Thursday, April 10, 2008

Don't rush the chiles

Q: I was wondering how your chili beer turned out since I am thinking about making a chili beer myself
Asked by Andy

A: Hi Andy,

I've actually just been thinking about that chile beer again. A family emergency brought us out to Fort Collins, CO last week, where after all was said and done we made our way down to Coopersmith's so I could have myself a glass of Sigda's Green Chili Ale--the very brew that inspired me last time. I have to say, it was much better than I remember mine being, and not just because it was properly aged. There was a very appealing smokiness to the heat, such that I think when I try it next I'll roast the fresh chiles first to convert them to chipotles.

Still and all, while I'm a big fan of flavored, spiced, and/or fruity beers in general, I think the single most important thing I've learned so far is that you've got to give them time to mellow or that flavor will hit you in the face and you won't even taste the beer. That chile beer was a relatively early effort, back before th'usband and I had learned some moderation and we were doing well if a given batch was in the keg for 10 days before we tapped it. I think we might have even wound up with pumpkin ale on one tap and the chile beer on the other, which embarassed me initially because both were very unbalanced when they were young. I know I whined about it to a brewing friend of mine, who consoled me with the story of a juniper beer he'd made one September, thinking it would be a great winter warmer for the holidays. In fact, it tasted roughly like turpentine that first year, and disappointed, he left the bottles under the steps or some such out of the way place, where they sat undisturbed until--I want to say nine months later, but that's probably just baby on the brain talking--I think he actually must have cracked them the next year, by which time he assured me they were great.

I still haven't done any bottling, though I picked up the stuff to do it and am working on a Belgian ale tonight that could probably really benefit from a nice long sit. I've also got the fixings in the house for a Shakemantle Ginger Ale clone (not that I've tried one--it just sounded interesting) and should get that started now if we want to drink it this summer. Fortunately I also recently was given a fifth keg by BrewUnc #1, and if I manage to keep them all full, I'll have a bit more lagering time built right in.

Good luck with your chile beer. It's definitely worth a try. Proost!

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1 comment:

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