Pepper Beer

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kaptain_karma

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Anyone ever made a beer spiced with peppers? What varieties would you recommend? Also, how should they be prepared, and when should they be added?

I've had the Rogue Chipotle Ale, and my local microbrewery has an intersting chili beer. I love peppers, and would love to try them in a homebrew, but have no idea of where to even start.
 

c.n.budz

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I've never made one, but I believe most people put the peppers in the secondary. I've made pepper vodka a few times and regular jalapenos worked well, habaneros were way too spicy and made the vodka nearly undrinkable
 

Brewtopia

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When brewing a chili beer, I say go with the advice of our resident expert. (I know I plan to.)

Originally posted by Brewpastor

Brewpastor’s Chili Beer Notes

Chile beer is what I won my Great American Beer Festival medals with. In my opinion, when making a chile beer you have to decide if you want heat, flavor or some combination. I tend to go for a blend, with the balance going towards the flavor and aroma. I am not a fan of FIRE beers that just burn and want something that I can enjoy and not remember with regret the next time I'm on the can.

My personal favorite chile is a fresh roasted New Mexico green chile. They have a great roasted flavor and the heat is variable and therefore fairly easy to gauge and manage.

I like a golden beer base, along the lines of a golden ale or European lager. I like it clean with few esters and lightly hopped and only bitter hopped. A little crystal is fine but I want the roast chile flavor and aroma to take center stage and not have to do battle with lots of extra flavors.

It is useful to add some cara-pils and/or wheat because the oils from the chile will really kill the head on these beers. I also avoid boiling the chile and dry hop with them in the secondary.

I dry hop for a couple reasons. First I want the chile in the fermented wort enviroment where the alcohol and the ph can help extract the oils. Second, I want to retain as much aroma as possible and the CO2 of primary fermentation will drive much of this off. Third, I DON'T want my chile fermenting any more then they need to. They do have sugars and I am not after chile wine.

SO, after primary I chill the batch down and dump in my chiles. Frozen chile works well because the freezing ruptures the cells in the fruit and more liquid is exposed. As I said earlier, I like a roasted chile as well. In New Mexico we take our chile very seriously, but elsewhere I would suggest oven roasting your chiles under the broiler until the skin is dark brown to black and splitting. When you put it in the secondary, put every bit in, stem seeds, skin and meat.

Let it soak for a week of so. It is my advice to start on the conservative side. You can always add more chile.

My assumption is a chile beer is a beer first and a chile beer second. It should be clean and have the character of your chile, not the other way around. Balance is key.

Key points:
Crisp, straight forward base
Roasted chiles or peppers
Dry hop the chiles in a secondary
Don't go overboard with the heat!
 
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kaptain_karma

kaptain_karma

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Brewpastor - I really love serrano(sp?) peppers and was thinking of using those for some flavore and some chiles for a touch of heat. Any thoughts?
 
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kaptain_karma

kaptain_karma

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"In New Mexico we take our chile very seriously, but elsewhere I would suggest oven roasting your chiles under the broiler"

What would be the authentic way to roast a chile?
 

shafferpilot

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I've had chili beer that just had a single pepper in the bottle. not sure if that's all they did to make it, but stands to reason that it'd work.
 

Brewpastor

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kaptain_karma said:
"In New Mexico we take our chile very seriously, but elsewhere I would suggest oven roasting your chiles under the broiler"

What would be the authentic way to roast a chile?
There are chile roasters that hold a couple bushels of chiles at a time. It is basicall a metal mesh cylinder that rotates while a row of propane burners blasts them. This gives the chiles a good, deep and even roast. When they are done roasting they are put in a plastic bag where they sort of naturally steam.
 

HBDrinker008

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I had a friend that made a pepper beer with Jalepenos. It turned out well, really spicy at first but then after half the beer the pepper taste wasnt as evident and the beer taste came through. His base was a generic pale ale with cascades and probably had more hop nose than the style caled for but it was good beer or experiment if nothing else
 

Dextersmom

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shafferpilot said:
I've had chili beer that just had a single pepper in the bottle. not sure if that's all they did to make it, but stands to reason that it'd work.

i believe i've had that before....i forget what it was called. It was quite spicy to drink. i did enjoy it though.
 

Doog_Si_Reeb

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kaptain_karma said:
"In New Mexico we take our chile very seriously, but elsewhere I would suggest oven roasting your chiles under the broiler"

What would be the authentic way to roast a chile?
As mentioned before, there are specific chile roasters that are used at the various places that sell chiles. Those are pretty cool, but probably not an option in most regions.

Personally, I like to roast the green chiles that I grow in my garden on my propane grill (charcoal will impart other non-chile flavors so I would avoid it). I leave the lid up and keep a close eye on the chiles, flipping them periodically to make sure they don't get scorched. I try to roast them to the point where there are some small black/brown spots and areas where the skin is starting to separate from the meat.

After the chiles are roasted, I put them in zip lock bags and throw them in the freezer. Then I thaw them either individually or a full bag at a time. The skin peels right off.

The added benefit of roasting your own chiles is that you get to prolong the wonderful aroma that roasting chiles give off. That is one of the coolest things about fall in NM, in my opinion. :D
 

brewhead

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i made a serrano pepper beer. basically a pale ale and serrano peppers in the secondary. nice flavour with just enough heat
 

Moonpile

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Brewpastor said:
There are chile roasters that hold a couple bushels of chiles at a time. It is basicall a metal mesh cylinder that rotates while a row of propane burners blasts them. This gives the chiles a good, deep and even roast. When they are done roasting they are put in a plastic bag where they sort of naturally steam.
Oh that brings back memories. When I lived in Albuquerque I worked at the Wild Oats on Menual and Juan Tabo and during the season they'd roast chiles this way in the parking lot of the Albertsons across the intersection. I loved it!

That said, I usually just turned on of my gas burner on the stove top and threw 'em on there. Turned 'em a few times until the skin was thoroughly blackened and then put 'em in a jar with the lid on for five minutes. Then you wash the skins right off under cold water. Seed them and then dice or whatever.
 

razyrsharpe

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kaptain_karma said:
Brewpastor - I really love serrano(sp?) peppers and was thinking of using those for some flavore and some chiles for a touch of heat. Any thoughts?
i just made a canadian ale that i used serrano chiles in (ones i grew myself). mine were dried chilies and i used them in the boil instead of the secondary. i only used a dozen chiles for a 5 gallon batch.
i will be bottling this concoction tomorrow morning. it fermented for 10 days and i put it in a secondary/clearing vessel for 14. i will keep you posted on how it turned out.
i am anxious to see how it turned out.
 

RedVR6

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Jalapeno Ale is one of my favorites to brew...and it's one of the favorites of my friends and SWMBO. Also, probably the best I have ever brewed consistantly. (I've been on hiatus for a almost two years now...amassing new equipement for AG and just being lazy.)

My base brew is a cream ale. I tossed the idea of a pale ale around a little....but found the cream ale to work the best with this type of brew since it is light and easy drinking. I don't really have a set recipe as I wing it for the most part. IIRC...I'll chop up four or five jalapeños and toss them in the boil around 45 minutes (assuming a 60 minute boil) to get what I can out of them. During my primary fermentation I steep eight to ten peppers in a vodka tincture for that week and toss most of the peppers into the secondary with some of the tincture...not a whole lot because the vodka becomes battery acid and I don't want to kill anyone. But it is usually several ounces (if not a little more) and let the secondary sit for approx. two weeks. From there I bottle...during bottling I sometimes set a few bombers aside to lace them with the leftover vodka tincture to boost the spice up a little.

This will probably be my first brew once I am back online in a couple of weeks. I can't wait!
 

staffVAJoe

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When brewing a chili beer, I say go with the advice of our resident expert. (I know I plan to.)
and BTW you cannot quote a quote RE: beerpastor? from a prev. thread


I want to add some breed hot peppers of some sort to an Oatmeal stout. The reason that I will do it to an oatmeal stout is because I have vowed to brew nothing but this beer for the next 5 batches and I will only change 1 ingredient during my process so I can discern the changes better.

Question 1. What kind?

Question 2. how much?

Question 3. When to add?



I want to have people taste it and say: Another great beer; somethings different... ... WoW Ehh what's that?


Thank-you brewing Gods:mug:
 

snailsongs

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I brewed an IPA with Ancho chili's (large dried, roasted, chili's)....I used 4-5 of them, cut up into larg-ish chunks and I put them in the last 5 minutes of the boil, stems, seeds and all.....what I got was an excellent touch of heat, not too much not too little, that crept up out of the hop flavors and bitterness. I was very happy with the beer, but I believe brewpastor is right that if you want chili flavor then secondary the suckers. I got no real chili flavor at all (or it was buried in the strong flavors of the strong brew), only the heat....just sharing my experience. good luck.
 

Doog_Si_Reeb

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When brewing a chili beer, I say go with the advice of our resident expert. (I know I plan to.)
I can attest to Brewpastor's chile beer, at least the commercial version. I have three of the Rio Grande Brewing Company chile beers in my fridge that I'm looking forward to drinking. It's definitely a good base beer, with chile flavor and mild heat added to it.

I would also agree 100% that New Mexico grown green chile, fire-roasted, is some of the most flavorful chile out there. That's why I grow it in my yard! :fro:
 

Brewpastor

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I personally like to secondary the chile. This helps retain more aroma and flavor. I like roasted chile because it:
1- cooks the chile and enhances the flavor
2- it adds a great roasted flavor to the beer
3- it helps break down the chile, getting more of its essence into the beer

As for amount, well that depends on the heat of the chile and the preference of the drinker/brewer. I like chile and I like heat, so my chile beer has a bite to it. I use a medium heat chile, New Mexico grown Sandia Chiles, and I use about 160 grams in a 5 gallon batch. I chop the chile like you would an onion. I generally am working with chile that I have frozen. I toss in the whole chile, skin, seeds, stems and all. I also pour in any juice I get while chopping/processing. You will need to let this sit for a week or two and then rack.

For my base I like something clean, crisp and dry. A CAP, cream ale, golden ale or light lager are all good choices IMO.
 

yermej

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I've had chili beer that just had a single pepper in the bottle. not sure if that's all they did to make it, but stands to reason that it'd work.
Could have been Cave Creek Chili beer as that's probably the most widely distributed chili beer (it's the only chili beer I've seen in my town). There's a Serrano pepper in each bottle. Used to be from Arizona, but now it's brewed in Tecate, Mexico. From their site, I'd guess the pepper in the bottle is the only pepper used in the process: "Each chili pepper is lovingly dropped, by hand, in every bottle then the bottle is filled with a fine Mexican Lager Beer."

I don't remember enjoying it very much. More spice than beer, though it might depend on how fresh the bottle is.
 

Brewpastor

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I really don't like Cave Creek. It is mostly just a Mexican Lager with heat - no real chile flavor. The thing about New Mexico/Anaheim Chile is it is an eating chile, in the same way a bell pepper is. A Serrano is more of a spice. When the larger, meatier roasted green chiles are used you get heat, but you also get the chile's flavor. It really straddles the line between vegetable and spice.
 

MFDave

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So when you're talking about roasting peppers and frozen peppers, are you saying you roast them then freeze them or do you keep them frozen for storage and then roast em before putting them in the secondary?
 

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I am also in the beginning stages of research for chili beer brewing and was wondering if I could just add the chilies into the primary after about 2 weeks? At this point I don't have a secondary vessel. Any ideas?
 

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Was wondering if anyone had soaked their chiles in alcohol then added them to the brew? I've got a high hopped rye pale ale and was thinking of putting a very small amount of Serranos in tequila for a couple of days, then putting that into the secondary 2 days before bottling. I'm looking for a faint heat accompaniment to the hops.

Thanks.
 
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Here in Denver down at the Rock Bottom brewery downtown they have a seasonal local chili beer that was absolutely amazing. It had a bold chili flavor that didn't overpower the beer, it was more like an after taste. I was in love. I think the heat of chili's could potentially ruin a batch if not properly managed when brewing. I plan on making a chili beer in my next batch with the NM green chili's. However I think i will only use the skins and see how it turns out.
 

johnsonbrad1

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Here in Denver down at the Rock Bottom brewery downtown they have a seasonal local chili beer that was absolutely amazing. It had a bold chili flavor that didn't overpower the beer, it was more like an after taste. I was in love. I think the heat of chili's could potentially ruin a batch if not properly managed when brewing. I plan on making a chili beer in my next batch with the NM green chili's. However I think i will only use the skins and see how it turns out.
Twisted Pine also has a chili beer, Billies Chilis. It was my first (and only) pepper beer, but I was pretty impressed.
 

BeerLogic

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Not exactly a chili beer, but I once threw a bunch of long pepper into a wit. The result was hot and delicious.
 

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I made a nice portwe about a month ago with 8 oz of dark cocoa powder and 3 dried ancho chilis in secondary. It came out fantastic! The heat is noticable, but not overpowering, and it blends very well with the flavors from both the cocoa and the beer itself.

The best part? My girlfriend, who only kinda likes beer sometimes, has declared this to be her most-loved beer ever and has asked me to keep it in stock as much as possible for her. :)

My only complaint is that the heat is really only prevalent on the back of the tongue, at the finish. I was hoping for something a bit more pronounced. Next time, I'll be adding in a small amount of cayenne powder as well, just to mix things up a bit.
 
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Just finished my first batch of chili beer and i boiled the chili's with the grain and LME extract mixture. Definitely cranks up the flavor and heat even though no seeds or flesh were added, only skins. Next time I think I will dry hop 3 or 4 days in on secondary fermentation and try that out.
 

nilo

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Would you agree that a fresh pepper (jalapeno or serrano or any other soaked in vodka) would be better on a light base beer like a cream ale or pale ale, while roasted chiles would better fit dark beers like porters, browns or stouts?
I'm concerned that using a charred chili would give a smoked flavor to a light beer and that would be something weird.
Do you guys removed the charred skin off of the peppers before using it? Perhaps that is the trick.
 
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Yes I removed the charred skin from the roasted green chiles I used in my brew. Did not add a smokey taste to the beer, I used 2 row grain.
 

nilo

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Just posting some experiment I did with jalapenos and serrano peppers.
I took 4 22oz bottles of my latest cream ale that were bottled for a week, carefully opened each and added the peppers to each bottle, then closed with new cap. Left in the fridge for 14 days and these were the tasting results:
1)1 serrano pepper, sliced
2)2 serrano peppers, sliced
3)1 slice, about 1/5 of a jalapeno pepper
4)2 slices, about 2/5 of a jalapeno pepper

1)Smell great and tasted great too, not too hot, just good.
2)Too hot, couldn't drink the whole bottle
3)Smell great and tasted great too, not too hot, just good.
4)Too hot, couldn't drink the whole bottle

I think that adding the pepper to the bottle is an effective way to get a chilli beer, you can vary the amount added to get what you like and don't need to jeopardise a whole batch of beer.
 

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So I brewed a version of Biermunchers Oktoberfast....i had 2 gallons left over and sitting at a lo temp for a few weeks now. I wanted to do something with peppers so I utilized the opportunity with this malty base to ...well throw some peppers into. I cleaned and sanitized my 3 gallon carboy and roasted 1 of each jalapeno, poblano, anaheim chile, and a green long one which I believe was a green cayenne. I racked the overflow containers on top of this... I did this yesterday and sampled it this morning and wow what a punch of heat at the back end in the throat. It has a great roasted aroma and flavor too which is balanced nicely with the grain bill of the marzen style. I am contemplating bottling now or do I wait another few days will it get hotter?
 

boneman

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Just posting some experiment I did with jalapenos and serrano peppers.
I took 4 22oz bottles of my latest cream ale that were bottled for a week, carefully opened each and added the peppers to each bottle, then closed with new cap. Left in the fridge for 14 days and these were the tasting results:
1)1 serrano pepper, sliced
2)2 serrano peppers, sliced
3)1 slice, about 1/5 of a jalapeno pepper
4)2 slices, about 2/5 of a jalapeno pepper

1)Smell great and tasted great too, not too hot, just good.
2)Too hot, couldn't drink the whole bottle
3)Smell great and tasted great too, not too hot, just good.
4)Too hot, couldn't drink the whole bottle

I think that adding the pepper to the bottle is an effective way to get a chilli beer, you can vary the amount added to get what you like and don't need to jeopardise a whole batch of beer.
Thanks for the breakdown, very helpful. My first pepper brew, looking to add just a little heat to a trusted porter recipe that is ready for secondary.
 
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