Every year Rich makes a splendidly potent booze called ‘slider’.* This involves reawakening a fermented, sleepy cider with a sweet dose of sloes salvaged from a sloe gin infusion. Last year he neglected to make his own sloe gin so pilfered a load of my boozy fruit instead. Apparently the resulting slider was of exceptional quality – but I wouldn’t know this because he has guzzled the lot himself (thanks for the sloes, Nick).
Fortunately I held back some sloes for myself – not to make my own slider but to see how a beer equivalent** might turn out.
For this experiment I figured a brown, malty beer might best offset the sour, fruity tang of the sloes and cope well with the increased alcohol provided by both the residual gin and additional fermentable sugar. So I brewed up a brown bitter.
After a few days of vigorous fermentation the yeasty head (krausen) subsided so I racked off some of the beer into a demijohn and pitched in a handful of sozzled sloes.
Ten days later my experimental brew was bottled, along with a sloe-free control batch of the same brown bitter, and it is now time to taste the goods.
Sloe beer: the verdict
First up, the regular brown beer is good. One of my better batches. Smooth and malty with a decent bitter finish. And the sloes definitely add a new dimension to the brew giving it a subtle, fruitier aroma and an essence of sharp gin slicing through the finish. In fact I’m so pleased with the results that I’ve declared it too good to spare Rich a bottle…
* sloe + cider = slider
** I don’t know if the sloe gin and beer combo has a name as I don’t know if anyone has ever made it before. But from now on it shall be known as ‘slobber’ (sloe + brown bitter)