#52 Solera One

Eureka, its time for another recipe. Today’s recipe is a recipe I designed to get rid of some leftover malts and to use the bugs I isolated from commercial sour beers. This recipe is the first base of my very first Solera. The Solera technique in sour brewing is a wonderful way to maintain the souring bugs over a period of time. You basically fill a wooden barrel (in my case a carboy) with fresh wort and dump some dregs/bugs in there as well. After a year or so, you remove part of the liquid and replace it with fresh wort. Then repeat the procedure a year later again. Over time, the beer gets a matured character.

I started my first Solera with a pretty basic recipe and intend to add some Stout or Porter next year to get some roasted character. Unfortunately, I do not have the space and capacity to fill a wooden barrel, I therefore used the poor man’s barrel: wooden chips.

Recipe: Solera One
Numbers: Volume [L] 16 (4.2 gal)
Original gravity 12.2°P
Terminal gravity N/A
Color Around 11 EBC
Grains: Pilsner malt (4 EBC) 2 kg
Cara Hell (25 EBC) 0.25 kg
Wheat malt (4 EBC) 0.25 kg
Carared 0.6 kg
Barley raw (4 EBC) 1 kg
Hops: Hallertauer (4% AA) 40 g and boil for 90 min
Yeast: Wyeast’s #3763 Roeselare Blend & #1581 Belgian Stout, Secondary: Dregs (see description below)
Water: Burgdorf Mash: 11 L (2.9 gal), sparge: 16 L (4.2 gal) @78°C (172°F)
Rest: Mash in @50°C (122°F), 20 min @50°C (122°F), 40 min @63°C (145°F), 30 min @72°C (162°F), 10 min @ 78°C (172°F)
Boil: Total 90 min
Fermentation: Primary 15 days @20°C (68°F) in plastic fermenter
Secondary Until the carboy is filled with sediments…
Maturation: Carbonation (CO2 vol) N/A
Maturation time N/A

04/27/12: Brew day number 52. Crushed all the grains and rested according to the protocol. Iodine test was negative and I therefore proceeded with the sparging. Then boiled the wort for 90 min with the addition of the Hallertauer hops. After cooling the wort down to approximately 20°C (68°F), I added the yeast cake of a previous beer (#50 Folly Red) which consisted of Wyeast’s #3763 Roeselare Blend and #1581 Belgian Stout yeast. Did the primary fermentation in a plastic fermenter. I originally planned to get 20 L (5.3 gal) with a gravity of 12.2°P. Maybe the raw barley was not as efficient as planned.

Fig 1: Solera One after a month in the secondary fermenter

Anyway, I then prepared the souring mixture for the secondary fermentation: Added some Girardin Gueuze dregs, Brettanomyces isolated from the Girardin Gueuze and 3 Fonteinen Geuze and the dregs from the Les Trois Dames Oud Bruin along with 50 g of medium toasted American oak chips in an Erlenmeyer flask and left it at room temperature.

05/12/12: Transferred the beer to a glass carboy and added the souring mixture with the oak chips to the glass carboy as well. Now its time to wait…

06/18/12: Nearly a month in the secondary fermenter, a pellicle formed Fig 1). The smell is awesome: Lots of cherry, hints of sourness and some funky notes. Can’t wait to try this brew…


2 thoughts on “#52 Solera One

  1. Sounding pretty great at this point. For some reason, I’ve never bothered to brew anything with bugs, I’m not sure what I’d think if I saw that in my secondary without knowing.

    • Yeah, its quite a different world with souring bugs. You never know how it turns out at the end. However, this is were it gets interesting IMO. Technique and knowledge are not all that matters…
      Cheers, Sam

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