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Old 09-26-2010, 12:42 AM   #1
Donald
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Default Ginger beer recipe (alcoholic kind)

I'm an experienced beer and wine maker and I've decided to try to make some Ginger beer, the alcoholic kind. I've searched the internet for a good recipe and haven't been able to find anything that sounds like it would work well enough. When they all talk about using plastic bottles and releasing the pressure when you think the bottles need it, or before they actually explode, I quickly move on. I would much rather use the champagnoise method as we use for beer making. (secondary fermentation in the bottle)

So I'm trying to find somebody with experience in making Ginger beer as well as looking for a proper recipe. If there is anyone experienced in that on this forum then they will know about the "Ginger Beer Plant." It seems that some people are saying that the plant has to be handed down from a growing plant while others talk about starting your own. ??

To just jump into starting the plant with one of the recipes on the internet seems pretty risky to me, considering that most of them I've found have also talked about loosening the caps on the bottles, etc. as I've mentioned above. Not too sophisticated to say the least!

So, can anyone here help me out with this?

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Old 09-26-2010, 10:37 AM   #2
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i found this one googling.
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Old 09-26-2010, 08:19 PM   #3
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Thanks UglyBhamGuy. This is one of the recipes for the Ginger Beer Plant that I had already found when I did my search. This could be as sophisticated as it gets for starting the plant and eventually I might have to go with this or similar.

Then after the GBP is made (which is really the starter yeast) the Ginger Beer recipe that would make the standard 5 gallons would be good to have. One can guess at the quantities by relying on past practice with grapes or fruit wines of course but I would rather not if there is somebody with real life experience.

So I'm still looking and hoping! I know it's not an easy one to find but the final product is right out of this world as I have drank it years ago. The non-alcoholic style can be readily had at most Oriental food stores of a reasonable size but of course in Canada, they don't carry the alcoholic version.

Anyway, thanks for your effort and I'll keep hoping for someone with experience on this forum. I can't think of a better place to go, considering that I have already noticed that there are some very experienced wine and beer makers lurking on this forum.

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Old 10-03-2010, 12:32 AM   #4
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Welllll, for lack of something better this is what I'm going to start with.

http://www.instructables.com/id/Ginger-Beer-Alcoholic-Version/step2/Making-the-quotPLANTquot/

Starting the Ginger beer plant is the part I will follow and then I'll go on my own. If anyone is interested in following along with this I'll keep you updated. Or, you may want to comment on my gameplan and tweak it a bit. Suggestions are very welcome. After growing the plant with champagne yeast instead of bread yeast I think I'll add two gallons of water to the liquid from the plant and bring the S.G. up to about 1.060. Ferment it out and then carbonate it using the standard in bottle beer method.

Anybody who reads the whole recipe will see that it's out of the question. I'm not one to be squeezing bottles to see if they are ready to blow up! At best I get something that can be tweaked a bit. At worst I've wasted a few bucks on sugar and ginger and yeast.

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Old 10-09-2010, 01:33 PM   #5
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Update: For those who are interested in the progress of this little experiment. I've started what I hope turns out to be the Ginger Beer Plant. About 20 oz. of water, 3 teasspoons of Ginger powder, 6 teaspoons of sugar, and yeast. It seemed to start fermenting like mad after a couple of hours so I kept it warm at around 75F. But this morning it had dropped to about 68F and appeared to be stopped fermenting.

question: Would that much sugar ferment out in that much liquid in 24 hours? I've never tried making a starter in this manner before with such a small quantity so I don't quite know what to expect. Or was it the temp drop?

So I added 2 teaspoons of Ginger and 4 teaspoons of sugar as per instructions for each of 7 days, warmed it up to about 80F in a bowl of water, and away it went again, fermenting like crazy. I'll see how it acts tomorrow I guess?

This is a curious recipe as the liquid is to be added to 1 or 2 gallons of water at the end of 7 days, brought up to about 1.060 SG, and then bottled immediately. That's not a good idea so I'm going to ferment it out completely in the secondary fermenter and then bottle and ferment for carbonation later. I'm really starting to wonder why I don't just put a whole bunch of Ginger and sugar in the secondary and let er rip? However, considering all the info on growing the Ginger plant, etc., I'm sort of going with their instructions.

Has any of the new people from England had any experience with Ginger beer making? Anyone from Jamaica on the forum? Those are the two places where it seems that the old tradition has been kept and handed down. Canada and the US did have lots of makers at one time I'm led to understand, but it's mostly died out. As is noticed by this forum where it seems that nobody does it.

Anyway, I'll keep posting the progress if anyone shows an interest. If not I'll wait until it's finished and then post the good/bad news.

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Old 02-04-2011, 08:25 AM   #6
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I am going to try making it soon. I have done the soda version where it only ferments for 2 days then in the fridge. It's way to explosive!
What I think I 'm going to try next is let it ferment out then back sweeten if needed and use the carbonation drops in the bottle. Seems like a safe way to go.
I was using flip-top bottles so I could release the pressure and wait, repeat until pourable.

I just picked up a Carr's ginger beer kit (large can of ginger goo I think). I will let you know how it turns out.

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Old 02-08-2011, 10:45 PM   #7
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I'm really surprise to hear something on this thread after such a long time.

I made the Ginger beer using sort of the same method you contemplate using. It wasn't good because it needs a sweetener and wasn't a pleasant drink without it. I wasn't willing to use Saccaryn or something similar so I gave it up as a lost cause. Howeve, if you go ahead with it let me know if you get something good out of your efforts. It's got to be possible to do without using artificial sweeteners but I just found it wasn't worth my time.

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Old 02-09-2011, 04:47 PM   #8
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How about fermenting until dry then back sweeten before putting into the bottle? I don't want to use artificial sugar either.

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Old 09-24-2011, 02:23 AM   #9
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Default Ginger Beer Plant

A ginger beer plant is a "SCOBY" (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast) consisting of Yeast (Saccharomyces florentinus) and bacteria (Lactobacillus hilgardii)...

The recipe / method you mentioned only produces a simple starter yeast culture and not a true ginger beer plant (GBP) which are generally passed on by family and friends but can be obtained from a good quality yeast bank or in dehydrated form from the internet...

Unlike most beers or wines ginger beer is meant to be drunk very soon after being bottled hence the explosive bottles when people try to keep it...

If you are trying for a high alcohol yield and yet a sweet beverage I would brew as per usual beer (first and secondary fermentation) and bottle as per usual beer but to back sweeten with "Stevia" which is a natural product / plant that will add the sweetness without being ferment-able itself...

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Old 11-23-2011, 12:49 AM   #10
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Aelthric is correct in acknowledging the true source of ginger beer. The traditional ginger beer is made using the ginger beer plant that was defined by Harry Ward. It is a SCOBY that comprises around 20 microbes. This plant cannot be derived by permitting natural microbes on ginger to ferment the beer. The ginger beer plant is expensive to purchase (despite assertions otherwise, only a few companies sell the real GBP) and must be constantly maintained leading many people to develop ginger beers with alternative yeast such as bakers yeast or champagne yeast.
This is a traditional British drink that became popular in its colonies (including Australia and New Zealand). It was brewed by mothers and grandmothers (including my own) for family consumption and was traditionally a non-alcoholic, light bodied, sweet beverage that was intended to be served immediately. It was not intended to be bottle conditioned like an ale and the high residual sugar content remaining at the time of bottling is what causes the exploding bottles that are synonymous with brewing this drink today.
Various modified recipes have been developed to generate "hard" (alcoholic) ginger beer:
1) Additional sugar can be added to the brew and primary fermentation is conducted until the mixture is a little sweeter than desired (4-7 days), then it is bottled. The bottles are held for 1-2 days to carbonate and are then refrigerated to prevent exploding bottles. This maintains the sweetness of the beer. This is my preferred approach. It cannot be stored long-term, but it generates a better product. Don't leave the bottles at room temp too long!
2) Primary fermentation can be conducted until the sugar is completely fermented leading to a drier beer (too dry for many) and sufficient sugar is added at bottling to carbonate. This GB can be stored long-term.
3) As Aelthric indicated Stevia or artificial sweetener can be used to sweeten the beer generated using approach 2 above. In my experience the 'artificial sweetener' flavor is evident and is unpleasant in such a light style. It depends on personal preference and experimentation is the only way to know whether this approach is appropriate to you.
4) Many kits use lactose to sweeten ginger beers and improve the mouthfeel of the drink. I have used these kits and they generate a very pleasant, semi-sweet drink that is slightly different to traditional ginger beer, but can be stored in bottles long-term at room temperature since lactose in non-fermentable. An example of this style of recipe can be found at the LiquorCraft website. The use of a small amount of light malt extract or unrefined sugar increases the complexity of the drink and adds color. There are some excellent commercial kits, especially in Australia that can be purchased if you are not interested in experimenting with the many different recipes. Just make sure that you are purchasing a ginger beer kit and not a beer kit that is flavored with ginger.

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