You might not have heard of this beer... That's because it is a homebrew! My homebrew! And it is delicious! This beer starts off life as a nice, slightly bitter, dry hopped IPA. Then I add in an Indian spice extract that I made myself to provide a flavor boost and mellow down some of the bitterness. I love drinking IPA's with Indian food, so I figure, why not mix the flavors together and see what happens?
Although I have been brewing off and on for a few years; I haven't had my own set up since I moved here from San Francisco. My company has a yearly Oktoberfest party where they buy supplies to brew a batch of beer for anyone who is interested. This has gotten a lot of people at my company very interested in brewing beer. This also gives me places I can brew on other people's rig without having to get a large brewing system into my tiny condo.
This started off as a clone of Rogue Brewery's Yellow Snow IPA, but I immediately needed to make some changes which in the end I think paid off. Rogue Brewery uses a Pacman Yeast which I wasn't able to source, as well as certain malts they grow in house "Dare and Risk" However, what I wanted was a base IPA beer with some nice hoppy bitterness and aroma which would play well with the flavors I add later. The Amarillo hops provide both a nice bitter flavor as well as aromatic flavors from the dry hopping. Using only a single hop rather then a blend of other hops gives a nice flavor without getting too complex, which makes for a perfect canvas in my opinion.
I made my own Garam Masala mix. Starting with whole spices I toasted and ground:
3T cumin seed
1 2" cinnamon stick
4 green cardamom seed pods
2T coriander seed
2 star anise
1 t dried garlic
1 t dried ginger.
I toasted these spices in a dry frying pan over medium heat until they were nice and aromatic, and then ground them in a devoted spice grinder. I added 1 cup of 95% pure ethanol and let them sit for 2 weeks at room temperature to extract as many of the alcohol soluble flavor compounds as possible.
This resulted in a clear lightly caramel colored liquid with a big mass of spices at the bottom. Since I know not all of the flavor compounds in spices are 100% ethanol soluble, I then added about 3/4 of a cup of hot water to dilute the alcohol down and remove more water soluble flavors.
The reaction was immediate; the clear caramel colored liquid immediately turned opaque and dark like the color of vanilla extract. I let this mixture sit for another month shaking occasionally to stir up the mixture. After it was properly aged, I decanted the liquid off of the solids which had turned into a sticky ball.
Once my beer was ready to be put into bottles I added about 10ml of this extract per case of beer. It was absolutely lovely! I gave out samples of both the Masala and non-Masala beers for the Oktoberfest, and they were both hits!