I’m proud of this one. After the somewhat failure of my honey IPA, I had high hopes for my “Hot Blonde” jalapeno ale. They came through.
This beer was pretty simple – I used a base of an Austin Homebrew blonde ale and added jalapenos and one habanero during the fermentation process. I didn’t want the beer to have some kind of firehouse hotness, but I think I was able to strike an ideal mix between the flavor aspects of the peppers and the heat people associate with them.
Not a lot of hops went into this one, just an ounce of cascade at the start of the brew for bittering and then an ounce of willamette at the end for aroma. I did add about a pound of honey with 15 minutes left in the boil, but any of that sweetness doesn’t come through. It was mostly just to jack up the ABV by a percent or so. I also added a pound of sugars for an alcohol boost. Overall, the beer came out at about 7 percent ABV. I feel like there’s a slight taste of the alcohol in each bottle, but it’s handled pretty well by the pepper and heat.
During the fermentation process I was worried about the flavor of the beer, as the jalapenos really took over. I started by roasting six “cored” jalapenos – I took out the white flesh and seeds to avoid the most spicy parts – and one habanero, also cleaned out. Those imparted a very strong pepper smell and taste, but not much heat at all. So I added a half roasted jalapeno with all flesh and seeds left attached. That really helped give it a little kick. I really like how the spiciness and heat ended up in this beer. It’s enough that you know you’re drinking a jalapeno ale, but not offensive to more milder tastes. The heat will stick with you throughout a bottle, but never overpower. It leaves a little on the tongue each time.
The smell and taste as still very much pepper, but not as bad as I thought it would be through the fermentation process. I think the carbonating really helped that move along. It still smells like a jalapeno, but the spiciness helps to mitigate some of the pepper flavor.
The only disappointing part of the beer is the color, which is a little darker than I wanted it to be. Although, I suspect adding the honey had something to do with that.