Beer And Science: A Match Made In Frozen Heaven

Its that miserable time of year again. Mother nature has decided to go into ass kicking mode across our country. From coast to coast we are being crushed by an unbearable heat wave. With the hottest month still ahead, why not cool down with a frozen treat.

Ice cream is the perfect hot weather treat. Beer and ice cream can be the perfect heavenly match. With any culinary creation, there’s science to be had! The science of ice cream is fairly straightforward. When making ice cream your goal is to create the smallest ice crystals possible. Smaller the crystals, the smoother/creamier your scoop. Ice crystal size is proportionate to freeze time. The longer it takes water to freeze, the larger the ice crystals will be. To make the creamiest ice cream possible, you want to freeze your base as quickly as possible. A standard ice cream maker does an adequate job. Most models can freeze your ice cream in around 30 minutes. With the help of cold science though, you can cut your freeze time to under 5 minutes, or even less!

With your basic salt addition you can realistically lower your ice temps to about 15F. That’s good, yet we can do better. The salt lowers the melting point of ice considerably, but we have colder items we can freeze stuff with! With these significantly colder temps the need for an ice cream maker goes out the window. A new piece of kitchen machinery though does come into play, the glorious stand mixer! The most commonly seen alternate freezing method involves liquid nitrogen. At a frosty -321F it can freeze your ice cream in well under a minute. Just hook your mixer up with the paddle attachment. Add your ice cream base to the mixing bowl. Turn on the mixer at a moderate speed. Add some liquid nitrogen to the mix and watch it freeze. That is definitely your quickest way to make ice cream. Liquid nitrogen has its problems though. The first problem is transporting and storing your liquid nitrogen. You can’t just use any old container for the job. You’ll need a container designed for the job, and those can be pricey. The second problem is with safety. With the extreme temps comes a greater safety risk. This stuff can and will cause insta-frostbite if it directly contacts your body. With those problems in mind, you may want to try a different sub zero coolant.

Instead of liquid nitrogen we can use dry ice. With its solid form and warm, by comparison, -109.3F its a safer alternative. Probably its best quality is its relatively easy to buy. Many grocery stores sell it next to the bags of ice as a freezing/cooling alternative. To freeze the quantity of ice cream in these recipes, you will need about 2# per recipe. To use the dry ice, first bash the hell out of it. You want the ice as close to a powder as you can get it. A hammer works great for this. Follow the same directions as with the liquid nitrogen. Slowly add, in additions, the dry ice. Add a bit and let it evaporate, then add more. Repeat until your ice cream is about the consistency of soft serve. Transfer to a storage container. Place some plastic wrap directly on top of the ice cream, making sure no air is contacting the ice cream. Air would allow the formation ice crystal on top which we don’t want. The plastic wrap protects the ice cream while still allowing the excess co2 to evaporate. Leave the ice cream in the freezer to properly set up.

So now that you have been bored to death with science, we can move onto the recipes:

Vanilla Ice Cream With Belgian Marshmallow And Butterscotch Ripple

Vanilla Ice Cream:

2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1 cup sugar
5 egg yolks
1 vanilla bean
1.5 tsp salt

In a sauce pan bring the cream to a boil and shut off the heat. Take your vanilla bean and split it in half. Scrape out the seeds and add to the cream along with the vanilla bean itself. Cover and let steep for one hour. To that add your milk, sugar, and salt. Bring the liquid up to a simmer. In a separate bowl whisk your egg yolks together. Temper the yolks by whisking in a bit of the hot cream mixture. Add the tempered yolks into the cream. Stir the mixture until its thickened into a custard consistency Remove from heat. Pass the liquid through a fine mesh strainer to remove the bean and any coagulated solids and into a container. Chill the ice cream base thoroughly. When properly chilled, freeze according to above directions. When the ice cream reaches soft serve consistency, pour in a steady stream the marshmallow cream and butterscotch sauce. Once properly swirled in, transfer the ice cream mix into a storage container and let it set up in the freezer.

Belgian Marshmallow Creme:

3 egg whites
2 cups light corn syrup
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups powdered sugar
12oz Belgian Dubbel or Strong Dark Ale, reduced to a 1/4 cup

Combine the egg whites, syrup, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Whip for 10 minutes until thickened. Slowly add the powdered sugar. To that add the beer reduction. Whip until combined. This marshmallow creme can be used for any recipe that calls for it.

Butterscotch Sauce:

1.5 cups light brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup Scotch ale
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract

In a pot over low heat, add the sugar. While stirring, melt the sugar. Once melted, slowly add the butter. Once the butter is combined slowly whisk in the the cream. Once the cream is incorporated add the Scotch ale and vanilla extracted. stir to combine. Bring this mixture to a boil. Remove from heat and let cool. Sauce will keep for about a month.


Chocolate Stout And Chile Ice Cream

2 cups heavy cream
4 ancho chiles, seeds and veins removed
8oz chocolate, chopped
12oz of your favorite stout(avoid the hoppier brews)
1 cup milk
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
5 egg yolks
1/2tsp vanilla extract

Bring the cream to a boil then remove from the heat. Add the ancho chiles. Let them steep for 30 minutes. Discard the chiles from the cream. Bring the cream up to a simmer. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate. Whisk the mixture until the chocolate is completely melted. Add the milk, stout, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Return the mix to a simmer. In a separate bowl whisk the egg yolks together. Temper the yolks with a bit of the warm chocolate/cream mix. Add the tempered yolks back into the mix. Stir the mix while its simmering until its thickened and coats the back of a spoon. Pass the liquid through a strainer into a bowl. Chill the mix thoroughly. Freeze according to the method above. Transfer to a container, and let it properly set up in the freezer.


Mango And Guava Sorbet

3 large mangoes chunked up
4 ripe guava, flesh removed from the skin.
12oz Harpoon Crystal Wheat, or other citrusy wheat or wit style ale.
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt

In a blender combine the mangoes, guava, salt, and sugar. In a saucepan bring the beer to a boil, reduce the heat to simmer. Reduce the beer to 1 cup. Basically you just want to cook off the alcohol. Add the beer to the puree. Blend to combine. Pass this mixture through a fine mesh strainer. Chill this mixture in the fridge. Once chilled freeze as per above. Transfer to a storage container and allow sorbet to properly set up.


These ice creams are perfect for a hot summers day. When ice cream alone simply will not do you can make an adult version of a childhood favorite: A float.

Classic Stout Float

12 oz of your favorite stout
2-3 scoops of your favorite vanilla ice cream

Drop the ice cream in a glass. Top with the stout. Enjoy.

Cherry Covered Chocolate Float

12oz of your favorite cherry ale
2-3 scoops chocolate ice cream.

Add the ice cream to a glass. Top with the beer. Enjoy.

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~ by thebrewgeek on Sunday, July 25, 2010.

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