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Old 12-30-2010, 10:03 PM   #1
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Default 65 Gal Cab Barrel Wild Ferment / Solera

I'm about a month in on a sour solera project and wanted to see if anyone out there has input on results for something this size after about 1 month. To give some detail, these are full sized cab barrels, one french and one american, full of a belgian dark strong. One barrel went through primary on an abbey yeast. The other received a hefty dose of many different strains of bugs that I grew up, including BugFarm 4 and a lot of Avery's own Pedio blend. The buggy barrel started getting notably tart as of about 1 week ago and ever since then I've been blending about 1 gallon per day between the clean and buggy barrels. A pretty nice thin pellicle formed early on in the buggy barrel before some sacch in a couple of my bug blends took over and blew krausen all over the place. The latest taste from the buggy barrel is pleasantly sour with some forward cherry notes and some nice soft lactic tart flavors. No real barnyard to speak of quite yet. The headspace in each barrel is now almost non-existent as I've topped off each barrel with wort from the batch that I'd fermented separately in order to allow for all the bubbly stuff during primary. Does anyone out there have any tasting notes from sour barrel projects for the first month or so? I've got a ton of bugs in this barrel but I wasn't expecting such quick results. I'll post pictures ASAP. Cheers.

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Old 12-30-2010, 11:01 PM   #2
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glad to hear your barrel project is moving along.
My lambic in a pinor gris barrel his putting along.
Has a thick barnyard with some sort of tropical fruit undertones in the nose.
Not tastings yet as its sick.

How big was your bug starter?

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Old 12-30-2010, 11:32 PM   #3
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I pitched about 9 liters of bug starters (various strains) plus 4 vials of White Labs Belgian Sour Mix, BugFarm4, and dregs from some other sources

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Old 12-30-2010, 11:41 PM   #4
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When you are using fresh wood, I'd expect it to take a good 3-4 months before it starts getting noticeably funky. I'm on my fourth year with the same barrel and this fourth batch of Lambic had a hearty pellicle on it within the 2nd week.

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Old 12-30-2010, 11:53 PM   #5
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these are only fresh in the sense that they've not been innoculated with bugs before. There was cab in these barrels before I bought them.

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Old 12-31-2010, 01:30 AM   #6
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That's what I was getting at. The bugs need time to take hold .

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Old 12-31-2010, 02:10 AM   #7
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Yeh I have a bunch of other sours going that have taken a longtime to sour up but this barrel seems to be working pretty rapidly. May be the sheer quantity of bugs I pitched or the amount of peril in there. Not sure...

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Old 12-31-2010, 01:12 PM   #8
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Certainly sounds faster than our barrels went funky/sour, but you pitched a lot more bugs than we did. How are you blending the beer back and forth? I'd be worried about introducing oxygen opening them up every day, even if you don't have much head space.

Sounds like an awesome project, we are about to get our second solera going (a strongish golden beer in an apple brandy barrel).

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Old 12-31-2010, 02:02 PM   #9
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haven't been too worried about oxygen yet because both barrels have been bubbling at a pretty good clip

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Old 12-31-2010, 02:05 PM   #10
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Both of my barrels went sour and tart with just a hint of funk. Next round I will put allot more brett from Al at East Coast Yeast in the barrel. I used pure BF2 lacto, pedio and dregs from many Lambics in one barrel and only bug farm 3 in the other. Both barrels went through stages were they tasted great and then followed by nasty off flavors before stabilizing at about 10 months.

It's a wild ride.

BW

Edit: Whenever I opened the barrels for samples I purged them after with CO2.

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