Sometimes the universe conspires in your favor.
Last year, all the blogs I follow were going on and on about how wonderful and amazing these “Hatch Chiles” were. It built up so much hype, that at the beginning of “Hatch Chile” season this year, I was ready to jump on that boat, man!! I want some $#&*@ng “Hatch Chiles”! I had been to the grocery store; I had been to the farmers market. No “Hatch Chiles”. I began to wonder if the universe was conspiring against me, and this was all an elaborate joke being played on me.
“‘Hatch Chiles’ don’t really exist, we’re just saying they do to make you crazy, Natalie!” Ha ha ha. :-/
So, Melissa’s Produce is instagramming all over the place about their hatch chiles. I was fed up! “I can’t GET ‘Hatch Chiles’ here,” I tell them (as if “Hatch Chiles” actually existed). To which they so graciously replied, “We’ll send you some!”
I’m here to tell you that “Hatch Chiles” do really exist.
What am I going to make, now that actual Hatch Chiles are on their way?!
People roast them typically, and put them in soups, enchiladas, salsas, salads. I wanted to do something different.
Then, it happened. A super-nova idea blew off in my brain!
Enter: The World Of Beer.
Back in November of 2011, I had the beer that changed my perspective on what beer could be. It was Stone Brewing Company’s Vertical Epic 11.11.11, a Belgian Strong Ale brewed with cinnamon and HATCH CHILES. HATCH mr-effin CHILES!!!! I drug my better half to More Beer (really, I did have to drag him), and the handy, friendly, helpful staff helped me convert Stone’s recipe into something that a partial-boil extract loving home brewer could do.
These two ingredients are what make Stone Vertical Epic 11.11.11 so special.
So, here we are! What fun! Here’s the plan drawn out well ahead of time; gone over and over so the errors are minimal.
Brew day must not commence until there is a beer in hand:
Our hops and grains are all laid out and ready to go.
Hops are measured.
Then, steep the grains for 30 minutes, until the temperature reaches 150°F.
Remove the grains, get the temperature up to 165°F, then once the mixture boils, add 9 pounds of the liquid malt extract and Warrior and Perle hop pellets. This will all boil for 90 minutes, but 45 minutes in, you add the remaining four pounds of liquid malt extract.
At the 80 minute mark (10 minutes left in the boil), we decided to add in 4 cinnamon sticks, 2 roasted Hatch Chiles, and remaining Cascade and Columbus hops.
To bring the wort down to temperature, we employ the bagged ice scenario. We don’t have a wort chiller (yet), so this is how we roll: Get a couple bags of ice from the grocery, open them up, and stick them in a SANITIZED water jug until you’re ready. When the wort is ready to be chilled, use SANITIZED utensils to scoop the ice into the wort. Stir well and let the ice melt after each addition so you don’t overshoot your temperature mark. In our case it was about 68°F I can’t stress this enough: make sure everything is sanitized. Look! We’re almost there! My hubby was so sweet… I got this lazer thermometer for my birthday last year. It’s so handy!
We got the wort down to about 68°F, then the chiles, cinnamon, and hops come out. Pour the cooled wort into your carboy, and “pitch” the yeast. Pitching means essentially to pour it in. That’s what we did! Just make sure that you pull your yeast out well before you start brewing (3 hours), as it should be room temperature when you pitch it. Then you shake that carboy like a Polaroid picture. The aim is to get the wort aerated with the yeast. Everything is better this way.
Now the waiting and babying begins! To keep this at around 68°F for the fermentation period, we put the carboy in a plastic bin, filled it about halfway with water, and iced that puppy down every now and then. I became a fan of keeping about six bottles of water in the freezer, and every 12 hours, I exchanged three frozen bottles for the ones that were keeping the mixture cool.
The yeast began to eat the sugars in the wort about 24 hours later, and started bub-bubbling away! That has to be my favorite part of the whole process besides drinking it.
Make sure you stay tuned for part two, when we BOTTLE!
Hatch Chile Lover,
*Melissa’s Produce sent me the Hatch Chiles, but I was in no way obligated to write a post about them. I bought all the brewing supplies from More Beer, and Stone just gave me the recipe. All opinions and excitement are my own!