Brewing Up Some Ginger Beer

>> Monday, January 31, 2011

Batch #1 - 2/1/2011

I've been researching ginger beer recipes the past couple weeks. A lot of basic recipes call for powdered ginger rather than fresh ginger. This seems to be more for the sake of convenience as most brewers seem to go with fresh ginger on follow-up batches. The consensus seems to be that powdered ginger is more "warm" while fresh ginger is more "spicy". After looking over several recipes I went with the following which should yield about two liters.

150 grams fresh ginger
250 grams table sugar
2 liters of water
Juice of three lemons
Ginger Beer Plant

Method: I peeled the ginger and ran it through a juicer. It seemed to be a little hard on the juicer so next time I'll probably try using the blender. I collected the pulp from the juicer and put it into a stainless tea ball. This was then steeped in 2 liters of water on the stove for about 10 minutes. I then pressed the liquid out of the ginger pulp. I dissolved the sugar in the saucepan and then cooled the water to about 76 degrees. I then combined all of the ingredients in a large jar. This will sit for about 48 hours before I transfer it to a 2 liter pop bottle where it will condition until it's carbonated.

I was pleased with the way this turned out. It had some very nice ginger flavor, aroma, and spiciness. The lemon juice provided some pleasant citrus notes. I also enjoy the nice tang that I assume comes from the GBP. It was a little too much ginger for my wife's taste, but she isn't a big fan of commercial ginger beer so I didn't expect her to rave about my homemade brew. I think it might benefit from a touch more sugar next time.

The Dark and Stormy cocktail was very good as well. I'm not a big cocktail fan, but I really enjoyed this one. It's pretty light yet flavorful without being overly sweet. I think these will be a hit at summer BBQ's.

Washing the GBP was a little bit of a pain. I had a lot of ginger sediment that settled out after a day or two. I think I didn't quite peel the ginger as well as I should have because there seemed to be a few bits of it amongst the GBP. So long story short, it took a while to remove the sediment and bits of peel.

Batch #2 - 2/26/2011

After the successful first batch, I made a TLC batch and set my 64 ounce mason jar in the window on a paper towel.  Long story short, I forgot my dog loves to chew/shred paper towels so about an hour after placing it in the window it came crashing to the ground.  I was able to save some from the broken shards of glass but I'd guestimate I lost anywhere from a third to half of the GBP.  I've been nursing it along with TLC brews ever since.  It seemed to be recovering well so I kicked off another batch today.  I basically used the same recipe as batch #1 except I scaled it down by half.  This time I cut the ginger into thin slices and tossed everything into a saucepan for a quick 10 minute boil.  A lot of the recipes I've found don't include a boil but the sanitary beer brewer in me can't help it.  After cooling the brew I poured it through a strainer onto the GBP.

Update  Batch #2  This one turned out very well too.  I didn't do a side by side comparison, but using fresh ginger slices didn't seem to cause any problems flavor-wise.  Since it was a lot easier to remove the thin slices than the ginger puree, I think this is the method I'm going to stick with.

Batch #3
I can't remember exactly which day I brewed this one but I used one lemon, one lime, and one small orange for my citrus juices.  I think this one was my favorite so far.  Spring can't get here soon enough as far as I'm concerned.   

Batch #4 Recipe

Ginger Beer Recipe from Matt on Yahoo GBP Group

2l water
200g white sugar
juice of 1 lemon
5 tbsp powdered ginger
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp vanilla extract

Put everything except the vanilla in your brewing container and leave
for 2-5 days, until a frothy head begins to form on the liquid. Siphon
off the liquid, leaving the sediment and plant behind, into a large
container. Taste, and add more sugar if needed. Add the vanilla and
siphon again into bottles (optionally through muslin to remove any
excess ginger and yeast powder). Seal and leave for 24-48 hours to