Here's the solera to the left. I know my picture-taking is terrible.You can see the top is obscured by krausen residue but the pellicle isn't particularly exciting right now and I don't want to open it up any more than I already have the past month or so. You can kind of see the thick trub left behind by two fermentations.
|More lambic solera|
If you pretend my picture-taking skills are not completely useless, you can see the beer is extremely clear.
|Almost two years old|
Yes, that is a jug from crappy Carlo Rossi wine. No, I didn't drink it. I used it for cooking.
|Slightly darker than the solera|
this sour brown, maybe more of a sour black, is my best beer to date. I am kicking myself for only brewing a gallon of it, and most is going into a blend, but I don't think I have room for more sour fermenters. I currently have fourteen gallons of sour beer aging across five different vessels. If I added another large fermenter of sour beer I don't know where I would put it and still have room for some clean beers.
You can see it has a thick pellicle. I don't want to pull the stopper out since I recently broke the pellicle for a taste, but the pellicle is taut and powdery.
So with a couple months left before the end of year two I solidified my plans for the next pull. Last year I took four gallons out, put one on raspberries, two bottled straight and one set aside for gueuze. This year I am only taking three gallons. One will be set aside, one bottled straight and one aged six months on blackberries. I had planned on blackberries most of the year but it looked like blackberries were going to be expensive this year so I had started looking for alternatives. Last weekend I found blackberries frozen on the cheap so the blackberries are a certainty.
I am only pulling three gallons this year for a couple reasons (I feel like I have explained this before...). First, I still have about a couple gallons of the first year lambic in bottles so adding two more gallons between the straight and blackberry lambic will give me enough to drink for the next year. The next year's pull will result in five gallons bottled (two reserved plus three pulled) so I'll have a huge supply of lambic and don't need to worry about building up a supply year after year. Second, by cutting down the amount pulled from four to three I can increase the average age of lambic at each pull from one and a half to just shy of two years. So even though I get new lambic each year I will effectively have two year old lambic each single year.
I wasn't going to brew a holiday beer this year but I just bought two pounds of whole leaf hops -- the Belma I wrote about earlier -- and they are taking up more freezer space than I thought they would, so I needed to move some stuff out and frozen wort was an easy one to take out and use. It's about fourteen hours into fermentation as of this picture.