Doc Alworth's Healthful Olde-Time Nutritional Stout Tonic and Flu Virus Remedy

A hundred years ago, milk stouts were regarded as nutritional. This was no doubt the function of a clever ad campaign by Mackeson, but it worked. Much like Americans now dose themselves with echinacea, in pre-war England they prescribed a glass of stout. I have attempted to revive the practice under the theory that if I'm going to get a placebo effect, it might as well come from stout.

In my basement is a slightly failed homebrew that strikes me, in my addled delirium, as something like a perfect health tonic. It's a stout of reasonable heft (export stout strength) with a couple ounces of Dagoba chocolate and one and a half chipotles. The failure came with the chipotles, which contributed WAY more fire than they were intended.* My goal was to extract almost no fire but a bit of the smoke. I wanted a stout with a flavor complexity drinkers would be hard pressed to identify; I ended up, more or less, unintentionally making Roots Habanero Stout.

But I may be onto something. Stouts, as we've established, are healthful. Chilis are loaded with Vitamins, B, C and carotene. They reduce pain, fight cancer, and lower cholesterol and insulin levels. And very recent findings show that theobromine in chocolate is more effective than codeine at relieving coughs (also tastier--but less fun). I believe two bottles of this beer might be more effective than a mug of echinecea or a slug of NyQuil.

I will test the hypothesis and complete this post on the morrow with my findings.


The morrow.
One program note: I couldn't drink two beers, and the one hit me, as Sally sometimes says, like a mallet to the head. Today I awoke with a cheese grater lodged in my throat. The trajectory is downward, as precipitously as the economy's. Would the descent have been sharper still had I skipped the stout? Surely. This is damn little consolation.

Back to bed.

*This is odd, because I was extremely conservative in my use. I purchased both the little black/red chipotles (morita), which are sweeter but less smoky, and the larger, spicier, smokier brown ones (tipico) I tested them out by steeping in water to determine quality and then decided to try one of each. I cut them in half, removed the seeds, and used only half the brown pepper. I prepped them by scorching in a skillet until the oils were roused, and then soaking in hot (not boiling) water for a half hour. Only then did I add them to the carboy just one day before bottling. Ah, the best laid plans.