The experiment that is bacon maple beer is a couple steps closer to hopefully turning out as such. Over the past few days I’ve added bacon and a bit of fenugreek to the beer in secondary. Tasting the beer two days after the bacon infusion I was unable to get any taste of bacon to come through yet. I’ll take a taste tomorrow and see if it is any stronger. The strong, roasty character of the beer is going to be hard to punch through. The fenugreek seeds I received smell pretty strongly of maple but also have a celery smell to them. I didn’t add much to the beer, but that too was not coming through the roastiness. More time is needed to find out just how freakishly this experiment is going to turn out.
As for how I prepared the bacon for the beer, I pretty much followed the advice in this article. I cooked up 4 slices of bacon in the oven at 350 F. I placed them on a wire rack above some parchment paper. It wasn’t quite as messy as I was expecting, but there was certainly a large pool of bacon fat coalescing under the strips as they dried out. After about 18-20 minutes, I took them out and determined that if I baked them any longer they would start to burn. The slices were flipped somewhere around the 13 minute mark. After they were out of the oven, the excess grease was dabbed off of them and they were set to cool for a bit. I threw 3.5 strips into a dry hopping bag and stuffed them into the carboy. What happened to the other half strip? I am not sure anyone could resist a taste after 20 minutes of bacon aroma wafting around an apartment. I want this beer to finish already so I can start another experimental 1 gallon brew. Shouldn’t be more than a couple more days, I hope.
The Brooklyn Wort finals are coming up and I had to brew a 5 gallon batch for the contest. I’m going with the ESB that I’ve been trying to perfect over my short time as a home brewer and I can only hope that it comes out decent. I usually brew in 2.5 or 3 gallon increments and I find that that is probably the most comfortable volume for my space and setup. 5 gallons is a bit more of a problem but the brew day is now over and it seems to have turned out alright so far. This weekend was a short break in the extremely high temperatures the area has been having so I was happy to try to get most of the primary fermentation done before the temperature in the apartment creeps up by a few degrees. This isn’t really ideal, but I was going to try to ferment at a higher temperature for a couple days to try to get rid of some of the diacetyl anyway.
The primary fermentation is now slowing down and the wait is on to find out if I have any chance of placing in the contest. Either way it will be a lot of fun to get to take part in something like this for the first time.