Solera Barrel Sour

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Solera Barrel Sour

Postby Steven P » Thu Jun 19, 2014 12:53 pm

Many of you know that I've had a Cedar Ridge 15 gallon scotch/port wine barrel for about a year now and have ran two batches of dark Belgian style beers through it.

First run was a Quad http://beersmithrecipes.com/viewrecipe/ ... t-the-foch and the second was a Dark Saison http://beersmithrecipes.com/viewrecipe/ ... the-barrel ,which is getting pulled this weekend.

Once it's empty I'll rinse and steam clean this bugger and fill with star san until I get enough beer brewed to fill it again. The next season in the life of this little wooden gem is to ferment a blonde sour beer in the Solera method. I considered a Flanders Red but I think I can get most mileage from a blonde sour.

After two uses the character of the barrel should be fairly diminished. The steaming and star san fill should get me closer to neutral so that I can pitch all the little critters I want to. I'll probably start the pitch with Wyeast 3711 French Saison and White Labs sour mix. I can get my hands on some ECY BugFarm that would be boss. In any case I'm pitching Jolly Pumpkin and Cantillon bottle dregs.

For those of you who are not familiar with the Solera method it involves starting with a full barrel and letting it age just like normal. When the beer reaches the desired character the process is to pull a portion of the contents and refill it with new beer. The refill can be either unfermented wort or an already fermented beer. I plan on refreshing 1/3 of the barrel about every year which after 2 years should give me an average age of 18 months. As this will be a sour the timeframe could be moved up if the base beer gets too sour or acetic.

I'm using the calculator from the Mad Fermentationist at this link to make the calculations and keep track of the blended age of the contents. https://archive.org/details/SoleraAgingSpreadsheet

The idea is to have a base sour beer in use for various blendings and to age on fruit. This is the method used by many large sour brewers, notably New Belgium.

I think it would be nice to always have a sour offering on tap at our fests in any case. A cherry sour on cask sounds like a beer I'd drink.

In any case, let me know if you have any questions or suggestions for this project.
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Re: Solera Barrel Sour

Postby JimF » Thu Jun 19, 2014 2:59 pm

Sounds great! I can't wait to try one or two...

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Re: Solera Barrel Sour

Postby Steven P » Wed Jun 25, 2014 2:23 pm

The recipe got changed up a bit to accommodate what I had on hand at the time. I brewed 20 gallons on Sunday fermented with S-04. It's almost done fermenting actually.

Here's the updated recipe.

http://beersmithrecipes.com/viewrecipe/ ... the-barrel

The barrel is full of campden and citric acid sitting on my picnic table until I get a chance to steam it. I'm using 3/8ID latex tubing for the steaming process as it is more heat tolerant than vinyl . Latex melts between 250f and 350f and vinyl melts at about 215f.

Embrace the funk blog put out this post just after I filled for holding.

http://embracethefunk.com/2014/06/23/barrelcleaning/

I'm calling it Jungian synchronicity.
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