dark'. The light is currently a blend of 1 and 2-year old Flanders Red-ish beer and 3/4 gal tart cherry juice. The "dark" is an oatmeal brown ale that I've transferred into a keg that held a sour/funky tripel.

I can add that acid production will fade in subsequent batches, especially if you are just using lactobacillus and/or drop the temp of the solera vessel (putting keg in kegorator). Every once in awhile I'll add in some lacto/brett slurry for added complexity and assured continuation of the culture.

This is a great process for lambic because its another way to "set it and forget it".

I outlined my process and gave a case for using kegs here: http://southhousepilotbrewery.blogspot.com/2013/03/wild-yeast-culture-experiments-dregs-in.html

I'll also cover this method (as it applies to sour/funky beers) in my NHC presentation.
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Offline tomsawyer

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Re: Solera beers
« Reply #28 on: April 22, 2013, 12:33:58 PM »
My experience with the cask is that the beer keeps getting more sour, or at least it certainly doens't fade.  Probably the result of microoxidation.
Lennie
Hannibal, MO

Offline tomsawyer

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Re: Solera beers
« Reply #29 on: April 22, 2013, 12:36:24 PM »
I don't see that as an excuse to just throw whatever beer into the solera, you should think about each beer you add based upon how the flavors in that beer change over time and how they might blend into the solera and how it is going to change the overall flavors in the solera. It's easier to predict the change in flavor and ensure a positive change with a repeated addition of the same beer or a similar beer. You can always blend the solera beer with a disparate beer in bottling but once a beer goes into the solera you can't take back those flavors or how they will mature.
I have been steering my stuff one direction, then another as far as how dark and malty the beer is.
Lennie
Hannibal, MO