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How We Grow Spicy Beer at Rogue Farms

Jalapeño harvest began early in the morning as the fog rolled in.
Jalapeño harvest began early in the morning as the fog rolled in.

Is it just us, or is it getting hot in here? Must be the jalapeños.

Our jalapeños reached another milestone on their journey from seed to sip when they were harvested yesterday. This year, not only did we grow our peppers by hand, we also built our own dehydrator from scratch to turn them into the chipotles we use in our beers and spirits.

Our 11,339 red jalapenos were hand picked.
Our 11,339 red jalapenos were hand picked.

Since they were planted in the fields in June, our half acre of jalapeño plants grew steadily and produced beautiful peppers — and they stayed in the ground longer than almost all of our other crops. Most farmers harvest jalapeños in September, when they’re fully grown, green and spicy, but we wait a few weeks for the fruits to turn bright red before we pick them. This extra time does more than change the color of the pepper, it lets the flavor mature and deepen and brings down some of the heat. These red peppers, with their extra time under the fall sun, are perfect for making chipotles.

The siren red jalapenos signal they’re ripe.
The siren red jalapenos signal they’re ripe.

So how does a jalapeño magically become one of the chipotle peppers we use in our products? Heat. We dehydrate the jalapeños for several days to get out all of their moisture and get them ready to be smoked and turned into the chipotles we use in our Chipotle Ale and Chipotle Whiskey.

In the past, we’ve experimented with drying the jalapeños in a hop kiln. But this year, we decided to build our own dehydrator to perfect the process.

David and Bill begin filling the dehydrator.
David and Bill begin filling the dehydrator.

Hand-built by our Master of Disaster, David White, brewery handyman, Bill Lambert, the dehydrator is made out of pine and will hold 48 full-sized (18” x 26”) sheet trays of jalapeños. The peppers will stay in the dehydrator for 4-5 days before they emerged dry and ready to be smoked over cherry and alder wood by our head cooper himself, Nate Linquist.

Wet jalapenos on the way to becoming Chipotle Ale and Spirit.
Wet jalapenos on the way to becoming Chipotle Ale and Spirit.

Harvest season is nearly over at Rogue Farms, our last crop of Wigrich Corn almost ready to come in from the field. We’ll focus our energy now to preparing our farms for the winter. Join us as we continue to Grow the Revolution.

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