rogerlb

Cleopatra's Asp -- archived recipies

3 posts in this topic

I don't know what came over me but I found the "Have You Seen Cleopatra's Asp?" in the archive, and it seemed like a good adjunct-based beer, has a solid base (Bewitched and a golden LME, basically That Voodoo That You Do, something I love). Also, I've been intrigued by chile beers. So why not try this?
 
 
This one has only a single 3-star review on the mrbeer site; he put in too much cardamom and knocked it for that. Duly warned. It's got a handful of adjuncts; fresh grated ginger, the aformentioned cardamom, date sugar (which is actually dates ground up, not really "sugar"), and honey. Oh, and some cayenne.
I only put in 3/4 tsp of fresh ground cardamom instead of 1 tsp. The common knowledge on other beer-brewing sites seems to be cardamom, while fairly common in spiced beers, can easily turn things haywire. Without actual specifics it's clear a little cardamom goes a long way. That lonely user who left the review said the recipe was was 4xs too much.
 
4x? I wonder if he actually put in a tbsp.
 
Rather than adding cayenne, I decided to boil half a hatch chili at the top for 5 minutes, relatively low on the Scoville scale around the heat of pablano, and would give me some vegetal quality, not just heat. (For comparison, I boiled a third of a jalapeno to make some tea to see how that was. Boy, pretty hot. Would be good for a stout-based chile beer. This one's an amber based, so subtle's better.)
 
 
I also got freshly ground ginger, and found date sugar at Whole Foods after not finding it at 4 other stores (11 oz goes for about $7.00). And plain ol' honey. Our lone reviewer mentioned that having actual date sugar "saved" his batch. Another good sign.The 4 oz of date sugar boiled down but didn't completely dissolve. It tastes less like brown sugar, more butterscotch than molasses so not quite as sweet when I'll be done?
 
Still, that 6 oz of honey overtakes the taste for the unfermented wort. No hint of my balanced/ boiled hatch pepper tea or cardamom. I can always add some heat later, probably with a hop sack of a roasted pepper.
 
I'm more interested in the cadamom/ ginger/ spiced amber beer I'm likely to get. Don't want to kill it with too much heat by accident. As the man in the gynecologist's office says, it's a lot easier to put in than it is to take back out.
 
Also, by way of insurance, my batch before this one was a straight up Voodoo, so if the Cleopatra goes off the rails, I can dilute any mistakes with a beer of same style. Solution to beer problems: more beer. ;)
 
Temp in my fermenting fridge was set to 70 - 72 degrees range, slightly higher than usual per instructions. First good sign: krausen was quite active after only 24 hours.
 
After 2 weeks of fermentation, taste-test was rather bland amber, there's no twang of cider, even the sweet of the honey is now gone, also no hint of heat, barely a hint of the ginger. So subtle I wonder if any of that will come out in the final product. Slightly adjusting my earlier plan, I added a hop-sack of half a jalapeno seeped in vodka. I still prefer actual pepper to cayenne, which original suggested.
 
After 4 more days, I pulled out the jalapeno sack, reduced to 40 degrees for 48 hours to cold-crash. (No hydrometer, I'm going by taste that it's done fermenting.) Bottled with table sugar priming half the bottles, turbinado for the other half. Uncarbed beer at this point is rather low-key. No sweetness from the honey anymore, a hair of the caramel (possibly from the amber malt base), a hint of ginger, a slightly larger hint of the jalapeno pepper.  Will be very interesting to see how these adjuncts come out.
 
So now, patience. In about a month or 6 weeks, I'll update with what I ended up with. I know I'm going on long, but there's scant info on this recipe, details, why it was pulled (too hard, too many moving parts?) but consider this a public service post for what I hope to be a great forgotten gem.
Creeps McLane and Shrike like this

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I have been making my own labels, so when I break out my MB bottles, people think I know what I'm doing. (I'm taking the 8.4% from the archived recipe).

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Shrike and hotrod3539 like this

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