One beer I absolutely adored from Shorts was Ginger in the Rye. The flavor was delightfully bready with grain highlights and the ginger aged 3 years really gave the beer that subtle note to take it over the top. Shorts is re-brewing and re-releasing this in 6 packs soon but I wanted to brew a home brew inspired by it. I'm looking for interesting delightfully outside of the box things to brew at home to explore more flavors and styles.
The original brew is a munich wheat beer brewed with rye and fermented with the Weihenstephan strain. An account of the original brewing as well as a few details about the beer can be found here. A few Items are contained their to describe the beer and get me started "Rye Munich Weizen Ale with approximately 2 oz of fresh ginger per gallon and an ABV of approximately 7.0%" Rye, check, Munich malt, check, Wheat, check, Fresh Ginger, check, target abv, check. "I used the Weihenstephan yeast strain" yeast strain and an idea of the flavors it creates, check. "Toward the end of fermentation lots and lots of ginger was shredded and added to the fermenter." timing of the ginger addition, check. The beer is described on the trading card as "effervescent" approximate carbonation volume, check. All of that information is far from a clone recipe but close to a rough idea.
Because I am not trying to clone the beer but rather make an inspired by interpretation I am going to make this more in the mold of a spicy saison; "Ginger in the Fields" if it were to have a name. I started with a good base of Munich and combine it 6:5 with Pilsner malt to build a good grain base to convert the wheat/rye/Cara-Munich. I included strong doses of flaked wheat and ground rye malt in a 4:3 ratio. I evened the recipe out with a touch of Cara-Munich I to added color and depth to the malts. I wanted to go with hops that wouldn't be out of place in a Weizen so I decided that Saaz would be appropriate. This beer is going onto my yeast cake from my citra red saison so it should ferment well
(Read more after the break.)
Boil Size: 1.14 gal
Batch Size (fermenter): 1.00 gal
Estimated OG: 1.060 SG
Estimated FG: 1.007 SG
Estimated Color: 10.4 SRM
Estimated IBU: 22.2 IBUs
12.0 oz Rice Hulls (0.0 SRM) 24.0 %
12.0 oz Munich Malt (9.0 SRM) 24.0 %
10.0 oz Pilsner (2 Row) Bel (2.0 SRM) 20.0 %
8.0 oz Wheat, Flaked (1.6 SRM) 16.0 %
6.0 oz Rye Malt (4.7 SRM) 12.0 %
2.0 oz Caramunich I (51.0 SRM) 4.0 %
0.30 oz Saaz [4.00 %] - Boil 60.0 min 22.2 IBUs
0.5 pkg French Saison (Wyeast Labs #3711)
2.00 oz Ginger Root (Primary 15.0 days)
Saccharification Add 6.48 qt of water at 156.4 F 148.0 F 90 min
Mash Out Heat to 168.0 F over 7 min 168.0 F 10 min
My brew day went well, I didn't get as much boil off as I wanted and had some wort left over. This caused my OG to be a bit low. 1.050 instead of 1.060. This was unexpected because I went with a fine crush for my grains, used plenty of rice hulls, and stirred. Oh well.
My process for this was to peel the ginger, and shred it. I wasn't sure what the best way to sanitize this was so I decided to soak it in vodka. Vodka has a few advantages, it involves no boiling, and will help retain the volatile compounds in the ginger. Adding 2 oz of vodka too my beer will bump the alcohol but only around 1%. With the decreased OG from not boiling long enough or adding too much water, or whatever, I'll end up just about right.