I am considering brewing an Amber ale with a bit of ginger in it, but I don't know whether I should treat it more like a spice and steep/boil it, or more like fruit, and rack onto the ginger for a week or two of secondary fermentation. Should I use a combination of the two? What has worked for you?
Ginger works a little bit like hops - if you boil it longer, it adds a different spiciness than if you add it at flameout or in secondary. Boil a couple ounces of ginger on the stove and you can see what I mean. The aromatics tend to leave, but there is a residual heat.
I've had success by adding it in stages as if it were a hop - a big dose early, and smaller additions later in the boil.