The peanut butter beer phenomenon that began a few years back was hardly the flavor of the week, but more and more peanut butter beers continue to hit the market, and brewers are using a variety of methods to add this beloved flavor to stouts, porters, and even IPAs. In observance of National Peanut Day (January 24), we asked five craft brewers how they add peanut butter and peanut butter flavors to their beers.
Liquid Mechanics Peanut Butter Porter
“Peanut butter beers (and any adjunct beer for that matter) are only as good as the starting base beer,” says Liquid Mechanics Brewing Cofounder and Brewer Seth Townsend. The Liquid Mechanics Peanut Butter Porter begins as the company’s award-winning Imperial Porter that uses malts that impart mild roast and subtle chocolate characteristics. That beer is fermented at 68°F (20°C) with a California ale yeast strain. Post fermentation, Townsend drops the yeast and adds defatted peanut product, sourced from Justin’s Nut Butter, an organic peanut butter product company in Boulder, Colorado. He adds the product through the dry-hopping port and manually breaks up any clumps, as the product is highly hydrophobic. He then allows the peanut product to mix with the Imperial Porter for about 30 hours before cold crashing to 32°F (0°C). After a 12- to 24-hour rest, the beer is ready to transfer to a serving tank for carbonation. “We carbonate to 1.9–2.1 psi and serve,” says Townsend. “Then we spend the next day scrubbing and cleaning the fermentor.”
The Bruery PB&Thursday
The Bruery brews a peanut flour−infused version of their Black Tuesday bourbon barrel−aged imperial stout. “We found that the caramel, chocolate, and coconut notes of Black Tuesday were already an ideal match for peanut butter flavor,” says Owner and CEO Patrick Rue. “Peanut butter is such a recognizable and almost universally loved flavor, so it seemed like a natural addition to our large line of beers.”
After Black Tuesday is barrel aged, it’s transferred out of barrels and into a tank where peanut flour is added and recirculated to infuse the flavor into the beer. The beer is then centrifuged to remove most of the peanut solids but leave behind the rich peanut flavor. “No modifications of our base beer were made to enhance the peanut flavor,” says Rue. “If I were to build a completely new beer for peanut infusion, I’d choose malts with a rich chocolate flavor and also malts that would contribute a bit of nuttiness and biscuit flavor to enhance and complement the flavor of the peanuts. Pale chocolate malt from Crisp, Dingemans biscuit malt, and Briess Victory malt would all be nice additions.”
DuClaw Brewing Sweet Baby Jesus
This chocolate peanut butter porter lives up to its name. Originally brewed for DuClaw’s H.E.R.O. Homebrew Competition, this beer was so popular that it eventually joined the brewery’s lineup of mainstay beers. It’s brewed with all-natural peanut butter extract to create rich nutty and roasted flavors atop a grain bill that includes pale malt, chocolate malt, crystal malt, Munich malt, brown malt, and roasted barley. Sweet Baby Jesus is balanced with subtle Goldings and Fuggle hops characters.
Terrapin Beer Co. Liquid Bliss
Here’s another peanut butter beer in which the name says it all. Terrapin’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Porter is brewed with cacao nibs and peanut butter flavor; a grain bill that includes 2-row pale, wheat, crystal 86, crystal 120, chocolate, chocolate wheat, and black malts; and U.S. Golding hops for the perfect combination of sweet and savory flavors.
Catawba Brewing Co. Peanut Butter Jelly Time
Morganton, North Carolina
This peanut butter beer’s base is a brown ale that rests on whole roasted peanuts and all-natural raspberry puree after fermentation. It’s available in 12-ounce (355 ml) cans (January 24 also happens to be Beer Can Appreciation Day, so drink this beer for a dual celebration).
The list of peanut butter beers goes on—Edmond’s Oast Peanut Butter & Jelly (Charleston, South Carolina) is made with powdered peanut butter, Concord grape concentrate, and lactose; Cigar City Brewing (Tampa, Florida) adds peanut butter to the Jai Alai IPA; and Voyageur Brewing (Grand Marais, Minnesota) creates its Otter Slide Imperial Brown Ale with peanut butter and maple syrup.
Happy National Peanut Butter Day! What peanut butter beers will you celebrate with?
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