This recipe was named after the KISS principle: “Keep It Simple, Sillyhead”. I’ve used it to test out a variety of hops, most recently Medusa.
The recipe produces a nice, light-colored, low-alcohol beer that tastes delicious and gives you a good baseline for comparing hop flavors and aromas. This produces a 5 gallon batch, of approximately 1.040 gravity.
9 Pounds Weyermann Pilsner
1 Pound Crystal 15
0.5 Ounce at 60 minutes
0.5 Ounce at 30 minutes
0.5 Ounce at 15 minutes
0.5 Ounce at 0 minutes
Ferment with your favorite neutral ale yeast.
Pilsner malt may seem like an odd choice, but I like the toasted bread flavor it contributes and slightly more body than plain 2-row. I also find the light crystal malt adds a hint of sweetness without contributing lots of color or strong caramel flavors.
By sticking with what may be considered an old-school hop schedule, I get to see the range of bitterness, flavor, and aroma the hops contribute. Also, by using a set weight of hops, you could brew multiple batches and see how differences in alpha acids affect the flavors and aromas in your beer.
Not Just for Hops
I have also used this recipe as a base for experimenting with different yeasts. I’m particularly fond of a batch made with all cascade hops and fermented with Kveik Hornindal at 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you want to experiment with ingredients, find a good base recipe you can get familiar with, adapt it to your tastes, and then try stuff out. Learning can be both fun and delicious!
Before 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.
Dark 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
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 milk 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.