Bacon Beer Brew Day
Maple syrup, bacon, and coffee are all tasty treats in my book, so when I heard that a tiny brewery in Florida had made a porter with all three of these flavors, I had to have it.
There were less than one hundred bottles made of this beer and I don’t have a summer home in Florida yet, so I felt like my only option was to make a five gallon batch of home brew to try to approximate this beer that I had never tasted.
I started planning by taking an imperial porter recipe of mine, toning down the malt a bit, and planning for my maple syrup, coffee, and bacon flavors. I have done maple syrup and coffee additions before so I felt comfortable using dark low grade maple syrup at bottling instead of priming sugar and steeping fresh ground coffee for 48 hours in the secondary fermenter. Bacon flavor was a bit more adventurous as I did some research and ended up adding a small amount of cherry wood smoked malt to the recipe along with throwing in six strips of slow cooked bacon in a muslin bag to the fermenter. I like to say that I dry baconed this beer.
With all this planning done, I was ready for brew day in mid October so that I could have a beer ready for Christmas. The process went well, and my sister who I brew with and I hit our numbers pretty well, except for having a mash temperature a few degrees higher than I wanted.
It’s a few months from brew day now and I cracked my first maple bacon coffee porter the other night. The coffee is very strong but not overwhelming and the maple syrup and bacon flavors are certainly there but not up front. Overall I am really happy with this beer and can’t wait to share it with my family and friends this holiday season. Next time more maple syrup flavor!
Bacon Beer Recipe
I love a challenge in brewing and perfecting a beer with maple syrup, bacon, and coffee additions beyond the malt bill is probably an impossible dream, but trying is still really damn fun. My first draft of this maple bacon coffee porter is a work in progress, but the recipe I brewed is below.
- 5 Gallon Batch Size
- 60% expected efficiency (yeah, my mash tun set up is ghetto)
- Target OG: 1.073
- Target FG: 1.018
- Single Infusion Mash @ 158 degrees
- 13.5 lbs. American 2-Row 79.41%
- 1.0 lbs. English Chocolate Malt 5.88%
- 1.0 lbs. Crystal 120 5.88%
- 1.0 lbs. Cherrywood Smoked Malt 5.88%
- 0.5 lbs. Roasted Barley 2.94%
- 60 minute boil
- 1.5 oz. of US Magnum added @ 60 minutes for 68.8 IBU
-Pitched a Wyeast 1056 starter and fermented around 70 degrees.
-Added 8oz. of bacon that was baked at 350 degrees and drained out as much fat as possible before adding to secondary five days before bottling.
-Added 6oz. of mid to dark roast fresh ground coffee directly to the secondary fermenter two days before bottling.
-Used our awesome priming calculator to prime with the darkest maple syrup I could find and ended up using around 4 oz.
So with all that work on this crazy recipe, what would I change now that I have tasted the finished product? Well as I mentioned in my first post, this beer, despite being delicious definitely needs more maple syrup flavor among other things...
For starters, I would add around 16 - 20 oz. of maple syrup during secondary fermentation when I make this beer again and still would use maple syrup to prime the beer. Also, I would increase the bacon flavor by using around 2 lbs. of cherry wood smoked malt and a full 16 oz. of dry baconing. Furthermore, I would tone down the coffee addition to 4 oz. All these ingredients and additions to the beer are complex and not cheap, but if you if you are homebrewing beers only to be cost effective, you aren’t having enough fun!