Sunday, 15 June 2014

Beer Food: Sour Beer Sorbet

Sour Beer SorbetMichael Tonsmeire’s new book American Sour Beers arrived on Friday, and I spent this weekend reading it from cover to cover.  Its a great resource, especially for people new to brewing sour beers; but I think even people who’ve done a lot of brewing and research on sour beers will benefit from having all this information gathered together in one place.  Chapter five, which goes through the processes of a number of different breweries, was the highlight for me.  I really enjoy hearing people reflecting intelligently on their process, and at this point its often the thing I learn most from---that goes for brewing, but also for other activities such as baking and even teaching.

Anyway, besides reading the book I also managed to fit in a quick brew day, pitching the second generation of the Wallonian Farmhouse strain into something very similar to this `Farmer in the Rye’ recipe from Ales of the Riverwards.  The brew day was nothing special, so instead of posting about that I thought I’d write about one of the other projects I had going this weekend: sour beer sorbet.

J occasionally makes ice creams and frozen yogurts from this book, and flicking through it one day I noticed a recipe for sour beer sorbets.  The recipe called for adding 3/4 of a cup of lambic to a blend of fresh fruit and sugars.  My first thought was: who the hell can afford to pour lambic into an ice cream!    Most of the interesting flavours will be overwhelmed by the cold, not to mention the sweetness.  But I made a mental note of the recipe, thinking that it might be a good way to use my quick sours if they turned out poorly.

CherriesThis weekend cherries were on sale in my local supermarket, so I decided to take a bottle of my quick sour brown and make a cherry sorbet.  The process is pretty simple: pureeing one pound of fruit, bringing it to a simmer with 3/4 cup of sugar and 1/3 cup of tapioca syrup (or corn syrup), then cooling it down completely and adding 3/4 cup of beer before churning.  Before cooling and churning the mixture, the biggest contribution from the beer seemed to come from the D90 candi syrup I used: as expected, the sweetness from the cherries and sugar suppressed the sourness, bringing out the dark fruit, toast, and chocolate notes from the syrup.

Churning the sorbetBy the time it was cooled and churned, it was hard to pick out the beer at all.    If anything, it maybe added a depth of flavour to the sorbet that would have been missing without it, but this had more to do with the candi syrup than the sourness of the original beer.  Using a more sharply sour beer (maybe with sour cherries as well) might have helped accentuate its flavours, but all we ended up with was a tasty but sweet cherry sorbet.

So, not a complete success, but I’m glad I tried it.  I should have some more posts later in the week about beer related projects.

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