How to Tweak Your Beer's Flavor with a French Press

Try out these five recipes to see just how easy it is to amp up your standard brew.

There are thousands upon thousands of delicious beers in this world we call home.

And while we love a standby six pack as much as the next guy, drinking the same beer time and time again can become a bit of a stale tradition. Obviously, you can try any number of other beers available at the local shop – there's an insane range of options in today's craft beer landscape.

But if you want to get a little more DIY with it, pull out a french press and use it to infuse a brew with spices, herbs, fruit, or just about anything else that's lying around your pantry. The process is easy: add a handful of whatever ingredients you're using, pour in your beer, wait five minutes, and plunge. Then you're ready to drink.

You can let your imagination and beer supply determine your own recipes, but if you want some ready-made formulas for success, try any of the below.

Terrapin Liquid Bliss

With dark chocolate and smashed peanuts

Terrapin's peanut butter and chocolate porter, Liquid Bliss, sounds pretty great as-is. But it’s a bit difficult to pick out those individual notes amid the roasty malts and mild bitterness in the brew. The solution: customize those flavors up yourself.

Rinse a small handful of peanuts off with water, so as to not make the beer foam from adding too much salt, then smash them up. Then take a large square or two from a chocolate bar, preferably something high in cacao content, and slice it up finely. Drop both into your French press with a bottle of the beer, and let the magic happen.

The crushed peanuts help bring the peanut butter flavoring out, and the bitterness of the chocolate helps to balance some of the sweetness of the actual beer itself.

Brooklyn Lager

With lemon and mint

Brooklyn Lager is an easy-drinking, anytime kind of beer, with a caramel malt base that finishes with crisp and floral undertones. Keeping that in mind, adding some light and citrusy flavor makes it all the better.

Zest half of a lemon, then add the shavings into your press along with a large handful of torn-up mint leaves. Add your beer, then wait. The mint will add a refreshing herbal note, while the lemon contributes a slight tartness on the aftertaste.

Left Hand Milk Stout

With cold brew and dark chocolate

Milk stouts add a bit of sweetness to the extra dark, roasty notes of regular stouts. To help round out that creamy flavor here, add two ounces of cold-brewed coffee and a few cacao bits. If you don't have any cold brew on hand, you can smash up a handful of coffee beans and use that instead.

The result is somewhere in between a dark, boozy beer and a sweet, slightly bitter café au lait. Hell, you can even have one for breakfast.

Cigar City Maduro Brown

With nutmeg and cinnamon

Cigar City's oatmeal-infused brew is a solid example of a brown ale: it's got a frothy white head, light but notable aroma of roasted nuts and toasty malts, and smooth coffee and caramel notes on the taste. Brighten those flavors by bringing some spice to the mix.

Take one whole nutmeg and smash it directly in the middle. Though the nut will have an amazingly strong smell to it, it won’t overpower the beer, so you can drop the entire thing into the press. Then snap a cinnamon stick and add both ends in with the nutmeg. You'll still get the crisp brown ale notes of the base beer, but with a spice-driven aftertaste.

Bell's Oberon Ale

With lavender and basil

It's kind of a random assortment of flavors, but trust us, this works beautifully. Oberon is a warm-weather wheat beer with an especially light and clean flavor, so a handful of ripped-up basil help out with a lightly herbal note that lends a uniquely fresh flavor. And dropping in just a pinch of lavender helps mellow out the beer's spice-filled aftertaste by adding a mild floral aspect.

After you've tried those, feel free to experiment with whatever sounds good to you. After all, these aren't necessarily set-in-stone recipes for the very best infused beers – it's a subjective process of trial-and-error, so you'll have to mess around to see what best suits your palate. Give it a shot the next time you've got a spare bottle and some ingredients hanging around, and find out what works for you.

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