Lord Knows if Science Can Third-Wheel it With Beer and Me.

9 Feb

Sometimes I think I’m too overwhelmed with sweet ideas to master something.  At the same time, however, I think fresh ideas and their successes and failures are what makes me wiser.  Like that time I tried to make a mud-brick house in my back yard when I was five.  It was a failure that brought much wisdom: mud bricks must first dry before being used to build.  Not that I ever made structures out of mud bricks again…anyway, what I’m getting at is this: I came up with a way to amp up craft brewing.

Hypothetical Mission: Brown Butter-Oatmeal Raisin Ale.

Since I’ve gotten into craft beers, I have become enamored of the nuances various hops, malts, and yeasts, among other additives, such as adjunct grains or flavorings.  Beers can be so unique and beautiful.  But, of course, like with many things I get to know, I have started to question the beer universe.

Are we limited to hops; kilned and roasted malts; and other common spices found on brewing sites when engineering new beers?  And, of course, what I am getting at is this: what about fat?  If you follow my blog, you know I love fats.  Butter, lard, cream, etc.  And it’s about time my two passions met each other.

Recently, when I was pondering this dilemma, I was thinking about a hypothetical beer recipe…A dark beer with some residual sweetness (perhaps brewed with lactose).  It would have spices and oats would provide it sexy, silky texture.  Raisins would infuse rich, fruity flavor into the concoction…It would, essentially, taste like an oatmeal-raisin cookie.  But how would I account for the lack of richness (hypothetically), offered by none other than butter!?  Well, I thought, I will add butter.

WHAT, you say, questioning my sanity.  Will the butter not taint the beer; will it not turn in the fermenter, soiling the good cookie ale? No.  My mind is on gelatin clarification.

You see, a couple years ago, the New York Times published an article about the virtues of gelatin clarification.  In it, a recipe for brown butter consomme caught my eye.  I tried it, and I loved it.  Essentially, all ya gotta do is mix water with brown butter, mix in gelatin, and freeze it.  Freezing breaks the gelatin structure, causing it to weep out all the liquid but retain all of the solids in the mesh-like network still intact.  In other words, you’ve made a clear, beautiful liquid that tastes like brown butter.

And that’s what, hypothetically, I would do.  Make this brown butter consomme and use it as the liquid for the wort.  Hypothetically, I would not have enough capacity to make 3-5 gallons of brown butter consomme, but I would make about 1/2 a gallon to a gallon to add complexity to the wort.  And the oatmeal raisin-cookie ale would be richer for it.

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4 Responses to “Lord Knows if Science Can Third-Wheel it With Beer and Me.”

  1. Mitch Bogdanffy February 9, 2011 at 11:00 pm #

    I’m froze up he, even stove up! Like u thought. No fruit da beer n no sweet beesd. Nueroscience gluoregelatory event-yes on spice push on sweets!! Miles!!

  2. Laura February 10, 2011 at 12:09 am #

    Whoaaaa dude…deep! Hope you have tons of butter!

  3. Holly February 10, 2011 at 6:21 pm #

    Shai, you need to take a chemistry class… Organic chemistry.

  4. Mitch Bogdanffy February 18, 2011 at 11:51 pm #

    Ya agree wit aunt holly, organic-biochemistry. Anaerobic fermentation science. Shane da brew Queen!!

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