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Blending Beer and Wine

I've always wanted to take a picture like this.

I've always wanted to take a picture like this.

Monday night my dad and I had sort of an impromptu tasting of some wine/beer combinations. I don’t know much about wines, but I’ve been thinking that something that has a lot of fruity esters, but not much in the way of tannins, could bring some flavors to the table that you just can’t get from beer. To that end, we uncorked a bottle of California’s finest $7 Pinot Noir, and added 10% by volume to each of four beers: an Ayinger hefeweizen, an Urthel tripel, and my homebrewed Vienna Lager and Robust Porter.

Hefeweizen: Aside from being a color most men probably wouldn’t touch, the relatively intense wine totally dominated the beer. Not recommended.

Tripel: This was my first idea for a blend, and it definitely strikes a good balance with the (for lack of a better word) “bright” fruitiness of the yeast getting a bump from the dark fruits in the wine. Some alcohol (this was the highest at 9.5% ABV) seems to round out the tannins a bit so that they aren’t so obtrusive too. At 10% the wine was a little to subtle for my tastes; at 15% I feel like it was about right.

Vienna: Smooth maltiness with dark fruits just becomes muddled and unappealing. We didn’t even finish the sample.

Porter: Think about how well a robust red wine goes with dark chocolate and you have some idea of where this is going. I had to double the wine to 20% by volume before it was in balance with the intense roasty and chocolatey flavors of the beer, but then it was really enjoyable.

I’m thinking about doing something along these lines (making the wine myself, of course) for Batch 50. But that’s six months to a year off; I have plenty of time to play with new combinations. At this early stage I’m leaning towards the tripel/Pinot idea.

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