(Marco Cavagna and Mike Marsh)
This recipe is inspired by Carribean ginger beer, which is a non-alcoholic beverage with a very strong ginger bite. We've made an alcoholic version of this, which is based on a classic English pale ale with the hop bitterness greatly reduced. The resulting beer is light and crisp, perfect for a hot summer day.
6 lbs. extra light DME
0.5 lbs. #80 crystal malt
1 oz. Kent Golding hops (boil)
1 oz. Saaz hops (finish)
1-1.25 lb. fresh ginger
English ale yeast
Wash the ginger and trim off any bad spots, then shred in the food processor. There's no need to peel the ginger.
Steep the crystal malt for 30 minutes in a gallon to a gallon-and-a-half of water between 150 and 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Strain the spent grains and add the malt extract, boiling hops, and ginger. Bring to a boil and boil for an hour, adding the finishing hops for the last 10 minutes.
Strain, sparge, cool, and pitch the yeast when the temperature falls below 75 degrees. Since the ginger should dominate the flavor, this doesn't need a long bottle conditioning, and is an excellent candidate for kegging.
This first batch was good, surprisingly so for a very experimental recipe. I thought it could use more ginger (another half pound, at least), and Marco thought it could use more hops. I suspect that the amount of time for which we're boiling the ginger is muting the flavor substantially. The same amount of ginger for a much shorter time, such as the last 10 to 20 minutes of the boil, might result in a stronger flavor. In any case, this will be a fun recipe to play with in future batches.