Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Home-brewed Ginger Beer

Ginger Beer

We all love Ginger Beer and have talked about brewing our own for a while, so one day I just decided to give it a go. I had a look around at a bunch of recipes, which were all pretty similar, but based my batch mainly on this recipe from forgreenies.

Ginger Beer is made by starting a 'plant' that is fed for a week. It is then strained and added to sugar syrup and lemon juice. It's pretty easy, but takes about 2 weeks from start to finish. I already had all the ingredients on hand, so all I had to do was collect the bottles to store it in.


Ginger Beer
makes about 6L

For the Plant
1 cup lukewarm water
1 teaspoon of dried yeast (I used bakers yeast)
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons of ground ginger
7 teaspoons sugar, extra
7 teaspoons ground ginger, extra

For the Ginger Beer
600g (4 cups) sugar
6 cups water
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
3 L cold water
2 lemons


To make the plant, put the water and yeast into a glass jar and mix together. Add the sugar and ginger and stir well. 24 hours later, add another 1 tsp sugar and 1 tsp ground ginger, stirring well. Continue to add the sugar and ginger every day for the next 5 days, stirring well after each addition.

To make the Ginger Beer, mix sugar and 6 cups water in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in the cream of tartar. Juice the 2 lemons and strain the juice. Add the cold water and lemon juice to the syrup. I had to transfer mine to a big casserole to fit it all in.

Stir up the ginger plant and strain through a double layer of muslin, keeping the liquid. The liquid will look cloudy and muddy. Add the liquid to the syrup mixture and stir together. Bottle the liquid. I used 1.25L plastic bottles cleaned out with sterilising solution. I filled the bottles, leaving a 2 inch air gap at the top, because apparently these can explode! It's best to store them in the garage and always open away from your face.

Leave for about a week to brew. You know they're ready when the bottles feel as hard as rocks. If the weather is warm, they'll be ready sooner. Put in the fridge to stop the fermentation and enjoy nice and chilled.

You can keep the plant going ready for your next brew by dividing the plant mass into 2 and discarding one half (or give it to a friend who is impressed with your ginger beer making skills). Add 1 cup of water to the plant and repeat the feeding process for 6 days.

If you are really interested in giving this a go, I'd also recommend reading through the comments at the bottom of the forgreenies recipe, which offer some great tips to get the most from your batch and to minimise explosions.


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