For the most part my curiosity is hard to keep in check. Once my beer gets bottled, it is hard for me not to think about what the final product is going to be like. From my first extract batch until now, I find it quite hard to wait even two weeks for the beers to get even a decent amount of bottle conditioning. The Bacon Maple Ale, now dubbed “The Balanced Breakfast Brew” was no different. Seven days. That’s as long as I could hold out. Boy, I must have a weak will.
The good thing happens to be that this beer – which I was sure was going to be a total train wreck – actually is tasting pretty darn good at this stage in its life. I’m not quite sure if the balance between the tastes will be the same once the beer is allowed to condition more properly, but right now it is pretty good. The beer is black and opaque like a Guinness with an aroma that is rather maple syrup-y with perhaps subtle bacon and roasted malt notes. The sip starts out with a hint of bacon then progressing into a distinct maple note, then ending with the maple mixing with the roasty flavor. The maple flavor in the beer comes mostly from the fact that I primed the beer with maple sugar rather than normal sugar. I also added some fenugreek seed to the secondary to give it some maple, but I couldn’t detect it in the pre-bottling taste I took. I’m guessing as that maple sugar gets processed by the yeast the maple flavor might not be quite as pronounced.
If I were to give advice to anyone that is thinking about making a bacon infused beer, I would say to watch the bacon level in the beer carefully in the secondary. The taste of bacon that comes through would not be all that pleasant if it were too heavy. Check daily and err on the mild side. Fenugreek seeds may be another good source for maple flavor in this beer, but I couldn’t be sure since this is the first time I’ve used them. They are very aromatic and I think I was too cautious and didn’t want to dump too much into the secondary. Is there maple flavoring from the fenugreek seeds? Hard to tell… Next time I’ll add a bit more.
Balance Breakfast Brew (Bacon Maple Ale) 1.2 Gal
- .5 lbs Two-row
- .5 lbs Munich Malt (8 SRM)
- .5 lbs Victory Malt
- .25 lbs Crystal 80L
- .1875 lbs Carafa II malt
- 1 cup (about .5 lbs) Palm Sugar
- .25oz Palisade 7.8% AA @60 min
- .1 oz Palisade @15 min
- .1 oz Simcoe @5 min
- Safale US-05 Dry Yeast
- 3.5 strips of center cut bacon baked in the oven at 350F for 15-20 minutes or until as much fat and grease is gone as is possible without burning
- about 1/5 teaspoon of fenugreek seeds
Mashed @154 F for one hour.
I added the palm sugar as the wort was coming to a boil. The amount of Carafa II can be decreased to 2 oz probably with no problems at all. Also, there’s really no need for the late additions of the hops in my opinion. Once the primary fermentation is finished, re-rack beer into a secondary and add bacon and fenugreek in a dry hop bag.
It took about 5 days for me to get the bacon level I wanted in the beer. I think about 1 – 1.5 oz of bacon per gallon of beer is a good place to start. I’m sure every type of bacon is different and so it is important that you sample the beer regularly. I’ll be sure to give a final critique of this beer once it has had time to condition.
- Maple Bacon Breakfast Ale (apartmentbrewer.wordpress.com)
- Uncommon Brewers Lineup: Bacon Beer and Why You Shouldn’t Care (thisiswhyimdrunk.wordpress.com)