Sunday, March 13, 2011

Ancho Amber

I originally created this recipe to be my Christmas beer. It was going to be called Feliz Navidad and be a beer inspired by Mexican Hot Chocolate. I have had this beer in mind for about 3 years and I did a small test batch a few years back. I would incorporate ancho chilies, cocoa nibs/powder, and cinnamon. I figured a malty amber, stout or porter would be a good base to stand up to these flavorful ingredients. I chose an amber to try first and added some chocolate malt and special B to match the chocolate and raisin flavors of cocoa and ancho chilies. When the beer was finished fermenting I racked into the keg and placed 4 large ancho chilies, that were de-stemmed and deseeded to my dry hop bag and placed them into the keg to dry-chile the beer. I had them in the keg for 10 days and then pulled them out and sampled the beer. It was not spicy at all but had a great ancho aroma and flavor. The beer was so great as is that I decided to save the chocolate and other spices for another time. The beer is a big hit with all of my friends and family (including those who are BJCP certified) so I am going to enter it in this years NHC.

I will brew a stout or porter with the anchos, cocoa, and spices for Christmas next year.

Recipe: US Pilnser malt, Germna Dark Munich, White Wheat, Special B, and Chocolate Malt. Check Saaz bitering, and Golding for flavor. US-05. Ancho Chilies.


  1. I really like this idea.
    Do you think it is the cold extraction with dried chiles that allows for you to get the flavor but not the heat?
    What other type of chiles would you recommend that will provide a nice smoke and chile flavor without providing heat?
    I would like to use some in a table strength Saison.

  2. I did a mini batch with ancho chilies a few years ago and I think that the seeds make a big difference. I think any of the big dark colored chilies would give you a nice chile flavor without heat. To get smoked flavor, I think you' d have to have smoked peppers.Or if you could find chipotles chilies that are not canned in adobo sauce. My friend made a home roasted jalapeno (chipotle) lager a few years ago and it was great. I think he added one whole roasted chile to the beer in secondary. Check the links below for more chile ideas, I think my next batch will use Mulato Chilies.

  3. Just got my NHC score sheets and the beer earned a first place in the 1st round of the NHC. It will move on to the second round! Oh and I kicked the keg the night before I got the results back.

  4. Congrats on the NHC medal.
    I just put a gallon of my Table Saison on one Ancho chile (de-seeded). I'll try to take very small tastes every other day until it is ready. I have the keg in the fridge, did you dry-chile at room temperature?

  5. Jeff,

    I dry chiled at room temp. I just rebrewed this beer today and dropped of bottles of the first batch at Alesmith for the NHC second round. I will know how it finishes in 13 days! I love the idea of the table saison and ancho, how did it come out?

  6. Well I didn't place at Nationals with this beer. Next time!