I love black pepper!

This pungent, mildly spicy condiment has a peppery taste that makes it distinctive among all other peppers.  Easy to work with and very recognizable, it’s found on almost every kitchen table in America.  Not only used for flavoring food, this fruit has been used throughout history as currency, as medicine, and also as a way to preserve the dead in ancient Egyptian mumification rituals.

As I sat back from the table tonight I thought, “Certainly, there has to be a way to incorporate that taste into beer.  Surely, I’m not the first person to have tried this.”  I was right.  There are a few commercially available ‘pepper beers’ out there.  According to the reviews, some good, some not.  That being said, I am going to strike out on my own and try to work out a ‘black pepper stout’.  I have a ‘base’ stout recipe that not only works well by itself as a house beer but, I have used it in a couple of variations of chocolate stout.

The idea is simple.  Because you can reuse the yeast cake at the bottom of your primary quite a few times before the yeast get all… weird, and because I haven’t brewed my ‘house stout’ since last winter, I am going to start by brewing a 10 gallon batch of it.  This will give me a good yeast cake to work with and well, 10 gallons of stout!  I’ll take that yeast cake and divide it between two fermenters and brew another 10 gallon batch and split it between the two prepared fermenters.  Once primary fermentation is complete, I’ll add different amounts of coarsely ground pepper to each of the primaries and age them a while.  Black pepper goes a long way so, maybe 1/4 tablespoon in one and 1/2 tablespoon in the other.  I suppose if it all goes south and I wind up with either no pepper or too much pepper, in either case, at a minimum, I will have made…  beer… ;)

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