If you’re not reading the Happy Hour Blog on Gizmodo you are missing out. They have some great articles on process, history, gadgets and tastings.
Back in September they posted this article on how to make Beer Syrups and in particular Porter Syrup. Having just finished a pretty major run of syrups articles I found the idea of using an already flavorful liquid base pretty ingenious. Not being much of a beer drinker there weren’t a lot of beer cocktails that appealed to me so this made for an interesting way to lead into more adept beer handling.
It also helped that a good friend had left most of a six pack of of Aloha Pipeline Porter. For those not aware this is a coffee infused porter with a lot of dark chocolate flavors.
The process on this is pretty simple but fraught with potential sinkholes.
First off the biggest issue is flavors. Beer is going to pick up unwanted flavors like a black shirt picks up cat hair. Using a ceramic, non-stick or glass pan is going to be your best bet here. Avoid anything that has to be seasoned like a wok or cast iron. The next issue is that a lot of the content of beer is very temperature sensitive, it will scorch easily and will turn from liquid to scorch mark in the blink of an eye. You can char the syrup very easily without noticing and wind up with a bottle of liquid smoke in place of a delicate syrup.
Second is time. This is a process where we are expecting to reduce out parent product down by almost 2/3. If you try to rush things by cranking up the temperature you’re going to scotch the whole deal. At the same time if you do this too slowly you’re going to be standing over your stove all night waiting for the water to finally steam out.
Thirdly, carbonation is going to make this want to boil at the drop of a hat. It will start to foam up and try to sill over at least three times while you’re reducing. Stir it frequently and well.
As the article says don’t add the sugar too soon or over reduce. Both are going to cause problems.
1. In a flat bottom saucepan, over a medium-low heat place 8-22oz of your chosen beer. It can be anything from an IPA to a stout.
2. Stirring occasionally allow the beer to reduce by 2/3rd. If you reduce too much the syrup won’t dissolve properly and if you take it too far it will scorch.
3. Using a kitchen scale weigh the reduced beer to determine how much sugar you need. Measure out an equal quantity of sugar (or honey, agave etc.) Return reduction to saucepan and bring back up to heat, slowly add sugar and allow it to dissolve.
Allow to cool slightly and place in an air tight bottle. Add 1-2 Tbsp of vodka if you want it to keep longer.