Hot Peppers Experiment.

Batch # 262. Peppers sliced, not deseeded.



Table of Results is here: Table Of Pepper Porters Results



Background to beer experiment:


I brewed Batch # 250 in July 2018 and it was very good. It was complex Porter with interesting twist of hot peppers.


In December 2018, I tried to replicate this batch of beer and document a repeatable recipe. This led to an experiment comprising of brewing 5 batches of beers with slight variances in the recipe to determine the impact of manipulating the amount of peppers in the recipe.  The experiment revealed some steps that can be replicated and also identified opportunities for improvement.


The goals:

The experiment had 2 objectives.

1. Try to replicate Batch # 250, and document a repeatable recipe.

2. Determine how best to work with Peppers and how much increase of peppers increases the resulting heat until you get over the top and can't take any higher heat from the peppers.



The experiment was conducted over a period of one month, with one batch of beer brewed on each day of 12/27/2018, 1/1/2019, 1/10/2019, 1/19/2019 and 1/20/2019, for a total of 5 batches of beer brewed.


The intention was to keep the recipe consistent and only vary the amount of hot peppers used. But, this did not work out as planned due to ingredients not all being available on the assigned brew day, and variances introduced from semi-crude brewing equipment.

For example, Ghost peppers were used in Batch # 258, but they are no longer available from Stop 'n Shop. S-04 wasn't available for all batches.


I tabulated the resulting batches for comparison, and after analysis, there are not clear cause-and-effect correlations that I can use to replicate this recipe.



1. It is very hard to replicate a brew day on existing equipment. Mash temps change, as does boil volume due to semi-crude brewing equipment.

2. Jalapeno and Poblano peppers don't add significantly to the beer, and can be removed from future batches.

3. Inconclusive if it matters if pepper seeds are included in the boil, or fermented, or not.

4. It seems that Calcium Chloride could inversely impact the heat, becuase Batch # 262 did not have Calcium Chloride and it was the hottest batch. However it also had the most peppers.

5. Adding Hot Peppers 10 minutes prior to boil gives heat sensation at back of mouth.

6. Adding Hot Peppers 5 minutes prior to end of boil gives heat sensation in middle to front of mouth. Therefore, the longer the peppers are added in the boil, the further back the heat moves in your mouth. (Perhaps more oils from the peppers are boiled off, the longer it boils?)

7. The ratio of Three Habanero peppers to 5 gallons of wort added 10 minutes prior to end of boil appears to be enough to yield a tastey pepper porter. 



Next Steps.

1. The first change to make when doing an experiment such as this, is to control everything that can be controlled. For example, ensure that the exact same grain bill and water salts and water volumes and yeast are used for each test of the experiment.

2. Follow the recipe exactly. Make sure all steps are clearly printed and use the same checklist for each batch of beer brewed.
3. Buy all ingredients on the same day to eliminate seasonal variances.

4. Brew the test batches as close together as possible to eliminate seasonal variances, such as on the same day.


Further Research.

1. Perhaps mash the beer and split into 2 or 3 boil kettles, to get the same starting wort, and eliminate all variables such as water salts and mash variables.

2. Ferment side-by-side.

3. Consider brewing in smaller batches, to eliminate batch-to-batch variances. For example, mash for 10 gallons, then split into 5 x 2 gallon batches so that they can ferment side-by-side and all be kegged on the same day.

4. Consider using Briess malt extract as the base for the beer, given that the variable under consideration here is Hot Peppers and is not directly related to wort production.



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