Sunday, February 16, 2014

Brew #4: Milk & Donuts

Growing up five houses from a donut shop has impacted me in ways I’ve never expected.  It’s made me completely biased towards my local donut shop, its made me crave donuts every weekend for the last 30 years and it’s made me want to put donuts in all sorts of recipes.  

A few years back I made a batch of donut ice cream with glazed and cake donuts steeped in warm milk then strained.  The donut milk was delicious and was just like biting into a donut.  The donut milk was just the base of the ice cream and I decided to take it to the next level and make a donut and coffee ice cream.  Turned out to be one of my best ice cream recipes yet.  This gave me an idea, what if I steeped donuts into wort?  Would it provide the same donut flavor as it did in milk?  Would the oil affect the beer in a negative way?  I needed answers to these questions so I set out to brew a donut brown ale.

For the brew I wanted to keep it simple to see  how adding donuts at  different times  would affect the donut flavor.  For this batch the donut was added a knockout in a hop bag and left until the wort cooled.  It seemed that the hot wort would sanitize the donuts and extract some of the flavor.  The brew was a simple brown ale with just Maris Otter and biscuit malt and a light dose of bittering hops.  The goal was to make a bread like beer without  going over the top.  I also added a small amount of lactose because it’s not right to have donuts without milk.

The type of donuts to use in the beer was stressing me out but I finally went with straight unglazed cake donuts because I didn’t want all the extra sugar from glaze.  Cake donuts also have more flavor than regular glazed donuts.  On brew day everything went well but adding the donuts at knockout became a strange gooey mess.  The donut chunks absorbed a lot of wort and there was a lot of oil floating around the top of the kettle.  Next time I’m thinking of baking my own donuts.

When racking the smell of donuts was strong.  Attempting to squeeze wort from the donuts wasn’t too successful and my gallon jug ended up with about a 3 inch high layer of sediment.   So far so good but I’ll have to wait and see what changes need to be made after tasting.

2/13/2014 - Bottled 6 bottles plus ½ a bottle to taste.  At bottling there was no donut aroma but the taste  is similar to bourbon barrel aged beer (very strange).  The beer leaves a nice donut aftertaste on the tongue and is not cloying.

Recipe: Milk & Donuts
Recipe Specifications
Batch Size: 1 Gallon
Estimated OG: 1.057 SG
Estimated IBU: 25.7 IBUs
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Amt                   Name                                           
1 lbs 8 oz        Maris Otter (Crisp) (4.0 SRM)                 
3 oz                Biscuit Malt (23.0 SRM)                        
2 oz                Brown Malt (65.0 SRM)                            
2 oz                Caramel/Crystal Malt - 40L (40.0 SRM)           
1.0 oz             Pale Chocolate (200.0 SRM)              
2.0 oz             Milk Sugar (Lactose) (0.0 SRM)               
2.46 g             Warrior [15.00 %] - Boil 60.0 min              25.7 IBUs   
3.00 Items     Cake Donuts (Knockout)
1.0 pkg           SafAle English Ale (DCL/Fermentis #S-04)  

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