The following beer recipe is featured in the May/June 2021 issue of Zymurgy magazine. Access this issue along with the archives with Zymurgy Online!
Traditional brews can be notoriously imprecise, and this is especially true with manioc chicha. I present readers with several possible ingredients and brewing options here, based on different chicha traditions across the Amazon. Initial gravity and alcohol content can vary substantially from one batch to another.
Uncooked manioc root contains hydrocyanic acid, which is toxic if ingested. Commercially available manioc roots are typically the smaller-rooted, sweeter varieties, which contain much lower levels of the toxin. Still, it is extremely important that you peel and thoroughly cook it. In high quantities, cyanide can cause goiters, intoxication, muscle paralysis, and possible death. Be sure to cook it well.