Fermenting hot sauce with Alexander Benavidez from Long Beach Beer Lab

Elizabeth Rust
The recipe swap
Published in
5 min readSep 29, 2021

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Alexander Benavidez is a professional fermenter at Long Beach Beer Lab in southern California. He tends to what he calls “his fermentation babies” in the basement of a beer barrel room where he makes up to 600 gallons of fermented hot sauce at a time.

In ‘Fermenting hot sauce’, Alexander discusses how he started fermenting and why he’ll never taste the same hot sauce twice — there’s also a quick fermented red onion pickle recipe at the end to enjoy!

Dried red chile, green serrano and habanero fermented hot sauces. https://www.instagram.com/anarchist_in_the_kitchen/

Alexander, professional fermenter, is that really a career? How did you get into that?

About five years ago I met Harmony Sage and Levi Fried who were opening a brewery and bakery in Long Beach. At the time I was a stay at home dad, having left academia to take care of my newborn daughter. That was an incredible lifestyle change for me, and because I craved adult interaction, I called Harmony and said: “Hey, I want to do all your ferments in the kitchen.” She said, “Awesome”. And that’s how I started as a professional fermenter.

You must have had some experience fermenting before that?

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Elizabeth Rust
The recipe swap

Send me your recipes. I’ll do my best to create them to feed my hungry family