Stout Beer Jelly

I am a workaholic.  Almost every waking minute of every day, I’m either working in the garden, planting seeds, making jam and jelly, cooking, researching new recipes, feeding the chickens,  picking flowers, planting flowers, playing in the compost pile…. the list could literally go on forever.  Over the past few days, though, the news coming out of Japan seems more and more bleak and I am getting more and more distracted. I am supposed to be planting flower seeds in the greenhouse right now, and planning summer gardens. 

The LA Times is reporting that a plume of radiation is heading across the ocean right for us, but that it’s totally fine. (Small amounts of radiation headed for california, but no health risk seen, March 17) In a column intended to answer questions about the radiation risks, the New York Times offered this information to a concerned Oakland resident:

. . . experts I’ve interviewed strongly doubt that there will be any significant risk on the West Coast, and say there is no reason to take the potassium iodide unless high levels of radioactive iodine develop. But again, scientists consider high levels unlikely in the United States. In addition, about 98 percent of a person’s dose comes from drinking contaminated milk, and if fallout were to reach here (again, unlikely) most people could protect themselves by not drinking milk or eating dairy products. Children are much more vulnerable than adults.

— Denise Grady, Health Reporter

So if I understand correctly, as long as we don’t drink any milk everything will be okay?  What?

I understand that the general gist of things is that we’re probably going to be fine.  Do I trust the government to keep me accurately informed if the situation changes for the worse? Kind of.  Not really.  Meanwhile I am sitting in my living room watching P. Diddy and Ke$ha on MTV and reading St. Patricks Day green food recipes.  The violent contrast between what I see on the news and what I see here, in my house, out in my garden, in my neighborhood, is surreal, and kind of makes my brain hurt.  I end up thinking about really strange things…

Reaction #1: Instinctually run through the Civilization Collapse Checklist:  food and water, firearms and ammunition, camping gear, flashlights and lots of spare batteries, a good knife and basic tools, the first aid kit, and lots of seeds for future gardens.   Got it, done.  The Crazy Flag flies high here, it’s true.   I think this is a side-effect of living off the grid, since we actually have these supplies on hand anyway.

Reaction #2, now that the important stuff is taken care of as best as I know how.  Make Beer Jelly: I don’t know where this idea came from, but if you’re in the mood to push on through the bad news, celebrate St. Patty’s, and make some pretty crazy jelly, I guess this is a great idea. It’s really unique jelly and a little bit weird, but kind of brilliant too.

Stout Beer Jelly

I used Guinness for this recipe, and I can already taste the grilled cheese sandwich with pumpernickel bread, jelly, cheddar cheese and sliced apples.  It would also work well as a glaze for grilled lamb.  Or tossed with roasted parsnips and bacon.  The possibilities are endless. I have had very mixed reviews on this one so far, with some people going completely crazy about it and others deciding it was “too weird.” In the next few weeks, though, it will definitely show up at the farmers market, in a slightly more refined form with some fruit and spices.

makes: 7 half pint jars

skill level: easy


  • 2 12 ounce bottles of stout beer (I used Guinness)
  • 1 package powdered Sure-Jell pectin (I’m usually a pectin snob, but you know what? We’re making beer jelly here. So screw it).
  • 3 1/2 cups sugar

1. Bring canner to a boil.  Wash jars and lids.  Put lids in a bowl and cover with boiling water with the canner.

2. In a large, non-reactive pot, bring the beer and powdered pectin to a rolling boil.  It will be very frothy, that’s normal.  Stir in sugar and bring back to a rolling boil. Cook on high heat for two full minutes.

3. Pour hot jelly into jars.  It will still be very frothy.  I decided to leave a thick layer of foam on top of the jellies to imitate the way dark beer looks in a glass, but you could certainly skim it off with a spoon if you like.  I only wanted a little froth on top, so I ladled the jelly into jars and led the air bubbles rise to the top for a few minutes before I screwed the lids on.  Wipe rims clean, screw on lids, and process half pint jars for 5 minutes.

4. Crack open another beer, toast some pumpernickel or rye bread, spread on some cream cheese and your new beer jelly, and eat up!

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27 thoughts on “Stout Beer Jelly

  1. Oh. My. God. I’m SO making this! I can’t even believe this exists! I don’t know where you came up with the idea. But you are officially my hero!!!!

  2. I’ve tried beer jelly over christmas holidays, it was a stout beer. I have been looking for a recipe these past few months. Beer jelly is great and it also goes well with grilled chicken.

    1. knit- you know, it’s always come out as a fairly soft set jelly. I was planning on editing the recipe this week and adding a little apple juice to up the pectin… I might wait for the new version before you make it. It’s so delicious though- you’ve gotta do the pumpernickel/cheddar/beer jelly grilled cheese!

  3. I am going to give it a go. I am going to a wine festival next wekend and am bringing picnic food. I can see it on a roast chicken sandwich. And I will add a bit of additional pectin in the form of either Ball Flex or Pomona’s to make it set up a bit more than.

      1. amanda- sorry it took so long to reply! my internet connection is horrible here. This is a really weird jelly- if you’re a big beer fan, you’ll probably love it, but if you’re not, you’ll probably taste it and wonder why anyone would make that. (My boyfriend tried it and said it was disgusting, but my dad is crazy about it and so are a few of our farmers market customers.) I’m not sure what the pomona’s recipe would be…. I would add a few teaspoons of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar, because the set comes out a little loose with this recipe.

  4. I’m thinking of making this. It looks great! When you say that the set comes out loose, do you mean like a syrup, or like a loose jelly? I was all set to make Paul Virant’s beer jam, but he says it’s more like a syrup, which isn’t what I want. I’d be fine with a loose jelly, though.

    1. this isn’t really like a syrup. I think I mentioned in another comment- add a couple teaspoons of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice in with the beer and it should be a pretty nicely set jelly- maybe a hair on the loose side, but not bad. Let me know how it comes out :)

  5. I played with this recipe today and I ended up with a very well set jelly that looks and tastes far more amazing than I was hoping for. Even the non-beer drinkers in the house are amazed with the results. =)

    I followed this recipe exactly as written except for changing the pectin to the low-sugar variety (pink box if using Sure-Jell), as well as adding the juice of 1/2 a lemon. The added acid and the extra oomph of the low-sugar pectin had this setting up extremely fast.

    A few notes worth mentioning:
    *I ended up with 12 of the 4oz Ball jars.
    *Guinness hangs on to its nitrogen carbonation remarkably well. I opened my bottles 24 hours ago and still had an incredible amount of foam.
    *Use a large pot. 24oz of beer doesn’t seem like much but mine expanded to fill my 4qt pot; I was sweating bullets at the end of the two minute boil.

    Enjoy! =)

  6. I found your beer jelly recipe a few months back and am now ready to make some for gifts for the holidays. I’m going to make the 1st batch with a seasonal beer by Blue Moon called Harvest Pumpkin Ale, then another with a Sam Adams seasonal as it’s a friends favorite, and lastly the Guinness and I’ve taken note of the changes other canners have suggested. Thanks Caroline :o) I’ll let you know how they come out :o)

  7. I made a stout jelly a few weeks ago using a very similar recipe. It was too sweet for me, and I didn’t like the finished texture- it was really firm, instead of spreadable. Can I reduce the sugar without messing up the final product? How can I make a more spreadable jelly? Thanks for posting this!

  8. What a happy ooccasion, to find your link! I’ve been wanting to find a beer jelly recipe since last October, when my husband & I purchased some at a farm market stand during the Reedsburg, Wisc Fermentation Fest.

  9. I just made this and ended up with 5 half pints instead of 7. Is it likely that I boiled it too long? That would be unusual for me! I used the low sugar pectin also, and it seems to be setting just fine. It is really interesting, I’m excited to use it for a marinade soon.

  10. I have a question on selling a farmer’s market, do you have worry about drinking ages? I wonder if you add enough other stuff (ie sugar, pectin, lemon, fruit) that the alcohol content would not be an issue. Or that the processing would cook out the alcohol.

  11. Thanks for the recipe. I added 3 tsp of lemon juice and it worked great. I was at that fermentation fest in reedsburg also where a jelly vendor was selling smoked porter jelly. It was awesome. I ended up making some smoked porter from an all grain recipe. Making the jelly was insanely easy.

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