Tasting: Solera Project: Kiwi Berry (2016)

Transferring the base sour beer on to the kiwi berries.

Transferring the base sour beer on to the kiwi berries.

The base beer for this is a sour blonde ale.  It’s been aging in our 65 gallon Chardonnay barrel for about 3 years.  We use the Solera method where a portion of beer is taken out and fresh beer replaces it.  For this beer we froze about 8 pounds of locally source kiwi berries before adding them to the fermenter.  We let the transferred sour Solera beer age on the fruit for just over 3 months before bottling.

Before this beer I have never tasted, seen, or heard of a Kiwi Berry.  They sort of look like green olives with more of a green grape/citrus flavor.  When you cut them open they have the signature kiwi seed pattern on the inside.

Honestly, I wasn’t expecting much from this fruit.  I thought the taste was fairly mild.  To my surprise, this may be one of my favorite variations from our Solera barrel that we’ve produced to date.

Appearance – Has a brilliant golden color with a slight haze, although that may be because I got a little bit of the yeast in the glass.  A fuzzy white head sits atop the beer and leaves lacing that sticks around for quite a bit.  There are dancing carbonation bubbles racing from the bottom of the glass trying to escape.

Aroma – The aroma on this beer is exceptional.  It’s delicate, yet complex.  Soft citric notes are most apparent, the carbonation likely is helping making these stand out.  There is also a vanilla character in the background, but no real wood flavor.  I also get the aroma from the skin of the fruit, it reminds me of green grapes.  Finally there is a pleasant lemony sour aroma.

Solera Project: Kiwi Berry (2016)

Solera Project: Kiwi Berry (2016)

Mouthfeel – Wow!  I never thought you could have perfect biting carbonation and a creamy mouthfeel at the same time.  It sounds like  an oxymoron, but that description is spot on.  I’ve noticed this in other variations of this barrel aged sour, so I think the Chardonnay barrel has a part in achieving this effect.  Was shooting for about 3.5 volumes for carbonation and it appears it was successful.

Taste – This beer begins with a soft citrus character along with green grape skin.  Towards the middle a lemony sourness begins to build.  As the sourness builds you get a little bit of the barrel character and Chardonnay flavors are more apparent.  After you finish the sourness sticks to your tongue and the roof of your mouth.

As I alluded to in the paragraph before my tasting notes, I wasn’t expecting much from this beer.  It took me by surprise.  This beer turned out way better than I had expected.  The delicate flavors from the kiwi berries marry very well with the base beer and barrel character.

You can read what others have thought about this beer on untappd.