Beer 22: Another Summer Jalapeno Beer

What we have here is a nice, light, crisp, jalapeno ale. Jalapeno dominates the aroma and flavor, but it’s very drinkable, a balanced bitterness, and the barley has enough complexity to add depth and flavor. The hops are not present. Bell peppers give it a garden-like quality that I don’t think you would get with the jalapenos alone. A good beer.


If my memory serves, this is the fourth beer I brewed using some combination of peppers, two of which are on this website. Most similar to this one, beer #6 was a summer Jalapeno Beer. It had a big jalapeno aroma and flavor, an earthy garden quality, and a light, crisp malt profile with a hint of sweetness (using Caramel Crystal malt for the sweetness). I noted that two jalapenos didn’t give the subtle burn I was looking for, and that three might be perfect. I was right. The three peppers in this batch gives a nice, subtle, lingering heat that coats your mouth. I also tweaked the barley a bit. I like using Munich and/or Vienna malt for complexity, depth of malt flavor, and a touch of sweetness, rather than using Caramel Crystal altogether. That seems to be a trend right now. But I also threw in a pinch of Honey Malt, just for shits – not sure what that did.

Chipotle makes an excellent beer too. Beer #10 was a Chipotle Golden Ale, which was also delicious, had a great chipotle flavor, but lacked heat as well. My notes say “add jalapenos.” So of course, now we come full circle, and I’m saying to myself: why didn’t I put chipotles in this beer! I think that would be the best combination.

Other possible improvements: a large flame out addition of  citrus or orange hops, like Simcoe. That might be good. Or a more ‘piney’ hop, like cascade or centenial.

As you can tell by my notes below, this was another victory for shitty brewing practices. I mashed only 30 minutes, and boiled for only 35 minutes. No off flavors that I can tell. I also diluted the beer, by adding 1.5 gallons of cold water after the boil. No apparent drawbacks: the bitterness seems spot on to me. Worse, I chilled this beer slowly for apparently two days before pitching the yeast. I remember waking up the following morning: Oh, shit, I forgot the pitch the yeast last night! US 05 did the job, just like it always does (oh, and don’t forget, no yeast starter or agitating the wort before pitching). Life is pretty good.

Pepper Pale (6 gal)
Mon, May 23, 2016 5pm
5.1 lb 2-row (30 min. mash)
4 lb Munich
3.8 lb Vienna
.3 lb Honey Malt
.5 oz Magnum (35 min. boil)
2 oz. Sterling (flame out, no chill method)
1 oz. Anthium (flame out)
3 jalapenos, sliced (flame out)
2 green bell peppers, sliced (flame out)
Safale US-05
Monday, May 23: 30 minute mash, 35 minutes boil
no chill: after boil, added 1.5 gallons of cold water, then let sit outside for 10 minutes, then placed in cold fermentation chamber very hot (69C)
Wed., May 25, morning: beer at 26C (still hot), pitched yeast anyway
Monday June 1st: hydrometer 1.010, cold crashed, sample has nice heat
next day: added gelatin
Thurs, June 2: bottled 38 22 oz bottles (that’s a lot)

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.