A Little Sweet with a Touch of Heat


I know it’s been a little while since I wrote on here, and I was planning on talking about my latest brown I have in bottles; however, instead I’ve decided to seek out a little advice on my next brew.  As with other homebrewers I know, the second you get your beer brewed you start thinking of what you want to produce next.  For weeks now I’ve been thinking about getting an IPA going.  I may have been a little overzealous attempting to produce a double IPA before ever producing a regular IPA.  Therefore, I was thinking I need to make a good regular hoppy beer.  Then my wife through an idea into the mix that really threw me for a mental loop.



I was looking around for recipes that I could use a pound of honey a fellow teacher gave me.  I was thinking I should use it in the IPA I had in mind.  Of course the big honey IPA that comes to mind is Hopslam.  I love Hopslam, but I wasn’t really looking to create a clone of it.  Then my wife said “Why don’t you make a honey chipotle beer?”  That really set the wheels turning.  It sounded like the perfect blend of sweet and spice.  Why not produce something like that?  I started looking for recipes I could use to produce it.  I’m not sure that I’ve ever heard of a beer that combines both of these ingredients, but I know of ones that have the individual flavors in them.  I started to try to focus mostly on the Chipotle aspect.  Rogue’s chipotle uses and amber base, and Stone just added chipotle to their smoked porter.  Using both of those beers as inspiration, I’ve decided to try to produce a honey chipotle porter.  This of course only brings a whole multitude of questions.  Hence, I have taken to the blog to find out what my readers think I should do to produce this next brew.


On to the questions!  The first questions deal with the chipotle peppers.  What would be the best way to get a nice medium to light burn on my beer?  I want it to be a little sweet and a little heat, so I really don’t want to overpower too much with one of those aspects.  From what I’ve read, you can add a pepper per gallon to the brew.  I’ve read about some people who add the peppers in the last 20 minutes of the boil, and I’ve read about others who have added them to the secondary.  So where would you put the peppers?  The final question involving the peppers deals with how I “sanitize them”.  I read about some who allowed them to soak in vodka for days and then added the entire solution to the brew.  I’ve also read about others who roasted them and deseeded them before hand.  Is there a particular method you would take to prepare the peppers?


I also have questions on the honey.  I’ve never used honey in my brew, and I want to make sure you can taste a little bit of sweetness to counterbalance the slight burn of the chipotle.  Of course I don’t think I would add the honey at the start of the boil, but I’m not sure if I wait to the last 5 minutes or put it in earlier?  I also believe I can add it straight to the brew without making a solution, but I’m not entirely sure about that.  Could I infect my beer if I don’t create a solution out of the honey?  Do I make a solution in order to add it in?

As always, I’m getting pretty psyched for this beer, but I want to make sure to produce a good beer and not something that goes down the drain like my imperial IPA.  So I come to you, my faithful and helpful readers.  Help me plan and plot how to best produce my first ever porter!








  1. This is pretty adventerous. You should need to worry about sanitizing your ingredients if they go in during the boil. Other than that, I don’t have any personal experience of brewing with peppers. Bonne chance!

  2. Awhile back, I saw that Barleypopmaker had a couple posts on extracting flavors with vodka. He seems pretty wise in the ways of brew-fu. Good luck!


  3. I’ve added honey to the end of the boil and it always comes out nice. However, I’ve never done it with anything like a pepper or the smokiness that comes with chipotles. I don’t really like peppers in my beer, so I haven’t really tried anything like this. For reference, I’d look into Mikkeller’s Texas Ranger and their Black Tie. The first utilizes chipotle peppers rather effectively. The second is a smoky imperial stout with honey. I once described it as “honeyed ash tray” – better than it sounds. Good luck.

    • When you say you’ve added it to the end of the boil are we talking the last five minutes?

      • Yeah, usually the last five just to make sure everything was kosher.

  4. Here’s another thought: Do a 10% ABV/45 IBU Imperial Stout and don’t worry about sanitizing the additives.

  5. For the honey, the addition depends on how much honey flavor you want. I have read (and experimented), and the later you add it the more flavor you get, which might be good for the chipotle. Sounds like an interesting combo. The honey should balance the heat. I had a Chili beer by 7 Stern in Vienna and it was way to spicy so I always caution brewers to realize the potency of peppers.

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