Friday, November 14, 2014

PhiLambic Solera: Pull #1 tasting

I am repeating myself here but Its has been a painstakingly long wait to try the first bottle from my newest Solera. I decided to bottle the first pull straight so that I could get an idea of how things were going and determine what I would want to change for the top off batch. When I tasted the uncarbonated beer at bottling I was concerned it was a little bit one dimensional, especially because I believe that blending is so crucial with mixed fermentation beers. But I decided to stay the course so I could get to know this Solera from grain to glass.
Oh its clearly very clear.
Lambics are usually hopped with 3-4 ounces/5 gallons of aged hops while I used 2 ounces of semi-aged low alpha % hops for 8 IBUs, so I was a little concerned the initial batch may have been underhopped. Its not that I was concerned about the bitterness level but aged hops add a funky rusticity to the finished beer that I felt this could be missing. It is quite sour, bordering on being too sour but that may be because its lacking in some complexity to balance it out. Overall this is a really nice sour beer and a nice start to this Solera, I look forward to making some tweaks to the top off batch to add some complexity and round it out into a more finished product. Some more detailed tasting notes below.

Under the stress of bottle conditioning Brett does some wonderful things.
PhiLambic Solera Pull #1 - 2014

Very clear Golden yellow, moderately high carbonation tiny bubbles shooting up from the center of the glass. The head last for a while but very thin just around the edges of the glass.

Fruity forward aroma, a little bit Apple, light Funk in the background, lactic acidity. No hops or malt. A slight ethyl acetate aroma as the glass warmed to room temperature.

Tart right upfront, Lightbody, somewhat prickly carbonation. It's dry but has a little bit of a sweet bite on the back of the palate, finishes quick off the tongue leaving you with a dry puckering mouth. It is pretty refreshing and drinkable.

When I tried to first bottle of this almost 2 months ago I thought it was little bit one dimensional, and maybe lacked some complexity but its really coming along in the bottle. This reminds me a lot of Brian Hall's Lambic with a lot more carbonation. It's fruity in the nose very little barnyard, tart, dry and refreshing. It might be lacking a little bit of complexity but i think as an unblended product it holds up well. I let some of it warm up to room temp to let it open up a bit and there is a slight ethyl acetate aroma, it is very slight but something I will want to keep an eye on as the Solera ages. I am quite pleased with how this is drinking and look forward to seeing how this ages over the months to years. 

3 comments:

  1. Any update on how this beer is carbonating? I plan to carbonate a year+ old kriek soon and looking to use the EC-1118/sugar as you have with this beer. Do you think you hit the intended 3.7 co2 vol you were aiming for?

    Also, thanks for all the information on your solera experiences. I just picked up a 12 gallon pyrex carboy off craigslist yesterday and am planning to get a solera going in the near future.

    Cheers!

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    1. I definitely hit the carbonation level I was targeting, not sure if its exactly 3.7vol but its perfect for the beer. If you're worried about the age yeast remaining, or the acidity of the beer youre carbonating, you cannot go wrong with re-yeast with EC1118. The only draw back is, well imo, the dregs in these bottles are not to be recultured due to the high level of champagne yeast.

      12 gallon Pyrex! Very cool, Good luck!

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