I think once in a while it is good to go off the deep end and experiment with something completely different even if you know it will probably fail. This beer is going to be one of those times. While enjoying a few beers with a bunch of my friends, we started talking about different beer flavors that may work well. The idea of a breakfast themed beer caught my attention and curiosity. At the time I had no idea that Rogue makes a version of bacon maple ale. When I found this out, I was disheartened but my resolve was unwavering. When I looked at the reviews of the Rogue beer on BeerAdvocate.com, that’s when I wavered… but only for a second. How much harm could one tiny, one-gallon batch of beer do? Forget the fact that as I’m writing this I’m still not completely sure how I’m going to prepare the bacon, or the fact that I’ve read that getting maple flavor to stay in the beer and not be fermented out can be tricky. Those can easily be overcome with a little research and common sense. What can’t be overcome is the fact that I’m almost positive I added too much carafa II to the mash. This could turn into a roasty mess.
Regardless of the mistakes and lack of knowledge, I will press forward and see if this can be salvaged. If I can at least brew a beer that has hints of maple and bacon flavor I can use that to perfect this in a later batch. I’ve been reading through Radical Brewing by Randy Mosher and was interested in his entry on a type of sugar called Jaggery (also known as gur). He says it has flavors that are creamy and maple-like. Unfortunately the health food store did not sell such a sugar so I purchased some coconut palm sugar instead. Palm sugar is supposed to lend a creamy quality to beer and so I’m hoping it might take out some of that burnt flavor from the excess carafa. Radical Brewing also says that fenugreek is a plant that has a distinct maple flavor can be added to beer. That is on the table if I can find some in a timely manner.
It has been a couple days now and the primary fermentation is pretty much complete. It is about time to make my decisions on how and what to add and cross my fingers. I’m convinced that using maple syrup as my priming sugar should allow at least some of the maple flavor to stay in the beer. Along with some fenugreek I believe that the maple flavor should be possible to replicate, I’m just not sure quite how potent of a flavor it will be yet. As far as the bacon goes, I suppose I’ll “dry-bacon” the beer and see how that goes. I’ve read that fats can go rancid in beer so it will be imperative that I get as much of the fat and oil out of the bacon before introducing it to the carboy.
I’ll be sure to update with my techniques – good or bad. If it actually comes out well, I’ll post the recipe at that time.
Nervous, yet excited about this one.
- Rogue – Voodoo Donut Maple Bacon Ale (torontocraftbeer.wordpress.com)