• Brewed: Oct. 30, 2021
  • Packaged: Nov. 13, 2021
  • On Tap: Dec. 7, 2021
  • Recipe: Quadruple X

What do you do when you've stupidly grown the second hottest chili pepper in the world? One which some sources say top out at 2.48 million SHU while others say it averages that level. Most people would throw them all away. I decided to brew a beer with them.

I had put together my own recipe for an Imperial Milk Stout based on Russian Black Bread Porter Experiment 2 but my lhbs is having some distribution issues and so was out of multiple grains I wanted to use. As a backup plan I looked at the Triple X milk stout in my always handy Brewing Classic Styles book. I added more base malt to bump it to more of an Imperial version to hopefully hold up to the addition of the chili peppers.

After a lot of research and worrying about creating an undrinkable mess for months before brewing this beer I decided my pepper infusion would be done by letting 1 chili pepper sit in 2-3 oz of vodka for around a week. I would then add part of it a few days before kegging so that I could grab a quick sample while kegging and add the rest if necessary. The choice of 1 pepper was mostly a guess. I read up on what people were using for habanero and found anywhere from 2 peppers per gallon to be strong by enjoyable to 1 pepper or less per gallon to be too spicy. People's tastes vary a lot as does the actual spicyness of chili peppers within the same variety. I figured habaneros top out around 350,000 SHU. 2.5 million / 350,000 is just over 7x hotter. So 1 habaneros per gallon is somwhere between 1.5 million and 1.75 million SHU/gallon of wort and 2 gallons. I figured 1 pepper topping out at 2.5 million SHU for 5 gallons would put me firmly below that but solidly above 1 habanero per gallon.

My linked recipe is just the base recipe without the addition of peppers since this is not my intended final recipe for a pepper beer.

I classified the base recipe as 30C Experimental Beer because there is no Imperial Sweet Stout category. With the addition of chili peppers it could arguably could also be categorized as Spiced Beer.

Mash and Boil

This was a big batch of beer but I went with a full volume mash anyway. I Mashed at 150F for 1 hour. My hope was that the slightly lower mash temp would help out with the final gravity. After that I Boiled for 1 hour with lid on for first 45 minutes because my boil off rates have been higher than expected. It turned out my boil off rate was still high, so I ended with a bit less beer than intended but not too bad. Unfortunately, the original gravity was also not as high as it was intended to be. I think these high gravity batches at a larger size need a tweak to my process.


I cooled the wort to about 66F and pitched the yeast. I used 1 packet of US-05, another mistake on my part. I normally would have used fresh S-04, but I've got some aging packets of US-05 so I decided to use that. The gravity, while not as high as intended, was still faily high at 1.082 and so 1 packet of aging dry yeast just wasn't enough. After just over 1 week I was still at about 1.025. I decided to try throwing in 1/2 packet of S-33 I had around to see if that helped at all and figured it also might add some British yeast flavor. After just under a week or so I was still at 1.024. so I got my priming sugar ready and transferred to a 5 gallon keg to carbonate.


Yesterday I chilled the 5 gallon keg and then pressure transferred enough to fill a 2.5 gallon keg. A tiny pour showed that since I had it well below 50F it maintained most of the carbonation but I let it sit with co2 on it until today. I poured an 8oz or so glass and was surprised to find that this is really good. Aside from not being the base beer I had intended it is exactly what I had hoped for. At first there is no heat at all, just malt and sugars and a touch of roast. As the beer lingers the heat comes in and it's strong, not something I'd recommend to someone who breaks a sweat over Jalapenos or Tabasco sauce, but it's not overpowering. The flavor of the beer is still there the whole time keeping the heat in check.


I did not keep up with updates on this. The beer was a hit for the last several months, though. One person had to go lay down for 20 minutes after drinking it, one had "digestive issues", and everyone else loved it. I was mostly drinking it in smaller quantities at a time, but between that and giving away a couple of bottles here and there I finally finished the last of it a few days ago.

Style Details

0 - 40 srm

Batch Details

Brewed OnPackaged OnOn Tap DateOriginal GravityFinal GravityColor
Oct. 30, 2021 Nov. 13, 2021 Dec. 7, 2021 1.081 1.025
44 srm