Monday 24 May 2010

22. Ginger, Honey and Oat Strong Ale

I heard the other day that ginger beer is the next Magners. Magners of course was the next alcoholic lemonade. One of the first and most successful alcoholic lemonades was Hooper’s Hooch. I once met a bloke who worked for Bass when the brand was in development. With alcoholic lemonade as the brief they proposed a sophisticated beverage which was sweetened lemon juice fermented with Champange yeast. They even toyed with the idea of making it bottle conditioned because it was going to be cloudy anyway. He said that early flavour panels were blown away by the flavours of the dry, natural fermented lemon juice. So what did they decide on in the end? Lemonade-flavoured concentrate with water and industrial ethanol added. Very sweet, very simple, very cheap to make, very pointless.

At one point in the evolution of the market for alcopops, an accountant targeted a cost saving on the alcohol content and a switch was made to adding alcohol derived not from fermentation but from the oxidation of ethane from crude oil. I suppose if you are inclined to drink something which is fluorescent blue the prospect of 5% of it being produced at a refinery is probably not that daunting. I think that someone should draw the line somewhere.

Anyway back to the blog beer. I think that this beer is the most appealing sounding beer on the list so far (excluding offal ale of course). Oats honey and ginger are all beautiful (or for Master Chef viewers Busiful) flavours. I do make another beer with Ginger with my mate Rick from Padstow. With Chalky’s Bark I am careful with the ginger because I am using it to complement the lemon of the Brewer’s Gold hops. In this beer I can afford to be slightly less careful. Oats and honey give soul and body and in a strong beer this will be a big soul and kind of body that even Gok Wan couldn’t make look good naked. This gives me much more latitude to go for it with the ginger.

I’m using sun dried Indian ginger for this beer because it is less aromatic and more spicy (hot) than the African baking ginger. I am going to have to use some restraint with all of the ingredients because this beer is at risk of ending up like a fizzy Thai dipping sauce (maybe that’s the next Magners?). As well as rolled oats I am using golden naked oats which are nutty, juicy and just plain gawjus. On his last visit, Mr Simpson, my grain supplier informed me that they are called naked oats because they are harvested naked. I sincerely hope the famers stay clear of their combines.

Tech Spec:

Malt: Pale ale, rolled oats, golden naked oats

Hops: Brewer’s Gold, Pioneer, Simcoe

Spice: Ginger

Yeast: Old English Ale

OG: 1090


Mark said...

Beer sounds good. Naked oats sound hot! :P


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