August 13, 2013

Lambic Solera Update #16 -- Two years, eight months

I have been blogging here at a furious pace of 2-3 times per week and although I enjoy writing about beer I feel like I have said a lot of what I had on my mind and for the past month or so I have felt like I had to keep that schedule and some of the content I have posted hasn't been great writing or very interesting content. So I intend to blog less frequently so I can focus on writing better content. That doesn't have anything to do with the lambic solera but it's a piece of housekeeping I wanted to drop before moving on to the substantive content.

Right now everything is working peacefully with the solera and its component reserves from years one and two. The plan remains to take two gallons from the solera plus the two reserves and blend to make gueuze at the end of the year. A third gallon will come out of the solera for a separate bottling so I have bottles of each year on their own. I still have 4-5 bottles of each bottling thanks to my unwillingness to share the lambic. So nothing new on that front but I had a chance to partake in the blackberry year two that I bottled in late May. Below is the review of the blackberry lambic.

Appearance: Color is a purple-pink with very little head. It is slightly hazy, likely a result of small bits of fruit and the continuing work of brett and pedio. Slight lacing from the initial pour. Not as dark as I thought it would be.

Aroma: Aroma is full of funk and lactic sourness. There is an unspecific berry aroma, like a mixed berry drink. In contrast, the raspberry lambic had a much more definitive raspberry aroma. This one is softer and less definitive.

Taste: The blackberry flavor comes through more definitively than it did in the aroma. The sourness has a sharp note in the beginning but fades into a more gentle sourness on the back end with less sharpness as the beer warms. Oddly, there is a bigger funk note in this beer than any other bottling. The unadulterated year two bottling is more funky than year one but this beer is even more funky than the non-fruit portion of year two.

Mouthfeel: Mouthfeel is crisp and prickly from the acidity. Slight tannins on the back end, probably from the berry skins. The carbonation helps the beer retain a little body but is otherwise thin like the other lambic bottlings.

Drinkability/Overall Notes: Overall I enjoy this beer as a very different take on the solera with its big funk note. I think it would have a more crisp berry flavor with more acidity but it is nice to see evolution of flavor with the solera bottlings. I can envision a blend of year one plus the blackberry lambic to create a complex mix of acidity and funk that would elevate this beer to an exceptional beer but I only have a few bottles of year one left and it is such a great beer I don't want to give any of it up to blending (other than what is set aside for gueuze).

After a couple fruit lambics, the general consensus about the solera is that the beer is delicious enough on its own that the fruit hides some of the nuances of the beer. I tend to agree. I will probably forgo fruit in the future and bottle straight. I do want to try bottling some after dry hopping but I might do as little as half a gallon just to get enough of the unadulterated lambic into the bottle. Maybe I just need to start another solera.

1 comment:

  1. Just wanted to say I've been reading your blog for a while. I'm only a few batches into my homebrewing career, but your content on sours and the solera project, especially, have been great. I'd like to think that after a few more batches of clean beer, I'll be ready to dive into the world of sours. Looking forward to more content, even if your updates are more spaced out.