Mikey B is back with another blog about experimenting with the addition of candy to your beer. He's been working on his Skittlebräu for the last few years and now he will explain his method.
 

I’ve been brewing for a long time. I’ve made some good beers, I’ve made some bad beers. Every time new friends find out that I brew, they ask for samples. And almost always, the inevitable questions arises, can you brew a ________ beer? And you know what? Most of the time I can. For example, a spice beer (mint chocolate stout), a pepper beer (hatch chili blonde ale), and candy beer. The last of which has one of my favorites that I've been perfecting for a while: Skittles® beer! I know, you may have seen similar blog posts out there, but let me tell you the RIGHT way to do this.
 
Skittles® and beer. Yes, you read that correctly, Skittles® and beer. It all started with an episodes of the Simpsons. Homer walks into the Quickie Mart and asks Apu for some Skittlebräu, the beer with the candy floating in it. That got me thinking, could I make a Skittle® beer? What style would lend itself best to Skittles®? It's been through a couple variations so far. In 2015 Skittlebräu won 2nd Place in the Martin House Riverside Shootout. This year it made it to the second round at the Bluebonnet Brew Off, and I’m told it was very close to placing.
 
But my key point here is that before you decide to make any ridiculous beer, make sure you know how to brew the base style. Don’t try to brew a style that you don’t already know how to brew well. Learn your base beer. Learn your basic brewing principals. Then begin to experiment. Because the beer needs to be good FIRST. My Skittlebräu base is an American Cream Ale. Because I learned how to brew that well and I have brewed it a few times. I nailed down a solid recipe and fermentation schedule. Then I made the decision to have fun with it.
 
Once I had a great base beer to start with, my largest concern was how to add the Skittles®, when to add the Skittles®, and how would the sugar content affect the beer. When I brewed my first batch I came across some hurdles. I decided to add a bag of regular flavor Skittles® with 15 minutes left in the boil. At that time I was using a “hop spider,” and I tossed the full bag into the spider. There was a tremendous amount of Skittle® flavor at the end of the boil. I was feeling great, until clean up time. The Skittles® did not melt, and there was a disk of melted Skittle® material lodged in the spider. Still, I had hope for the beer, so I continued. I fermented at 60 for primary, then dropped it down to 34 for a lagering period of 4 weeks. While it lagered I added a second bag of Skittles®, call it “dry Skittling.” The finished beer was a clean, crisp cream ale that tasted like candy. It had the impression of eating all 5 flavors of Skittles® and then washing it down with a cold beer.
 
Now let me tell you, the other guys at the shop gave me a lot of grief over this beer. [Editor's Note: So true.] You may have heard some of it during an episode or two of Come and Brew It Radio. I still get a lot of grief, but I let it slide. The Martin House Riverside shootout was coming up, and I decided to brew the wackiest beer I could come up with, Skittlebräu! Martin House Brewery loves the unique, the big, and the fun. So I upped the ante and did an Imperial American Cream Ale with Skittles®. Here is the recipe I brewed:
 

Mikey B's Skittlebräu
5 Gallons (20L)
O.G. 1.059
F.G. 1.014
IBU 20.1

6# Briess 6-Row
6# Briess Pils
1# Briess Carapils
1# Briess Flaked Rice
Strisselspalt 20 IBU’s @ 60 Minutes
1 bag (14 oz) Skittles® @ 15 min
1 bag (14 oz) Skittles® in secondary
US-05, or  Wyeast 1056 American Ale Yeast

 

This time I remembered the lesson I had learned from the first attempt. I soaked the Skittles® in vodka, which effectively melts them. I added the entire amount of vodka and Skittles® directly to the boil, as I have since stopped using the hop spider. I did the same for the secondary additions. The final beer was fantastic. It's a great cream ale recipe, and the addition of Skittles® adds a fruity sweet complexity. I have yet to have someone say they didn’t like it, even the ones that claim they don’t like beer. For the third attempt I took out the flaked rice, thinking the sugar content of the Skittles® would be sufficient. All others remained the same. This third version was equally as good as the first two. Making second round at Bluebonnet was a shock. I knew I had a great fun beer, but reading the scoresheets was just extra confirmation. This has become a regular house beer for me. I am constantly getting requests to brew it so my friends can try it, and everyone that tries it wants more.
 
So, once you have done "the impossible" and made a unique beverage like a candy beer, what do you do next? Well, you can improve upon the recipe or branch out into new territory. For example, the next version of Skittlebräu I’m going to try is a lager version. I’m going to do all Pilsner malt, with some lactose to add residual sweetness. For my next challenge--and blog post--I’ll be brewing a golden strong ale with mango gummy bears instead of a candy sugar. So, stay tuned for the Mango Gummy Beer!
 
Disclaimer/Notice: Texas Brewing Inc. is in no way affiliated with the Wrigley Company, a division of Mars, Inc., that produces the tasty rainbow colored treats referenced in this article. This blog is merely a suggestion for experimenting with your brewing by adding candy. We do not offer a kit for Mikey's Skittlebräu. However, we do suggest you try adding candy to our Cool, Tx Cream Ale and Brazos Blonde ale kits. At least until Mikey's Imperial Cream Ale recipe is available in kit form. Then, just add Skittles®!
 
Mikey

-Mikey B

Mikey has been brewing since 1997 and moved onto all grain in 2012. He has worked at Texas Brewing for 4 years now. You can usually find him there on some Fridays and most Saturdays. He's also available by email at mikey@texasbrewinginc.com.