#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…