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Spiced Beer Jelly

December 14, 2010

For those of you that know me, this next recipe truly marries together two of the things I love most BEER and CANNING.  Well, I wasn’t completely sure whether or not I was willing to sacrifice two whole bottles of the most delicious amber Canadian ale to experiment with…I knew that if I didn’t, there would always be that nagging question at the forefront of my mind…”Is spiced beer jelly really a good thing?” 

I won’t leave you in suspense, the answer is yes…after all, it’s main ingredient is BEER.

Let’s get to it!  This recipe comes straight from the “fairy Godmother of Jams and Jellies” herself, Christine Ferber and her book is titled Mes Confitures.  (I highly recommend purchasing this one) And, now I know why she is called the fairy Godmother…to me she is a genius…creating a recipe that uses beer as its’ main ingredient. Why didn’t I think of that!?!

RECIPE FOR SPICED BEER JELLY:

  • 3 cups 2 ounces dark beer (that equates to exactly 2 x 341mL bottles ~ we used a Wellington Pale Ale, an amber, full flavoured beer from a Canadian micro brewery located in Guelph. Fabulous beer…they do have a dark ale which we will try next time…it may even make this jelly better…is that possible?)
  • 1 3/4 pounds Granny Smith apples
  • 3 cups 2 ounces water
  • 5 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • Juice of 1 small lemon
  • Zest of 1 orange finely grated
  • 2 sticks of cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  1. Rinse the apples in cold water.  Stem, core, and cut the apples into quarters without peeling them.  (Note: we did not core the apples)
  2. Put the fruit in a preserving pan and cover them with water.  Bring to a boil and allow to simmer for 30 minutes on low heat.  The apples will be soft.  We’ve made two batches of this jelly so far (not with different beer) but with different apples.  The first time, we used just Granny Smiths as the recipe indicates and the second time, we used a combination of Courtland apples and Macs.  The set of the jelly may be better with the Granny Smiths but the flavour seems the same.  But, changing the beer…now, this may really spice things up and give your jelly a whole new taste and dimension.  A suggested list of great Canadian beers to try in this recipe can be found at the end of this post. 
  3. Collect the juice by pouring this preparation into a fine chinois strainer, pressing lightly on the fruit with the back of a skimmer.  Then filter the juice a second time by pouring it through cheesecloth that you have soaked and wrung out.  Let the juice run freely.  It is preferable to let the juice rest overnight in the refrigerator.  Note: we used a jelly bag for our preparation and did not press any excess juice out…we did however, end up with half of the required juice and had to do it a second time using the same amount of apples.  We believe this was because we did not cover our apples when heating…3 cups 2 ounces of water was not enough.
  4. Next day, measure 2 cups 1 ounce of the juice, leaving in the bottom of the bowl any residue that settled out overnight.  You will have clearer jelly this way.  Pour the apple juice, beer, sugar, orange zest, lemon juice, cinnamon sticks, and ground cardamom into the preserving pan and bring to a simmer.
  5. Skim carefully.  Continue cooking on high heat for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring gently.  Skim again if necessary.  Check the set.  Remove the cinnamon sticks and return to a boil. 
  6. Put the jelly in hot sterilized jars, leaving a 1/4″ headspace.  Wipe rims, place lids and screw bands on adjusting so that they are just  finger-tip tight.  Process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.
  7. When the time is up turn off the heat and remove lid, waiting 5 minutes before removing the jars.  Check seals, label, and store.

A breakfast of champions…now, who won’t be excited to get up in the morning (even if you did have to go to work)!?!

Put up Total:

  • 11 x 250mL regular mouth mason jars

A suggested beer list:

And, this list would not be complete if we didn’t recognize one of our most favorites beers, that comes from one of our most favorite countries…Scotland’s one and only….

What kind of beer would you use?  And, why?

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32 Comments leave one →
  1. mrs. turns permalink
    December 14, 2010 10:30 am

    i’ll be over for breakfast tomorrow…. 😉

  2. Joan permalink
    December 14, 2010 10:42 am

    Interesting,,,! Do you taste the beer enough to know its beer in the finsihed product? I can’t imagine how the jelly would taste. If I lived close I’d have to come over and try it. Here in Missouri I don’t know what kind of beer I’d use in making it. We do go to the orchard once a year for lots of apples though.

    • December 14, 2010 4:35 pm

      You can taste the beer…I think that some of the fruit beers and strong dark ales with distinctively “hoppy” flavours are perfectly suited for this task. Mmmm…beer jelly. Time for some more toast!

  3. December 14, 2010 11:46 am

    So yah. Beer. Jelly. You had me at hello.

    I can imagine how tasty this would be. I love wine jellies, so beer jelly I imagine would be just as tasty. I’d love to experiment with some local Maritime beers, like Pump House’s blueberry beer or a raspberry wheat beer from Garrison’s Brewery in Halifax. I imagine how lovely a big dollop of this jelly would be on a cheese platter. Perfect jelly for the holidays!

    • December 14, 2010 4:32 pm

      I would also love to experiment with some local Maritime beers. Okay…first, I’d just like to drink some local Maritime beers!!!

  4. December 14, 2010 11:48 am

    Oh. And where did you get your copy of Mes Confitures? I’m dying to get my hands on it, but my library doesn’t carry it and it’s out of print in Amazon and Chapters. Maybe I’ll bite the bullet and pay the sky-high fee for a used copy. She is so, so amazing and my absolutely confitures idol.

    • December 14, 2010 4:30 pm

      I just purchased it a couple of weeks ago on line from Chapters.ca…I added the link if you hover over the book title Mes Confitures. I love Chapters…it only took about 3 business days to get here.

  5. December 14, 2010 12:14 pm

    Beer jelly!!! I am soooo making this!

  6. December 16, 2010 10:58 pm

    haaaawwww, sounds delicious! Can I ask a totally stupid question that one of your photos reminded me of?

    When you have a layer of bubbles or foam at the top of your pot, how do you “carefully skim” it off? Do you just use a spoon? I find that I either can’t get it all, or end up spooning away half the jelly!

    • December 17, 2010 7:30 am

      That’s a great question. Extreme bubbling will occur twice during the jelly making process. A lot of large foaming bubbles occur during the first stage of the jelly, jam, or marmalade making process (because the moisture content is so high)…but these bubbles will subside. They may leave a little residue (to skim) along the edge. I don’t worry too much about skimming along the way because often this removes the floating spices (like the orange zest and cardamom in this recipe) wait until the residue builds up and then skim lightly with a large spoon. Smaller, shinier, bubbles will form again at the end when the jelly/jam is close to reaching its set temp. of 220F. There may be a shiny foam that appears around the end of the pan that will require skimming. Again, I use a spoon. Was this helpful?

  7. mandy permalink
    January 7, 2011 10:01 pm

    sorry if this is a stupid question but i am a beginner. What kind of gelling agent do you use?

    • January 7, 2011 10:23 pm

      Really, there are absolutely NO stupid questions…we all started at the beginning. In this particular recipe, the green apple juice acted as the pectin or gelling agent. For the most part we make our own pectin using apples or sometimes oranges but you can purchase both liquid and powder pectin’s where most canning jars and supplies are sold. Please feel free to ask any other questions or if you need more of an explanation we are happy to help.

      • mandy permalink
        January 7, 2011 11:53 pm

        I had no idea you could do that with apples! I can’t wait to try this recipe 🙂 Thanks

  8. Kat permalink
    January 12, 2011 9:45 pm

    Your labels? Do you make them or have you found a source of good-looking labels?

    tx.K

    • January 14, 2011 7:21 am

      Thanks for reminding me…I’m working on a label post and will put it up soon. We make them all but there are cool labels you can buy too. Info to follow.

  9. Casey permalink
    January 15, 2011 9:34 am

    So, I made this the other day – it just sounded too good to resist! Unfortunately, I ended up with spiced beer syrup instead of spiced beer jelly. (But please don’t think I haven’t been using it anyway! On pancakes, on banana bread, on a spoon…) 🙂

    I think it’s because I used too much water with my apples, or because I didn’t cook it long enough.

    I will say, though, that I had EXTREME foaming. It seemed like it would foam more when I stirred, and then if I stopped stirring, the foam would diminish. I thought it would foam itself out (like if you stir a glass of soda – eventually it goes flat), but it never did. You should have seen me hiding around the corner from the stove while it was processing! I was terrified that it would foam up inside the jars and explode! (Important note: That did NOT happen!)

    I’m going to try it again this weekend, with less water. Any suggestions for cooking times? When I return to a boil after removing the cinnamon sticks, how long do I boil it for? (I originally thought that was just to bring it back to temperature before pouring into jars, but maybe I missed something?)

    Anyway, thanks for the post – AND for the one on homemade pectin – can’t wait to try that, too!

    (By the way, I used Smuttynose Old Brown Dog Ale. I’m not much of a beer drinker, but I liked the description and it looked like a good color, not too dark and not too pale.) 🙂

    • January 15, 2011 11:36 am

      We’ve made this beer jelly about a dozen times using all sorts of different amber and dark ales. Here are a few of our suggestions:
      (1) make the apple pectin described in the Homemade Pectin recipe…I think it is more concentrated and works a bit better than the one in the original posted recipe for the Spice Beer Jelly.
      (2) we’ve found that some of the darker beers may always be a bit syrupy because they usually have a higher alcohol content and therefore, more sugar to begin with ~ you may want to cut back the sugar a little or add more lemon juice?
      (3) ours always foams like crazy too and especially when you stir ~ don’t stir too much at the beginning
      (4) jelly normally sets at 220F but not this jelly…it usually will set between 224F-226F…not sure why but may have something to do with the alcohol?
      (5) our best tasting and best setting jelly was with an amber ale ~ Cameron’s.
      (6) we’ve usually had to cook ours for about 30 minutes for the darker ales and 20-30 minutes for amber ales.
      (7) put lots of spoons in the freezer and do as many set tests as necessary.
      It still tasted great? Smuttynose Old Brown Dog Ale sounds really interesting…mmmmMMM. Please let us know how you make out and we wish you luck! 🙂

  10. casey dellicarpini permalink
    January 30, 2011 1:43 pm

    Success! Served it up with some homemade beer bread (of course) to my co-workers and it was a hit. As for all that beer syrup I ended up with from my first attempt, well, I’ve been putting it on my pancakes and I just bought some seltzer, so we’ll see how spiced beer soda tastes!

    Thanks so much for a great recipe!

    • January 31, 2011 7:28 am

      Cool, I am so glad it worked out! What did you do differently?
      Do you have a good recipe for the homemade beer bread you would like to share?
      What kind of beer did you use? I want to make it again using Flying Monkeys “Smash Bomb”…it already has notes of a orange/citrus flavour that I think would work well with this recipe. Plus, it is very hoppy!

  11. Casey permalink
    January 31, 2011 8:29 am

    I definitely cooked it longer and used a deeper pot so the foaming wasn’t so much of an issue. I also used the apple pectin recipe, instead of apple juice.

    For the beer bread, oh yes!

    3 c. AP flour
    3 tsp. baking powder
    1/2 tsp. salt
    1/4 c. sugar
    1/4 cup melted butter
    1 bottle or can of beer

    Mix from flour to sugar, add the beer, put into a greased bread pan, pour melted butter over the top, bake for 45-55 minutes at 350.

    Also, spiced beer soda – not good. Spiced beer syrup on pancakes or toasted banana bread – very good. 🙂

  12. Angie permalink
    August 22, 2011 11:05 pm

    Stumbled upon your website after being curious about canning – I just canned six pints of pears for the first time! (Speaking of pears, no pear recipes in your archive?) You can imagine how proud I feel of this little feat, but I’m feeling adventuresome enough to try the ‘dreaded’ jelly. (I recall the infamous jelly scene in Little Women whenever I think I can try to do it..)

    I am SUCH a beer person, I was happy to see this recipe! Will try this soon when I get my hands on some apples and enough grit to try jelly. 😉

    I’d love to experiment with a black IPA, there’s one I love, Deschutes Hop in the Dark that has the nicest coffee tones in it, rather pleasing in a jelly, I’d think, yah?

    • August 23, 2011 7:56 am

      Awesome!! We really love to hear from first time canners as we can all relate. Pears are so delicious canned. Although, we have tackled lots of recipes using pears as a main ingredient it was long before we started this blog. Some of our pear jams are worth sharing and maybe the next time we crack open a jar we will write a post.

      Once you try making jelly you will find it’s pretty easy…more time consuming than jam because of the straining but worth it. I would strongly caution against trying the beer jelly first as it is very hard to get a good set…but I can appreciate the interest from one beer LOVER to the next and think the Deschutes Hop sounds like the perfect beer to use!

      Keep us posted!

      • Angie permalink
        August 23, 2011 4:03 pm

        Oh yes, please! I’d love to do a pear jam, as I’ve a bag or so of pears left. I’ve seen many recipes for pear jam but I was thinking of maybe doing something a little different and your recipes are more appealing. 🙂

        You’re completely right, I’ve decided to put the jelly on the backburner (way back) until I get some more experience with the process. I just discovered one of my jars had some ‘siphoning’ issues, so I think I’m going to practice canning some more before I go into the harder stuff! Maybe do some tame salsas or sauces or something…

  13. August 23, 2011 4:17 pm

    OK,,,I need to jump in here. Making jelly and jams is not hard. Thats where I started canning. My very first attempt ever was grape jelly. To this day I do it the old fashioned way and cook my jelly down until I reach the thickness I want. I don’t use store bought pectin. I just got a book,,,read it step by step and did it. I bet if you try you’ll find out that people make it sound harder than it really is. Go for it. If it fails to set up..tell them that it was made that way on propose…its “ice cream topping”….lol

    • August 23, 2011 4:34 pm

      Agreed….jams and jellies aren’t hard and I certainly think you should give them a whirl. But, the beer jelly is a different story! It does not set up at the expected temperature of 220F. I’ve attempted more than multiple batches with mixed success. However, I agree with Joan ~ unset jams and jellies can be used as topping for dessert or even made into jamsicles. Most jams and jellies will set up with longer cook times but the longer you cook the fruit the more flavour is lost so it’s important to keep that in mind.

  14. Heather permalink
    February 17, 2012 2:35 pm

    Hey, I know this post was from a long time ago, but I felt compelled to share my beer jelly making adventure with you. My husband is a beer fan and homebrewer, so I knew this would be right up his alley. He suggested I try a dark beer as the original recipe stated – so we went with 1554 by the same folks who make fat tire. I ended up using powdered pectin with some homemade cider instead of relying solely on the apples for proper gel. It turned out fantastic – the spices are there, the beer is there and it was not overly cloying with sweetness. Since making it this past fall, we have used it to glaze pork chops under the broiler and today I threw some in with bbq sauce ontop of short ribs in the slow cooker. Thanks for sharing this! (I also gave away some for Christmas, so we’ll have to see what others may come up with, too!)

    • Casey permalink
      February 24, 2012 5:56 pm

      I can’t believe it didn’t occur to me to use beer syrup in homemade bbq sauce! Duh! Thanks!

  15. Sam permalink
    May 7, 2012 9:07 am

    I made this jelly and had problems getting it to set. I slowly added lemon juice a tablespoon at a time until I got it to set. I used small ceramic plates that I put in the freezer to check the set. I added about 4 to 5 tablespoons of lemon juice until i got the set i wanted. It turned out wonderful, the flavor is really complex with a hint of the beer and the other spices is just fantastic. thanks for the recipe.

  16. Mariangeles permalink
    May 16, 2014 7:15 am

    Thank you for your nice recipes. I would like to know where I can buy the fine chinois strainer you show in the photo. Normally they are of metal and have no those little legs. Thank you very much.

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