Wednesday 25 August 2010

31. Eau de Beer-Fortified Beer

This is my mate Special Derek or “Tasty” as he likes to me known but isn’t. Derek doesn’t own a device for removing the alcohol from beer which may or may not be otherwise referred to as a still. Stills in the UK must of course be licensed but as Derek doesn’t own a still this law does not apply to his non-still-owning situation. If I was going to make a eau de beer-fortified beer and Derek did have a still I would probably use Derek’s but I am not so I won’t.

It must be stated at this point that the conceptual beer to which this post is referring is fictitiously made away from Sharp’s Brewery and that none of the activities involved in its fictitious production are undertaken on the premises of Sharp’s Brewery. The fact that I am an employee of Sharp’s brewery is completely coincidental to this conceptual exercise. If this beer ever existed (which it doesn’t) it would have never been near Sharp’s Brewery or Derek’s garage.

So the eau de beer-fortified beer concept would, if it existed, be a barley wine which would be fermented in the usual way and then racked into two casks. One cask is left in a cellar at 12C while the other is run through Derek’s non-existent still. The fictitious spirit would then be added to the non-existent barley wine.

The use of a still is not the only way to concentrate alcohol. You can also freeze out the water using freeze distillation, vacuum it off in vacuum distillation or push it out using reverse osmosis. When you use freeze distillation you can still call it beer for some reason. When beer is distilled with heat, the spirit that is produced tastes like cat sick-themed aftershave. Further processing (carbon filtration, cask aging etc) and further distillation can reduce the feline vomit flavour. The reason whisky is aged in a cask is to make it less offensive. I assume beer is aged in whisky casks for similar reasons (joking). I should point out that the reason I know what distilled beer tastes like is that I made some on the still at university under the supervision of a serious-looking bloke with a white coat and nasal hair and not because I know Special Derek.

If I was going to make this, (which I haven’t and won’t), I would make the wort as strong and unfermentable as possible by carrying out a double mash at high temperatures and under pitching and under oxygenating the wort. The resulting alcoholic syrup would taste like bitter caramel sauce for ice cream and make a good fictitious base for the harsness of the fictitious new make spirit from Derek’s fictitious still.

Maybe one day the lovely Fergus from Adnams will let me borrow his still so I can actually produce this beer in a non fictitious fashion?

Fictitious Tech Spec

Malt: Pale and crystal (75/25)

Hops: Fuggles, WGV

Yeast: Old English Ale

OG: 1111

ABV 47%


ZakAvery said...

Fictitious blimey. Imaginary gosh.

Stuart Howe said...

That's it Zak, I'm pushing the boundaries of reality itself with this one. Not so much a beer but a existential enigma. Is any of this real or just a construct of our consciousness?

If we cease to think do we cease to be? Unfortuately not if the builder whose van and face I nearly hit this morning is anything to go by.

Anonymous said...

I believe physicists call this a thought experiment. Like Schrödinger's cat, this beer both exists and doesn't exist at the same time.

Stuart Howe said...

Martyn hi, a thought experiment is a good analogy but with this beer I am looking higher. This beer has been designed using poststructuralist brewing and thought techniques. It frees the signified results from their signifiers. In this beer flavour is its own construct, independent of the presence or absence of flavour-active compounds and indeed their concentration's proximity to threshold.

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