Tasting: Solera Project: Blackberry (2014)

Solera Project: Blackberry (2014)

Solera Project: Blackberry (2014)

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.

This beer is from our first bottling from the barrel.  We first pulled from the barrel after the beer had been aging in it for a year.  We pulled out 15 gallons and split them up into 3 batches then topped off the barrel again.  This batch got 5 lbs of fresh blackberries that had been frozen and then thawed.  The beer aged on the fruit for 3 months before we bottled it.

Appearance – The beer initially pours a fizzy 1/4 inch head that quickly fades away into a ring.  The beer is clear with a soft red hue to it.  There are visible carbonation bubbles as well as a few tiny pieces of fruit that made it into the beer during bottling.

Aroma – The aroma on this beer is much more barrel forward then the recent batches.  Considering this is one of the first we aged in the barrel that makes perfect sense.  There’s quite a bit of oak and vanilla character.  There’s also mild, sweet blackberry notes.

Mouthfeel – The carbonation is effervescent and scrubs your tongue as it hits your mouth.  I’d put it at a medium to high level of carbonation.

Taste – The flavor of this beer is very oak forward.  I actually much prefer the barrel character on some of our more recent bottling’s over this original batch.  Big oak up front with a kiss of vanilla.  Some mild blackberry sweetness hits mid-taste.  It finishes tart, dry, and oak-y.

It’s very interesting to go back and try some of these older batches from our solera project.  I think it was almost too much oak at the beginning.  The more recent batches are much more mellow and the flavors complement each other better.  It also helps the fruit or dry hop expression stand out much more in the recent batches.

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