I try to have adventures in homebrewing.  I’ve never done a recipe clone and rarely brew the same thing twice…at least in close proximity.  I vacillate between brewing a good classic style, a classic with a tweak, and something big, crazy, and experimental.  At any rate, wondered to myself about the use of carrots in a beer.  I thought that if beet sugars are used in Belgian brewing, why couldn’t I use another root vegetable? So, I set about making some carrot sugar for an ESB I was doing at the time.  I think I had great results.  Here are some pictures and the process behind the carrot sugar.

The first thing I did was buy three pounds of carrots.  The reason I chose carrots was because they are already a little sweeter, so I knew that there were plenty of sugars and starches to be had.  Having peeled the carrots, I shredded them with coarse grater.  Near the end of my grating, I put a pan of water on the stove and got it to boiling.  Once the carrots were done, I put them in a separate pan and poured the boiling water on top, just covering the surface of the carrots.  Then, I set the pot to boiling for a period of five minutes.  After the 5 minutes, I turned the heat off letting the carrots sit and steep for 45 minutes.

Once the 45 minutes were up, I ran the liquid through a strainer, collecting the liquid and setting it to a boil.  Meanwhile, I let the carrots cool and squeezed them to collect the rest of juice.  I set the carrots aside and used them to make a carrot soup, which was more like a bisque.  Here is the recipe for that soup.

Three Pounds Carrot (after the extraction), 1 Large Onion, 2 Cups Vegetable or Chicken stock/Bullion, 1 Tablespoon fresh dill (more or less according to preference), Fresh milled pepper, Cayenne (optional) for a little heat, 1/2 (around 6 oz.) of English bitter or golden/tripel style ales, extra salt according to taste, 3 cloves garlic, Olive Oil for frying (3 Tbsp), small amounts of rosemary, thyme, basil, oregano for added flavor and depth. Caramelize the onions and add garlic near the end (use all the oil for this).  Add the rest of the carrots and spices.  Fry for several minutes until the carrots begin to caramelize and brown.  Bring heat up and add beer.  After a few minutes add the stock.  Heat for several minutes to reduce liquids (leaving some for processing).  Put into food processor and puree the mixture.  Eat with a darker, sweeter brown bread and beer that was included in stock or a Saison.  That was a rabbit trail…they like carrots.  Back to the sugar.

Okay, once you have all the liquid in the pot you are just boiling it down until it becomes thick and viscous. You want it to be thicker than molasses and may have to turn the heat down near the end.  A splash of lemon juice in the sugar will help it keep longer and actually aid in the fermentation process as well.  I held mine in fridge for a few weeks.  Once I was ready, I just added the sugar during my boil in the brewing process.  It was bit of work to get this sugar but it work very well in my beer…and I had fun experimenting. I’m thinking of calling it My 2010 Vision ESB.