25 August 2012

posted by benjy edwards

One of the more intriguing “beers” that I tried at the National Homebrewer’s Conference in Seattle this June was not a malt beer at all, but rather a ginger beer.  A very spicy ginger beer in fact.  I spoke with the brewer about it, and he very kindly gave me the recipe.  Although there is a generous amount of fresh grated ginger in it, most of the heat comes from the addition of habanero, serrano, and jalapeno peppers added at flameout, following a 15 minute boil of the grated ginger and brown sugar.  This gets chilled and racked to primary and left to ferment for ten days.  Although the recipe calls for fermenting it with champagne yeast, I opted to use my pitch of the English ale yeast from the Boathouse pale ale.  Using beer yeast eliminates the risk of contaminating any of my beer with a wine yeast, which can happen.  You’ll know if that happens because either the beer will not ferment out completely, since the wine yeast will kill the beer yeast and most wine yeast cannot ferment maltotriose, so you’ll end up with a sweet beer, or it will ferment out completely and be bone dry.

For the ginger beer, a combination of jerk spices are added to the secondary and left to condition until ready for kegging.  The aroma from the primaries reminds me of what I tasted at the NHC, and the gravity sample (OG 1.030) that I took from the kettle tasted remarkably similar as well.

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