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Posts Tagged ‘stout’

I’m going to make a maple bacon bourbon stout.

You heard me.

Maple bacon bourbon stout.

I don’t need to explain myself. You know why.

The problem is getting the bacon flavor in the beer. There has been discussion on various forums, and some breweries (Garret Oliver of Brooklyn Brewery) have even made commercial examples. The main options tend to be smoking your own malt with bacon, using bacon bits, etc etc blah blah I WANT TO USE REAL BACON.

So, here’s my plan.

I’m going to put a slotted baking sheet over a regular flat baking sheet. I’m going to make some sort of awesome contraption of tin foil that will keep the bacon somewhat vertical. Like seats, for the bacon. I’ll take a picture when I get this going so that that makes sense. Then I’m going to bake the bacon at 400˚ (random choice of temperature) until it is super crispy. The hope is that this will cause the least amount of grease possible, while still making awesome bacon. For this first attempt, I’ll get normal bacon, not flavored with anything (like maple, pepper, whatever). I’ll also hope for thin bacon for this first attempt. Science!

Once it is super crispy, but NOT BURNT, I’ll break it up into smaller pieces, and soak it in some bourbon. Not sure what kind yet. I’m open to suggestions. The amount of bourbon will be determined by my stout recipe, which I haven’t written yet.

This vat, or at least jar of bourbon with bacon will sit in the fridge for a few weeks. I’m thinking I’ll do this tomorrow (Saturday, March 6th), and let it soak for 2-3 weeks. Hopefully any excess grease and fat will congeal and float to the top in the fridge. This will be skimmed away.

When the soaking is done, I’ll pour the liquid through a coffee filter. Probably two coffee filters. Twice. No fat, no chunks.

Then I’ll add this to the secondary fermentation.

Lastly, I will win.

Thoughts?

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Graaaaaaains

Click for full size

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Do I need to brew an amber? I am a fan of New Belgium – 1554 is a crazy good beer, Biere de Mars is awesome, and La Folie is a different experience altogether – but do I need to have a Mad Haven version of Fat Tire to please the masses?

Beer for the masses (aka a picture of a lot of people drinking beer at Oktoberfest)

Beer for the masses (aka a picture of a lot of people drinking beer at Oktoberfest)

There are a lot of beer styles. A lot. My last post was a quick rundown of BeerAdvocate’s styles, and how many beers are listed in each one. It wasn’t very scientific. There are a lot in there that aren’t made anymore. There might even be some that are in the wrong style. And honestly, we could probably narrow it down to 10 categories rather than 90.

I did narrow it down a little. I went into this thinking that ambers would be toward the top of the popularity list. I have no reason for this hypothesis, and I was apparently wrong. Here’s a quick breakdown. Be nice, I know my categories aren’t perfect.

Pale Ale 9064
Lager 6514
Other 4552
Wheat 3841
Stout 3033
Strong 2439
Amber 2140
Porter 1806
Pilsner 1712
Brown 1566
Bock 1457
Light 1418
Scottish 1010
Barleywine 632

It’s no surprise that Pale Ale is number one. For this count, Pale Ale includes all varieties of Pale Ales and IPAs, both American and English, Imperial and regular, double, etc. IPAs are all the rage these days, so obviously there are a lot of varieties. For Lagers, I just grouped all the lagers together. I don’t know much about lagers, so I’m ok with this grouping. Other includes things like sours (which I love!), Oktoberfests, Chile beers, Fruit / Veggie, Pumpkin, and the rest of things that fit in a category named “other”. And so on down the list. If you group Light with Amber, which one might be inclined to do,  the hybrid groupology pushes it to #5.

When I originally set out to grab these numbers, I had an unfounded hypothesis that ambers would be higher. So the premise of this post being somewhat shot, let’s move on.

My blonde is heavyset and a little dirty.

My blonde is heavyset and a little dirty.

I don’t tend to get too crazy with my recipes, at least not yet. They’re generally a little off to the side of their supposed style (the judges agree on that one too, at least), but I haven’t yet delved into the “extreme” side of things. My stout has caraway seeds. My blonde is more.. dirty blonde. My IPA is heavily hopped with hints of ambrosia (the food of the gods, not the weird fruit salad stuff).

I guess my long, drawn out question is this: Do I need to make beer for the masses? Or is the craft brewing world big enough now to support whatever style I make, assuming it’s amazingly delicious. I’m not getting into this industry to sell beer to every person who walks in off the street (though that would help sales quite a bit). I’m making beer because I love to make beer, and I love to share it. So what are your thoughts? Do I need to have the “entry-level” beer? Or can I stick with the bigger, stronger, hoppier, maltier, crazier, sourer, whateverer brews?

P.S. I realize this is was a complete ramble. Congrats on your persistence in getting this far into the post / my brain.

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