I've brewed a simple base ale recipe. It's fermenting happily.

I want to add Chile Peppers to the beer to make a spiced ale. I'm not looking for something with a lot of heat, but I do want some flavor in the back of my mouth.

My thought is to buy 5-10 dried peppers, freeze them to break down the cells, then put them in the secondary, sampling it until it tastes right.

I have two questions.

First, has anyone made a beer like this, and can give me an idea of what kind of peppers I could use. I'm planning to use at least Chipotle, to get a slight smoked flavor in addition to the spice. Should I try something else? Have you found good flavor from a different pepper?

Second, how many peppers should I use? I'm currently planning on 5 medium sized peppers, one per gallon, but do you think that will take too long?

4 Answers 4


I think you are on the right track with tasting the brew regularly. I'd suggest actually doing the experiment in a one gallon jug. Wait to see how long it takes to get the pepper taste you are looking for. Then scale up the number of peppers to the full 4 gallons remaining.

That way you'll get a little more control over the final product and potentially not lose an entire 5 gallons off beer at once.

Chipotle is probably a good choice. I'd maybe think of a blend of 2-3 chilis with slightly differnt characters.

Basic Brewing Radio did a real nice peice with chilis a while back. Starting there would be a good place to look for different chilis and their profile in the beer. The episode was called Chili Beer Experiment. Scroll down until you find the Sept 30, 2009 episode.

  • I've seen that episode. That's where I got the 1 pepper-per-gallon guideline.
    – sgwill
    Commented Jan 21, 2010 at 17:36

I Have done 2 versions of a chili beer. I had good results with my second version where I simply chopped 10 chilies and dry hopped them in secondary for 2 weeks, it ended up with a good flavor and just a bit of heat. I had just used regular Red Chili peppers because it was all I could fine fresh, but use what you like.


So far I've made two brown-chili batches and here's what I did.

I actually made a chili concentrate by having hot chili flakes boil in raw alcohol (100% ethanol) for about 30-45 minutes, because Capsaicin is soluble in alcohol (and oil, but oil is not really useful in this case) and this allows you to extract more hotness ;-)

Once I had a (very) strong concentrate, I mixed it with the brew in order to obtain the wanted chili taste.

I liked this process because it really gives you a lot of control over how much Capsaicin you want, and I didn't see much changes after fermentation (even 6 months in). So it's pretty much WYTIWYG (What You Taste Is What You Get) :-)

Hope this helps !

  • How many peppers did you use?
    – Philippe
    Commented Apr 15, 2018 at 12:50
  • I used 3 peppers for a 25 litres batch. But this will really depend on the kidn of pepper you have/use. In the end, I tested the pepper concentrate by tasting a tiny drop. Since my mouth was enjoyably & intensly on fire with this tiny drop I believed it would work fine diluted in the 25 litres. I don't think there'll be a more precise method, other than measuring your concentrate's strengh on the Scoville scale - good luck with that
    – Danyright
    Commented Apr 16, 2018 at 4:59

Steph Weber is actually posting an article on that tomorrow on the Hopress on Ratebeer. Check it out tomorrow morning to see how we do it.

We add frozen and dried peppers to the end of the boil, and add an additional pepper tea to the secondary.


See the article here http://stephweber.hoppress.com/2010/01/22/chile-beer/

  • 1
    Pepper tea seems like a good way to clear the sinuses in the morning.
    – brewchez
    Commented Jan 22, 2010 at 12:36
  • Have to agree with Brewchez on that. heh
    – KO
    Commented Jun 20, 2010 at 3:47

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