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Old 06-01-2012, 11:53 PM   #11
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Thanks guys. I never got around to doing this, but after hearing your results I want to!

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Old 06-03-2012, 12:03 AM   #12
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I have a solera in a 6 gallon better bottle. I'm halfway through year two with no signs of substantial acetic acid in either the BB or individual bottles. I don't break the pellicle except to rack once a year so that may play a role in keeping out the acetobacter.

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Old 06-07-2012, 01:19 PM   #13
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One thing I would be worried about with using a 6g bottle is the size of the trub. How to do you find the trub to be with your better bottle? is it growing to a large size that you will be loosing a gallon of your beer? (In a six gallon bottle thats a big percentage loss) Do you ferment in a different fermenter, then transfer it to the solera bottle for secondary? that would probably be a good way of minimizing the amount of trub forming, but i'd be worried about different yeast competing for flavour.

After the trub has grown too much, do you think it would be possible to transfer the beer off the trub to a new fermenter? or would that loose a lot of the characteristics of the solera.

I'm really interested in this, and plan to set up a solera after i stop hopping around from apartment to apartment.

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Old 06-07-2012, 01:42 PM   #14
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trub should be no issue when you are done racking if to much trub is an issue just siphon from the very bottom until you achieve the amount you desire

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Old 06-07-2012, 02:04 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ToddPEI View Post
One thing I would be worried about with using a 6g bottle is the size of the trub. How to do you find the trub to be with your better bottle? is it growing to a large size that you will be loosing a gallon of your beer? (In a six gallon bottle thats a big percentage loss) Do you ferment in a different fermenter, then transfer it to the solera bottle for secondary? that would probably be a good way of minimizing the amount of trub forming, but i'd be worried about different yeast competing for flavour.

After the trub has grown too much, do you think it would be possible to transfer the beer off the trub to a new fermenter? or would that loose a lot of the characteristics of the solera.

I'm really interested in this, and plan to set up a solera after i stop hopping around from apartment to apartment.
Trub is an obvious concern for the reason you point out. An additional concern is eventual autolysis over years of dead yeast just sitting there.

I ferment everything in the same bottle. I don't use a separate fermenter for primary. The first year I tossed in six gallons and after a year I siphoned out four gallons and added four new gallons. There's definitely a lot of trub by now. It's about five inches thick.

After the second year ends I'm going to siphon out all of the beer and dump the trub. Then I'll siphon a couple gallons back in and add four fresh gallons of wort. The four gallons left will get split between a gallon set aside for gueuze blending next year, a gallon on fruit and two gallons bottled straight. Next year I will have four gallons of one year old lambic, one gallon of two year old and one gallon of three year old. Then it will all get blended into six gallons of gueuze.

The two gallons of old lambic will have enough souring bugs to grow new populations to continue fermentation. I might try to siphon up a little of the very top of the trub just to make sure I get a little extra of the youngest bugs. That's the same thing breweries do to "infect" their barrels. They just add fermented lambic to the barrel and then add fresh wort.
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Old 06-07-2012, 06:38 PM   #16
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I was worried about autolysis as well, but forgot to include it earlier.

Do you think that there would be enough viable yeast floating around in the beer after two years that you don't need the trub? The reason i'm wondering this is because on your website you mention that the carbonation of your bottled beer wasn't as high as you had intended, I was wondering if that could be because the yeast by then would be old or the pH would be too acidic for the yeast, thus killing it, even with the addition of the bottling sugar. If that is the case, it makes me wonder if a quicker turn over time might be better for this size of a system (say, every four or six months. But, exchanging smaller batches, 1-2g instead of 4g).

In the case of bottling, i'm sure adding champagne yeast would hopefully help with the carbonation.

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Old 06-07-2012, 08:04 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by ToddPEI View Post
I was worried about autolysis as well, but forgot to include it earlier.

Do you think that there would be enough viable yeast floating around in the beer after two years that you don't need the trub? The reason i'm wondering this is because on your website you mention that the carbonation of your bottled beer wasn't as high as you had intended, I was wondering if that could be because the yeast by then would be old or the pH would be too acidic for the yeast, thus killing it, even with the addition of the bottling sugar. If that is the case, it makes me wonder if a quicker turn over time might be better for this size of a system (say, every four or six months. But, exchanging smaller batches, 1-2g instead of 4g).

In the case of bottling, i'm sure adding champagne yeast would hopefully help with the carbonation.
I think there would be enough viable brett and pedio in the beer but I suspect the act of siphoning out the beer -- and I would go straight to the trub -- would agitate enough extra cells to make sure I have enough.

A couple months ago I brewed a one gallon batch of brown ale and after fermenting it out with sacc I racked to secondary and added the dregs of one of the 750ml bottles of lambic. There's pellicle and definitely some additional fermentation going on. So I'm not worried about viability without all that trub.

I think with bottling you need to add some extra yeast because brett is lazy about producing CO2, it's not in a hurry to ferment and when you add simple sugars, the pedio wants to get at it first. When letting a beer sit for a year to ferment there's less of a concern about how fast it occurs, just that it does. The bottles have started to get a little more carbonated but not as much as I hoped. I added enough sugar to get to 5 volumes of carbonation but probably ended up with about half that.

This actually reminded me that I meant to bottle the gallon sitting on raspberries today but I forgot to go to the LHBS for wine yeast earlier in the week. Oops.
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Old 06-08-2012, 02:46 PM   #18
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For a personal solera, I would prefer a larger amount than 6 gallons (especially since i've been brewing in imperial gallons, 5g = 23L, instead of US 5g = 19L), preferably, 10-15g is what i'm aiming for. I was looking around for carboys of that size, and all I could find were vintage glass ones ($300+) and Nalgene bottles (with a spigot at the bottom).

This morning I found this barrel while browsing reddit. I'm a little bit confused because the URL mentions it is a 6g, and the photo title says 6g. But, the listing is for a 15g barrel. If it actually is a 15g barrel, this would be perfect IMO. Small enough SWMBO won't complain, and large enough to have a steady supply of solera.

Opinions?

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Old 06-09-2012, 12:27 AM   #19
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You could call and confirm. I think it would be ok but if it's a smaller barrel you're looking at more oxygen exposure so maybe a bit more acetic acid than I am getting. Just depends on your flavor preferences.

I know there are some HBS that sell the 15g HDPE containers LME comes in, usually around $30 or less. That might be a good alternative for you.

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Old 06-09-2012, 02:44 AM   #20
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We've kind of brought this thread off-topic, sorry. But, as i mentioned i'm interested in doing a solera.

In regards to the acetic acid due to the larger oxygen exposure from the small barrel, would a more rapid turnover of beer within the fermenter help counteract this? or would the bacteria be constantly growing, and the addition of new sugars just help them along and quicken the formation of vinegar?

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