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Old 01-30-2013, 01:29 PM   #1
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Default Scorpion pepper IPA. Am I insane?

To preface, our LHBC is having an all extract competition in April and i've been planning what to brew for this. I've found the Sculpin habanero recipe and that's what i'd intended to make.

Then, this past weekend, I went to our local weekly bottle share. The brew pub where we hang out and sample beers has an employee that loves hot peppers and anything spicy. He brought in some sweet vinegar relish he made with Trinidad Moruga Scorpion peppers, which currently holds the record for the world's hottest pepper. This pepper is typically anywhere from 2 million to 3 million scoville units (but can be as weak as 1.5 million).

In comparison, the typical market habanero is 350,000 scoville units at the hottest. Jalapeno's range anywhere from 3,500 to 8,000 scoville units.

Here's the kicker. I ate some of the relish, and the trinidad pepper was absolutely delicious. It had amazing fresh fruit and floral flavor that I hadn't really encountered in a dried pepper before. It's a deceiving little devil, too, as you don't feel the heat immediately. It takes 2-3 minutes before it really kicks in, and then the burn hits you all over. Very hot, with legs on it that last about an hour. It will make you sweat.

So, while contemplating the heat and how amazing the taste was from the pepper, the guy that brought the peppers whips out a gallon sized ziplock full of the dried Moruga's he's grown from seed. He brought them in to trade for some ghost peppers from another guy, but I was able to talk him out of three dried peppers for brewing purposes.

The recipe for the habanero IPA calls for 1.5 to 2.5 grams of habanero per gallon depending on desired heat. I've decided to use 1 gram of Scorpion pepper per gallon for my first attempt, so 6 grams for a 6 gallon batch. I will de-seed and de-vein the pepper before chopping/crushing it up and putting it in a hops bag, then soak it in the bag in no rinse sanitizer (idophor) before putting it in the fermenter for five days.

It's either going to be amazing or so fiery, it's undrinkable. I can't wait to find out!

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Old 01-30-2013, 01:35 PM   #2
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Yes, You are insane.

I made a habanero ale and it was truly so spicy, even pepper heads could only sip it while eating something.

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Old 01-30-2013, 01:43 PM   #3
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How much habanero did you use, for how long, and what was the batch size?

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Old 01-30-2013, 01:49 PM   #4
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5 habs in secondary for 2 weeks.

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Old 01-30-2013, 01:49 PM   #5
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you are going to have to do it by trial and error, but like its done with every other spice or flavor extract (at least if you are serious about it, looking to enter in competitions, etc.).

I think the "ol' dump and pray" or "how much did you use?" methods is just not going to work here with peppers that hot. You are talking a very, very narrow window of palatability here. My 0.02

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Old 01-30-2013, 03:35 PM   #6
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Well, there's enough time to do some testing. I may scale the pepper to a 12 oz amount and add it to a bud light and re cap it for 5 days to see how it heats up.

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Old 01-30-2013, 03:45 PM   #7
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By my maths:

1 gr per gallon
1 gallon = 128 FL oz
128 FL oz / 12 oz = 10.5 oz in 1 gal (rounded)
1 gr / 10.5 = 0.095 gr or 95 mg per 12 oz

Can someone confirm?

I may just doctor a six pack of bud light at 25 mg, 50 mg, 75 mg, 100mg, 125 mg and 150 mg and let them sit a week and see how hot they get.

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Old 01-30-2013, 04:05 PM   #8
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Do it right.

Brew the beer (I would not recommend an IPA if you want the focus on tasting the peppers) as you would any other recipe.

Ferment completely.

Rack the beer onto 5 or 6 one gallon jugs, each with a slightly larger amount of peppers than the previous. Take extra care to maintain a sterile environment.

Divide peppers accordingly and soak each in vodka (just enough to cover) for a couple days prior to racking. Pour the entire mixture in the fermenters.

Don't ferment with the peppers. No reason to do so and you will lose any delicate aroma (if there is such thing with these peppers).

Bottle after another week or two.

Keep us updated.

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Old 01-30-2013, 04:19 PM   #9
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Make a tincture with 3-4 cut up peppers in a cup of vodka. Let soak for a week and strain into eye dropper bottles.

Take a commercial beer and add drop(s) until you get the flavor/heat you want.

Make the homebrew recipe, and at bottling time, add the number of drop(s) in a few different incriments to several bottles (conditioning will likely produce slightly different results).

Now you'll have a bunch of different bottles with a bunch of different heat levels and you can decide what you like best.

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Old 01-30-2013, 09:12 PM   #10
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AZ, I think I like your method the best. I can use a bottle of real sculpin to try this on.

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