Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Beer and Salt

My grandmother used to salt her beer. I wonder what she would make of the plethora of salts available on the market?

There is a vigorous debate between science of cookery guy, Harold McGee and salt aficionado, Mark Bitterman. The whole gamut of salt stuff can be seen found at ciao samin. I tend to follow the science guy. I can only taste a few differences between the salts and attribute that largely to granule size and shape.

This post was going to take the piss out of the beer specialists and the overly delicate gourmet sensibilities but a funny thing happened on the way.

So, you know how salt can intensive flavours. Well, it can do it for beer. I wouldn't recommend salting an already delicious brew but if you are tasting a white or any beer in lager family and finding it a little flat in flavour, then try some salt.

I tried a number of salts and also found something interesting. The flavoured salts (smoked sea salt, salts with herbs, sel gris) can add a punch of flavour. When adding the smoked salt, it gave the faint memory of a rauchbier and the herbs tasted herby.  What else were you expecting?

I am sure there are some beer purists who may be snorting a bit about this but a great beer style, Gose, uses sea water and has a slight sourness to it. To this point, it may be interesting to foul your beer with a few more additives - citric acid, lime, yuzu, blood orange, sour cherry and grapefruit come to mind.

The U-Brew-it, Fermentations, that I frequent isn't keen on bringing in wild yeast for obvious reasons but I love sour beers. This may be a way to use a good Belgian ale base and bring it home for doctoring. Maybe I'll fool around a little bit and write up some of the more interesting experiments.

So, I guessed I learned my lesson. Don't laugh at grandma.

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