I'm always up for visiting a new homebrew shop...especially when I have a gift card. Part of the prize for winning the homebrew contest at The Draught Horse during Philly Beer Week was a $100 gift certificate for Wine, Barley, & Hops in Feasterville, PA and seeing how I'm all ready for my next batch I figured I would swing by on my way home from work. The store is small but well stocked and organized, a little more put together than my usual Princeton Homebrew but lacks the character of Joe's shop in Trenton...not that that matters. The shop is run by Paul Romanowsky and his wife Liz, I didn't get to meet Paul's better half but he was quite helpful with everything and was enthusiastic about fine tuning my recipe without wanting to change the whole thing which isn't a good trait of a homebrew shop owner.
Although I'm still trying to stretch out summer for as long as I can, a brewer must plan ahead and know that those crisp Autumn nights are right around the corner. Fall also marks my favorite camping season and the annual Mancation, a weekend of camping in the woods, BBQ, bacon, and of course beer. I decided I wanted to brew beer for this year's trip, something to have with a Mountain Man Breakfast or sitting around the campfire at night. After combining all of those elements into a beer I came up a recipe for a Maple Bacon Smoked Porter and am already drooling at the possible outcome.
1 lb - Crystal 80L
1 lb - Chocolate Malt
1/2 lb - Black Patent
1/2 lb - Smoked Rauch Malt
6.6 lb - Briess Amber LME
1 oz - Northern Brewer (60 min)
1 oz - Fuggles (15 min)
White Labs WLP001 - California Ale
8 oz - Pure Maple Syrup (secondary)
5-10 oz - Crispy Bacon (secondary)
The cracked smoke malt smells fantastic already so I'm hoping to the bacon will only add to that but not be too overpowering, I still want this to be enjoyable and not just for the sake of bacon. I think I will also try using some of the maple syrup as my priming sugar. I've still got plenty of reading to do on the bacon so I'm not exactly sure how I'm going to be using it but as of right now my plan is to cook it in the oven until it is crispy but not burnt. Then I'll get it as dry as possible, removing any fat and grease before putting the bits into a nylon bag as if I were dry-hopping. I'm a little nervous about introducing meat to the beer in the secondary but the way I see it, the possible reward is worth the risk.
If you have any experience with brewing with bacon and/or maple syrup please let me know what you think of the method I'm planning on using. Any tips from experience is always appreciated, hoping to brew this one within a couple days.