Ice Cream

Freezing the beer ice creamReady to enjoyBefore I got interested in homebrewing, I had a life-changing experience with a stout ice cream. The beer was used in a ripple mixed into vanilla ice cream. I had never thought of using beer in ice cream before that point.

A few years ago, my wife decided to take up making ice cream as a hobby. Being an ice cream lover, there is no way I was going to protest. Shortly after she began, she found a wonderful book: The Perfect Scoop. One of the recipes in the book is for Guinness-Milk Chocolate Ice Cream. While the original version is good, we changed a few things to really make this one of my favorite ice creams.

All the yummy-ness to make great ice creamDark Chocolate Porter Ice Cream

7 ounces dark chocolate (we like the Trader Joe’s 72% Bittersweet), chopped fine

1 cup whole milk

1/2 cup sugar

Pinch salt

4 large eggs yolk

1 cup heavy cream

3/4 cup homebrewed porter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract.

  • Warm the milk enough to dissolve the sugar and salt in a pan on the stove.
  • Whisk the egg yolks in a separate bowl and slowly add the warmed milkĀ  mixture while whisking the eggs vigorously. Pour back into the original pan.
  • Stir the mixture, while heating, until thickened.
  • Strain a small amount of the egg mixture into a bowl containing the chocolate. Begin with a small amount and add only enough to melt the chocolate. Once the chocolate is melted, add the mixture in small additions to keep the base smooth.
  • Once smooth, whisk in the heavy cream, then the beer & vanilla.
  • Freeze according to your ice cream maker’s instructions.


  1. When melting the chocolate, do not add all the liquid at once. We have had problems with the chocolate forming particles which do not re-integrate and result in a grainy final ice cream.
  2. Same problem as #1 can occur if you add the heavy cream or beer too quickly, although we have had fewer problems with adding the beer & vanilla quickly.

Ready for the freezerTips

  1. Another option for the beer to include is a good Russian imperial stout. If you want to do a stout ice cream, I prefer a stronger stout than Guinness.
  2. For a firmer ice cream, transfer the ice cream to a freezer-safe container. Push wax paper down against the surface of the ice cream, and place in the freezer for several hours.

Start the toppingTopping

  • 2 ounces dark chocolate
  • 1 Tablespoon butter

Place both chocolate and butter in a small bowl. Microwave in 30-second increments and mix until smooth. Once the butter is melted, use shorter increments. Spoon over ice cream and enjoy.

Don’t Dump It – 3 Ideas to Save Your Beer

When you make beer, you will probably end up with batches that are mediocre or bad. There will be times when the only thing you can do is dump it. You may need the bottles or the keg the beer currently inhabits. But don’t be too quick to let the sewer drink it. Here are 3 things to try first.

1. Be Patient

American Pale AleI get really excited to try my beer. I usually drink all my hydrometer samples, even straight out of the boil kettle: trub and all. When I’m bottling, I’ll usually pour myself a glass out of the fermenter just to see how the beer tastes at this point. Even flat, it usually tastes pretty good.

When I bottle condition, I usually start sampling the beer after about 5 days. With most beers, this works out well, but I have had some batches with unpleasant flavors at this point. I had a porter that tasted like sucking on a penny, a pale ale that was just harsh and unpleasant. I think this is because the yeast haven’t completely fermented out the priming sugar, and there are still some intermediate byproducts the yeast clean up after a while.

Both of the beers mentioned above turned out to be excellent once they sat for another week. So, be patient. Flavors change quickly, especially at the beginning. A matter of a few days can allow a beer to mellow, fill out and become fully carbonated.

Getting to sample your beer isn’t a race. Even though you want to try it as soon as possible, don’t write it off as a lost cause the first time you try it. Be patient.

2. Change It

Sometimes you can tell when a beer isn’t going to be what you wanted from the recipe. Your sample as you transfer from the kettle tastes flat and lifeless or doesn’t have the base flavor you wanted for your beer.

Don’t despair, there are nearly-infinite possibilities at this point. Was that pale ale lacking the hop flavor and aroma you wanted? Dry hop in the fermenter. Heck, dry hop any beer and see how it turns out. Does the beer seem to lack complexity? Add molasses or Belgian Candi to the fermenter.You can even add spices to complement and change the flavors in your beer.

If you don’t like it, change it.

3. Cook With It

Original Gravity of Gingersnap Milk StoutSome beers are good, but they can be a bit overwhelming. I made a ginger stout for a competition. It was a good beer, but even twelve ounces started to feel like work by the time you got to the bottom of the bottle. It was a milk stout, and the lactose made the finished beer feel heavy in the mouth. The ginger flavor was strong, and enjoyable for the first few sips. It quickly took on the role of palette-abuser.

The strong roast notes and overpowering ginger flavor made a great braising liquid. Beer contributes bitterness, which is not found in many recipes, so a dose of beer can really brighten up a dish or add a new dimension to it.

If you’ve made a good beer, but it’s a bit much on its own, try adding it to your cooking. Pick a dish it will meld with, and see how it can transform the flavor and the experience of that meal.

When to Dump

If you’re thinking about dumping your beer, try these three tips to save it. Do all three on the same batch to see if there is any hope for your beer. The learning will be worth it.

If your beer was just bad, you’ll probably want to dump it. If it is unpleasantly contaminated or you just can’t stand the flavor at all, don’t be ashamed to dump it down the drain. That is part of the learning process.