A while ago, I blogged looking for advice on a new idea for a beer I wanted to create. Ultimately, there were two ingredients I was looking to get into a porter that would be the main inspiration of the beer: Honey and Chipotles. Well that beer has been brewed, fermented, and bottled. For better or worse, we’ll see in a few weeks if I’ve created something inspirational or something destined for the sink.
The idea for this brew came out pretty organically. I wanted to delve into a darker beer, and I wanted to use a pound of honey I received from a fellow teacher. That was then changed into a chipotle porter when my wife suggested the idea for getting some spice in there. I thought it was a great idea and I hit the blog hopping to get a little more insight into how I might go about creating a beer that utilized both honey and chipotle. Being a lover of all big beers, I was immediately swayed to take the route of a friend who posted his advice on my Facebook. He suggested soaking the chipotles and some oak chips in bourbon for a few days. That would sanitize the peppers, and it would add to the flavor profile of the beer. Needless to say, I jumped right on it.
The brew for the porter went pretty well; however, I realized at the end of the boil, that I may not have actually gone dark and heavy enough to call this beer a porter. If you look at the quotation marks above, I’m calling it a “porter” because I have a feeling the actual porter qualities are a little lacking. I was concerned that with having so many other flavors in there, I would overwhelm the palate if I added in a ton of coffee flavor. So, I basically eliminated it. I also didn’t really get enough chocolate in there either. Although I wanted to wait for the bottle aging and carbonation development, I think I may have focused too much on the additives to the brew and not enough to the base. You live and you learn.
Anyway, I think I may have made a second error when I decided to soak the oak chips and chipotles in the bourbon for near a week. I decided to go with one of my favorite bourbons at the moment for the bourbon component: Bulleit. I poured 14oz of the bourbon
into a clean and sanitized jar. From there, I added the oak chips and dried chipotles. As you can see from the picture, it’s a very enticing concoction. We went on vacation for a few days, and when I returned I took a straw full of the infusion to see how it was going. The pepper was intense. Despite this, I strained the solids out and added the liquid to the secondary. There it sat for two weeks.
This past Friday I decided to bottle. Once again I took a little sip of the uncarbonated brew hoping the peppers had managed to mellow out a little while blending together with the beer. Although not quite as hot, the pepper was still quite ferocious. I bottled it up none-the-less, and we’ll see in a few weeks if I have a winner or a loser. Ultimately I decided to name this one Boomstick after the famous line from Army of Darkness. I thought this one seemed like a double barrel shotgun with all the different huge flavors I decided to throw into it. I have a feeling it may be a cult classic as well.
Although I may not have produced exactly what I set out to do, it was a great learning experience. I’ve learned a lot in just the 5 different creations I’ve tried to brew since February. I had a batch of DIPA that never carbonated, a pretty good saison that was overcarbonated, and a beer that may be too spicy. Ironically, I produced a pretty good beer between each one. The Yippie-Ki-Yay Hazelnut Brown Ale is a great beer, and I’m really happy with it. So I guess I need to be a little less adventurous on my next brew.
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