Bacon Beer? Yeah, THAT Just Happened

My Iron Brewer beer turned out great, but simply bringing together the three disparate ingredients of centennial hops, vanilla beans and smoked malt wasn’t enough. No, sir.

I made 7 gallons of that beer and racked 6 gallons into a standard fermenter, but the last gallon went into a glass jug.  That gallon jug fermented alongside the rest, but it had a special purpose: bacon.  I had been joking about adding bacon to a beer for quite some time, but this was one of the few batches I’ve done that it actually makes sense to add the bacon to.

The beer already had a good amount of bacon-like flavor in it due to the Bamberg smoked malt that I had brewed it with originally. So, in order to maintain the swiney goodness the bacon brings, I decided to dry hop the beer after the lagering was done. (Or, as James at Basic Brewing correctly called it, dry porking.)

I cooked up a half pound of natural smoked bacon and cooled them on paper towels in the hopes of sopping up as much of the fat as possible. I actually cooked the bacon in the oven to keep the grease at an all time low.

After they cooled a bit, I chopped up the bacon very fine and put them in the beer. Interestingly, and unsettlingly, the strips of bacon rehydrated in the beer and appeared almost raw again. Mmmmm.

I’m planning to let the bacon float around in the beer for about a week at room temperature before I crash the beer down again. After talking to Garrett Oliver at the GABF about his Reinschweinsgebot bacon beer, he advised that I fat wash the beer. (Yeah, I just name dropped. I’ve got no one to blame but myself.)  Fat washing is not unlike what we brewers do when making an eisbock.  Once all that fat congeals (I know, SEXY) and floats to the surface, I’ll rack underneath it and get a beer with all of the bacon and none of the fat.

It is still dry porking right now. I’ll update with tasting notes later.



7 Responses to “Bacon Beer? Yeah, THAT Just Happened”

  • Tom Wallace Says:

    Just AWESOME! BYO did a series of articles a couple months back about brewing with breakfast ingredients and bacon was one of those. Did you see the article? If not, I can copy it for you.

  • Dan Kachur Says:

    MUST TRY!!!

  • Randy Says:

    Well…how’d it turn out?

  • BarlowBrewing Says:

    I bottled it a few days ago. I’ll let everyone know once they carbonate.

  • The Best Music of 2010 and, Of Course, Their Beer Pairings - Barlow Brewing | Barlow Brewing Says:

    […] Brooklyn Reinschweinsgebot was the inspiration for my homebrewed bacon (dry-porked) beer.  After having this at the Rare Beer Tasting during the GABF, my mind was open to the awesomeness […]

  • Francis Says:

    I’m learning to brew and have done a couple of batches so far. I WILL brew bacon beer once I am comfortable with the process. How did yours turn out? I worry about letting bacon sit at room temperature for 1-2 months. Any stomach problems after drinking it? =]

  • BarlowBrewing Says:

    @Francis – I owe a longer review of how this beer turned out, and I’ll try to do that soon. I was good, but I think it could use some tweaks. Some of the bacon flavor was lost in an already smoked beer and the oils did hurt the head retention (as expected.)

    Answering your question, I wouldn’t let the bacon sit on the beer for 1-2 months. The beer was chilled and I had less worries about putting bacon in a solution with alcohol already in it. I let mine sit a little too long, got distracted with life, etc. I think a typical 7 day dry hop schedule would be right for this, too.

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