The wild, wacky world of beer infusions

by DGO Staff

If you’re tired of the same old beer concoctions, consider infusing your beer with these things instead. (Just be sure to warn your friends before you inevitably force them to taste what you made, aight?)

The explosion of the craft beer industry has changed the nature of beer drinking. Where there were once just a few kinds of pilsner and lager available, today there are hundreds of different options with many new kinds of flavor.

What that means for you beer lovers is that you can try an endless parade of exotic taste combi-nations, and there is almost certainly something that will appeal to almost every palate — even if you aren’t a big fan of the brewed stuff.

For some devoted beer aficionados, though, this great bounty is not nearly enough. There are a few of you out there who want to experiment with wild new combinations of tastes, and can’t  (or straight up won’t) wait for the craft brewers to get around to their ideas.

We’re talking about the types of brave explorers who have figured out that they can use the French press to infuse new flavors into their beer in the comfort of their own homes. You know the ones.

For those beer devotees, there’s
the option of beer infusing. Yes, beer infusing, which is exactly what it sounds like. You infuse your beer with some wild and wacky stuff — much of which works when it absolutely, totally should not.

If you want to get into the exciting world of beer infusing, then you won’t need to look far or spend a lot of money for your new hobby. All you need is a French press and some common spices, herbs, fruits, and such that can easily be found in grocery stores and home brewing supply shops.

As a rule, you should let your infusions steep for three minutes before you strain and taste them. Letting it steep longer than this will strengthen the flavor, but it could easily overstrengthen it. However, you shouldn’t worry about the outcome too much. You only need to risk one bottle and a few cheap ingredients for each experiment, so you aren’t losing much if it doesn’t work out. You also might end up discovering an incredible flavor combination!
If you need some inspiration, here are a few recipes for different infusions for your beer:

Ginger Grapefruit Ale
Zest a medium sized grapefruit and put it into the French press.
Squeeze the juice from two grapefruit segments into the press as well, and add the pulp as well.
Dice 2 teaspoons of fresh ginger root and put it in the press, along with 12 ounces of pale ale. Infuse and enjoy.

Smokey Oak and Coffee Stout
Add 1 tablespoon of coffee beans, coarsely ground, together with ¼ cup of smoked oak chips, to your French press.
Pour in a 12 ounce Imperial Stout, and let it steep.

You should know, though, that this is one robust infusion. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Chocolate Nibs and Fruit
Put 1 table spoon of cocoa nibs into your French press, and pour a 12 ounce fruity wheat beer over them.

The chocolate nibs add a rich, bitter flavor that acts as a counterpoint to the fruity tastes of the beer.

Oak, Smoke, Cocoa, Coconut
Put 1 tablespoon of shredded, unsweetened coconut into the press.

Add 1 tablespoon of cocoa nibs and ¼ cup of smoked oak chips.
Pour in a 16 ounce bottle of a bitter ale.
The resulting complex flavor is something that any beer lover has to try.
Infusion is a fun and inexpensive hobby that you can pursue at home. You can use it to explore the true potential of the brewer’s craft on your own, or you can force your buddies to try out your  “interesting” concoctions when they stop by randomly. But whatever you do, make sure you warn them what you’re doing beforehand. We don’t need any long-standing friend beefs forming from this little infusion experiment, now do we.


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