Author Topic: Peppercorns of different varieties  (Read 1649 times)

Offline unclebrazzie

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Peppercorns of different varieties
« on: February 13, 2015, 01:46:22 PM »
For a long time now (ever since I saw a picture of Piper longum in Randy Mosher's Radical Brewing) I've been meaning to brew a peppercorn beer.

I've added black peppercorns and sechuan peppercorns in a porter (secondary ongoing, more on that later) and black peppercorns in an saison (also currently in secondary) and have probably under-dosed both (a novelty for me).

Over time, I've collected various types of peppercorns, with the express aim for brewing a peppercorn-forward beer. With that I mean I want the beer to be spicy/hot the way a peppered steak should be, but also savoury/fragrant/aromatic the way peppercorn cream sauce should be (and the way your peppermill smells).

I distinctly remember the collab brew by Cigar City and Amager called Xiquic and the Hero Twins, a spicy-hot imperial stout brewed with black peppercorns and aged on cedar wood, which had ample of the two characteristics I'm looking for.

At my disposal are (all unmilled, uncrushed):
  • black pepper
  • white pepper
  • green pepper
  • pink pepper
  • long pepper
  • szechuan pepper
  • maniguette pepper which turns out tbe be Grains of Paradise
  • cubebe pepper

I intend to make a small amount of tea from each variety to study flavour aspects and imported hotness.
I'll make due notes here but anyone having experience with any of these peppers are welcome to join in.

That porter...Szechuan by itself is very hot (as in "chew a single kernel and your mouth is on fire") and also numbs the tongue. Very unpleasant by itself, but in food, it becomes a wonderful alchemical compound which totally elevates the dish. I added about 1g of szechuan and 1g of black peppercorns (uncrushed) to a 5gal batch of 1.070 SG porter, which, in secondary now, reveals no peppery touches anywhere. My guess is I should have crushed them, and possibly used more. I'm quite sure I don't want szechuan in secondary, unless I don't want people to actually be able to taste the final beer.
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Peppercorns of different varieties
« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2015, 02:13:59 PM »
There are different varieties of black peppercorns, and they have slightly different tastes. A friend brews this one, and it is tasty. I did a variation on it, added some smoked peppecorns, and like it. Mike uses Tellicherry pepercorns.

http://2cicerones.blogspot.com/2011/11/brew-day-batch-352-rye-peppercorn-pale.html
http://pepper-passion.com/peppercorn-varieties/
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Offline unclebrazzie

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Re: Peppercorns of different varieties
« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2015, 02:23:02 PM »
Thx!

Looks like the 1g I used is waaaay too little then :)
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Offline kmccaf

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Re: Peppercorns of different varieties
« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2015, 02:23:47 PM »
I'll throw this out there. The people who run the Spice House in Chicago and Milwaukee once told me that there is no difference between Black, Green, Pink, and White peppercorns. They gave a talk on the history of the spice trade that involved people who made more money off the ones that looked different than black, but said that they are not actually different. The only one that tastes and is different is Szechuan.
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Offline denny

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Re: Peppercorns of different varieties
« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2015, 04:56:25 PM »
In "Experimental Homebrewing" there's a recipe for a tripel made with caramelized honey and white peppercorns.  I've also used a combo of pink, green and white for it.
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Offline homoeccentricus

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Re: Peppercorns of different varieties
« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2015, 05:16:31 PM »
Made a gallon of mead with:
1.5 TBSP Red Szechuan berries
1.5 TBSP Green Szechuan berries
1 tsp Tellicherry Black Peppercorns

But this was too dry, so I blended it with sweeter mulberry mead.

So I'd say a peppered beer could use some residual sweetness...
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Offline 4swan

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Re: Peppercorns of different varieties
« Reply #6 on: February 13, 2015, 10:15:19 PM »
I'll throw this out there. The people who run the Spice House in Chicago and Milwaukee once told me that there is no difference between Black, Green, Pink, and White peppercorns. They gave a talk on the history of the spice trade that involved people who made more money off the ones that looked different than black, but said that they are not actually different. The only one that tastes and is different is Szechuan.

From my understanding pink peppercorns are from a differently species.  And Black, green and white peppercorns are from the same plant, but are different in the maturity and/or processing.

Offline kmccaf

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Re: Peppercorns of different varieties
« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2015, 10:20:53 PM »
I'll throw this out there. The people who run the Spice House in Chicago and Milwaukee once told me that there is no difference between Black, Green, Pink, and White peppercorns. They gave a talk on the history of the spice trade that involved people who made more money off the ones that looked different than black, but said that they are not actually different. The only one that tastes and is different is Szechuan.

From my understanding pink peppercorns are from a differently species.  And Black, green and white peppercorns are from the same plant, but are different in the maturity and/or processing.

That may be true. The presentation was 4 or 5 years ago. I should really look into it since I've been repeating this ever since.
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Offline homoeccentricus

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Re: Peppercorns of different varieties
« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2015, 10:22:59 PM »
In "Experimental Homebrewing" there's a recipe for a tripel made with caramelized honey and white peppercorns.  I've also used a combo of pink, green and white for it.

Plus a "Pepper Pile Pale Ale" with jalapenos, szechuan pepper, black and pink peppercorns.
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Offline gman23

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Re: Peppercorns of different varieties
« Reply #9 on: February 13, 2015, 10:53:53 PM »
I'll throw this out there. The people who run the Spice House in Chicago and Milwaukee once told me that there is no difference between Black, Green, Pink, and White peppercorns. They gave a talk on the history of the spice trade that involved people who made more money off the ones that looked different than black, but said that they are not actually different. The only one that tastes and is different is Szechuan.

From my understanding pink peppercorns are from a differently species.  And Black, green and white peppercorns are from the same plant, but are different in the maturity and/or processing.

That may be true. The presentation was 4 or 5 years ago. I should really look into it since I've been repeating this ever since.

hopfenundmalz's link above seemed to explain the differences pretty thoroughly.
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Offline majorvices

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Re: Peppercorns of different varieties
« Reply #10 on: February 14, 2015, 02:42:44 AM »
White and black peppercorns are exactly the same except that white peppercorns have the skin removed. It is basically just to make them look prettier.

Nit sure about the rest.

Offline unclebrazzie

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Re: Peppercorns of different varieties
« Reply #11 on: February 14, 2015, 09:44:31 AM »
...there is no difference between Black, Green, Pink, and White peppercorns...

There is no difference between pilsner malt and black patent malt either. Same difference: black, white, green and red (not pink) pepper is all Piper nigrum in varying stages of maturation/ripeness. Longum is, well, long pepper and closely related to nigrum. Pink pepper actually comes from the shrub Schinus molle. Szichuan is a different species altogether again, called Zanthoxylum.

The point being though that even if the common everyday coloured peppers are the same species, they taste as different from other as grapes and raisins.

I'd say a peppered beer could use some residual sweetness...
Agreed. A big porter or an imperial stout would do nicely.
Lower dosages may work well in dry pale beers (saisons, wit and even pilsners) but may require more subtle handling.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2015, 10:07:23 AM by unclebrazzie »
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