Beer of the Week

Beer of the Week – Sly Persuader


Reading stories online about the Yeastie Boys Spoonbender series, I kept coming across a sentence that always went something like this: the beers use botrytised viogner in the form of candi sugar in the brewing process.

Every time I read that sentence I thought of the author, “you don’t have a clue what that means. You’ve just taken that info from the Yeastie Boys website”. (this was especially obvious in those pieces that called it “candy sugar”). Because that’s what us writers do sometimes, paraphrase things we don’t understand and present them in such a way that makes it look like we actually do understand. And hopefully no-one catches us out.

I noticed because I had no damn idea what that sentence meant. They take wine and magically turn it into candi sugar? What? It made the Yeastie Boys sound like alcoholic Wily Wonkas. So I went to the source and – via the wonders of Twitter – asked them how the hell they did that. The answer was a cooking ingredient known as invert sugar, a gloopy clear substance with the consistency of honey. They just took a recipe for invert sugar – like this one, maybe – and replaced the water with wine.

Then, I assume, they take the resulting gloopy stuff and use it as a fermentable in the beer. While I’m still not 100 per cent sure I got this right, I am certain of something else – the Sly Persuader really messed with my head. It’s a pale ale, but made with that sugar stuff. So it’s a beer that tastes like a wine. Or maybe it’s a wine that tastes like beer. See, I still don’t bloody know.

If you imagine a situation where all the beer in the world was on one side of the room (yes, you will need to imagine a very bloody big room) and all the wine on the other side, the Sly Persuader would be sitting in the middle of the room. Presumably with the other two beers in the series which I haven’t tried yet but will surely also mess with my head.

And I’m sure the Yeastie Boys will be pleased with the effect their beer has had on my head. I like the Sly Persuader – I’m just not sure what it is.

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