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Jan 13, 2011 03:11 PM

HELP! Beef Stew Quandary

I made a large batch of beef stew because we are having neighbors over for dinner tomorrow and know that it always tastes better the next day. I developed all my flavors one step at a time and deglazed with a sam adams black lager as it tastes similar to guiness. I also used a low sodium beef stock.
I just tasted it before packing up to put in the fridge and it is very BITTER!?
Is there any way I can salvage this tomorrow? I hope so, maybe adding red wine?
Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!
Thanks in advance!

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  1. IMO, the wine will not get rid of bitterness....Stir in a couple of tablespoons of brown sugar to dissolve & blend and see if it balances out (I use this method alot)

    2 Replies
    1. re: Cherylptw

      I like that idea. Sometimes I add teeny-tiny amount of honey to braises, not enough to say, hey there's honey in there, but just a touch.
      Honey seems to mellow out tomato product nicely.

      1. re: Cherylptw

        browner the better - refined sugar is far likelier to give you a saccharine taste note you definitely don't want.

      2. The black lager was the culprit, in case you didn't figure that one out. Too hoppy. If you do add sweeteners to balance, try adding them just a little at a time, tasting after each. You could err on the OTHER side and make the stew too sweet. I've done something like that with other saucy things. Clear your palate between tasting with a bit of bread, or get a second taster.

        1. If worse comes to worse, you can strain it, dump most or all of the old broth and add new broth.

          I realize this sounds stupid, but I've made bitter soup before and sometimes nothing helps after the fact.

          1. It's the beer, I agree. Try something sweet combined with a vinegar. That should cover or blend with the bitterness.
            I'd try honey or agave and balsamic. Brown sugar is a great idea too.
            Good luck!
            ps...I just do not get when recipes call for bitter beers! Yuck!

            2 Replies
            1. re: monavano

              Guiness can make a great stew ! not bitter at all in my experience.

              1. re: magiesmom

                My palate perceives bitter. I remember one time throwing a stew out because I used something too hoppy, so I'm a bit gun shy, I guess.
                NTL-good luck to the OP. Post about your results!

            2. Everyone was correct the beer was the culprit. I added some brown sugar and that seemed to help things a lot. I served most for a dinner party and gave some to a sick neighbor. Everyone loved it! I didn't serve it until 24 hours after making it and you were then able to taste all of the "layers" of flavor. I will now use only red wine to deglaze. Thanks everyone for your input!

              1 Reply
              1. re: foodsnob14

                Good to hear that you were able to perform a stew rescue. As for the deglazing, using beer is fine, just choose a variety that doesn't have such a hoppy profile as Sammy does. Guiness, as you mentioned in the OP, actually has a sweet creaminess to it that works well in braising. I've seen recipes that specifically call for Guiness Stout.