The first ginger beer I had was on my honeymoon: Mount Desert Island Ginger from Atlantic Brewing Company in Maine. That was one our early beer adventurs and sort of what got us started on hitting so many breweries and brewpubs. I remember the ginger flavor being noticable but not overwhelming, and just generally having a great time at the bar there and on the tour.
Ginger is one of Amanda’s favorite flavors, and IPA one of her favorite beer styles, so why not combine them? It was her turn to pick a beer for me to make, so after doing some quick online research I formulated a recipe for a Ginger IPA.
I wanted to do a single IPA that wasn’t too bitter so that the ginger flavor would come through better. I also wanted to use honey since that added a great flavor the last time I brewed IPA.
The beer began with just a couple specialty malts — 20L and 60L crystal malt, and Belgian Biscuit, which should give a good bready flavor. These were steeped for 30 mintues total in 3 gallons of water as I brought the temperature from 150 up to 170 degrees.
From there I added the fermentable sugars: 6.5 pounds of malt extract syrup and 1 pound of honey. These were brought to a boil and then the hopping began: Galena, Chinook, and Fuggles over the course of the next hour of boiling. 2 oz of ginger were added for the final 15 minutes.
After the boil was done, I utilized my Alton-Brown-approved method of cooling off the wort: ice cubes! About 1.5 gallons of ice cubes (made in sterilized ice cube trays of course) brought the temperature down to 90 degrees.
The wort was then cold enough to transfer to the brewing pail. I then added in enough cold water to bring the total volume to 5.5 gallons, which is enough to fill my glass carboy during secondary fermentation. I had to wait a couple hours for the temperature to drop to 80 degrees, and then I added the White Labs California Ale Yeast.
After putting on the air lock, the cats immediately took an interest in the beer. Athena was freaked out every time I brought her close to the airlock. I think she smelled the hops and didn’t like that much. Zephyr was more curious and climbed up on the counter to check things out (that’s NOT a posed shot!). Once the beer started bubbling, however, they stayed away.
From here’s on out it’s a waiting game! In a few short weeks we’ll get our first taste of Ginger IPA…
Here’s a link to the recipe spreadsheet: GingerIPA