I'd been wanting to have a go at making a mushroom beer for ages. Amongst the wide and varied range of beers Randy Mosher talks about in Radical Brewing is a section on mushroom beers, including Nirvana Chanterelle Ale. As he says this is one of his regular house beers I thought there must be something to it, despite my initial reservations that using mushrooms to flavour beer sounded a bit rubbish.
Having no experience of making mushroom beers I followed the recipe in the book fairly closely, which was a beer at the Belgian tripel end of things, with a vodka extract of Chanterelle mushrooms added to the beer to give it an ethereal fruitiness.
At the bottling stage I also made two types of control beers so the effect of the mushroom extract could be assessed scientifically: one with plain vodka added and another control with nothing added.
By triangle testing each of the beers I was able to scientifically determine that the mushroom beer and each of the controls did indeed taste different.
But what, your friend may ask, did they taste like?
Well, they all tasted like something strong from Belgium, so I guess the yeast did its job.
The mushroom beer had a mellower, more rounded taste than the plain vodka control, and compared to the nothing added control there was certainly a fruitier taste. In fact it was more than that, there was something else I couldn't quite put my finger on...could it have been an ethereal fruitiness?
It's good stuff, but I'm not sure I'll make it again, or if I do I'll at least get some smaller bottles first. A beer in the style of a Belgian tripel with added vodka is a bit much to be drinking by the pint.