We have certainly tried a few a chili pepper beers before. The first I can remember is the Kuhnhenn Ring of Fire that jumped off the menu at The Hopcat. Since then there’s been the Original Gravity Pepper Smoker, New Holland Mole Ocho and a few others. There’s something really different about drinking a cold beer and feeling the capsaicin heat all throughout your body.
A few weeks ago, the Michigan Brewers Guild held their Summer Beer Festival, and among the all the bourbon barrel aged stouts and double IPAs, the beer that stood out the most to us was the Mango/Chipotle Ale from The BOB Brewery. The smokiness and heat from the chipotle really complimented the sweetness from the malt and mango. It was surprising and refreshing; it also definitely cleared your palate from all the heavier beers.
Shortly after that, we were trying to figure out what to brew. I was thinking a chili pepper beer, but I wasn’t sure what the reaction would be. I threw it out there, and we were all immediately excited and hopped online to try to find out how exactly they worked. Most chili beers are rather pale with a light, simple malt base that lets the chili flavor shine through. Our plan was to go a little different. We wanted those roasty, smoky flavors in the malt that would play off the smokiness of the chipotle and give the feeling of a BBQ. Tasting notes are after the recipe.
- 8lbs 2 Row Malt
- 1lb CaraFa II
- 1lb 40L Crystal
- .5lb Special Blend
- .25lb Roasted Barley (400L)
70 minute, single infusion mash at about 155ºF
- 1oz EKG at 60 minutes
- 3 Jalapeño Peppers washed and halved at 15 minutes
- 1tsp Irish Moss at 15 Minutes
The Jalapeños were removed after the boil, which we thought was a mistake at the time; although, the beer certainly tastes good.
We used Wyeast 1056 with no started in our 6.5gal glass carboy. We added 3 halved chipotles into the carboy as well (we washed and microwaved them to kill any microbes). Our original gravity was 1.054
After about 6 days, we racked it to secondary and added 4 more chipotles and 3 washed and halved habañeros. We tasted it multiple times a day. After 5-6 days we kegged and force carbed it.
OH MY GOSH THIS IS SO GOOD!
Now that that’s out of the way… It’s very dark with a thick, tan head which takes its time melting away. The smell is a ton of that beautiful, smoky chipotle aroma with a bit of a heat from the habañero. The flavor is well balanced with a good, dark malt base mixing with the smoky heat of the chipotle. It finishes with a tingling heat on the back and side of your tongue. At about 4.5% it’s a fairly low ABV beer for us, which is good, because I foresee myself drinking a lot of it.