Amber has been on Andrew and I for some time to make a beer involving ginger, lemongrass and Thai chilies. Needless to say, it sounded a bit too experimental at first.
Then last year at the Oregon Brewers Festival, there was a brew that leaned heavy on the ginger. Spicy, but still definitely beer (not just strong ginger-ale). We sampled it, and our minds were changed.
It took a while before we got to it, but the basic recipe was a pale ale with these added to the boil:
- 20 stalks of lemongrass (45 minutes)
- 2 packs of Kafir lime leaves (45 minutes, approximately 30 leaves per pack)
- 4 large hands of ginger, coined (30 minutes)
- 10 hot Thai peppers (15 minutes)
The result has been well received. It is very gingery and next go around I think we’ll do something to up the citrus content, as the lemongrass is pretty subtle. It was also a little foamy, which is about the only downside. I’m voting to increase the peppers, but as the hot food fiend I might be the outlier there. We’ll also probably use an amber ale base instead, as the pale ale almost disappears behind the potent ginger in this batch.
In any case, an interesting experiment with great promise for the future.
So today is a momentous occasion, full of brew-significance. We have beer in (or soon to be in) all four stages of the homebrewing life-cycle.
First off, our 10 gallon batch of Amber ale is ready to make the move from secondary into bottles. I’m a bit wary of this batch, as it turned out unusually light. I don’t want to make no weak beer! But we’ll see how it comes out. One of our other “weaker” brews as the Wit, and lots of other people liked it even if it wasn’t Andrew and my favorite.
Making the jump from primary to secondary is the Thai Pale, put down by my lovely wife Amber and I a couple weeks ago. This is a 5 gallon experiment, spiked with a massive amount of ginger (think head-sized), lemongrass and some spicy chiles that hopefully won’t bite back too much. Those little Thai chiles can be really hot if you’re not careful.
The third beer that’s happening is a porter we’re going to brew. We’re aiming for something with a little more chocolaty notes this time. I know, that’s normally a stout sort of thing, but we don’t like playing by the rulebook here.
So what about the fourth? Well, Amber’s out of town so I’ve invited tons of the guys I know over for a day of brewing, video games (MARIOKART WII!) and chili. And of course, what would a guys’ brewing day be with consuming some beer? Just doesn’t seem like it should be allowed.
There you have it, the four stages of homebrewing, all in one 24 hour period. Life is good.