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Old 11-21-2014, 03:30 PM   #1
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Default RIS = Russian Imperial... Solera?

I'm starting a sour solera, which has gotten me thinking more about the solera process. And although (in homebrew) soleras are most often used for sour ales, the process can be extended to clean beers. Russian Imperial Stout seems like a great candidate. Anyone-else out there do this?

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Old 11-21-2014, 09:07 PM   #2
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I've just started something like this, using a 15G bourbon barrel someone gave me. I'm guessing a month or so of aging then the first keg will have to be pulled off to keep it from getting too oaky. Obviously each subsequent keg can stay in longer. Eventually it will become neutral oak, but hopefully I'll get at least a few good kegs out of it. I'm hoping to not have to pull the second keg off for many months; 5 gallons of RIS takes a while to kick.

At some point the bugs left in the wood will sour the beer and then it turns into the more traditional solera, but depending on how long until the flavor imparted is minimal I may turn it into a sour solara earlier.

The reason most solaras are sours is the process of taking out and putting back beer will inevitably introduce bacteria each time, and once something takes hold you have to start over. If you don't want a sour, you could probably use some sort of sealed container that you can pump beer into and out of with co2 without exposing it to ouside air. Depending on your sanitary procedures, that could work for many generations.

I'd be interested in what you decide.

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Old 11-21-2014, 11:04 PM   #3
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As appealing as it is, I don't think I would use a barrel, just for sake of practicality at my house. Your point about introducing contaminants over repeated pulls is a good one. Although a RIS should have a good amount of alcohol to mitigate that risk, over years of pulling and replacing, you're right, I could see something taking hold.

I considered either glass, which my sour solera will be, or stainless steel (i.e. a corny keg). I think your point warrants that a keg would be better than glass. I can go into and out of a keg without ever opening it.

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