Recipe: Bourbon and Barrel Aged Imperial Stout Pecan Pie with Bourbon Crust and Malted Whipped Cream

This incredible pecan pie recipe comes from Homebrewchef.com, which adapted it from a recipe in Beer Advocate magazine. I made this with Jim Beam Double Oak Twice Barreled Bourbon. For the Russian Imperial Stout, I used So Happens It’s Tuesday from The Bruery (A / $20 per 750ml bottle), which is aged in bourbon barrels. I was surprised to find the stout had a sour side to it and initially worried it would negatively impact the pie. However, I also used dark corn syrup instead of the light listed in the recipe ingredients. The two balanced one another nicely. The pie filling came out sweet, but not syrupy sweet.

Traditionally, cooks use vodka instead of water in their pie crusts. The reason for this is because the alcohol evaporates, leaving a flaky crust. This recipe calls for bourbon instead of vodka and it worked well for the same reasons. I also loved the use of barley flour in the crust for something truly unique. I found the flour at our local community market.

This recipe also needs dry malt extract (DME), which is not something normally found in the supermarket. I did get mine from the local The Beverage People shop. They do have a website to order from here. It is interesting to note that DME is used in the center of candy malted milk balls. No wonder they are so good! I also recommend the use of real maple syrup and not the imitation kind; a pie this good deserves the real thing.

With the whipped cream, the malt extract adds a malty sweetness to the bourbon and cream flavors. The recipe called for powdered milk. This is an important ingredient as it gives the whipped cream body. I used real heavy cream for mine. The taste is heavenly.

Most of the alcohol, except for the bourbon in the whipped cream, cooks off so there is no real alcohol content to speak of…only the wonderful, warm flavor.

This pie is a bit expensive to make because of the unusual ingredients, not found normally at the grocery store, and the alcohol. However, this is the best pecan pie I have ever tasted. Some things, like fine foods and good beer and spirits, are worth the money spent on them, particularly when they are for a special occasion. This pecan pie is no exception and I highly recommend it.

Here is the recipe. I should also note the crust is for two pies, while the filling is for one. I simply doubled the filling ingredients and baked two pies, which serves twelve slices. Preparation time is about 20 minutes. Cooking time is 60 minutes.

Bourbon Barley Pie Crust
• 1 1/2 cups flour, unbleached all purpose
• 1/2 cup flour, barley
• 1/2 cup flour, pastry
• 3 tablespoons Dry Malt Extract (DME)
• 1 teaspoon sea salt
• 8 ounces unsalted butter
• 4 – 5 tablespoons Bourbon, ice cold

Stout Pecan Filling
• 3 each eggs, jumbo at room temperature
• 3 each eggs, jumbo, yolks only, at room temperature
• 1/2 cup Dry Malt Extract (DME)
• 1/2 cup sugar, organic
• 1/2 cup Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout
• 1/2 cup light corn syrup
• 1/4 cup maple syrup
• 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 1/2 teaspoon salt, kosher
• 3 cups shelled pecan halves

Malted Whipping Cream
• 1 cup heavy cream
• 3 tablespoons Dry Malt Extract (DME)
• 1 tablespoon sugar
• 1 tablespoon milk powder
• 2 tablespoons Bourbon

Bourbon Barley Pie Crust Directions:
• In the bowl of a food processor, add the flours, DME, and salt. Pulse several times to mix the ingredients together. Add the cold butter cubes to the bowl and pulse a few times to cut the fat into the flour mixture.
• Keep pulsing until the mixture has small grain size chunks of fat evenly distributed throughout the mixture.
• With the motor running, quickly add the bourbon until the mixture just forms a ball. Since the alcohol mixed with flour cannot form gluten like water and flour can, over mixing isn’t as much of an issue with this crust. Plus the alcohol will evaporate (40% alcohol), resulting in a flaky crust. Form the dough into two equal size balls. Take plastic wrap and wrap each ball of dough, pressing down on each to create a disk. Place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to re-chill, while fully hydrating the flour, making it easier to work with and helping the crust from shrinking as it cooks.
• Preheat the oven to 350°F | 177°C. Take one dough ball and roll it out to ¼ of an inch thick round on a lightly floured surface. If you don’t have a rolling pin, use a 22 oz bottle that is chilled will also work. Place it in your pie dish or tin. Crimp the edges of the crust and set aside. Use the second pie crust for another pie (try apple) or another application like turn overs.

Stout Pecan Filling Directions:
• In a large bowl, add the eggs and yolks (saving the whites for another recipe), whisking until light and frothy. Add the DME, sugar, Imperial Stout, corn syrup, maple syrup, melted butter, and salt; mix well. Add in the pecan halves and mix to coat. Pour this mixture into the prepared pie crust, smoothing out any pecans which are sticking out. Place into the center of the oven and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until the custard is set. Remove from the oven and let cool completely before serving.

Malted Whipped Cream Directions:
• In a cold metal bowl, add the cold cream, DME, sugar, milk powder, and bourbon. Using a whisk, beat until soft peaks form. Top each slice of pie with a healthy dollop and serve.

Homebrewchef recommends pairing the pie with Parabola Russian Imperial Stout from Firestone Walker Brewing Company (A / $20 per 650ml bottle). This recommendation was spot on as the flavors of both the stout and the pie mingled well together on the tongue. I also recommend, for the wine folks reading, pairing this pie with a Kelley and Young Late Harvest Zinfandel, from Robert Young Vineyards (A+ / $36 per 375ml bottle).

Review: Pinnacle Vodka

Pinnacle’s Cinnabon-flavored vodka didn’t exactly wow us, but the company does considerably better with its unflavored expression.

Distilled five times from French wheat, this is a vodka produced in a modern style, with a lightly herbal nose that hints at toasted marshmallows and white sugar. The palate is moderately sweet but not overblown, approachable with a smattering of those candied notes but finishing with gentle notes of mixed herbs and some orange peel. Nothing all that noteworthy, really, but at least it’s got something beyond simple sweetness. Sure, don’t get me wrong — this isn’t a “serious” vodka that anyone is going to sip on straight, but as the basis for a punch or some fruity concoction, it ought to work just fine.

Available for as little as $7 if you shop around.

80 proof.

B / $10 / pinnaclevodka.com

Review: Flight of the Earl’s Blended Irish Whiskey

Damn I love a whiskey with a grammatical error in its name.

The Flight of the Earls was an event in Irish history, when the Earl of Tyrone and the Earl of Tyrconnell were exiled from Ireland to mainland Europe, an event which ushered in centuries of migrations out of Ireland.

Flight of the Earl’s is an Irish whiskey. So, grammatically: “Flight of the Earl Is?” Or a flight that belonged to the Earl? It’s the best eye-roller I’ve experienced in the world of booze since Coors released Artic Ice beer in the ’80s. (Coors later said they misspelled “Arctic” on purpose for trademark and branding reasons… true or not, I’m not so sure about the motivation of the “Earl’s.”)

For better or worse, we’re here to review drinks, not label grammar, and the question of whether you can trust a distiller to pay attention to what he’s putting inside the bottle if he doesn’t know what he’s putting on the label, well, that is left to the reader and the comments section.

Flight of the Earl’s is a relatively standard and straightforward blend, lightly astringent on a nose that offers notes of roasted grains — think hard crackers — and rubber in equal measure. A bit of green banana and a hint of bubble gum give it a distinct Irishness. On the palate, the whiskey is more mellow than the nose would indicate, offering surprising notes of milk chocolate and caramel at first, its sweetness fading into a more cereal-driven character later on, showcasing the underlying grains with greater clarity.

Flight of the Earl’s gets off to a somewhat dull and rocky start, but it’s redeemed in the end by some interesting flavor combinations. Or, should I say “combination’s?”

80 proof.

B / $NA / visionwineandspirits.com

Recipe: Two Tequila Cocktails for National Hot Toddy Day


The typical Hot Toddy is made with whiskey. In honor of National Hot Toddy Day, here’s a spin on the formula. The following two recipes have a nice tequila twist to them and are brought to us from 1800 Tequila.

The first is Miner’s Cough, which will delight coffee lovers around the world. The tequila enhances the bitters just enough to bring out an underlying chocolate note. Boldly sweet, the dark roast coffee intensifies towards the end of the sip. The lager whipped cream is not as sweet, which makes it an airy compliment to the entire cocktail.

Miner’s Cough
2 oz. 1800 Añejo Tequila
1 oz. dark roast coffee
3 dashes chocolate bitters
1/2 oz. agave nectar
top with lager whipped cream

Combine all ingredients into shaker. Shake for 10 seconds and strain into a rocks glass. Top with Lager Whipped Cream and garnish with shaved chocolate.

To make the lager whipped cream:
1 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup powdered sugar
2 tbsp lager beer (We used Sam Adams Boston Lager)

Add the cream and powdered sugar to a stand mixer. Beat on high until soft peaks form. While mixer is running, add the lager and vanilla, beat until soft peaks return. (A stout beer may also be substituted if preferred.)

For a more traditional Hot Toddy, except for the alcohol base, try a Jalisco’s Toddy. It is lightly sweetened by the honey which is punctuated by the ginger and lemon. The chamomile and cinnamon mix with the cider and tequila for a belly-warming drink. Be warned though—drink this while it’s hot. Once tepid, it’s taste resembles a cough drop. Then again, if you have a cold, that might be just what you need.

Jalisco’s Toddy
2 oz. 1800 Añejo Tequila
2 oz. chamomile tea
3/4 oz. apple cider
1/2 oz. honey syrup (equal parts honey and water, simmered for five minutes)
1/2 oz. lemon juice
2 slices ginger root (ground ginger can also be used but it will not be as prevalent in the overall drink taste)
pinch of ground cinnamon

In a pot, combine the apple cider, ginger root, lemon juice, and cinnamon.  Allow to heat up to a rolling boil. Next brew the tea. Add more than one tea bag, so flavor is heightened. In a glass, add the tequila and honey syrup. Stir and combine heated tea, cider, and tequila mixture. Garnish with lemon peel and a cinnamon stick.

Review: Bear Republic Barrel 188 This Little Figgie Ale

Barrel 188: This Little Figgie Ale

Just as there are dessert wines, I definitely classify Barrel 188 This Little Figgie from Bear Republic as a dessert ale. The initial sweetness is light and certainly that of figs, though they are not overpowering. The head is a nice tan color and also light. The body is a darker gold, almost the shade of dark brown sugar with a slight red tinge when held up to the light. It is pleasantly inviting.

At first sip, there is a bright effervescence bubbling on the tip of the tongue. As the ale warms, the effervescence bursts remain to tantalize your taste buds similar to those of a fine champagne. At this point, the richly sweet black Mission figs (California organic) warm up and step forward. Sip it, hold it on your tongue a moment, and enjoy all of the rich flavors for as long as you can.

The bottle comes with a re-sealable flip top cap which includes a rubber seal. While I appreciate the opportunity to save some for later, I doubt most folks will ever use it. One sip and you’ll want to finish the whole thing, particularly if shared with friends.

I cannot say if pairing This Little Figgie with a dessert with figs in it or snacks like fig-filled cookie bars is a bad thing, though I can recommend it with a German chocolate cake or a cheesecake. A brandy-soaked fruitcake could be delightful because the brandy from the barrels and the fruitcake would mingle in a nice way.

This rare, vintage 2016, brandy barrel aged golden ale is 10% abv per 750ml bottle. It is only available through Bear Republic’s Wild Club.

A+ / $30 / bearrepublic.com

Review: Stolen Overproof Rum

Stolen has made a name for itself by producing the world’s only (so they say) smoked rum. Now it’s hitting the market with its latest product, a burly overproof (and unsmoked/unflavored) expression of six year old Jamaican rum.

Some details:

Stolen discovered this juice at a historic, family-run distillery in Jamaica that’s over 250 years old, renowned for making some of the best heavy pot still rums in the world. It is the last of a 6-year aged, pot still rum made using hand harvested sugar cane grown by local farmers. The sugar cane mash is fermented using a proprietary yeast strand that is cultured in outdoor wood vats. The mash ferments for seven days in a selection of the distillery’s 50 different traditional cedar tanks. Utilizing mountain rain water collected by the estate’s own rain water retention system, the rum is distilled using very old, traditional pot stills… the same as those found in Scotland to make high flavor single malt whiskies. The distilled rum is then carefully matured in ex-whiskey barrels.

Bold pot still notes hit the nose immediately, offering wet earth-infused notes of coffee bean, dark chocolate, coconut husk, some charcoal, and ripe banana. It doesn’t immediately smell “hot” or alcohol-heavy, but comes across simply as well-aged pot rum. On the palate, the heat emerges quickly, which masks a surprising amount of flavor. More banana finds a companion in mixed tropical notes, plus notes of green grass, tea leaf, coconut meat, and a finish that ends on a slightly ashy (and fiery) note.

I wasn’t surprised that the rum had such a long finish — at this alcohol level, it pretty much has to — but I was amazed that despite clocking in at over 61% alcohol, a full glass can actually be sipped on comfortably without too much trouble. That said, when used for its intended purpose — floats and flavor-boosting — it’s quite a valuable addition to your cocktail arsenal.

123 proof.

A- / $20 (375ml) / thisisstolen.com

Review: Spiced Up Bourbon Barrel Chocolate Chili Sugar

Want to spice up a wintry cocktail? Try this new rimming powder from Spiced Up, which is made with a blend of Valrhona cocoa powder from France, Demerara pure cane sugar, and bourbon-barrel aged chili powder.

Spiced Up Bourbon Barrel Chocolate Chili Sugar offers fairly large granules that require significant liquid to adhere to the rim of a glass. Their impact is moderate but definitely present, with all three major components — cocoa, sugar, and spice — making their presence known, and in that order, with light chocolate leading quickly to brown-sugar sweetness, and a warming spice bringing up the back end. Lick a bunch off your glass and you can get quite a lasting heat from it.

There’s not much of an impact from the bourbon barrel treatment on the chili powder, but that might be asking for too much from a garnish that’s already putting in overtime. All in all, it’s a nice addition to the bartender’s arsenal.

B+ / $9 per 4 oz packet / spicedup.rocks

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