Joe Short brewed a series of 13 imperial beers in 2007 that yielded some of the most popular and fantastic specialty brews in our lineup,including India Spruce Pilsner, Woodmaster, Bloody Beer, Black CherryPorter, Soft Parade, Publican Porter, Good Feller, and Ginger in theRye. All beers from the 2007 series were hand bottled in 750ml bottles and came with a collectable card that was numbered and autographed by Joe Short. At the time, it seemed that Joe’s investment in brewing these outrageous beers, which he’d dreamed upand written recipes for but in some cases had never brewed before, was crazy! Looking back, however, the Imperial Series was a big part of what put Short’s on the map. Beer drinkers from around the country heard about these delicious and totally distinct beers and wanted to try them.
Ginger in the Rye is just the latest in our effort to bring back the 2007 series beers. It is a Rye Munich Weizen Ale with approximately 2 oz of fresh ginger per gallon and an ABV of approximately 7.0%. Below is an excerpt from the original narrative written by Joe about this experience brewing Ginger In The Rye:
Making this beer was definitely one of the top 3 worst brew days I have ever had. I have always been reluctant to use rye malt without a lautering aid in fear of a stuck mash. I went ahead and brewed itanyway and got myself into a seriously stuck mash. The rye seemed towork like a giant glue stick in the mash tun. I thought if I proceeded really slow I could cheat the inevitable “stuck” mash, but I could not. I tried everything. No method other than waiting for gravity to pull the slow trickle of sweet wort from the grain bed would suffice. I had to rig up a special heating unit under my sparge water tank to keep it warm through the duration of the slow transfer of liquids. I was hungry, tired and ornery as hell. Eventually, I cut off the flow of wort into the kettle and boiled it hard and long.
I used the Weihenstephan yeast strain, which happens to be the most preferred yeast for making wheat beers by German Brewers. It was the first time this yeast strain had entered our facility. I thought it would work well for the rye and Munich malts I used. Toward the end of fermentation lost and lots of ginger was shredded and added to the fermenter. Ginger is a magical rhizome rich with healing powers thathas been used since ancient times. The volatile oils and phenol compounds are the active components which are great for relief of nausea and motion sickness. It was also used as a cough suppressant and digestion aid. It is one of the earliest spices known in Western Europe and is said to be a spice used against the plague. Nineteenth century bars and taverns kept small containers of ground ginger available for sprinkling into beer. I find it adds a nice spice and balance to the beer, giving it a pleasant finishing “zing” and complimenting the character of the beer as a whole. I think you will too.
Some of the artwork on Joe’s original collector card is shown, as well as a picture of Summer (one of our employees) with a huge piece of ginger that was ground up and put into this year’s batch. We hope you enjoy it!
– SBC Brew Staff