From the HBD Archive
From: Lance "Turtle" Smith <>
Subject: Ginger Beers
Date: 1989-08-10 19:05:18 GMT

I haven't tried honey in my beers (I have enough trouble getting the malt
extract into kettle) but I have tried a few ginger spiced. My approach is
to keep the ginger low so that the first thing a person tastes isn't the
ginger. I have tried recipes with more ginger that turned out fine, but
I don't want to drink two cases of the stuff.

Anyway, I'd suggest against using ginger with either the Old Ale or
the Scottish Ale. M & F Old Ale is one of the best kits around (one
of the few that can be made without the full hour boil) and it's very
heavily hopped. I think the hops would really overpower the ginger. If
you have the Geordie Scottish Ale kit, I think the same arguments apply.
If I remember correctly it too is well hopped. (BTW Charlie has a Best
of the Kits recipe that uses Geordies Scottish Ale. Summer of 1987
issue of Zymurgy.)

Light or Dark beer. That really depends on what you're after. I think the
mixture of a dark beer maltiness and ginger goes together well. However, if
you're looking for more of a Ginger Beer (the nonalcoholic kind that inspired
ginger ale (?)) you'd probably be happier with a lighter beer (with a good
dose of crystal malt) and a higher amount of ginger.

Vagabond Black Beer (name varies a little in CJoH and original Zymurgy recipe)
is a really good recipe to start with if you like dark beers. I like to
replace the M&F Dark Extract with John Bull Dark Extract. The John Bull extract
seems to have a roast barley taste the M&F doesn't. I also replace the
sugar and light extract with a little less dark extract. The end result
is close to a stout, but somewhat lighter in mouth feel. Very dark. Even the
foam is dark brown. Again I aim towards the low end of the ginger scale with
this recipe.

Cheers -- Lance Smith (

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