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Plethora! The newly crowned God of Barrel Aged Pentadruple

SOLO BREWERY – Heraklion, Crete, Greece.

Appearance

A very deep, dark resinous brown (and copper tones under light) give you a quick glimpse into the complexity and absolute power you are about to embark on.

Viscos-o-metre

7/10: Dreaming while still awake.

Delivering craft beers version of a well perfected liqueur, you will want this dream to last a very, very long time.

Characteristics

This is a very BIG beer, not just big in ABV, but in depth and complexity. Raisin and stone fruits a plenty, and a touch of coppery caramel molasses starts you down the trail of this perfectly crafted beer.

ABV: 16%
IUB: 25

Time We Spent With A Craft Beer God

After trying Solo Brewery’s Skotidi Imperial Stout back in early 2018, one of my big goals was to go to Crete and visit the man behind Solo Craft Brewery.

So in July 2023, we finally land in Crete.

I reach out to Solo brewery, and after a few days, I finally get my chance to escape to a very special place, a place that feels like home. A place where my heart pounds, where my mind (and taste buds) are taken to places I never expected. Where I meet my mentors, where I gather with other like-minded individuals that live and breathe quality craft beer. For this is my love affair, my obsession with finding the next ‘WOW’ craft beer moment.

Meet Kjetil.

At first, I was like… ‘Kjetil you aren’t Greek are you? Where are you originally from??’

Kjetil opens up, explaining that him and his wife moved to Crete from Norway after selling their brewery back around 2014.

In total naivety I said ‘Oh, that’s cool.. what was the name of your old brewery?’, ‘does your old brewery still operate?’….

*Mic drop* (and you might as well start the drumroll now too)

All I can say is that after Kjetil very humbly said the name of his old brewery, I got MEGA goosebumps… in the middle of one of the hottest summers in Greece’s history!!!

 

Nøgne Ø

Yes, you heard (or read) that right… but we are here for Solo Brewery, so let’s continue shall we…

Here I am in the middle of Crete, Greece, speaking to a man that brewed a Cretan Imperial Stout back in 2018 that I just could not get out of my mind…. and before I had the chance to visit, the world stops.

Thanks to covid, I couldn’t visit this amazing family of passionate brewers called ‘Solo Brewery’ (even if I wanted to)

During this sad, sad time in the world.. During this tumultuous time called Covid. This AMAZING family of like-minded, experimental, deeply scientific brewers said ‘HELL NO’, we will not be destroyed or deflated during this global pandemic, we will ride this storm! And with our combined strength and passion, we will rise like a shining star to rule over the world of craft beer in Greece.

And to this, I say with my most humblest, sincerest and utmost gratitude,

‘Σας ευχαριστούμε από τα βάθη της καρδιάς μας’

(‘Thank you from the depths of our hearts’).

I have NEVER, in my time experiencing 3000+ beers as a craft beer blogger, felt more at home,  surrounded by family and like minded friends, as I do right at this moment.

In my mind, you (Solo Brewery) are the reason why craft beer enthusiasts like me travel halfway around the world, you are our ultimate destination! When we taste unique beers like this, we don’t care where you are, we hopping on planes, trains, buses and boats.. just so we can come knocking on your door.

Kjetil, your deep love and passion for your craft flows far and wide. I don’t even know if you realise the extent or magnitude. As it’s not restricted to just the beer… but into the team that surrounds you, into the very essence of who/what Solo Brewery is and will continue to be. This is a place where we can come to enjoy and respect the true essence of craft beer.

Quality, Time, Ingredients, Love.

I have to highlight here, even though I am a lover of all craft beer, I am naturally drawn to the darker side of craft, so for me, darkness lives, and is born, from within the barrel.

Enter: Plethora’.

Now, for a little educational piece, ‘Plethora’ (in its original form) is simply mind blowing…. BUT… Kjetil, after tasting it, had to honestly ask himself…… ‘What if I did this instead of that?’

So the question I put to you…

If something was already deemed as ‘perfection’ by it’s audience, then most would simply sit back and enjoy the accolades. Enjoying the praise from their competitors and watch ‘die hard’ customers like myself buy any last bottle they could find… but Solo Brewery didn’t do that, and couldn’t stop there…for they knew it might just reach greatness.

Putting Plethora into a barrel for 8 months, adding local Cretan raisins… is where my heart, mind (and future expectations) for Solo Brewery take a very BIG and beautiful turn.

Dreaming while still awake… I think that is what’s happening?

Similar to experiencing elevated notes of a topnotch, high ABV Barley Wine.. this is a very BIG beer.

It might be big in ABV, but this is not where the ‘BIG’ feeling comes from. It is ultimately from it’s depth. Many, many layers of depth (so many), and the scientific ‘genius’ behind the complexity of this beer that makes it so undeniably perfect.

It is the kind of beer that will make your craft beer heart sing (possibly even scream!) with joy.

Raisin and stone fruits are a plenty, these are the key notes that start you down the trail of a beer perfected so well, you will want to run down the rest of the path….. don’t!

This is not a journey you want to end quickly, let the flavours of the beer open up and reveal themselves over time.

With time, luscious caramel malt undertones creep in, and a solid oak depth start to become ever-present. All of these (and so much more) make this beer a wonderful experience, one to be privileged to have had.

A personal quote from our Barrel Aged Beer blogger, Corey.

“In my opinion, I believe Plethora is one of those barrel aged beers that has been perfected to such an extent, that you might only have a once in a lifetime chance to taste it’s glory… so if you find yourself in the position to do so, do not pass up that chance.

I promise that after taking your first sip, you will start questioning how such perfection was even possible. Using the word ‘Exceptional’ to describe this beer is an absolute understatement.”

“I cannot see this beer dropping outside the top 5 beers I have, and will ever try… PERIOD!”.

From my time travelling the world in search for those amazing drops of liquid gold, I am always faced with the same predicament and dilemma…. is it deemed ‘special enough’ to make the trip back to Mordialloc, Australia?.

With the Plethora, there was no such question…. I only wish I had more room in my suitcase! This special beer was accompanied by its ‘little brother’ (what I named the 330ml, non-barrel aged version) and of course, the beer that started my love affair with Solo Brewery, the Skotidi Imperial Stout.

And may I also add, from all the beer I brought back for my beer tasting

event, the empty bottle of the barrel aged Plethora was the only bottle I kept. Joining only two other bottles from my lifetime of drinking unbelievable barrel aged beers. I found it impossible to part with this very special bottle… hopefully this sentiment shows you just how special this beer truly is.

Cheers to you Kjetil! – an experience I’ll never forget.

I have to say a very special thanks to Kjetil and his entire team at Solo Brewery for giving us such a warm and special craft beer experience. It was like getting the best ‘beer hug’ you could ever hope for. The love and passion that permeates from you and your team is beyond special. And I have to say that this reflects in the beer you make, it is nothing short of beautiful and a total honor to have had you talk us through every drop.

Your warmth and hospitality will remain as one of the best brewery experiences I have ever had.

We love you guys!

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