Supplication Clone: Bottling and Tasting

After adding 4 pounds of organic cherries.

After adding 4 pounds of organic cherries.

The Journey and Bottling

I brewed this beer on 6/18/2011. Between then and now it’s been exchanged between 3 different fermenters and traveled 2600 miles across the country. It was originally in a 6 gallon glass fermenter for initial fermentation. A few months later it was transfered into a CO2 flushed keg, and then purged of any remaining headspace. After it reached the other side of the country it was transferred into a Better Bottle to rest for another 6 months. On 7/7/2012 I added 4 pounds of fresh organic Washington Bing cherries. I didn’t do anything special to the cherries, just threw them in, stems and all. After 3 months it was finally bottling time.

The final gravity hadn’t changed at all in the 3 months the cherries were soaking in the beer. It ended up at 1.010. I had just under 5 gallons in the bottling bucket and decided to carbonate it to 3.7 volumes. At bottling time I added 1/4 packed of Red Star Pasteur Champagne yeast to ensure carbonation and achieve a crisp, dry finish. After bottling was complete I ended up with 39 12oz bottles and 5 22oz bottles.

Side by side comparison with Russian River Supplication

Side by side comparison with Russian River Supplication

Tasting and side by side comparison with Supplication

I had 4 friends over to do a side by side tasting with my clone and Russian River’s Supplication. 3 out of the 4 preferred my version to Supplication which is a huge compliment. Below are my tasting notes. In them I have comparisons to Supplication in parenthesis.

Appearance: Pours about 1/3 an inch of off-whte head that fades into a ring after a minute. The beer is dark brown with hints of red, especially when held up to a light. (My clone is darker than Supplication. Also Supplication has more of a white head then my clone).

Aroma: The first time I take a waft I get a very light acidity followed by a strong dark cherry nose. As it warms the acidity becomes more apparent, and a little bit of the base brown ale appears. It’s not much and the cherry and brown ale aromas compete amongst each other. (Supplication’s nose has no trace of the base beer at all. It also has a little oak and wine characteristics. I ended up not using pinot noir or oak chips in my version.)

Mouthfeel: – The beer is light to medium in body with tingly carbonation at 2 weeks conditioning. (The mouthfeel is nearly identical to Supplication)

Taste: – A fairly light acidity strikes the taste buds first, followed by a nice dark cherry flavor. Towards the middle/finish the tartness comes back and goes from light to mouth puckering quickly. The sourness lingers for a bit in the mouth after the finish. (I’m not sure if this is because of the order I tried the beers, but Supplication tasted significantly less sour then my clone. Supplication also had many more wine notes, which makes perfect sense considering I didn’t add any, nor age it in wine barrels)

Overall: I’m extremely proud of this beer. It’s been a long and fun journey creating it. In my opinion this beer stands out and is easily comparable to the better commercial American Wild Ales on the market. I have noticed with my last 2 sour beers, that despite the long aging process, both of them were finished and hit their final gravity months before bottling. With that knowledge in hand, I think I am going to reduce the aging time to somewhere under a year for my next sour batch. I’m still debating on the style, but am leaning towards a lower alcohol blonde ale with blueberries.