Chipotle Golden Ale (and a time-saving trick)

Although it took almost a month to carbonate – that’s why people keg – this is a good beer. It’s a crisp, clean, light, low-alcohol beer with a big chipotle flavor. The inspiration came from a local brewery Latitude 42. It’s not hot; in fact, on my next attempt, I’ll add some Jalapeno’s to make it hotter. I wanted a slight burn as it goes down the throat.


Chipotle Golden Ale (6 gal.)
6 lb. 2-row
4 lb. Pale Malt
.8 lb. Caramel Crystal 10L
2 oz Liberty 30m (30 m boil)
3 dryed Chipotle peppers at flame out
2 dryed chipotle peppers in fermenter
1 oz cayenne pepper in fermenter
Safale 05 yeast

So many unconventional, time-saving methods for this one. To start, water. I filled the pot with garden hose water, which allowed me to crank the heat as I was filling it, which saved a bunch of time. I was completely mashed in by the 15 minute mark. That’s fast. Second, rather than “mashing in” – i.e., slowly dumping the barley in hot water while trying to stir and trying not to spill – now I simply add the grains to my bag beforehand and dunk the bag of grains in all at once and put the lid on. This is the second time I’ve tried and I love it. No clumps, easy, saves even more time. Third method: 30 minute mash and 30 minute boil. I’ve done that several batches. Another win. I just saved one hour. I was done brewing in 2 hours.

Well, sort of. I only chilled to 90 degrees this time, hoping that my fermentation chamber would finish the job. I did not add ice cold water like I normally do (in fact I don’t plan on diluting from now on). Unfortunately, my chamber was set at 70 degrees, instead of my preferred 30 degrees. I learned that putting 90 degree beer into a 70 degree fermentation chamber takes a long time to cool, especially with an old crappy fridge. The next day it was only down to 80. Fuck it. I pitched the yeast on the hot side and let it rock. Although I am a fan of this method; from now on I will make sure the fridge is cranked low to begin with. Lastly, I used a bottle filler and it worked beautifully. The filler attaches to a 1 inch piece of hose, which attaches directly to my spigot. Easy to clean, easy to install, and it made bottling much faster and more enjoyable. I will be using this from now on.

I’m happy to report that all these ‘controversial’ methods – water, short mash and boil, no sparge, pitching hot, and, of course, using one vessel for the entire process – produced another good beer. I love it. So does my wife.

As for long carbonation time – longer than I’m used to I should say, many people swear that a month is normal – I think it’s a result of using gelatin (less gunk in the bottle), of low-alcohol beer perhaps, and a well floculated fermentation.

Experiment #6: Jalapeno Beer came out nice

It’s a light, simple summer beer with a big, out-of-the-garden jalapeno aroma, big jalapeno flavor, and a subtle heat that slides down the throat. Pretty much what I was going for, a nice beer, although I thought the heat was a tad low (next time, 3 peppers instead of 2). The peppers are sliced up and tossed in towards the end of the boil. I probably let them sit in the fermenter too, although I can’t remember that important detail. I think that gives it the big, garden-like aroma, just like dry hopping with hops. The malt bill is simple but nice, just a touch of sweetness from the caramel crystal 20. The hops are not prominent at all, which seems bizarre looking at the recipe.


Jalapeno Beer  6.8%
10.5 lb 2-row
.5 lb carm/crys 20
1 oz S. Ace FW
1 oz Centenial FW
1 oz S. Ace FO
1 oz Cent. FO

I believe I did a 45 minute mash and boil for this one, which didn’t seem to have an ill effects; I fermented for about a week, then cold crashed, added gelatin, and bottled with the amazing Domino Sugar Dots. The carbonation seems fine to me, and everything went well and smooth.

I should note that, for almost all the beers I make, I take them to my local homebrew club (Kalamazoo Libation Organization for Brewers) for other homebrewers to taste and comment on. In other words, I do get some input. At our last meeting, everyone seemed to like this beer. Many people commented that they liked the subtle heat because a lot of craft-beer examples are overwhelmingly hot.