Jalapeño Pale Ale

I like beers with some heat to it, especially if I can taste the flavors with which the heat is providing. I made a beer a while ago with paprika and it was dog poopie. Way too hot and one dimensional. On the other side of that, I was in Charlotte, NC in August, and had a jalapeño beer from Birdsong Brewery that was a wonderful balance of pepper with mild heat.

The goal for this beer was to mimic that wonderful green pepper with the heat, without the heat dominating. I do like the habanero sculpin IPA, but I feel the heat can get in the way and it’s hard to drink a full pint of it.

The main way I have found to add the heat, while retaining flavors, is after fermentation. You can add peppers in the boil, but I didn’t want any of the flavors to get driven off, plus I feel like I can control the heat a bit better by being able to pull the pepper off the beer, or add little amounts as needed. When adding any pepper I usually cut them in half and then take out the seeds. I also think it’s a good idea to try and keep the peppers submerged to minimize any exposure to potential mold growing on the pepper, and for better contact.

I wanted there to be a little fruit element to this as that can pair well with jalapeños, especially flavors like mango and pineapple. Galena (sweet fruits, pear, and pineapple) and Galaxy (passionfruit) hops where chosen for this reason. I didn’t do too many late additions with them, but that may be a better option to pair the flavors in hindsight.

Brew day video:


Batch Size: 0.8 Gallons
OG: 1.053
SRM: 4
Est ABV: 5%-ish
IBU: 57-ish
Boil Time: 60 Min

1.5 lbs (84.7%) – 2-Row
2.5 oz (8.5%) – Flaked Oats
2.0 oz (6.8%) – Acid Malt

70 Min @ 149F

.10 oz (41 IBUs) Galena (15.5% AA) @ 45 Min
.20 oz (16 IBUs) Galaxy (14% AA) @ 5 Min

WLP648 Brettanomyces Bruxellensis Trois Vrai

Here’s what went down:

Brewed 8/27/17

8/28/17: Good fermentation the next day.

9/2/17: Fermentation has slowed. Transferred to a secondary and added 1/2 jalapeño (with the seeds taken out). I let these float despite what I said earlier. Ideally I should have submerged these.

9/12/17: Bottled.

9/15/17 Tasting:

2 Comment

  1. Kyle says: Reply

    Hey – been reading through most of your blog posts to try and get some tips and tricks for my own brewing process (thank you for documenting all your brews BTW).

    I currently have a 5 Gal batch of pale ale base fermenting at the moment. The plan is to “spice” it up with some jalapeños (mix of both fresh and smoked). What would you recommend for the quantity of added jalapeños?

    1. Jason says: Reply

      I’ve had the best luck with 1/2 jalapeño deseeded per gallon. That is a medium spice level with a fresh jalapeño taste. Try that and if you want more heat, you can add some more. I’ve also found it only takes a few days to get the results.

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