This unique blue ginger sugar wine conconction was featured in Chop & Brew – Episode 35: Brewing Up A Cure. It was hand-crafted for the event by Soul Bender Brewing’s Gregor and Michelle Bender as an homage to Breaking Bad. Thanks to the Benders for their recipe and notes below.
The Blue Stuff – AKA Big Blue, Blue Magic, Blue Sky or Simply Blue
The Blue Stuff was based on the rock candy that was used on the set as crystal meth. I usually don’t use anything artificial in my brew, but getting a blue color from nature is not easy. I found some recipes online stating that Americolor Soft Gel Paste Food Color, Sky Blue was the exact food coloring used in the show. My first plan was to brew the lightest beer I could and then add the food coloring to it. I started out with a batch of Kolsch and dropped a few drops into a glass, but it turned green. Adding a lot more, a deep blue was possible. But at those levels, it was a much darker blue than on Breaking Bad, you could taste the food coloring and your tongue turned blue. I thought about what I could make that was clearer than a Kolsch and would let the blue come through.
The only thing I could think of was some experimentation I had done with kilju (sugar wine). To give it a mass appeal and lots of flavor, I brewed it with some golden raisins and lemon grass and then dry hopped it with Citra and Amarillo. I back-sweetened it with lemon zest and juice, lime zest and juice and fresh ginger. It ended up tasting a lot like a mix of sprite and ginger ale with just a hint of crystal meth. I fermented with some wine yeast that I had on hand, but I think this would be interesting with a fruity Belgian strain. I would try to end up with 5.5 gallons after the boil so I probably started with six and a half but that varies a lot. Really what I do is just boil until I reach the desired volume so the 30 minutes might be the part that varies. Also I use carbon filter tap water.
The Blue Stuff
Specialty Beer (23 A) – although not technically a beer
Batch Size: 5.00 gal
Boil Time: 30 min
ABV: 8.1 %
Boil the following in estimated 6.5 g water.
6 lbs Table Sugar/Sucrose
4 oz raisins
2 oz ginger root
2.2 oz Lemongrass
0.5 oz Citra hops
Add Irish most at 10 min before flame-out with 2 Tbsp Yeast Nutrient
Ferment with wine or other yeast (see notes above)
After fermentation, dry hop for four days with:
2.0 oz Amarillo [9.20%aa]
2.0 oz Citra [12.00%aa]
After dry hopping completed, cold crash and rack to purged keg.
Backsweetened and flavored with syrup:
2 lb sugar
4 oz thinly sliced ginger
1/2 gallon RO water
Simmer for one hour
Add juice and zest of 4 lemons and 4 limes
Add 10 drops Americolor Soft Gel Paste Food Color, Sky Blue:
Steep 15 mins
Add 6 grams polyclar VTK sorbate and sulfite
Add to keg through strainer and shake well
Cold store 3 days then closed transfer to new keg to leave polyclar and sediment behind