7 Pot Brain Strain Peppers: Origin, Scoville, Flavor, Uses

What are 7 Pot Brain Strain peppers?

The 7 Pot Brain Strain is an extremely hot pepper like other varieties of 7 Pot peppers. The heat level of this chile ranges between 1,000,000 and 1,350,000 Scoville heat units.  Besides the scorching heat, the fruity and slightly smoky after-taste of this pepper is delightful and enjoyable.

The name “brain strain” refers to the appearance of the chili similar to a human brain, bulbous with lumpy foldings and a larger internal membrane than most other 7 Pot peppers. Apparently, it looks like a miniature human brain.


The 7 Pot Brain Strain is a variant of the Trinidad 7 Pot Pepper created by David Capiello, a chili grower from North Carolina, in 2010. To develop this pepper, repeated selective breeding methods were applied on the original 7 Pot Chili procured from Trinidad. Finally, Brain Strain chili was created with its specific features that eventually turned out to be one of the hottest chilies on the planet.

Key features of 7 Pot Brain Strain Peppers in a gist:

  • Origin: Created by David Capiello in North Carolina (USA) through selective breeding of Trinidad 7 Pot Chili
  • Capsicum species: Chinense (habanero-type pepper)
  • Scoville heat units: 1,000,000 – 1,350,000 SHU (average 1,175,000 SHU)
  • Size: Grows up to 2.5 inches long and 1 and a half-inch wide
  • Color: Changes from green to deep red when matured (yellow and chocolate versions also exist)
  • Appearance: a box-like, lumpy shape with pimply wrinkles
  • Flavor: fruity, slightly smoky
  • Uses: Suitable for hot soups, salsa, stews, hot chili powder/flakes

How hot is the 7 Pot Brain Strain?

At their peak, the Brain Strain peppers are hotter than Ghost Pepper and about 540 times hotter than Jalapeno. The average heat level of 7 Pot Brain Strain is almost the same as Trinidad Moruga Scorpion peppers. Super-hot peppers should be used with caution as the oils from them can cause chili burn on your skin. Usually, wearing hand gloves and goggles is a good precaution to be on the safer side. The Pot peppers are so hot, it’s said that one pod of this pepper is enough to heat up 7 pots of stews.

Appearance And Flavor

In appearance, the Brain Strain is unique from the other 7 pot peppers. They look like miniature human brains with a folded and bulbous texture outside and a thick, large white membrane inside.

The name seems to be funny and silly but their Scoville heat level is terrifying. A suitable comparison for this pepper is the Bulgarian carrot pepper; the name sounds sweet but it packs enough heat. In truth, the extreme heat of this pepper can really strain the brain and punch your palate.

Moruga Scorpion is very similar to the Brain Strain pepper in color, wrinkled texture, flavors, and heat level.  Overall, this pepper has a box-like lumpy shape with folds similar to the structure of the human brain. The original version of this pepper starts out green and turns deep red when mature. Some variants of the Brain Strain take a yellow or chocolate hue on maturing.

What makes this pepper so special is not only its scorching heat but also its fruity and slightly smoky flavor. Like the other 7 pot peppers, it is also earthy with a bit of underlying nuttiness.

Culinary Uses

Extreme hot peppers are rarely used in regular cooking as you do with Jalapeno or Cayenne Peppers. Obviously, most people will find it hard to tolerate the high heat level of the Brain Strain. Use it in hot sauces, stews, soups, and salsa. Often, the dried pepper is ground into chili powder or flakes to be used in hot spice mixtures or seasoning blends. A small dash or two is enough for most meals.

Where To Buy 7 Pot Brain Strain?

In general, fresh 7 Pot peppers are not available in most places except in localities where they are commercially grown. The Brain Strain peppers are mostly grown by local farmers in a few areas of North Carolina. You can purchase the dry or ground version of this pepper from online vendors in e-commerce platforms like Amazon, Walmart, or exclusive Chili sellers. Think of buying the seeds of this chili from online plant seed sellers and growing them in your kitchen garden. Or you can use other varieties of 7 pot peppers as a substitute for Brain Strain pepper.  Trinidad Moruga Scorpion is also a good alternative to 7 Pot Brain Strain.

Final Thoughts

In summary, the 7 Pot Brain Strain pepper, developed by David Capiello in North Carolina, is a formidable variant of the Trinidad 7 Pot Chili, boasting an intense heat level ranging from 1,000,000 to 1,350,000 SHU. Notable for its brain-like, bulbous appearance with lumpy foldings, this chili combines a fruity and slightly smoky flavor profile. It surpasses the heat of the Ghost Pepper and is on par with the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion.

While its extreme heat demands caution in handling and use, it is ideal for hot sauces, stews, soups, and as a spice in powder or flake form. Although fresh Brain Strain peppers are rare outside specific growing areas, they can be sourced dried or ground online, or grown from seeds, with Trinidad Moruga Scorpion as a close alternative.

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