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Chili Peppers

What it does :

Remember that, for many of the centuries people have been brewing beer, the exclusive use of hops to balance beer's malty base is relatively recent. Brewers have long added special flavorings like vegetables to make unique brews, and that tradition continues today. The craft brewing and homebrewing movements provide daily examples of this inventiveness. If you are reading this, you are likely looking to broaden your beer and brewing palate. You can make use of chili peppers to express your own brewing creativity and make a beer that is uniquely yours. Chili pepper additions are a way of adding New World zest to your brew.

When designing a beer recipe that will include chili peppers you must carefully consider the malt, hops, and yeast base that will best complement this specialty ingredient. When brewing with vegetables, many brewers choose a strong malt base, with bittering hops only. By avoiding the addition of aroma hops, this allows the added vegetables to complement, and not conflict with the beer's other ingredients.

What it is:

The chili, also known as chili pepper is the long-cultivated fruit of a plant in the nightshade family. It originated in the Americas. There are several varieties of pepper that enterprising brewers have added to their beers, and these include: jalapeño, habañero.

Dosage:

The amount of chili peppers that you should add to your brew should vary with the type of pepper and its intensity. As an example, for a 5 gallon batch of brew you can consider 50 jalapenos (1 per bottle) or 8-10 habaneros (cut into strips with 1 per bottle). Finding the right amount of chili peppers to use will depend on your particular recipe and your vision for your beer. As always, keep good records of each beer that you make, be willing to experiment, and you will converge on the ingredient mix that yields the flavor and aroma result that you like best.

Preparation:

Chili peppers can be added at various times of the brewing process, depending on the effect you desire. You can:

  • add them to the wort for the last 5 minutes of the boil to extract their flavor
  • add them to the primary fermenter to add both pepper flavor and aroma
  • add them to the bottle, providing increased pepper aroma and flavor over time, and as a warning to your drinker

Drawbacks:

When cutting and handling the chili peppers in preparation for your brew, especially peppers like habaneros, be sure to wear disposable rubber gloves. The oils in some of the hotter varieties of peppers can burn your hands, eyes, and nose if you are not careful. Just as cooking with fresh vegetables makes your culinary dishes taste superior, so will using the same quality of ingredients to your beer. So, for that extra impact on your finished brew, reach for fresh chili peppers. You should be able to obtain it in your local specialty grocery store or shop.

Related Links

Volume Conversion
Weight Conversion
Chili Peppers