Some of you may not be familiar with Sulla Terra. Sulla Terra is a blended Barrel-Aged Barleywine by our brewer Brian Ivers. Brian blended up the first blend in January of 2019 and for the 2020 release, we let him have free reign in our barrel room for this blended, barrel-aged Barleywine. Brian has had a knack for brewing some of our favorite malty beers, and his blend here is no exception.
From Brewer Brian:
In general, I’m a big believer in giving the consumer information about the brewer’s intent on a particular beer, barrel aged or non-barrel aged. This helps give the consumer the right kind of framework in which to evaluate, taste and consume the beer. So, I thought I’d disclose my approach when blending and packaging Sulla Terra, because some common themes have emerged between the blends. Since there is only one barrel stock for both Side Project and Shared branded barrel aged beers, creating something unique and giving Sulla Terra its own type of identity is a big part of the approach. So far, this differentiation has manifested itself largely in three ways. The first, both Sulla Terra blends have had a maple component. So far, this has simply taken the form of using some maple barrels as part of the barrel blend. Secondly, which kind of ties into the first, both beers were blended to have a slightly higher alcohol note. In general, I personally tend to like barleywines and all the “wines” to have an alcohol presence, not a lot, but more of a noticeable touch. I really like the way it brings forth not only barrel character in general, but in the case of Sulla Terra the maple flavors. To me, I see the alcohol as the amplifier of the maple and barrel character. And so, this amplification is the crux or the essence of Sulla Terra thus far in my mind. Finally, and again, this is a personal preference, but Sulla Terra is carbonated just slightly higher than many Side Project barrel aged brands. I know many people prefer lower carbonation on their barrel aged beers, but I like to rely on just a bit of a higher carbonation. To me, the richness and decadence of barrel aged Side Project beer is still delivered to your pallet, but carbonation lets it kind of float, it lightens the weight just enough. This of course helps alleviate pallet fatigue as the beer is consumed, but also is visually appealing as well when the beer is gently stirred in the glass or poured. Finally, I would like to say I’m humbled that so many of you liked the first Blend of Sulla Terra, and are eager for the second. Thank you.
While blending For Gabe, as we had samples from every corner of our barrel room free for the tasting, Brian started honing in on what he wanted the 2020 release of this to taste like. He ended up tediously blending and deciding on a beautiful blend that consists of:
Barrel 397 - Experimental English Barleywine aged in a Maple Syrup Weller 12 barrel for 18 months
Barrels 370, 371, 372 - Anabasis aged in Blanton’s barrels (blend 4 barrels) for 21 months
Barrels 332, 333 - MJK aged in Willett Bourbon barrels for 25 months
The success in flavor and uniqueness of these blended Barleywines and Barleywine/Stout blends has been a new, fun, invigorating challenge for us brewers and is something that we want to focus on in the future. Brian’s Sulla Terra has been a huge inspiration for a future blended Barleywine for Side Project as well.
Sulla Terra will be available for online reservations in our shop - sideprojectbrewing.com/shop - starting Tuesday morning 8/25. We will be including this beer in a package and it will be limited to 1 package per person.
We at Side Project want to once again thank all of you for your continued support of our brewery. We truly miss seeing you on the other side of the bar, enjoying our beer and our place, and also giving our brewery its life. Cheers from the whole Side Project team and we hope you enjoy this Barrel-Aged Barleywine as much as we do.