Cojones Grandes

Brewery and Country of Origin: Throwback Brewery of Warehouse Unit #3, 121 Lafayette Road, North Hampton, NH, 03862, USA

Date Reviewed: 11-21-12

Though this beer belongs to a style originating in what is now The Czech Republic, most people will think of Mexico when they take their first sip of Spicy Bohemian. As the name implies, this is a unique beer which includes jalapeno peppers in the brewing mix. Though these peppers aren't known South of the Border as being particularly hot, with a Scoville rating of 2,500 to 10,000, the jalapeno ranks as the hottest ingredient in any beer we've tried before. What makes this a truly bold beer is that the primary flavor ingredient actually has its effects. We've tried beers which tout names implying a new and exciting flavor experience (such as Harpoon's Catamount Maple, or Thunder River's Honey Wheat), when in all actuality what you get is a beer which only touches upon the subject almost animically. But the Spicy Bohemian is different. If you're looking for a kick in the ass in the form of a beer you'll likely never come across anywhere else, perhaps your search has just ended. So what is it about the jalapeno and other peppers that give us this sometimes desirable sensation of heat on the tongue? Well for starters, let's talk about the Scoville rating. Developed by American pharmacist Wilbur Scoville in 1912, the Scoville scale measures pungent effects of chili peppers. Sensual "heat" from these fruits is derived from the Capsaicin content, a chemical compound irritant which can range between 1 and 16,000,000 units on the scale. Pure Capsaicin has the highest rating, while fruits like the Bell Pepper are at the low end of the scale below 100 units. Aside from food flavor enhancement, the compound is used in other applications, including pharmacy and law enforcement. Modern non-lethal pepper spray weapons rate at 2 million on the scale, about 15 times higher than the Habanero. As this is a nerve stimulant, it is possible to die from the effects of capsaicin including shock and suffocation, which is why some exotic peppers are effectively inedible.
Date Sampled: 11-19-12 At: 7 Prescott Place, Allston, Boston, MA, 02134, USA
Beer Style: Chile/Pepper Pilsner
Alcohol by Volume: 4.80%
Serving Type: Brewery 1 Quart Growler (Unique Bottle), 16 oz Stange Glass
Rating: 3.82


This brew pours pretty choppy with a large amount of carbonation action on the glass, producing a half inch foam head with good retention, a medium density, and moderate lacing on the glass. The color is a pale light golden with a mostly clear shine with a small bit of haziness in the appearance.


Immediately noticeable is a strong spicy (Mexican like food) aroma generated by the higher amounts of carbonation. This is almost nostril clearing, but not overpowering enough to cover the other aromas given off by this beer's more traditional pilsner like characteristics. There is the normal grassy notes mixed in with a bit of hoppy smell mixed in.


This is a medium light bodied beer with a lower viscosity, giving it a fairly easy to drink profile on paper, but the spicy notes from the peppers will deliver a warming effect almost strong enough to make you want to catch your breath. The jalapenos used during this beer's brewing process introduce the Scoville Units measurement - a scale not used in the brewing world. This beer has a dry yet spicy finish.


As is with just about every pils, there is a definite grainy character overall, mixed in with a nice and slightly refreshing hoppy bitter finish. But let's address why this beer is so unique. Apparently the world's supply of jalapenos are used in making this beer, which is as spicy as a spoonfull of hot taco mix. Full of flavor that won't kill you, but definitely a good kick. This is a spicy beer with a bit of salsa like notes which will actually give you Mexican food cravings.

Our Take

Fortunately, you won't have to worry about suffocating from the heat this beer causes, but the fact that there is a nice kick should be enough. Throwback Brewery has been somehow able to offer quite a good and unique flavor experience unmatched by anything we've been able to sample before. If you're looking for an exciting beer which will get your Mexican food senses tingling, search no further. After only one sip of this brew, you'll be wishing for a large bowl of chips and salsa, or maybe even an enchilada or two. We know we were. Now at this point, we will say all of this praise comes with a caveat. Those who don't like spicy foods at all will want to avoid this like Ebola. And if mixing savory flavors with beer isn't your thing, then you won't like this one. But, if you're going to want a beer with your chimichangas, you might have just found your perfect match. This is a novelty beer, and we don't expect it to be a mainstream hit. There aren't many things that would make this an all-year beer, and the crafters don't sell it perennially either. So there you go. A quirky hit or miss beer which you'll want with your barbacoa. We know that a lot of people are not going to like this at all. But for us, this beer shows that there are some people out there willing to risk whatever it takes to push boundaries and make something new and weird, especially in the world of old Bohemia, Hops, Prague, and Pilsner. And honestly, we have nothing but respect for that.