Lactarius Rubidus is the mushroom commonly known as the Candy Cap. I first encountered these curiosities in November 2014 when I attended a lecture and tasting event hosted by Slow Food Seattle featuring two Seattle authors, Becky Selengut (also a chef) and Langdon Cook. The Candy Caps were both prepared as a drinking tonic, and dried so attendees could indulge in their intense bouquet — unmistakable, pungent maple syrup. That’s correct, these mushrooms smell exactly like maple syrup (with a faint earthiness in the background).
As soon as I smelled them I began thinking about how they could be used in the brewing process and I soon told Gregory about them. Gregory was able to find some dried mushrooms for purchase and we began devising a recipe that could incorporate them in a similar fashion to the previous Chanterelle beer we brewed.
After some inventive discussion, we decided that we wanted to rehydrate the mushrooms in red wine first and then add them to a Belgian style strong dark ale. We brewed the base beer to BJCP style guidelines and used a freshly opened bottle of Solace (the Finger Lakes region’s Inspire Moore Winery’s 2009 dessert wine) to restore the fungi. The results are an intense and tasty sipper of a dessert beer; the recipe, process, and tasting notes are below:
Lactarius Rubidus Belgian Style Dark Strong Ale
Batch Size (Gal): 5.5
Total Grain (Lbs): 21.00
Anticipated OG: 1.098
Anticipated SRM: 21.0
Anticipated IBU: 23
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75%
Wort Boil Time: 90 Minutes
61.90% — 13.00 Lbs. Pilsner (BE)
19.05% — 4.00 Lbs. Munich (BE)
04.76% — 1.00 Lbs. American White Wheat
04.76% — 1.00 Lbs. Aromatic Barley Malt
04.76% — 1.00 Lbs. Flaked Oats
02.38% — 0.50 Lbs. CaraMunich (BE)
01.19% — 0.25 Lbs. Chocolate Malt
01.19% — 0.25 Lbs. Special B (BE)
0.70 oz. Magnum (Pellet, 14.0% AA) @ 60 min.
0.60 oz. Styrian Golding (Pellet, 5.4% AA) @ 2 min.
1.00 tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 10 min.
1.00 Whirlfloc @ 15 min.
27g Red wine rehydrated Candy Cap mushrooms @ 32 days
Wyeast 1762 — Belgian Abbey II
1.00 g Calcium Chloride
Saccharification rest – 80 min @ 152F
Mash out — 10 min @ 172F
01.17.16 — Made a large starter of Belgian Abbey II
Brewed on 01.20.16 with Gregory
01.20.16 — Chilled wort to 68F, pitched the yeast and put onto brewbelt
01.21.16 — Vigorous fermentation activity after 18 hours of pitching yeast
01.25.16 — Removed brewbelt
02.03.16 — Transferred to secondary after two week primary
02.17.16 — Split the batch and bottled two gallons for 2.5 volumes CO2; added 27g candy cap mushrooms to one cup of dessert port wine and one cup water, added rehydrated mushrooms & one cup juices to remaining 3 gallons of beer after 2 hour rehydration period.
03.21.16 — Took FG of mushroom portion (1.010) and kegged the remaining 3 gallons of beer.
Russet brown-red with great clarity and a moderate white head stand. Nose is dominated by notes of maple syrup backed with rich Munich malt signifiers — toasted bread and caramel. Light dark fruit esters akin to fig and rose pedal-like alcohol notes. Some faint berry and spice from the dessert wine evident. Big, lush body with flavors following the nose. Getting a hint of cola. Very smooth finish leaning on the malty side but with enough alcohol to balance.
Calculated OG: 1.098
Calculated FG: 1.010
Approx. ABV: 11.55%