Tasting: Solera Project: Base (2014)

Solera Project: Base (2014)

Solera Project: Base (2014)

It’s been quite some time since I’ve posted anything on this blog.  I’m finally back from my hiatus and plan on posting a bunch of tastings of beers I’ve brewed in the past ~3 years.

In that time I’ve started a Solera barrel project with a few friends which has already produced 9 different variations of fruited (and one non-fruited) barrel aged sours.  I plan on posting more about that process in the near future.

Today I’m tasting one of the first bottlings from our Solera project aptly named “Solera Project: Base (2014)”.  This was bottled in late 2014.  The recipe for the beer can be found here.

Appearance – It’s got a light hay color with great clarity.  It forms a small white head that fizzes away pretty quickly.

Aroma – Three things come to mind immediately from the first smell.  They are: Chardonnay, vanilla, and sourness.  Chardonnay is the most dominant, and it’s followed by a pleasant vanilla character.  I’m using the word sourness for lack of a better descriptor.  It’s not that lemony aroma from lactobacillus but it’s a smell ingrained in my mind as sour (in the best way possible).

Mouthfeel – It’s got light to medium carbonation with a relatively soft body.  We didn’t do a good job measuring the sugar and splitting it up evenly between the 3 batches we were bottling and the carbonation suffers.  We were shooting for 3.5-3.7 volumes and it’s much too low.  Not terribly distracting, but would certainly be better with more carbonation.

Taste – The nose of this beer doesn’t lie, as the flavors are pretty spot on.  This was the first batch we took from the barrel, so the it’s got a ton of oak character.  The vanilla and Chardonnay from the barrel stand out the most.  It’s got a beautifully pleasant sourness that intermixes with some brettanomyces character.  It finishes with a long and dry tartness.

One friend who knows quite a bit about wine (much more so than myself!) was thoroughly impressed with this beer.  The Chardonnay and oak character really stands out.  I, myself, am very pleased with how this turned out and am looking forward to seeing how the base beer transforms in the future.  We are planning on bottling the base beer again in the next few months, so it will be interesting to see if the barrel character is as prominent 2 years later.

You can see what others have thought of this beer on Untappd.