Thursday, October 4, 2012

Cinnamon and Nutmeg Golden Solera Sour

I did tasting posts for the first two version (plain, dry hopped) of our Apple Brandy Barrel Solera not too long after bottling, but I wanted to wait on the version Nathan and I aged on roasted acorn squash, nutmeg, and cinnamon until fall. This batch had a similar concept to the Butternut Squash Sour Brown I brewed a few years ago, but instead of squash in the mash and spices at knock-out, both were added post-souring. The goal was a bolder character, rather than subtle complexity.

Nathan and I are planning to bottle the last of the first pull, aged on blackberries and mulberries, this weekend. His brewpub-in-planning (Right Proper) is on about the same timetable as Modern Times. Our mutual friend, Dan Fromson, has an excellent profile of Nathan in tomorrow’s Washington City Paper. It’s a bit sad that in a year or so we probably won’t be doing much homebrewing together, but hopefully we’ll work out a few collaborative batches on the big systems!

Sour beer brewed with acorn squash, cinnamon, and nutmeg, aged in an apple brandy barrel.Apple Brandy Solera – The Spice

Appearance – Transparent-burnt-orange body, certainly looks the part of an autumnal beer. The two-finger airy white head quickly dissipates to a thin covering.

Smell – The freshly grated nutmeg comes through first, followed by the cinnamon. While the spices lead, it is clear that this isn’t a standard-amber-pumpkin-ale. The apples and oak from the barrel come though quickly, joined by some vinous notes generated by the bugs.

Taste – Pointed acidity sneers at my palate on the first sip. The fresh spices wait around, lingering in the finish, beckoning for another chance. Slightly toasty malt, but more subdued than in the straight version. No acorn squash to speak of; next time we’ll do squash first, then spices after it has had a few months to extract.

Mouthfeel – Moderate body, certainly with the warming flavors some additional fullness would be nice, but that is tough to achieve in a sour beer. Medium-low carbonation, works well.

Drinkability & Notes – Pretty happy with the way this one turned out. Warming spices in a sour beer might seem counterintuitive, but in this case the barrel and the base beer bring it together. I'm worried that this barrel is headed down the road to being too acetic despite our best efforts to keep oxygen out (temperature control, topping-off, hard bung etc.), but hopefully we get one more good pull to try another version of this!

1 comment:

Jeffrey Crane said...

Your description reminds me a lot of the New Belgium Love Barrel of Spiced Oscar I had a few years ago at the Stone SourFest.

The taste of that beer blew away my previous thinking on blending/flavoring sour beers. And that taste memory has obviously stayed with me for a while.

Fun beer and can't wait to see some of these one offs from Modern Times.

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