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Bacon beer. Yeah. I said it.

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Sigafoos

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My friend recently moved back to town and has been interested in brewing with me. He loves the bacon vodka idea in olllllo's sig, so we'll be making some of that, and also has demanded that we make bacon beer.

Now, before you throw up in your mouth a bit, I don't think it's that dumb of an idea.

The key is to not actually put any bacon in it. Instead I'm going to use my father in law's smoker to smoke some of my malt with hickory, which will give the flavor of bacon without any actual pork in it.

I know some people here have smoked their own malt (Boerderij_Kabouter comes up a lot in searches), but I still need a recipe. I'd prefer to not do a porter or stout, because (a) that's what everybody does and (b) he doesn't like anything dark. Mostly (a) though, because I'd have no problem telling him to shut up and like it :)

I can't lager, so a marzen or bock is out. Also, I'm going in with the bulk US ingredients I've bought; besides, what's more American than mother fugging bacon?

Right now I'm thinking something like a lightly hopped pale ale, doing a bittering addition and calling it quits. I'll run it through BeerAlchemy when I get home, but do you think a SMaSH would go well (because what other malt would I need)? I've been using Milleniums I got a while ago for bittering (~12% now), and I also have some Fuggles if they're going to be too much.

As for smoking the malt, the general consensus seems to be 20-30 minutes, but I'm not sure how much to do. The entire bill seems like overkill, but I don't want to undersell the main ingredient, y'know?

More to come, but let me know your thoughts.
 
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Sigafoos

Sigafoos

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Then I have to deal with the sodium/fat, though. Smoking will give the same flavor with none of the 'wtf where's my head' later.
 

SwampassJ

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I had a smoked beer a few months back that tasted like the rind on smoked gouda. If I ever try a smoked beer I would have to test it in something small enough that I won't cry if I pour it.
 

TheManes

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What if you take some bacon, put it in a ziploc with your hops so they pick up some of the bacon essence and then dry hop with those hops? I think you gotta get some bacon in there somehow or another or it's not bacon beer. I love bacon.
 
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Sigafoos

Sigafoos

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I've had the bock; it wasn't bacony beyond being smokey, because it's made with beechwood smoked malt (but it was good). Using hickory should zero in on the baconicity (bacosity?)

A weizen would work, but it still seems to be a weizen that's smoked, whereas I want the only real distinguishing characteristic of the beer to be its smoke, which is why I'm thinking a lightly hopped pale ale, or maybe an amber (though I've never really had an amber I've liked).

And the reason I'm not using real bacon is because I want it to turn out well :)

The idea of a smaller batch is a good one, though... maybe I'll do a 1-2g batch first and make sure it doesn't suck ass.
 

homebrewer_99

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I made a smoked ale using only 1 lb of rauch malt. It had a very light smoked flavor, just enough to taste it. Next time I am going to use 2 lbs.

Which is nothing compared to the Schlenkerla's Rauchbier recipes I've read that suggest they use 100% rauchmalz.;)

I worked in Bamberg, Germany for 5 years and have been to the Schlenkerla at least 100 times. :mug::mug::mug::mug::mug:
 
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I made BM's smoked porter last year and upped the percentage of Smoked Malt. This gave it heavy smoked flavor that could be compared to bacon for sure. Delicious beer.

This recipe. I took the recipe as is and added 2 more lbs of smoked malt to up smoke level and Gravity. Then scaled to 11 Gallons. But the 2 additional pounds was for 5G.
I'll be making this again around July for the fall and will do 8-8.5lbs smoked malt this time.

I definitely refer to it as bacon in a glass.
 

Hugh_Jass

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Just today, I brewed a beer with 65% Weyermann's smoke malt, 20% Munich, 10% 6-row (for better conversion) and 5 % dark chocolate. bittered with Magnum and pitched with 2 packets of notty. OG=19 brix.

after it's finished fermenting, it's going into my 19L bourbon barrel for a month or so...

yup...smoke, oak, bourbon, bacon beer:ban:
 
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Sigafoos

Sigafoos

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You don't think 65% is too much?

Though I think I'd like to err on the side of Schlenkerla.
 

willtest

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Yummy, I want some :rockin:

Just today, I brewed a beer
with 65% Weyermann's smoke malt, 20% Munich, 10% 6-row (for better conversion) and 5 % dark chocolate. bittered with Magnum and pitched with 2 packets of notty. OG=19 brix.

after it's finished fermenting, it's going into my 19L bourbon barrel for a month or so...

yup...smoke, oak, bourbon, bacon beer:ban:
 

Hugh_Jass

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You don't think 65% is too much?

Though I think I'd like to err on the side of Schlenkerla.
I don't think 65% is too much in this particular beer. I was considering 75% smoke. The flavor has to stand up to bourbon and oak. I think it will be full-flavored for sure, but I'm hoping it will be pretty tasty with all three flavors detectable.
 

StMarcos

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Peat reek isn't really like smoked meat smoke imo. Also you might try wetting the malt so the smoke sticks. I like Ardbeg but I think rauchbeer tastes like hot dogs.
 

KingBrianI

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Your home-smoked malt may differ significantly in "smokiness" than commercial rauchmalt. Therefore, comparing amounts 1:1 may be misleading. I think that the home-smoked malt will probably be a bit stronger, and that you might risk overdoing it if you use the same amount as you would rauchmalt.

Now that that's out of the way, I don't think the pale ale is the right platform for this beer. That's just my opinion, but I think something with a bit more of a malt backbone would work better. How about something like 80% vienna, 20% munich? Maybe even add a little caramunich. Smoke a portion of the vienna and munich. Your inclination to hop only for bittering is a good one. As for a yeast, how about a european ale or altbier yeast? Also, I think I remember someone talking about some applewood smoked malt that's commercially available. Applewood smoked bacon is yummy!
 

KingBrianI

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+1 to that. After I do my Peanut Butter and Banana beer, I think I will put Peanut butter and bacon on the list.
how about peanut butter, bacon, banana, and chocolate?!

i've been thinking about making a candy bar lately that is a piece of crispy bacon, dipped in caramel, then topped with nuts and peanut butter, and the whole thing dipped in chocolate. I think it might be the next big thing. You could eat it with a banana.
 

KAMMEE

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I have been having this same discussion with my brother, who wants a bacon beer. Remember that bacon has a lot of fat, so those of you bacon purists who think adding bacon to the beer is a good idea... remember fat of any type kills head retention. If you don't believe me, try scooping some of your rich creamy head with a greasy potato chip and watch the bubbles die. Otherwise, if you don't mind the loss of head retention, go ahead and add some to the boil after you've cooked it down and rendered the fat.

I'm going to make a one gallon batch to try and make sure the recipe is good, but I'm going to do the following rauchbier recipe and just use a steam style beer yeast since its a lager that ferments at ale temps.

Yield is 1 Gallon

1.6 lb munich malt (hickory smoked at home for 30 minutes on a webber grill)
0.4 lb caramunich 50L
0.2 lb carapils

Strike with 3 Qt @ 163
Sparge with 6 Qt @ 175

Boil and add .2 oz hallertaur hops for 60 min

Yeast California style Wyeast

The recipe is scaled down from a ten gallon batch that won a smoked beer award at the 2007 Minnesota state fair, but the only difference is the yeast.
 

SPLASTiK

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I tried a bacon brown by Uncommon Brewers out of Santa Cruz in Jan. I think they said they smoked their own pork belly and threw it into the boil, was their first batch. It wasn't too shabby.
 

daysofstatic

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have you considered fat-washing the beer with bacon fat? add bacon fat, let it mix around, decrease the temperature and let it precipitate out and then remove it. i know they do it with bourbon and it imparts a ton of bacon flavor, but i'm not quite sure it'd be the same with beer.
 

incutrav

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I love Schlernkra Urbock and Marzen. I just brewed my own version of smoked beer last weekend. Its an amber/red ale. I used 90% smoked malt. When I took a gravity sample, it smells EXACTLY like smoked bacon or ham. I used 60% RauchMalt, 30% Cherrywood Smoked Malt, and 1 lb 80L. It was my first AG batch, and its turning out awesome.

Not sure how you can think that Urbock doesnt smell like bacon. I bought a 5L mini keg of it, and every person I had try it, coined it "bacon beer".
 
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Sigafoos

Sigafoos

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Thanks for your responses everybody.

Do you think that using close to 100% 2 row will be a bad idea? I probably misspoke, and it'll likely be closer to an amber than a pale ale.

Fat washing sounds interesting, and it'd be what Oliver would do if he ever made the beer, but it also sounds crazy and easy to mess up :)

I'm thinking I may want to make a bunch of small batches and compare first, but I don't know how I'd do that without it taking more effort than a 5g batch. Maybe mash/sparge the smoked malt separately, and then try a few other things? (ratio of smoked:not, different specialty malts, yeasts, etc) Bah. I'm going to overthink this til the day I brew it, I'm sure.

incutrav, welcome to the forums. And I got more of a smoked gouda out of the Urbock... I won't argue it though, because it was a while ago and no matter what it was it was tasty.

What I'm thinking now is:

11 or 12 lbs 2 row (can't remember which, and it's at home), 6 lbs of it smoked
1 lb Munich
1 oz Millennium (~12%aa) @60

The hops will give it about 35 IBUs, which should balance the malt but not make it hoppy. I might toss in a pinch of roasted barley for color (bringing it even more in line with an amber if I've got my facts right, though not on the hopping schedule)
 
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I think a gain bill that high in just pale malt will be too light to support the full smokiness. I like the Schlenkerla Marzen, but any smoke beers I make with be Porters. But that's the point of homebrewing, brew what you like :D :mug:
 

Hugh_Jass

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I think a gain bill that high in just pale malt will be too light to support the full smokiness. I like the Schlenkerla Marzen, but any smoke beers I make with be Porters. But that's the point of homebrewing, brew what you like :D :mug:
You could always back off the % of smoke. Maybe start with 5% or less of smoke malt with a light grist and see how it turns out. IMO, the lighter the grist, the more noticeable the smoke will become.

It would seem wierd, not bad, just wierd to drink a lighter SRM beer that tastes like bacon, YMMV. It'll be good, just different. I mean it's bacon after all. How bad could it be?:D:cross:
 

Doog_Si_Reeb

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My buddy made a 80 schilling Scottish Ale last year. It had some smoked malt in it. That beer was extremely "bacony" for the first month. He was very disappointed since that wasn't what he was expecting. It eventually mellowed into a great 80 schilling beer. Based on his results, you are going the right route with using smoked malt. I would suggest something along the lines of the Scottish beers since they have low hop bitterness and lots of rich malt flavor. That coupled with the smoke will give it a nice smoky meaty flavor for the first month or two.
 

pheboglobi

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Why not smoke the malt alongside a pork butt? I wonder if some of the pork flavor would come through.
Or in thought, why not cook bacon underneath some malt? I don't know about you guys, but my entire apartment smells like bacon with just a few strips. I imagine the malt would pick that up to a certain degree. well, maybe.
 

dwktr

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Just got the latest issue of Brew Your Own today and there is an article in it about making a Bacon Porter by baking the bacon in the oven on parchment till it's crispy to remove the fat, then placing it in a hop bag and throwing it in your secondary. I'm curious to give it a try.
 

Richabt

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I recently heard a Basic Brewing podcast that used the term "Dry Porking" when talking about bacon beer. I just about lost control of my car I laughed so hard.
 

Synovia

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Smoke some malt with Hickory and applewood. You'll probably get pretty close.
 

dwktr

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"Dry Porking" that's just awesome! The article I read called it "Dry Hogging"
 
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