Anyone make great home-brewed ginger beer?

Nothing to do with sourdough, but everything to do with yeast still! I was really into home brewing ginger beer as a kid, but haven't done it since. With summer approaching downunder, I'd like to give it another go.

Does anyone have a recipe for a ginger beer plant and directions for making ginger beer that is time-tested and consistently produces a really nice brew? If so, would be most appreciative if you'd post it here. Thanks in advance!

Cheers
Ross

5 comments

Old Fashion Naturally Carbonated Ginger BeerReply with quote Edit/Delete this post 

First a word of caution this recipe uses sugar and yeast and if you don't watch out you will make alcohol. The longer you let it get away from you the more alcohol that will be made. 

1 Gallon of water (Use good water if you can) 
2 Large Lemons 
0.2 pounds of Ginger (makes about one cup loosely packed when grated) 
2 Cups of Sugar 
5 grams of wine yeast (Pasteur Red) 
1 Cinnamon Stick or a few Cloves (Optional) 

While bringing the gallon of water to boil make Lemon Zest from the two lemons and add it to the water. Lemon zest is made by grating the yellow part of the rind of the lemon with a fine grater, leave the white part of the rind. 

Grate the ginger and add it to the water. 

Squeeze the lemons and add to the water, about 1/2 cup of juice. 

Add the cinnamon stick or a few cloves to the water. 

When the water boils add 2 cups of sugar. Make sure the sugar dissolves and remove the cooking pot from the heat. Options for you to try is to change the amounts of ginger, sugar, and lemon juice, adjust to your taste. 

Let the brew cool for about one hour. I took about 1/3 of a cup from the brew and made sure the liquid was only luke warm to my touch and add the yeast to this liquid. Let the yeast sit in this liquid for about an hour and then pour it into the main pot of brew. Cover the brew and let it sit 12 hour/ over night in a warm place . 

Strain the solids from the brew and put the liquid in plastic bottles. I like the plastic sport drink bottles with wide mouths. Leave them in a warm place until the bottle get rock hard from the pressure inside of them. My batch was done in 36 hours after inoculation with the yeast. 

The yeast now needs to be deactivated and the fastest way to do this is to chill them, put them into the fridge. Check the bottles after they have chilled down to see if they are still rock hard. You can take them out and warm them up if they are soft. The yeast will become active again if it warms up. 

Drink one if it is still rock hard. Enjoy your fine drink. The Ginger Beer will turn clear if you leave it in the fridge for a while with the sediment collecting on the bottom of the bottle. 

Important notes: Yeast and sugar will make alcohol if the yeast is left to ferment long enough. Yeast likes a warm environment but not a hot one try not to go over 95°F or you will start to kill the yeast off. Don't use glass bottles for your brew they can blow up. Sad The plastic bottles will hold 60 to 80 PSI. Here is a link for you to read if you want to know more. http://www.leeners.com/rootbeer.html I don't agree with his comment about alcohol being made because yeast doesn't always make alcohol when there is sugar present. It takes the yeast a while to "Grow Up" before it will make alcohol. I'm going to take some of my Ginger Beer to work and test it for alcohol.

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." Jim Elliot

 

That's a completely different approach to the ginger beer I made as a kid, which was more like the equivalent of sourdough, I think, in that the yeast was "wild", developed from a ginger beer plant that you feed daily, like a starter.

Nevertheless, I'm interested to try yours. It's a much faster process than that I used all those years ago. From memory, it would take 3 weeks or so for the ginger beer plant to be ready for making the first brew, then there'd be another couple of weeks of leaving the bottles to sit while the ginger beer developed.

Anyway...no reason not to give yours a try - thanks again!

PS: Like your plastic bottle idea...I recall at least a couple of the glass ones I used blowing up and leaving a sticky mess all over the garage floor. Smelt good, though!
There are recipes on the internet that explain how to make Ginger Beer by using Lactic Acid fermentation.  That sounds like what you are looking for.

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." Jim Elliot

 

... in case anyone will read this... I LOVE ginger beer. Well, anything ginger really. There's a fantastic book called Wild Fermentation by Sandor Ellix-Katz, and in it is a recipe for ginger beer with no added yeast. I hope he doesn't mind if I put it down here - there are heaps of other great recipes in his book, and he's so easy to read, laid back, and informative. Anyone who loves fermented stuff of any kind should buy it!

 

For the bug: Mix 2 teaspoons grated ginger, 2 teaspoons sugar, and one cup of water. Stir and leave in a warm spot covered with cheesecloth. Add the same amount of ginger and sugar each day until it starts bubbling, in 2 days to a week.

 

To make the ginger beer: boil 2 litres of water, add grated ginger (5 to 15 centimetres worth of ginger root, depending on how gingery you like things), boil for 15 minutes, cool. Strain, add the juice of two lemons, and the strained ginger bug. Add enough water to make 4 litres. Bottle in sealable bottles, leave to ferment in a warm spot for about 2 weeks. Cool before opening, and be prepared for some frothing with a large glass handy! (though when I've made it, quite a few times now, the carbonation has been perfect - only too fizzy and pouring out of the bottle uncontrollably when it's been more than a month old and I haven't put it in the fridge first).

 

And keep a couple of teaspoons of the strained bug, add 2 teaspoons sugar, 2 teaspoons ginger, and a cup of water, and the cycle continues for delicious (some of the best I reckon I've tasted) ginger beer. Enjoy!

 

 

 

It seems there are numerous recipies on the internet on how to make ginger beer, several of them already mentioned in previous posts. 

Again, in case anyone will read this, I'd like to mention that there is a way of making ginger beer using  an actual ginger beer plant as a starter. These are gel like kernels, similar to water kefir but not the same, that are a  composite  of a specific fungus and a specific yeast which live in a symbiotic colony ( similar to water kefir or kombucha). If you are in England, there is someone in England dedicated to promoting the real ginger beer plant. www.gingerbeerplant.net .There is also a yahoo ginger beer plant group. I have been trying to get a GBP starter, but so far have not been successful.