Experimental Brew

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     Looks like I found the right place, so don't let me down!!!  I have
started one of my first batches of experiemental brewing... in this
case.... a Jalapeno Ale...  My plans were to do 2 1 gal batches... I
have read articles on the net talking about brewing with peppers, but
they didn't go into enough detail for my preference, and to answer this
question , I don't think you need to have experience brewing with
peppers... One article talked about adding the pepper to the bottle when
bottling, and over time it will increase in heat, and at the same time,
if you didn't want to go this method, you could add the peppers into the

Batch 1 - Peppers added to primary for a week, the peppers were left
whole, steamed for 5 minutes to help sterilize.  Great aroma!!  I just
transfered it to the secondary the other night, and had a little cup to
see if I had over done it (1 gal. w/ 10 Jalapeno peppers)... and to my
disappointment, there was some flavour of the pepper there, but no heat!

Batch 2 - I havn't started this one yet... The remaining 4 gallons I
brewed seperatly, and is ready for transfer into the secondary.  My plan
was to syphon off 1 gal. and put the peppers in there and let them steep
for 2 weeks after the primary fermentation period, and then bottle, but
since my first batch doesn't have any heat to it, I want to cut up the
peppers before adding to the brew.

This leads me into my first question... If I were to split the peppers,
should I cook the peppers before adding to the brew or will it be just
fine to sit in the secondary for 2 weeks raw?!  I am not trying to get
the brew to a rip your face off, peel the paint off the walls hot, but
am looking for a little nip.

Some more background information -- I am doing these experiements from
kits.. in this case, I am using Coopers Ale, just because its an
inexpensive kit, and if I wreck it, I am not out of a lot of money.  If
I were to make my own wort, this would not be an issue, boil the peppers
with the wort.

Now to my second question -- If I were to.. say.. make a Cherry
Stout.... again, should I cook the cherries prior to adding to the brew
or would I leave them raw?!?!  My mom used to make wine before I started
brewing, and I never paid attention to what she did with fresh fruit
wines, and she has since passed on.. should have thought of this long ago!!

Thanks in advance!


Re: Experimental Brew
Maskim Xul wrote:

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For the most aroma and flavor, add them raw.  There's not much, if any
chance of infection in the secondary due to the alcohol content and pH.

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Life begins at 60 - 1.060, that is.

Re: Experimental Brew
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Hi Todd,

This seems like an interesting venture, and I would like ya to keep us
updated with the results. I'm not quite as schooled in brewing as many
of the others here, I like what I brew, and I drink it down, ahhh.

I am an experienced cook, and spicy BBQ is my field of expertise. Let
me share some insight on the pepper for you. From what I could
determine in your post, the 1 gallon batch with the steamed peppers;
these peppers were whole? This would definately be indicative of the
pepper taste, with no zest.

The firm green part is the flavor of the pepper itself. The membrane
on the inside is where the heat comes from. There are arguments that
its the seeds, but  I wont deliberate there. If you sliced the peppers
as you propose to in the second attempt, you will definately enjoy
both the pepper taste and the heat.

Peppers are tricky little buggers though. One can be quite mild, while
the next has ya calling 911. Its kinda touch and go to get the right
amount of heat. I use habaneros in my BBQ sauce/marinade. One way to
tell how HOT you want the batch to be is to cut all the peppers up,
mix them up in a bowl. Take a cup of warm water, and add a tabespoon
of this mix to it. Refrigerate a few hours, and taste the broth. Hot
enough? Too hot? Need more? Repeat, adjusting accordingly.

Hope this helps ya get the control on the pepper part, wish I had more
to offer on the brewing part, but I'm just a novice there....


Re: Experimental Brew
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Interesting experiment, i'm kind of a chily head myself (some people say
that's why i can't taste all fine subtilities in beers). A brewpub around
make a good chily beer one in a while and first time i tasted it, after a
few sip i thougt that it was too mild but what happen is that the heat kind
of build up after a while and when i had finished my pint it was just Ok. if
it would have been more spicy at the start, the heat would have covered all
the other flavor at the end.

I think that the question of ballance is verry important in a spicy beer and
you will need lots of experiment to find the perfect equilibrium. Don't
forget that time may be a factor also, the longer it stay in secondary the
stronger it will be (but up to a point).

P.S: Next time i go to that brewpub i will try to remember to ask a few hint
to the brewer.
Altair (:-o)>=
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