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.