Chili Willi

Chili Willi

Early in my brewing career, I had to clean tanks day in and day out. One particular beer used to drive me nuts. It was a chili beer that had oodles of chilies. Those chilies were loaded into the bright tank and cold steeped before bottling.

As soon as we were done bottling this beer, somehow, someway the head brewer would make it my job to clean that tank. Everyone else would scurry off while I was stuck scooping chilies out of the little tiny man-way.

Fast forward to present. I wanted to make a beer that would complement these wonderful chilly evenings, but still be refreshing enough during the day. A beer that would be paired well with food and a beer you could cook with.

I used that familiarity that I had fostered with that former beer to create a unique blend of my knowledge of chilies, and understanding of beer styles.

We started by brewing a lightly smoked robust porter. Post fermentation, I cut over 20lbs of chilies and put 75% of them into the tank. The other 25% were taken next door to Sperry’s and the gentlemen over there showed me how their smoker works. After 45 minutes and a few chili jokes, I pitched the remainder chilies into the tank. I then racked the porter on all of the chilies.  

To get the heat correct with this beer, you have to taste it daily, sometimes hourly. It’s not a bad job but once again, I’m stuck cleaning chilies out of yet another tank.

View Photos Here!

Style – Robust Porter, Vegetable beer.
IBU’s – 30
ABV – 5.5%
Hops – Northern Brewer, Cascade, Fuggles
Malts – 2 Row, Crystal 70, Smoked, White Wheat, Chocolate, Black, Brown malts.
Adjunct – Smoked Jalapeno, Fresno, Anaheim, Habanero, and Serrano peppers

Appearance – A thin murky black with an off-white tan head

Smell – Hefty bouquet of fragrant smoked peppers, with hints of dark roasted coffee.

Taste – This is definitely a chili beer as the various peppers carry the show. At first blush, you get the earthy, freshly smoked herbal taste of the peppers just to dissipate into the robust porters’ roasted malts. Restrained sweetness and a touch of chocolate disperse to give a hint of the smoke once again. At the end of the palate, fair amounts of heat come into the picture. The individual flavors fit well together as this beer will leave your tongue in heat. The only respite is to take another sip.

Mouth feel – Thin body with moderate carbonation. Oddly refreshing.

Food Pairings -  Spicy Chicken Wings, Pizza’s: The meat combo pizza, The Special, The Genoa, The Malay Chicken,





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