This past weekend, @brew_thusiast tweeted his disappointment with a particular homebrew bacon beer, saying that it was a decent enough brown ale but lacked the bacon flavor that made it the draw it was. This got me thinking about bacon beer. Is it really good or too good to be true? The promise is great – a smoky, meaty, maybe salty brew that could be good as an accompaniment for your eggs, rashers, and black pudding, or whatever you like to have for breakfast. You do like black pudding, don't you?
It would have to be a stout or porter, is my guess. Bacon is a heavy meat, and most pairing guides suggest putting rich drinks with rich foods. A heavy beer would be best, for sure.
I searched online and finally arrived at this homebrew recipe, from That's Nerdalicious. Apparently bacon beer is nerdy. Who knew? Here are the ingredients for a 90-minute boil:
7 lbs 8.0 oz Pale Malt (2 Row) UK (3.0 SRM)
1 lbs Oats, Flaked (1.0 SRM)
8.0 oz Caramel/Crystal Malt – 60L (60.0 SRM)
8.0 oz Chocolate Malt (450.0 SRM)
2.9 oz Roasted Barley (300.0 SRM)
2.00 oz Goldings, East Kent [5.00 %] (60 min)
1.00 tsp Irish Moss (Boil 10.0 min)
(To Taste) Bacon (Secondary)
20.00 oz Coffee (Bottling)
1 Pkgs Irish Ale (Wyeast Labs #1084 / a starter was used)
According to the author, the bacon was added using a dry-hopping method. He used 3/4 of a pound in total, adding a little at a time, tasting it along the way.
One thing to note is that you need to get rid of as much fat as possible. You can do this by buying lean bacon and trimming fat off before cooking. In addition, use paper towels to soak up the grease. Do whatever you can to get rid of that fat. Excess fat (even yummy bacon fat) can reduce the ability to have a head on your beer. Likely there are other reasons to remove the fat too.
I am going to try this. Beautiful Girlfriend said this is a disgusting idea. Maybe so, but that won't stop me from making a one-gallon test batch. I think I will skip the coffee because that strong flavor, while rich and complex, will probably compete with the smokiness and bacony goodness. All of life is an experiment. I will return and report.
Have you found a good homebrew recipe for bacon beer? Let me know how it turned out.