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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Beer Discussion > Pepper Basics
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Old 10-24-2012, 11:13 PM   #1
brigbrew
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Default Pepper Basics

I'm getting ready to brew a jalapeno cream ale next month, and I've been combing the threads for info on brewing with peppers. I had a jalapeño pilsner in Fort Collins a decade ago and it was the best nachos pairing ever. I've wanted to brew one ever since. Here's what I've gleaned so far:

- Seeds and veins give you heat. If you want more flavor, get rid of them.
- Adding the peppers to the boil gives you less heat and more flavor, adding to secondary gives you heat.
- If you do not remove the pepper from secondary or wherever it dropped, heat will continue to increase until it becomes undrinkable.
- Heat will mellow with time if the pepper is gone.
- Roasting, freezing and thawing will break down cell walls. (Does this help with flavor utilization?)
-# of peppers added ranges from 1 to 25. (Not really helpful, but I plan to err on the conservative side to ensure drinkability)
-Jalapeños have a high heat to flavor recipe.
-Serranos are another commonly used pepper (how do these compare in heat/flavor ratio to jalapeños?

I decided to just put all of this information in one place and ask the collective to chime in with their experiences and opinions. I'm looking to brew a cream ale with nice pepper finish but little to no heat, but I'm sure others have different tastes and might be looking for some control. Thoughts?


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Old 10-24-2012, 11:30 PM   #2
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I know that serrano peppers are a good amount hotter than jalapenos. I would start experimenting with a very low amount of peppers, maybe just a couple deveined peppers in 5 gal, and decide where to go from there. I've seen a few threads on here about ruining the beer with too much heat, so be careful. I dont know much on the subject or else i'd answer more for you... good luck!


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Old 10-24-2012, 11:40 PM   #3
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Jalapeño cream ale?!? Now that's what I'm talking about!! My interest is definitely peaked. This idea combines two good things: spice and beer. Are you brewing extract or AG?
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Old 10-25-2012, 12:04 AM   #4
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I'm planning on making some pepper beer this weekend.
Not sure of the peppers yet because I have to see what i find.
I will take notes though!
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Old 10-25-2012, 12:47 AM   #5
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Nachos and a jalapeno beer sounds like a fantastic pairing. Will definitely be taking notes.

Sorry that I don't have anything to add... Have just gotten started with home brewing.
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Old 10-25-2012, 12:56 AM   #6
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You may want to taste your peppers before brewing with them. I've been dissapointed while cooking by getting habenero and jalapeño peppers with very little heat, and the occasional pepper that's uncharacteristically hot. Never brewed or tried a pepper beer though.
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Old 10-25-2012, 02:51 AM   #7
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I had a jalapeno amber ale over the summer, and have thought about trying to brew one myself. OP, thanks for collecting those thoughts.
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Old 10-25-2012, 05:26 AM   #8
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I brewed a Jalapeno Wheat once that turned out great. It was a basic american wheat recipe, but I added a pound of honey malt to add something to balance out any pepper heat. I used ~7oz fresh jalapenos @15min left in the boil, then removed them at flameout (had them in a hop bag). For prep, I removed the seeds and just cut into quarters. The beer left the jalapeno flavor on the finish and limited the heat from the pepper. Turned out great!
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Old 10-25-2012, 01:51 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jperry
I know that serrano peppers are a good amount hotter than jalapenos. I would start experimenting with a very low amount of peppers, maybe just a couple deveined peppers in 5 gal, and decide where to go from there. I've seen a few threads on here about ruining the beer with too much heat, so be careful. I dont know much on the subject or else i'd answer more for you... good luck!
Agreed. I haven't seen a single thread that complained of too little heat or that the none of the flavor came through.

Another interesting point I forgot to mention was the skin. I saw a thread on leaving the skin on to add a smoky flavor. Did anyone else have that experience?
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Old 10-25-2012, 04:40 PM   #10
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As is grilling/searing the japs? Caramelize them a tad. Sounds good.

I have some good jap vodka.. tried a couple ml's in a pint and the flavor came through but no heat. Not sure I want the heat in my beer.. but the flavor was a nice change.


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