Don’t worry Shadow-Fans, you’re going to learn a little something. Gingerpithecus, our uber-gingery wheat ale, is named after Gigantopithecus. Unlike the namesakes of most of our other brews, Gigantopithecus is not a cryptid, but a creature that actually existed in the fossil record.
Check out the following information from The UnMuseum:
GigantopithecusGigantopithecus was the largest of the primates. (Copyright Lee Krystek 1996) During the Pleistocene Era (1.8 million to 10,000 years ago) large mammals ruled the Earth. One of these mammals was the great ape Gigantopithecus. Gigantopithecus is known to have lived in what is now China and Southeast Asia. (In fact he was discovered, by Professor Gustav von Koenigswald, when the professor bought a set of fossil teeth from a Chinese druggist selling what he claimed were “dragon’s teeth” for medicinal purposes.) Gigantopithecus was the largest primate that ever walked the Earth. He would have risen 9 to 10 feet high if he choose to stand up on only his hind legs, and probably weighed about 600 lbs (A few scientists suggest the largest of the males might have weighted almost 1,200 lbs.). In comparison, the largest gorilla stands only 6 feet tall and weighs about 300 to 400 lbs. Both today’s gorilla and Gigantopithecus probably used their arms and knuckles to move about in quadripedal fashion. Though Gigantopithecus sounds like a terror he probably was a very gentle and retiring vegetarian, if we can use Mountain Gorilla behavior as a guide. Gorilla’s, despite inaccurate stories about them, are fairly shy creatures that only put on aggressive displays of chest-beating and snarling when their territory is threatened. Gigantopithecus actually arose before the start of the Pleistocene Era (perhaps 13 million years ago) and went extinct about halfway through (500,000 years ago) the ice age before the other giant mammals did. Exactly why he went extinct is unknown, but it probably was due to changes in the climate to which Gigantopithecus was not able to adapt. Some suggest that Gigantopithecus is not extinct, but is hiding in remote areas of the Himalaya Mountains or the forests of North-West America. Could a Gigantopithecus, or his descendants, be the source of the Yeti or Bigfoot tales?
Good questionUnMuseum… I definitely think it could.
Anyways, after our first brew session, Matt came to the altruistic conclusion that we should probably make a beer that the girls (our wives, girlfriends, etc.) would enjoy. He got a recipe from a friend of his, and even though it fractured a couple of our original rules (NO FRUIT BEER!!!) we still went with it. Why? Brewing is fun.
This is an ALL Extract recipe
5 lbs Extra Light DME
2 lbs Wheat DME
2 oz of thin-sliced ginger
.5 oz cascade hops at 60 min
.5 oz cascade hops at 30 min
.5 oz cascade hops at steep
Yeast : 3rd Gen Safale-56 (Can sub American Safale-05)
Directions: Warm 2.5 gal of water to 150°
Dissolve in 2.5 lbs of the XL DME and add .5oz cascade.
Bring to a boil. After 30 min, add .5 oz cascade, and dissolve in 2lbs wheat DME.
Boil another 30 min and remove from heat.
Dissolve remaining XL DME (2.5 lbs), and add last .5 oz cascade and 2 oz. ginger (in a muslin bag or cheesecloth). Let these steep for 20 min.
Chill the wort, and sparge the hops and ginger when pouring into the primary.
Top ‘er off to 5.25 gallons.
Pitch yeast at 65-70° and ferment for 7-10 days.
Transfer to secondary, and add 2.5 oz of sliced ginger and the zest from 2 medium lemons (again, in a bag or cheesecloth).
Give the secondary another 7-10 days, and then bottle.
Shadow Note: With regular bottling sugar (corn sugar) the brew was drinkable in less than a week, but I found that the ginger mellowed after about 2 weeks for a smoother, sweeter beer, with a little less bite.
I’ll be honest; I thought I was going to hate this beer. I don’t like most of the wheat beers that I try, and I tend to dislike beer that’s been flavored by other things (ginger, lemon, apricot, etc). However, after a month of sitting in bottles, we’ve produced a surprisingly crisp, smooth and deliciously balanced brew. Yeah, maybe it’s a little gingery, but it’s nice and refreshing on a summer day! Cheers!