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Deep-fried beer is a snack item that is prepared by injecting beer into small pockets of dough, which are then placed into hot oil for a short amount of time. The beer is not actually fried, as it never comes into direct contact with the oil. In fact, the dough pockets are left in the oil for such a short period of time that the beer typically remains cold. This results in a unique sensation when deep-fried beer is eaten, due to the hot dough and cold beer. Any type of dough and beer can be used to make these snacks, though the first examples of deep-fried beer used pretzel dough and a dry stout, which is a type of dark beer.
There is long history of frying food in oil, which can be done with or without batter depending on the particular food. Deep-frying is typically a very fast method of cooking, since the temperature of the oil is so hot. The high temperatures can also prevent foods from absorbing a great deal of oil, since moisture in the food tends to evaporate and push the oil away. Optimum temperatures for deep-frying vary depending on the type of food and batter, though somewhere between 345–375 °F (about 175 and 190 °C) is usually desired. If the temperature is too low, or the food is left in too long, then oil will tend to soak in.
Though it is technically impossible to fry a liquid, deep-fried beer is one primary example of the fried food phenomenon. The beer is "fried" by placing it inside small pockets of dough that are made using the same process that is used for creating stuffed pasta. Most deep-fried beer actually resembles ravioli. Pretzel dough is commonly used to make the pockets, and the first beer ever used was a dry stout. Many other dough-beer combinations have been tried since.
After the dough has been filled with beer, it is placed into very hot oil for a short amount of time. In order to preserve the alcoholic content of the beer, which would be affected if it were to get too hot, the dough is usually only fried for about 20 seconds. The dough pockets are then removed from the oil and allowed to cool briefly before they are served. If deep-fried beer is eaten shortly after frying, the pretzel dough will still be warm and crisp on the outside, and the beer inside can be cold in comparison.