beer and food

Things to do with crap beer III – chutney?

A big off jar of chutney
A big off jar of chutney

We’re going through a little chutney obsession at the moment, and naturally we’ve been investigating using beer in the process.

Googling “ale chutney” gets you lots of results, with lots of recipes telling you to use a good ale. However we couldn’t find much that used other types of beer. VelkyAl has made a chilli chutney with Primator Double 24 and also a roast onion and garlic jam using a nicy malty Chodovar.

I wonder whether you need to use good beers? Given that you usually add vinegar, not to mention sugar, onions and other strong-tasting ingredients, and that you cook it for ages and then store it for months…will the quality of the beer still come through?

We’re going to try using beer in a number of chutneys over the next few months, including good ales, ropey lambic-y homebrew and crap lager that we just can’t seem to get rid of. The principle for adding beer to chutney seems to be to replace half to most of the vinegar with the same proportion of beer.

We won’t know for a few months what has worked and what not, so if any of you have great recipes to share, do let us know!

The Chutney pictured above has good beer in, as it goes — Brugse Zot — along with plums, apple and onion. It already tastes nice after just a week.


8 replies on “Things to do with crap beer III – chutney?”

I thought Velky Al’s chilli chutney looked great, but I’m finding it hard to find chillis other than the regular kind here in Muenster. Weird.

I’m looking forward to the results of your experiments, and hopefully some tasty and tested recipes 😉 Although I’ll have to make something before Christmas myself!

mmmmmmmmmmm hope there is a jar on my table at Christmas, one with chilli sounds good to me

Hi there
I’m looking to make a load of ale chutney to dish out at Christmas.
Seeing as I live in Bath, I wanted to use some of the really nice Bath Ales on tap here. Only problem is, I can’t seem to find a good recipe online!

Don’t suppose you could share the recipe you are using for your experiment…?


Bob — Boak assures me she’ll give you the recipe when she gets near a PC in the next couple of days. From what I saw, you just bung a load of vinegar in a pan and cook it until there is no oxygen left in the house.

For the Brugs Zot chutney I used:
1.5lb plums
8oz mixed green and red tomatoes
8oz onions
1.5lb cooking apples
6oz stem ginger
6 cloves of garlic
200g sugar
bottle of Brugs Zot plus 200ml cider vinegar

Then in a hop bag I added 6 dried chilies, 8 cloves and a load of peppercorns.

I also made one with mostly plums (bought a bowl for a pound down the market) and some of our homebrew (it was what was left from the cask)

My experience so far is that the beer does not come through. I think you’d need to add it in greater quantities. One “real ale” chutney I bought had hop oils and malt extract added, presumably to add the beer flavour back!

Great, thanks guys!

I seem to be able to find loads of recipes for standard chutneys but none for ale chutney, presumably I could follow any recipe and replace at least half the vinegar for ale?

Do the plums, apples and tomatoes form a better chutney than say just a standard apple chutney?

I need to get cooking if I’m to get this batch made in time for Christmas!!

Hi Bob
I’ve generally been replacing half the vinegar with beer. Maybe that’s why te beer flavour doesn’t come through so well.

I think you can make chutney out of pretty much anything!

Quantities: this recipe filled one half litre jar and two little jars (think Coleman’s mustard size jars). I don’t seem to get the yield that various recipes suggest, so maybe I’m reducing it too much… I tend to have several jars of varying sizes prepared as I can never predict how much I’m going to end up with.

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