Still looking for the elusive really good ginger beer recipe

Discussion in 'Recipes' started by BernardSmith, Dec 1, 2016.

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  1. Dec 1, 2016 #1

    BernardSmith

    BernardSmith

    BernardSmith

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    Came across a number of older ginger beer recipes in Stephen Buhner's classic Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers. Buhner himself offers a version that he says he prefers as either a summer drink (for its cooling effects) and as a winter drink (for its ability to warm). So started a version of this last night
    1.5 oz of ginger root -
    1 lb of demerara sugar (Sugar in the Raw)*
    water to make 1 gallon
    Juice of one lemon
    1 t of lemon extract (home made)
    RC 212 yeast
    Nutrient
    Carbonation drops (for priming)

    Method
    Sanitized all equipment and tools with K-meta
    Roughly chopped the ginger and boiled for about 60 minutes in about 1 qt of spring water.
    Allowed the ginger water to cool and added the juice of lemon.
    Added about 1 lb of sugar to fermenter
    Strained the liquid into fermenter
    Added enough additional spring water to make 1 gallon.
    Dissolved the sugar in the liquid by shaking and stirring.
    Measured gravity - SG = 1.040 (Potentially about 5% ABV )
    Pitched yeast.
    After confirming activity in airlock added 1/8 t of Fermaid O (nutrient)
    Will add lemon extract after 7 days and will bottle in flip top (Grolsch type) bottles with 1 carbonation drop per bottle.
    Will allow bottles to carbonate 2 - 3 weeks.

    * This is brown sugar rather than sugar to which molasses has been added
     
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  2. Dec 1, 2016 #2

    Redbird1

    Redbird1

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    That's an interesting recipe. No grains or hops and wine yeast. Are you going for an alcoholic ginger ale or a beer with ginger flavor? That recipe strikes me more as a carbonated ginger wine if that makes any sense.

    Here's a recipe from the homebrewtalk site that has lots of good feedback for one that is more of the latter.
     
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  3. Dec 1, 2016 #3

    BernardSmith

    BernardSmith

    BernardSmith

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    Hi Redbird1. No. No grains, no hops but RC 212 is a yeast... and it's not really a "wine" as the ABV is only about 5%. - while the origin of the word "beer" is beor (old English) which meant "a drink" - not, a drink made with malted grains and hops.... So it's a ginger something
     
  4. Dec 1, 2016 #4

    Redbird1

    Redbird1

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    I can't believe companies selling beverages made from malted cereal grain, flavored with hops, and brewed by slow fermentation have nearly monopolized that term in modern times. Their deception has worked exactly as planned, as I applied that meaning to this situation.

    Best of luck with your ginger something.
     
  5. Dec 2, 2016 #5

    BernardSmith

    BernardSmith

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    :: Those deceiving monopolists. Need to get them under the RICO act. ::::::
    But if this rings my bell then I might make another batch using DME in place of the sugar. The addition of hops would seem to be counter-intuitive. I want the ginger flavor and aroma to be front and center and not hops.
     
  6. Dec 5, 2016 #6

    Redbird1

    Redbird1

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    It sounds like you are after something similar to the "hard sodas" that have been gaining popularity. Based on what I've read, they're a malted beverage, similar to Mike's and Smirnoff Ice, so swapping in DME would be consistent with that type of drink. Have you tried the ginger ale version? If so, is it close to what you have in mind? I've tried the root beer (yuck), cream soda (OK), and orange (YUM!) versions so far.

    Unfortunately, I didn't find any recipes for a hard ginger ale in a quick search, but I think the recipe you posted substituting the sugar for DME would be a good starting point.
     
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  7. Nov 12, 2017 #7

    Kevin67

    Kevin67

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    I'm in with this. I'd love to do a decent ginger beer (soda style).

    I'll keep an eye out for it and post my results here.

    All the best. Kevin.
     
  8. Feb 14, 2018 #8

    farmerjack

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    Why not make a batch of acceptable ginger ale and then add 5% ABV? Wouldn't a nearly tasteless highly distilled neutral spirit add the desired buzz but change the taste of the sugary drink very little?
     
  9. Mar 12, 2018 #9

    chasemandingo

    chasemandingo

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    Ok. So a true traditional ginger beer is produced with a SCOBY; That is, a Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast. Without a proper SCOBY you will never make true ginger beer. Search ginger beer SCOBY or plant and you will find sources with recipes. The way I understand it though it will ferment sugar producing alcohol and lactic acid but once the sugar is gone the bacteria will turn to the alcohol for food. Hence the beer would have to be drank soon after bottling or there would be no alcohol left and or the bottles would explode. Historically it was drank young. You could try to bottle pasturize as well. Just be careful for bottle bombs. Lol
     
  10. Mar 12, 2018 #10

    BernardSmith

    BernardSmith

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    Hi chasemanding - not at all sure that I agree with you. If I chop up some ginger and make a tea by boiling the ginger in water and then add sugar to this tea I will have effectively killed any bacteria and yeasts that might be lurking in the ginger. If I then pitch my own yeast then that yeast has no bacteria to compete with.. and if I ferment this dry and then bottle or ferment this dry, stabilize, back sweeten and then bottle , bottle bombs are eliminated.
    Now, if I simply cultivate a ginger "bug" then this bug will ferment some sugars but I don't know that the bug will be able to cope with a ginger must with a great deal of sugar. Moreover, if I assume that this bug has both yeast and bacteria in it then typically, the bacteria can perhaps much through 1 -2 % of the sugars. In other words, they really don't do any of the heavy lifting - and you can see that when you use combination yeast -bacteria to create a sour beer (or mead). All the work is done by the yeast not the bacteria and indeed, the bacteria really need to be given a head start otherwise the yeast have the ability to create an environment that favors the yeast and disfavors the bacteria...
     
  11. Mar 13, 2018 #11

    chasemandingo

    chasemandingo

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    I do understand that yeast will over power other microorganisms once fermentation is going strong. If you wanted to make a take on a "manufactured" ginger beer I would ferment as suggested using something to add body, ferment dry, stabilize and back sweeten. Then force carb in a keg to 2 or 2.5 volumes of co2. If you wanted to ferment in the traditional british style - the authentic way lol- you need a specific culture called a ginger beer plant. It is similar to the cultures used to ferment kefir and kombucha. You can source this culture online. So if,you were making it in the traditional style you would need to source this specific culture else it wouldn't be authentic ginger beer.
     
  12. Mar 13, 2018 #12

    chasemandingo

    chasemandingo

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    In regards to the bottle bombs: if you were attempting to make a traditional british style ginger beer with a SCOBY you would need a way to carb the finished product. The SCOBY consists of Saccharomyces florentinus and Lactobacillus hilgardii. I wouldn't trust the standard sulfite and sorbate to take out the lactobacillus. This complicates the carbonation process. Here are some different approaches. You could ferment the ginger beer tasting every day. Just before it is ready you bottle it and wait. Open a bottle after 5 days and every other day after that until you are satisfied with the carbonation. If you do small batches you can just drink it up at this point. The other option would be bottle pasteurization. Put the bottles into a big pot of water on the stove and bring to 170 degrees for a period of time. Can't remember how long is recommended. Just Google bottle pasteurization for a guide. If you wanted a more controlled method you could ferment until ready to drink and then sterile filter the beer. Then force carb in a keg and enjoy on tap or bottle from the keg. Sterile filtration is made easy with the All in One. My favorite piece of equipment by far!
     
  13. Mar 13, 2018 #13

    chasemandingo

    chasemandingo

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    Now if you wanna talk ginger wine I made a batch almost 2 years ago. 5 ounces of shredded root per gallon and 5 bananas along with a lbs of shredded zante currants in primary for a 5 gallon batch. During secondary I fed it almost two fifths of scotch and half a fifth of 151 vodka. The sugar was a mixture of white, brown, dark brown, demerera and turbinado. I step fed with ec 1118 as the yeast but the temps were low in my room and even once I got the must l back up to 70ish it stalled indefinately at 17 percent abv. That's when I fortified it. It sat in my carboy for 18 months before I ever got around to bottling it. So silky smooth. Only been in the bottle a little over a month. Come on over and we can crack a bottle lol.
     

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