Beer Jam Recipe

Somewhere between a thick syrup and a true jam, this beer jam recipe is an excellent glaze for simple meat dishes.

From "The Preservation Kitchen"
October 2015

  • Serve beer jam over beef cheeks as a rich syrup—or add it to Manhattans in place of the more traditional vermouth.
    Photo copyright © 2012 by Jeff Kauck
  • Paul Virant presents expert preserving techniques, sophisticated recipes, and seasonal menus inspired by the fare at his Chicago restaurant, Vie.
    Cover courtesy Ten Speed Press

Total Hands-On Time: 1 hr 30 min

Preparation Time: 30 min

Cook Time: 1 hr

Yield: 6 half-pints, plus 1 4-ounce jar

Re-imagine seasonal eating with Paul Virant’s creative jams, relishes and preserves in The Preservation Kitchen (Ten Speed Press, 2012). Clear instructions ensure safe canning practices without inhibiting the artistry of unusual flavor partnerships: summer fruit served with meats and winter produce, or delicate spring vegetables flavored with the robust herbs and spices typical of fall cuisine. The following beer jam recipe is from “Jams, Marmalades, Conserves, and Butters.”

You can purchase this book from the MOTHER EARTH NEWS store: The Preservation Kitchen.

This isn’t really jam in the classic sense. Formed by simmering a few bottles of stout with sugar, spices, and apple pectin, it’s more like a delicious, dark syrup. It is also the rare year-round preserve at Vie. Most of it goes into our popular beer jam Manhattans, but some finds its way into the kitchen, where I’ve used it to glaze beef cheeks or pair with a wedge of Irish-style Cheddar.

For the ultimate beer jam, you can splurge on four bottles of Goose Island’s Bourbon County Stout, a special-occasion beer aged for 100 days in barrels that previously held bourbon. After aging, the inky beer gives off notes of vanilla, cara­mel, and smoke, which echo the spices in the jam. But that beer is special—and expensive. Unaged dark beers, like milk stout, also make fine beer jam. Nathan Sears, my chef de cuisine at Vie, has also made this recipe with balsamic vinegar instead of beer, which makes a nice accent for blanched green beans.


• 4 12-ounce bottles stout beer (55% of total volume)
• 4-2/3 cups sugar (35% of total volume)
• 1 lemon, juiced (1% of total volume)
• 2 vanilla beans, split
• 10 allspice berries
• 3 cloves, whole
• 2 star anise
• 1 large strip orange zest
• 1 cup pectin (9% of total volume)


1. In a large, heavy-bottomed pot over high heat, bring the beer, sugar, lemon juice, vanilla beans, allspice berries, cloves, star anise, and orange zest to a boil. Remove from the heat, transfer to a storage container, and refriger­ate overnight or up to 5 days.

2. Strain the liquid and save the vanilla beans for another use. Pour into a large, wide pot and bring to a boil over high heat—be careful that the beer doesn’t boil over. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reaches about 215 degrees F and has the texture of light syrup, 25 to 35 minutes.

3. Scald 6 half-pint jars and one 4-ounce jar in a large pot of simmering water fitted with a rack—you will use this pot to process the jars. Right before filling, put the jars on the counter. Meanwhile, soak the lids in a pan of hot water to soften the rubber seal.

4. Transfer the jam to a heat-proof pitcher and pour into the jars, leaving a 1/2-inch space from the rim of the jar. (Depending on how much you reduced the jam, you may not need the small jar.) Wipe the rims with a clean towel, seal with the lids, then screw on the bands until snug but not tight.

5. Place the jars in the pot with the rack and add enough water to cover the jars by about 1 inch. Bring the water to a boil and process the jars for 10 minutes (start the timer when the water reaches a boil). Turn off the heat and leave the jars in the water for a few minutes. Remove the jars from the water and let cool completely.

More Recipes from The Preservation Kitchen:

Smoked Apple Butter Recipe
Pressed and Pickled Eggplant Recipe

Reprinted with permission from The Preservation Kitchen, by Paul Virant and Kate Leahy, copyright 2012, published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Buy this book from our store: The Preservation Kitchen.

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