In 2010, I entered the Sam Adams Longshot homebrewing competition.
The theme of that year's competition was Category 23: Specialty beers. That's great because the sky was the limit in recipe formulation. As I thought about it, I remembered this great Italian bistro in downtown Springfield which has this heavenly dish that is cheese tortellini in a roasted red pepper cream sauce.
That was it! I knew what I was going to make. Here is the recipe:
Recipe Type – All Grain
Recipe Yield – 5 Gallons
7lbs – 2Row base malt
.75lbs – Honey malt (brumalt)
.25lbs – Belgian Biscuit
1oz – Cluster (60 min)
I used Wyeast #1056 – American Ale yeast
Mash in @ 150 for 60 min, Sparge @ 170 for 10 minutes.
3 large red bell peppers – roasted. Introduce in fermenter.
To be honest, I am doing good to get 70% efficiency right now due to some badly needed equipment upgrades, but I still got an OG of 1.038. It should probably be a little higher than that. The cream ale by style is going to be a very light ale and very much lends itself to the spring and summer months. With a low OG, it's also a very sessionable beer. Then the fun begins
During the boil, I took three red bell peppers, brushed them with olive oil, and put them in the broiler on high until the skin started to blacken (about 20 minutes). Then I put them in a bowl and covered so that they would sweat. This makes them easier to peel. Peel the peppers, cut them up in to strips, and get them ready to introduce into the fermenter. I'm a little paranoid, so I ran them through a little sanitizer just to be safe.
The red peppers give the cream ale a ruby hue and a large pepper aroma. I'll be honest, I choked a little on the first whiff off the fermenter. Once it aged a couple of weeks though, it calmed down ever so slightly. The beer drinks very light, with the peppers mainly being on the nose and very little in the taste. It finishes very clean. It pairs great with Mexican food (go figure) or on its own.
Unfortunately this recipe didn't get far in the competition. The concerns were that once the novelty wore off, it would be a hard sell for consecutive pints. I don't necessarily disagree with them. However, I already have two standing requests for this recipe again this year, so who knows.
Give it a try and let me know what you think!