Your thoughts: Blending & Solera Concept

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Your thoughts: Blending & Solera Concept

Post by n_plains_drifter » Tue Apr 20, 2021 12:44 pm

Elsewhere in this board you can read about my trials and tribulations with a barrel that I've been keeping for a special occasion. Long story short, what I thought was 20 l has turned out to be 60 l. Obviously much more volume, and now, more time for aging too.

The original intent was to do a 20 l fill of UJSSM. To be honest, for all the rave reviews of UJSSM, I don't think it's that great. Yes, there is some corn flavor, but I think my gumballs from my all grain bourbon mashes have better flavor. The advantage for Jesse's was multiple generations, one after another to fill the 20 l. I realized as I went that the best flavors didn't start coming over until about gen 4 (I have 500 ml of each gen for a flight comparison after they age a bit more), so I've now got gen 9 in the fermenters, 80l at a batch which ends up at about 5-6 l at barrel strength. I'm keeping pretty tight cuts to this point.

I don't know much, but this much I do: I don't want 60 l of Jessies. It won't be bad, just not the best use of my hobby time and the length of aging. I've got lots of recipe's on my to do list and another 3-6 months running sugar wash isn't high on my list.

Since I've got so much volume to fill, I'm going to take Gen's 4+ and use them as the base for the barrel, and so I figure that I'm about 30-40% of the way to full. I've moved up to 120 l this week in order to get a faster rotation since we're still cool for fast ferments here.

What are the pro's and cons of me doing up some all grain so that I get some stronger flavors in the tails to add complexity and a richer flavor profile?

The other idea I had was that because this barrel (and my other one same size yet to be rehydrated and ready for use) is big, maybe I start a Solara system. Again, I won't be adding Jessse new make to the system tho.

Am I bastardizing the principles, and should I just bit the bullet for all Jesse, or should I just make up some AG to spice up my stock? And what do you think about a hybrid solara system where my new make could be different recipes etc rather than the traditional same recipe in all the time?

I've been aging in glass with toasted and charred staves for my other drops, so I'd continue to do that for those times where I want a specific recipe (Honey Bear is on my short list).

Thanks for your comments for and against, Drifter
Last edited by n_plains_drifter on Thu Apr 22, 2021 10:22 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Your thoughts: Blending & Solara Concept

Post by MartinCash » Tue Apr 20, 2021 6:20 pm

A solera (not solara) system is where you have a succession of barrels. Traditionally 3 are used, and as aged product is removed from the third, it is replaced from the second. The space now made available on the second is replace with product from the first, and newmake goes into the first to replace what was taken. This way, bottled product has a blend of ages, minimum usually being 3 years old.

If you think 60 L is too much, I would personally sell the barrel and buy a smaller one, because to make a solera you will need more barrels (and they will take more product). That is, unless you're planning to use a single-barrel solera, and only take a little product each year, replacing it as you go along.

Also personally, I would not waste the effort I put into all-grain by diluting it with UJ.
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Re: Your thoughts: Blending & Solara Concept

Post by Setsumi » Tue Apr 20, 2021 7:04 pm

i run all grain on a flute/plater. i am slowly building stock for a solera in 3 x 9lt corney kegs. at this time i am filling 2 with new make alternatively and sampleling the opisite. once the third are filled i will rotate product between the three in a proper solera fashion but at this time i feel it gives me relative aged product and i see potential in the solera.

but 60lt is a lot, i do get a big boost in production if i run a 1.5 run. i do one 45lt strip and combine the low wines into 65lt. that close to double my keepers cut from a straight 65lt mash run. and i do not loose flavors in my opinion.
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Re: Your thoughts: Blending & Solera Concept

Post by n_plains_drifter » Thu Apr 22, 2021 10:25 am

Thanks for the thoughts guys. And the spelling lesson!

I do have a second barrel already, same size. So I'm part way there. But I figure that I'll be working to build the stock for it late 2021 and into 2022.

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Re: Your thoughts: Blending & Solera Concept

Post by The Baker » Thu Apr 22, 2021 8:01 pm

I believe the barrels are best kept moist.
So if it is underfilled maybe roll it around, and stand on one end then the other, from time to time.
(A couple of billets of wood will keep the tap clear of the floor.)
And don't let the second barrel stay dry, put some spirit it it and do the same...

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