IPA Ice Cream Proves Hops Aren’t Just for Beer

IPA Ice Cream
Image Courtesy of Salt & Straw

Looking for a sweet and festive undertaking to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? Try homemade IPA ice cream.

Much like brewing, making ice cream involves a bit of science and tact—but it’s nothing that the home chef can’t handle. Think of ice cream as a rich blank canvas to highlight the strong, hoppy flavor characteristic of IPA-style beers.

Time to put your brewer’s cap on and grab your favorite Irish brew or hazy American IPA. Here, we break down how to make your own boozy ice cream at home, starting with a solid foundation.

How to Make Homemade IPA Ice Cream 

Making homemade ice cream may sound intimidating, but rest assured it’s much easier than it looks.

Start with a good ice cream base from a reliable recipe. “It’s really hard to mess up, as long as you start with a great foundation,” says Tyler Malek, co-founder and head of innovation at Salt & Straw, an ice cream company based in Oregon. Having a base recipe keeps things organized and serves as a starting point from which you can tinker with a huge range of flavors—including the aromatic hops that define IPA-style beer.

Then, it’s time to add some boozy flavors. 

“You can’t just pour beer into ice cream,” shares Malek. “Its flavor isn’t concentrated enough to stand up to ice cream’s fat content. And if you try to cook off some of the water to intensify the flavor, you distort the character of the very beer you were trying to feature in the first place.”

The solution? Dry-hopping—just like a brewer would.

Dry-hopping entails steeping hops in alcohol to extract their fragrances. This harnesses the complex bitterness and aromas of hops that define IPA-style brews. 

To achieve the iconic flavor profile of IPA-style beer in ice cream form, Malek recommends steeping a combination of hop pellets in vodka before adding them to a caramel malt ice cream base. This results in a tasty IPA syrup that you can use in this creamy dessert. Bonus: You can use the leftover syrup in your next cocktail.

So, grab a bottle of your favorite fruity IPA and put on your brewer’s cap. It’s time to make IPA ice cream.

IPA Ice Cream

Recipe adapted from Salt & Straw Ice Cream Cookbook by Tyler Malek and JJ Goode

ÂĽ cup vodka, or other high-proof alcohol
1 teaspoon Citra hop pellets
3 tablespoons golden light liquid malt extract
ÂĽ cup caramel 40L malt
ÂĽ cup caramel 20L malt
1 teaspoon Columbus hop pellets
1 teaspoon Falconer’s Flight hop pellets
1 teaspoon Chinook hop pellets
3 cups Ice Cream base, very cold*(recipe to follow)
½ cup your favorite balanced, fruity-hopped IPA, cold

At least one day in advance, combine the vodka and Citra hops in a small glass jar and cover with an airtight lid. Steep for at least 24 but no more than 36 hours.

Pour the vodka mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a small bowl, pressing the solids lightly to extract as much liquid as possible. Reserve 1 tablespoon of the liquid for this recipe. Store the rest in the fridge for up to 3 days.

In a small pot, bring 2 cups water to a rolling boil. Reduce the heat to low, then stir in the liquid malt extract, caramel 40L malt, caramel 20L malt and Columbus hops. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes. Then, stir in the Falconer’s Flight hops and cook for 15 minutes more. Finally, add the Chinook hops and cook for 10 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and pour the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a small heatproof bowl, pressing the solids lightly to extract as much liquid as possible.

Fill another small mixing bowl with ice, then fill it halfway with water. Set the bowl containing the infused liquid into the ice water and stir to quickly cool the liquid. When it’s cold, stir in the reserved 1 tablespoon infused vodka and store leftover IPA syrup for one week.

Put the ice cream base, the cold beer and Âľ cup of the cold IPA syrup into a bowl and whisk to combine. Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and turn on the machine. Churn until the mixture has the texture of soft serve.

Transfer the churned ice cream into freezer-friendly containers. Cover with parchment paper, press down so the paper adheres to the ice cream and cover with a lid. Store in the coldest part of your freezer (farthest from the door) until firm, at least 6 hours. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Ice Cream Base

½ cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons dry milk powder
ÂĽ teaspoon xanthan gum
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 â…“ cups whole milk
1 â…“ cups heavy cream

Combine the sugar, dry milk and xantham gum in a small bowl and stir well.

Pour the corn syrup into a medium pot and stir in the whole milk.

Add the sugar mixture to the pot and immediately whisk vigorously until smooth. Set the pot over medium heat and cook, stirring often and adjusting the heat if necessary to prevent a simmer, until the sugar has fully dissolved, about 3 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat.

Add the cream and whisk until fully combined. Transfer the mixture to an airtight container and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 6 hours or up to 24 hours for better texture and flavor. Stir the base back together if it separates during resting time. Store the base in the fridge for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 3 months.


Do You Need an Ice Cream Maker to Make IPA Ice Cream?

Nope! An ice cream maker isn’t necessary to make ice cream at home. To make this IPA ice cream without an ice cream maker, freeze the mixture of ice cream base, beer and IPA syrup after whisking. After 30 minutes, churn the mixture manually using a whisk or hand mixer and pop it back in the freezer. Repeat this process until it has the texture of soft serve before proceeding to the next step. 

However, it may make your life easier. If you’re looking to make ice cream making a lengthier pursuit, Malek encourages scoping out Amazon or a local thrift store for an affordable option to get started.

Where Can You Buy Hops?

Malek purchased the Citra, Columbus,  Falconer’s Flight and Chinook hops used in this recipe at a local brewery. If you prefer to have items shipped right to your door, a wide selection of hop pellets can be found on Amazon.

Published on March 9, 2023