Meat and alcohol have been partners since men first discovered how to hunt and brew, and there’s no better example of this partnership than beer and bacon. Not only that, but people have combined the two, making a smoky beer with a delicious, meaty taste. So, how can we brew beer with bacon flavor?
You can brew beer with bacon flavor by using smoked malt, which gives the final product that signature meaty taste. Likewise, you could also add a flavor extracted to a finished beer. Avoid using bacon chunks, peat-smoked malt, or liquid smoke since these additives give the beer a bitter taste.
Now that we know the basics of bacon beer, we can discover how to brew it in more detail. Read on to learn how to get bacon flavor in beer, the best styles to add bacon, and which popular beers use bacon smoke already.
How Do You Get Bacon Flavor In Beer?
The most straightforward way to get bacon flavor in beer is to add flavor extract. This food additive comes in several flavors, including smoky bacon. Add a few drops to your glass, pour in your favorite beer, and enjoy.
However, you can also brew beer with a smoky flavor. That’s far more rewarding than adding a chemical to your glass.
To begin, we need to choose the best malt. Not all smoked malts are equal, and that’s particularly true for peat-smoked malt. Unless you only use it in small quantities, this malt will give your beer an acrid, bitter taste.
Instead, look for Weyermann’s beechwood smoked malt. That’s what Rauchbier – a famous German smoked beer – uses. It’s versatile and easy to brew.
On the other hand, try Briess Cherrywood smoked malt. This ingredient gives a deliciously smoky taste without being greasy or ashy. Malz Rauch malt is also a good choice.
You could also smoke your malt personally, but the results will vary. In that case, you’ll have to worry about getting suitable wood and malt before even thinking about brewing the beer.
Once you have your malt, find your other ingredients. We recommend adding a small amount of melanoidin malt to add a nice, bready flavor to your beer.
The amount of smoked malt you must add depends on the brand, the recipe, and the bacon flavor you want the end product to have. Many brewers recommend adding 10 lbs. (4.5 kg) of smoked malt, but others advise you to stay under 4 lbs (1.8 kg). Ultimately, the amount is something you should experiment with and find your favorite ratio.
Nevertheless, aim for using lager malt as the base, and add German noble hops. We’re basing these tips off the Märzen Rauchbier, so feel free to deviate from them if you prefer another style.
Finally, we don’t ever recommend brewing beer with bacon chunks or liquid smoke. While those techniques might seem like easy ways to add the correct taste, they’re less appealing than you’d think.
Bacon pieces don’t infuse their essence into beer particularly well. So, you’d either need a lot of them – expensive! – or infuse another alcohol with them first and add that afterward. And nobody wants to water down their homebrewed beer with vodka.
Likewise, liquid smoke will make a beer smoky, but at a high cost. Liquid smoke tastes awful, and it imparts that bitterness into your beer. It’s best to avoid it.
Best Beer Styles To Use Bacon With?
Without a doubt, the most famous beer style to use bacon is the German Rauchbier or smoke beer. This amber Märzen, or Oktoberfest-style lager, originates in the 19th Century when brewers started to switch to sans-smoke grain.
However, Bamberg’s Schlenkerla kept brewing with smoked malt, leading to the Rauchbier, a regional favorite.
So, rather than being a new invention, the Rauchbier is the oldest version of smoked beer. It’s an excellent window into brewing history.
Taste-wise, the Rauchbier is a malt-forward German lager with an unforgettable bacon aroma. Those meaty notes can be subtle or prominent depending on the brewer and the percentage of smoked malt.
However, ales are also an excellent choice for making bacon beer. That’s because lagering requires cold temperatures – or a spare fridge. For people brewing in warmer climates or on a budget, a smoky ale is a wise alternative.
It won’t be a Rauchbier, though. Instead, you’ll have a smoked pale ale.
There are other upsides to smoked ales. Unlike Rauchbier, they’re relatively light and crisp. So, if you prefer to drink your beer outside of mealtimes, try a smoked ale instead of an intense, heavier lager.
Last, give brewing a hearty smoked porter a shot, too. This beer style’s dark, well-hopped, chocolatey flavor complements a smoky aroma. Who doesn’t like bacon and candy, after all?
Smoked porters were also a well-known style in the 19th Century, during the porter’s heyday. In the British West Country, they were a local favorite. Similarly, they’ll become a favorite at your next grill thanks to how well they go with barbecue meat.
Popular Beers That Use Bacon
Nowadays, there aren’t many bacon beers in the US (there are a lot more in Europe) That’s why we’re recommending you our two favorite bacon beers that are typically easy to get
Both these beers pair well with smoky, slow-cooked meats, heavy cheese, chocolate, and venison. They’re also great accompaniments to heavy Chinese or Mexican food.
Märzen – Aecht Schlenkerla (Available at most Total Wine Stores)
This smoked beer is the original Rauchbier, with an unmistakably bacon-heavy flavor. Aecht Schlenkerla has smoked its barley over beechwood since 1405 and has produced excellent Oktoberfest lagers.
Aecht Schlenkerla’s Märzen pours a dark red-brown and gives a thick, tan head. It provides a sweet, malty aroma with powerful bacon notes. The palate is bready, smoky, and malty with a slightly mineral finish.
Alaskan Smoked Porter – Alaskan Brewing (usually available at craftshack.com)
The Alaskan Brewing company introduced the Rauchbier to American audiences with their classic Smoked Porter. This beer has an incredible award-winning track record and the flavor to match.
This Rauchbier pours dark with a moderately thick tan head. Its body is robust, and the characteristic porter notes shine with a subtle bacon aroma. Unlike most beers, you can also age it in the bottle.
To conclude, put some bacon in your beer! The smoky flavor is unique, mouth-watering, and easy to accomplish with smoked malt.
The popularity of hard seltzers has risen dramatically in recent years, with an increasing number of consumers seeking a lighter, refreshing alternative to traditional alcoholic beverages. Bud Light...
Moonshine, a homemade distilled spirit, has a reputation for its strong flavor and robust alcohol content. Many people find the taste too harsh to enjoy on its own, which is why flavoring moonshine...