This beer is lively. I remember being afraid that the peppers and yeast wouldn’t get a long and the beer might not carbonate. That is definitely not a problem, there is a very nice, white head. It does, however, dissipate extremely quickly. Bubbles keep coming to the surface but they can’t keep together to get any foam going.
The aroma of the beer is all heat. It burns my nostrils. If I keep sniffing through the pain, I do get some hints of smoke, but that is it.
The smoke comes out much more in the flavor. It is a fight between the smoke and the fire from the peppers. The fire is definitely winning. This is smokier than I remember, but it’s just as hot.
I’m really trying to get more out of this beer and I just can’t find it. I guess there is some bitterness but… I’m grasping at straws. My throat is burning. The moment it hits my tongue, it tingles, first from the high carbonation, then from the heat.
Holding it in my mouth, the smoke starts to come out, but it’s quickly overpowered. There is more smoke in the aftertaste, still surrounded by heat, but it leaves a smokey pit in its wake. This is one case where the fire comes before the smoke.
I will say that the 7.3% ABV is masked well. I sense no alcohol whatsoever here. Also no hops, yeast or malt (outside of smoke). Maybe there is a hint of the actual flavor of the peppers in the finish, too. It is hard to decipher.
I am very curious what a judge would think of this beer. The people I’ve shared it with are sharply divided. The side of people who can’t drink it much more highly populated, but there have been a couple people who loved it. Masochists, I’d say.
Don’t get me wrong, though, I don’t hate this beer. I think it was a fun experiment and I love sharing it with people to get their reactions. I believe splitting a twelve ounce bottle with someone in that situation is the proper serving size, though. I’m getting close to the end of this bottle and my palate is completely fatigued. At this point, I don’t think I could taste any other beer.
I also love cooking with this beer. I love the idea of cooking with beer in general, but I think a lot of times, with my inexperience and less than complete knowledge about the subject, I often lose the character of the beer in a dish. There is not threat of that here. If you put this beer into a meal in place of another liquid and some cayenne pepper or other spice, you WILL recognize it. This is another opportunity to enjoy half a bottle of the beer, as well…
Just a couple more sips… There is a lot of yeast in the bottom of this glass. One more sip should finish it… Okay. Yes. Done. I finished it. The beer and the tasting notes. All done. Now I’m going to take a couple swigs of milk (ah… well, almond milk, anyway) and go to bed. Woof.