I finally got around to making that Lamb's Wool, an 18th century form of English mulled beer that I wanted to try to make over Christmas. But I never found the time to core the apples, bake the apples, heat the beer, baste the apples and sit down to a meal of hot backed apples and mulled beer.
Fortunately, we live in a modern age. An age of miracles. An age where apples can be dried. When did they figure out how to dry an apple anyway? Right around when infomercials started I bet. Anyway, I poured a bottle of Leffe Brown and another of Southern Tier dark porter into a pot on the stove, grated in nutmeg and real cinnamon stick and floated some dried apple slices as the whole thing simmered. I used cinnamomum verum and not the one dimensional more acrid and more common cinnamomum aromaticum. Call me a snob but I warned you. I was looking for dark malty, limited bitter beers. Any duration of simmering and reduction can make the bitterness of beer go way too far.
The effect was surprisingly like hot cocoa as opposed to hot chocolate. Rich yet a touch dry. In fact, I completely get the idea of buttered ale as a wee nob wouldn't go amiss (...and how many times have we all thought that?) I left the swelling apple slice in the mug as I wanted to replicate the whole "eat the apple" thing and, as I noted it's dehydration was being reversed by re-beer-ficiation, I figured it would be tasty. It was. Next time I put in five times the dry apple.