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Special Ingredient: Brewing Beer with Ginger

The most common interaction most of us have with ginger comes from a soda or as an ingredient in many Asian dishes. When it comes to beer you should let the assertive spice with the distinctive bite speak to your tastes during brewing and fermentation.

John Holl Jul 11, 2018 - 3 min read

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“We come from a unique starting point where most of our brewing is malt, water, and hops with only a few adjustments from batch to batch. We make spice beers, but we don’t make them on brew days; we do it on the cold side of things,” says Jay Goodwin of the Rare Barrel.

Among the offerings from this all barrel-aged and blended brewery is Sourtooth Tiger, a wild ale made with copious amounts of dried ginger. “In the beginning, we’d put two pounds in one 59-gallon oak barrel and steep it for a week or two. I imagine for a homebrewer, it would be like steeping in a secondary carboy.”

But soon enough, Goodwin and the team discovered that putting a large amount of assertive ingredients into barrels made it tough to get out later on. They now incorporate a “torpedo-like” device that infuses Sourtooth Tiger with the ginger essence.

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John Holl is the author of Drink Beer, Think Beer: Getting to the Bottom of Every Pint, and has worked for both Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine® and All About Beer Magazine.