My plans were immediately put to the test by the fact that when Mrs Velkyal and I went to the Cider Club to buy the Hobgoblin, I ended up spending all the spare change I had in my pocket on 2 bottles of Hobgoblin, a bottle of Black Wych stout and a bottle of Wych Craft, not to mention Mrs Velkyal's raspberry flavoured cider. At least I had the Hobgoblin, which immediately went into the little cellar in preparation for making toffee. Buying the Kelt was no problem whatsoever as my local Billa sells it.
Saturday morning arrived and I changed my plan - instead of taking up one of my carboys with 2 litres of stout, I decided to use a spare 1 litre bottle I had knocking about and keep two bottles of Kelt for something else, such as drinking them. Here are my ingredients for my Christmas Stout:
- 2 500ml bottles Kelt stout
- 1 stick cinnamon
- 1 handful of cloves
- 1 tablespoon light brown sugar, dissolved in a drop of boiling water
- Put the sugar, cinnamon and cloves in the bottle
- Use a funnel to pour the stout into the bottle
- Let the head dissipate before capping and forgetting about it for 2 months.
So yes, there is now a litre of stout infusing with the classic flavours of Christmas and hopefully preparing a lovely treat for December.
The beer toffee however was more problematic. My first problem was when the time came I was loath to use a bottle of Hobgoblin as the liquid for my toffee. Thankfully though I have Mrs Velkyal, who reminded me that in the fridge was an extra bottle of Primator English Pale Ale. The recipe I intended to use was pulled from the Wikihow website, which has loads of interesting projects, and was simplicity itself:
- 125ml water
- 400g sugar
- pinch cream of tartar
So my thinking was to use a 330ml bottle of beer, and increase the sugar accordingly - giving me 1kg of sugar, and a slightly bigger pinch of cream of tartar.
The sugar dissolved nicely into the beer, however I think the pan I was using was too small as I couldn't keep the mixture on a rolling boil for fear of the sticky goo overflowing and making a right mess of the cooker. The original recipe calls for 20 minutes worth of boiling and then putting the mix in a greased tin to set, at the moment I think I have created a beer caramel sauce which will go quite nicely on top of ice cream. If there are any toffee makers out there, I would appreciate some advice on what went wrong - I have a feeling that the size of the pan played a major role, but our big pan was full of a curried cream of roast butternut squash soup I had made on Saturday.
So 1 unknown quantity in the beer hacking, and something of a dismal failure on the beer toffee front, however, I will not be deterred.
Update: As you can see I have added pictures the weekend's fun - couldn't do it yesterday as I forgot the transfer cable at home.