Today i bottled my dark solera. It is my first attempt at a solera. For those not in the know, a solera is a combination of various ages of beer combined in ratio and then left for a time to blend together to make a unique product distinct from the original ingredients. In this instance my solera is a combination of Belgian Golden Ale, Apricot soaked Saison, and Russian Imperial stout. Its had been on a couple of kilos of figs for a year or so and has many yeast varieties in it (Duvel, Dupont, Chimay, US-05, Brett C) and whatever wild yeasts were present on the figs and on the various fruits i have introduced.
The beer had a final gravity reading of 1.003. Part of the solera (RIS) dates back to 2008 and when i checked my brewing journal i found that it had been bottled at 1.016 FG. I mention this to highlight the fact that i can only guess at the ABV of this beer. I have put 9.5% on the bottles and a 'treat with respect' notice. NOT a session beer!
I was absolutely gobsmacked at the smells coming out of the FV during bottling. There was a very obvious chocolate smell, as well as dark fruit and liquer alcohol. I have resisted the temptation to try the trial jar as i have work to do this afternoon! In addition to the above mentioned olfactory pleasures there was also a distinct Brett C wild edge. This was very apparent when the beer was going into the bottles. I immediately cross referenced it to Orval. Gods homebrew eh? These people with the wild phrasing really need to come to Scotland to try real homebrew!
All too soon the bottles were capped and i was left with a sad collection of depleted cherries. No sign at all of fig remains and not an apricot in sight. The cherries are now on the composter so there will be some drunk insects at my house today.
There is no way that i could let this mad combination of yeasts go down the drain. The question of course is 'what to do with it'? As there is so much Belgian and wild yeast in the litre or so and its a quite frankly preposterous combination that i have decided to try and match it with a preposterous beer. I have a truly outrageous IPA in mind, more on that next time.
The beer was bottled at a carboantion volume to produce 1.5 vols of co2. I went deliberately light as the beer style suits it and i'd rather not have any bombs. Also very aware to leave a decent headspace in each bottle.
The labels on these bottles are a wee bit weighted towards darkness. What with the Big Bad Wolf motiff and the Halloween bottling date. Hopefully get a shiver at Christmas when i try one!
This beer has been great fun to make and going by the nose its a seriously complicated beer with huge depth. Anticipation for excellence is high. Cheers! :)