Fairhill Solera Sour Brown ale

I have been waiting a long time to write this up and it is not without trepidation that I do so.

ImageYou may well remember how over the moon I was at being sent this from America by E.T. over at http://abeerdiary.wordpress.com/. It was my first ever and to date, only beer-mail.

It took me a long long time to drink this beer,a lot of thought and reflection went into it. It was everything I had hoped for and more. So,without further ado, here are my tasting ramblings.

Fairhill sour brown solera sour,bourbon barrel aged, 8% ABV

Colour: ImageA deep murky brown,verging on black. A thick creamy two finger head which,whilst subsiding quickly, stuck to the edge of the glass all the way down and had no problem reemerging with a little agitation.


Aroma: Big smooth oak backed up by bourbon with ever such a slight hint of sourness(sucker!!!!!!).



Big hit of soft oak and warm bourbon that are quickly taken over by the sourness, and what sourness!

The initial sourness has a hint of red wine vinegar but very quickly subsides to be taken over by citric sourness hinting at lemon/lime/grapefruit. But it is not just the juice of these fruit,yet hints of the rind and pith.

The oak and secondary sourness really cling to the palate and make you salivate to the point where you think a bib might come in handy.

The mouth feel is that of an English low strength brown ale. Nothing in either the smell or mouth feel would ever lead you to believe that this is an 8%er. It is helped very much by the fact that there is very little to no carbonation. Any more carbonation than this would take away from the enjoyment of the majestic ale.

I think that this beer, all the way from Philadelphia , is at least as sour as Oud Beersel Geuze/ Cantillon Bio Gueuze, if not more so, with slightly more citrus peel. And as the beer warmed up a little more, it became glaringly obvious that it was THE sourest thing I had ever drank.

The beer doesn’t bring any summer sunshine,as did Cantillon, but instead brings cool cloudy weather,threatening a storm.

I am immensely  lucky to have been sent this beer. I can feel the grain of the wood from the barrel run over my tongue and then feel thankful for the huge sourness for peeling the splinters from my palate again. In fact,in the last few sips,it stops just short of peeling off my entire face,in the best possible way,you know what I mean,right?

Hands down one of the best,most interesting,challenging and mind-blowing beers I have ever had.

Again,thank you Ethan,from the bottom of my heart.



Mum-livery and a bottle from a student

It’s happy happy time again. This time my mum is here for her first real visit in over four years and she brought some goodies for brewing.

Firstly a kg of DME


This is for making starters with. Bigger than usual starters so that I can make the vials of yeast go further. WLP British ale, Dusseldorf Alt and Belgian Wit 1.


And there are a few dried yeast packets to boot.


Then we have some hops, a mixture of whole hops and pellets: Citra,Amarillo,Cascade,Experimental 366 and Bobek.


On a very practical note we have some of this and it’s big!


So, if I make up large starters and harvest part of them, I will have White Labs yeast of three kinds to use for ages. The hops are also very exciting. Citra and Amarillo are two of my favourites, Cascade is good,366 I already have a pack of(which I will use this weekend) and I have never tried Bobek,but think it will go well in a Wit.

Thank you so mum little mum.

ImageFor this I have to thank Cynthia, a student on the TEFL course I am teaching. She was cool enough to get her boyfriend to bring it over from England for me. When the dregs have settled down to the bottom of the bottle I shall drink it and pitch said dregs into a starter. I shall then pitch half of the dregs into my Lambic with the out of date Flemish ale mix. The other half will go to Dan.