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Sep 3, 2008 08:04 AM

Beer sorbet?

Some time ago I caught a piece of one of those weird food shows while channel surfing. Think it was Andrew Zimmern. He was in Belgium at this restaurant that used beer in every dish. For dessert the owner had devised a dairy-free wheat beer sorbet, which Zimmern described as tasting a lot like a glazed donut.

I like beer, and am intrigued by its conversion to dessert. So, on a whim, I tried making up a small batch based upon faint recollection. Figured I'd try the same technique as making a sweet balsamic reduction, then churn the syrupy result.

First off, I discovered that adding sugar to carbonated beer yields one hell of a lot of foam. Just 1/4 cup added to 3 poured bottles yielded a 2-quart head, if not more. Subsequent, smaller additions of sugar reacted similarly, though not as severely. When the foam eventually dissipated I tried leaving the beer & sugar concoction on a slow simmer to reduce. The batch never made it much further, though; I couldn't endure the stench of simmering beer long enough to get it to reduce very well and samples tasted like a night of suds and sweets gone sour in the stomach, if you catch my drift.

This may be partially to blame for my choice of Shock Top as the beer. One of those bright orangey varieties. Figure the citric acid couldn't have helped. The stench is only now dissipated from the kitchen, though I think it still stains my soul.

Point is, has anyone attempted anything similar and/or know of a beer sorbet recipe/technique? And is it worthwhile? I'm eager to try again if provided assurances of less toxic results.

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  1. After reading your post, I found myself wondering if (a) using simple syrup, instead of undissolved sugar, might solve the foaming problem and (b) if you had a intensely flavored beer, if you would really need to reduce it. Thennn, I ran across these recipes:

    Both call for simple syrup and neither calls for reducing the beer. These might result in sweeter end products than what you are after, but I suppose it might be worth making a small batch of each just to see.

    And here's another one:

    It uses sugar instead of syrup, but like the other recipes, it does not call for reducing the beer.

    I guess you could try following a middle path whereby you reduce the beer a bit (say, by 1/4) and then mix the reduction with a simple syrup at a concentration of your choosing.

    Sorry I can't offer any first-hand experience. Maybe someone who has will chime in.

    Good luck.

    1 Reply
    1. re: hohokam

      Thanks for the leads. They seem like good starting points.

    2. I was watching something on tv a couple of days ago about minutemaid frozen lemonade treats. They were talking about how they had several flavors and even tried developing a beer one to sell in stadiums. The only problem was that it ended up tasting like 2 day old flat beer since they could not figure out how to capture the carbonation in frozen form. Eventually they gave up

      2 Replies
      1. re: bw2082

        That's fascinating. Kind of a shame they couldn't get it to work. But maybe one could add chilled Pop Rocks once the sorbet has set soft in the churn, then rush it to the freezer. Those things are just candied carbonation, anyhow. Problem solved!

        ...then again, maybe not.

        1. re: Scriever

          It seems like the technology that goes into making Icees or Slurpees (which injects carbonation into the product as its extruded) could somehow be applied to the beer sorbet concept.

      2. Oh man, I WISH I knew how to make beer sorbet! Best post ever because now I can learn how from the comments :) Thanks!