Calavera Spiced Chile Stout

Calavera Spiced Chile Stout is rated 4.6 out of 5 by 31.
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Dark and roasty, this spiced chile beer packs some bold flavors from the additions of cocoa nibs, cinnamon, vanilla, and Ancho chile peppers (though you can use any chile pepper). Aromas of peppery spices, cocoa, and roasted malts are heavy on the nose, while the flavors dark chocolate, vanilla, and coffee greet your palate. This robust beer finishes smooth with a subtle lingering heat from the chiles.

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Calavera Spiced Chile Stout
Calavera Spiced Chile Stout

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    What You Get

    1 Can of Bewitched Amber Ale Brewing Extract (HME)

    1 Packet of Dry Brewing Yeast (Under the Lid of the Brewing Extract)

    1 Packet of BrewMax LME Robust

    1 Packet of Chocolate Malt

    1 Packet of Black Malt

    1 Packet of Cacao Nubs

    1 Packet of Goldings Pellet Hops

    3 Hop Sacks

    1 Packet of No-Rinse Cleanser

    You Provide

    1 Medium sized Poblano or dried Ancho chile (or chile of your choice) - diced

    1 Cinnamon stick

    1/2 Vanilla bean (or 1/2 tsp vanilla extract)

    For Fans Of

    SKA Brewing Autumnal Mole Stout

    Stone Brewing Xocoveza

    Brew Specs

    Flavor: Malty

    Original Gravity: 1.063

    Final Gravity: 1.016

    ABV: 6.1%

    SRM: (Color): 33

    IBU: (Bitterness): 19


    Cleaning is one of the most important steps in brewing. It kills microscopic bacteria, wild yeast, and molds that may cause off-flavors in your beer. Make certain to clean all equipment that comes in contact with your beer by following the directions below:

    1. Fill clean keg with warm water to line mark 1 on the back, then add ½ pack (about 1 tablespoon) of No-Rinse Cleanser and stir until dissolved. Once dissolved, the solution is ready to use. Save the remaining ½ of No-Rinse Cleanser because you will need it for bottling.

    2. Screw on lid and swirl the keg so that the cleaning solution makes contact with the entire interior of the keg, including the underside of the lid. Note that the ventilation notches under the lid may leak solution. Allow to sit for at least 2 minutes and swirl again.

    3. To clean the spigot, open it fully and allow liquid to flow for 5 seconds and then close

    4. Pour the rest of the solution from the keg into a large bowl. Place your spoon/whisk, can opener and measuring cup into the bowl to keep them cleaned throughout the brewing process. Leave them immersed for at least 2 minutes in cleaning solution prior to using.

    5. After all surfaces have been thoroughly cleaned, do not rinse or dry the keg or utensils. Return lid to top of keg, proceed immediately to brewing.


    Brewing beer is the process of combining a starch source (in this case, a malt brewing extract) with yeast. Once combined, the yeast eats the sugars in the malt, producing alcohol and carbon dioxide (CO2). This process is called fermentation.

    1. Remove the yeast packet from under the lid of the can of Brewing Extract, then place the unopened can and
    BrewMax LMEs in hot tap water. 

    2. Add all the packets of grains to a Muslin Hop Sacks tying it closed.

    3. Using a measuring cup, pour 6-8 cups of water into your clean 4-quart or larger pot (Use just enough water to
    cover the grains).Bring your pot of water up to above 155 degrees F.

    4. Add the grain sack to the hot water and steep for 30 minutes between 155-165 degrees. 

    5. Carefully lift the grain sack out of the pot, and place into a strainer/colander. Rinse the sack over the pot with 1 cup
    of hot water each. Let drain. Do NOT squeeze the grain bag. Discard grain bag. 

    6. Slowly add the Robust LME Softpack to the hot grain water while stirring until it is completely dissolved. 

    7. Place the packet of US Goldings pellet hops into a hop sack tying it closed, then trim away excess material.

    8. Place the packet of cocoa nibs and the diced chile into the final hop sack tying it closed, then trim away excess

    9. Bring grain water to a low rolling boil, add in the hop sack and the sack of chile/cocoa nibs, and let boil for 5
    minutes, then remove the pot from the heat

    10. Open the can of Brewing Extract and pour the contents into the hot mixture in your pot. Stir until thoroughly
    mixed. This mixture of unfermented beer is called wort.

    11. Fill your fermenter with cold tap water to the mark 1 on the back. If using any other fermenter this would be
    approximately 1 gallon of water. 

    12. Pour the wort, including the hop sacks, into your fermenter, and then bring the volume of the fermenter to mark 2
    by adding more cold water. Leave the hop sacks in the wort for the duration of fermentation. (If you have a different
    fermenter top it off with cold water to the 8.5-liter mark). 

    13. Stir your wort mixture vigorously with your sanitized spoon or whisk

    14. Sprinkle the yeast packet into the keg, and screw on the lid. Do not stir. 

    Put your fermenter in a location with a consistent temperature between 70° and 76° F (21°-24° C), and out of
    direct sunlight. Ferment for 21 days.

    STEP 3: Adding Extras

    Adding extras is the process of adding additional ingredients to a beer that will impart more flavor and aroma to your finished brew.

    1. At day 14 of fermentation carefully open the lid and add the vanilla and cinnamon stick. Replace lid and let ferment
    for 1 more week before bottling.


    After 21 days, taste a small sample to determine if the beer is fully fermented and ready to bottle. If it tastes like flat beer, it is ready. If it’s sweet, then it’s not ready. Let it ferment for 3 more days (24 total). At this point, it is time to bottle. Do not let it sit in the fermenter for longer than 24 days total.

    1. When your beer is ready to bottle, fill a 1-gallon container with warm water, then add the remaining ½ pack of the No-Rinse Cleanser and stir until dissolved. Once dissolved, it is ready to use

    2. Distribute the cleaning solution equally among the bottles. Screw-on caps (or cover with a metal cap if using glass bottles) and shake bottles vigorously. Allow to sit 10 minutes, then shake the bottles again. Remove caps and empty all cleaning solutions into a large bowl. Use this solution to clean any other equipment you may be using for bottling. Do not rinse.

    3. Add 2 Carbonation Drops to each 740-mL bottle. For 1-liter bottles, add 2 ½ drops; for ½-liter bottles add 1 drop. Alternatively, you can add table sugar using this table as a guide. 

    4. Holding the bottle at an angle, fill each bottle to about 2 inches from the bottle’s top.

    5. Place caps on bottles, hand tighten, and gently turn the bottle over to check the bottle’s seal. It is not necessary to shake them.

    6. Store the bottles upright and out of direct sunlight in a location with a consistent temperature between 70°-76°F or 21°-24°C. Allow sitting for a minimum of 14 days. If the temperature is cooler than suggested it may take an additional week to reach full carbonation. 


    After the primary carbonation has taken place your beer is ready to drink. We recommend putting 1 bottle in the refrigerator at first for 48 hrs. After 48hrs. give it a try and if it is up to your liking put the rest of your beer in the fridge. If it does not taste quite right, leave the bottles out at room temp for another week or so. Keep following this method until your brew tastes just how you like it. 

    This process is called conditioning and during this time the yeast left in your beer can help clean up any off-flavors. Almost everything gets a little better with time and so will your beer

    Rated 5 out of 5 by TwoGalBrewer from The Dead will be soothed and warmed by this Stout I was concerned that it would be too spicy and have a rough taste, as the early samples of the Churchill's NutBrown Ale were not too smooth. However this beer looks extremely promising, as an early taste of my "dregs" (the last part bottle from the LBK bottled on 12/22/16) tasted really nice, pretty smooth already after less than 2 weeks in bottle. I could taste the complexity of the chile pepper, chocolate and vanilla with a subtle warming as it went down. Two other people I shared it with (one who used to homebrew) really likes it too. This should only get better.
    Date published: 2017-01-11
    Rated 5 out of 5 by NymythDragon from OOPs too much Poblano I used a Poblano pepper, but next time will cut back on the amount. It overpowers the other flavors. I will also recommend "scraping" the vanilla bean to release it's flavors. Personally, the bite of the pepper is good to me, my wife makes an out of this world fermented hot sauce, which is what I will sub next time. I do recommend this recipe because no matter what, it warms you, which makes it an excellent fall/winter brew.
    Date published: 2017-03-01
    Rated 5 out of 5 by Fishio from The Calavera Stout is Right On This was my second brew from Mr Beer, the first was the American Lager which was a gift and enjoyable because it was a first brew, but it clearly was far ligthweight for my taste. This stout was easy to make, though I added a little less of the cocoa bits to decrease any chance of it tasting too sweet. I let it bottle condition for a full 3 months before cold crashing for a string of days before cracking the 1st one. Absolutely delicious and true@6.1%, my batch was not smoky enough with the one dried poblano, next time adding at least 1 more. I'd probably still decrease the cocoa, but that's a personal choice. But it's all good@Mr Beer coz u can follow the recipe to a T or deviate based on ur level of comfort with experimantation. 5 stars for the Calavera, a go-to stout for all seasons...
    Date published: 2017-07-01
    Rated 5 out of 5 by 3rd Trip from Great taste The absolute best dark beer I have ever made. Full bodied with a thick head. Will be making this again soon.
    Date published: 2017-01-30
    Rated 5 out of 5 by Dana from Worth It This was the most time consuming and complicated recipe I've done yet but so worth it.
    Date published: 2017-02-26
    Rated 5 out of 5 by Creamer13 from Sweet Heat Love chili beers. This one is no different. Smooth chocolate flavor up front and a nice heat on the back end. Heat isnt to intense and really brings the beer together. I used a whole jalapeno pepper so the nose is all pepper. But still a great beer.
    Date published: 2017-04-23
    Rated 5 out of 5 by Craft beer drinker from first partial mash recipe i just bottled this beer after 21 days of fermentation (temperatures ranges between 64 to 70 degrees) tried a sample at this stage and so far i am impressed, notes of coffee and cinnamon with a small amount of heat on my tounge , can't wait for the finished product
    Date published: 2017-03-17
    Rated 5 out of 5 by AltaMike from A complex of flavors This is the most complex blend of flavors that I have experienced in a stout. Every one of the additions from chocolate to chile comes through with each sip. It keeps getting better with each week of bottle conditioning. Certainly worth the time and effort.
    Date published: 2017-05-04
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    Do I need to sanitize the vanilla bean and cinnamon stick prior to putting them in to the fermenter?

    Asked by: akpeck1993
    Great question! No, usually you don't have to sterilize them. The beer, by the time you add them, should have enough alcohol to work as a sanitizer for these ingredients. If you are worried (if they're from an opened package or something) you can always blanch them in some boiling water for just a couple of minutes.
    Answered by: Mr Beer
    Date published: 2023-06-02

    Hi folks! I usually brew in 750ml bottles, and I like to brew 5 gallon batches. Does this mean I would have to buy 5 kits?

    Asked by: Gnome_Beer

    Do you keep the the sack with the chili and nips in the wort during fermentation? It says to put the hop sack(s) in the wort during fermentation but it does not specify the chili and coco nips sack. Thanks

    Asked by: beertheredonethat
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