Batch 5 Ginger Beer

It’s been a long time since I last posted to this blog, I’ve done a fair bit of brewing in that time but nothing noteworthy. (mainly kits) a few months ago I did another batch of ginger beer with the following recipe:

500g Light DME
Juice of 3 Limes + zest
Juice of 3 Lemons + zest
545g Ginger (Blended and steeped)
100g Dextrose
1tsp yeast nutrient
1tsp cayenne Pepper
Wilko’s ale yeast

OG: 1.050 sg
FG: 1.010 sg
ABV: 5.25%

For this one I tired using cayenne pepper which did add a little fire to the taste, I also upped the ginger which make the drink too strong and it required diluting with lemonade to be drinkable.  I also blended the ginger which made it much easier to extract the juices.

I’m currently planning batch which I’ll give a more detailed post for than this.  I’m dropping the ginger contents and somewhat going back to basics with batch 6 which should hopefully give something more immediately palatable.

Batch 4 Ginger Beer

Sadly this one didn’t go so well:

Batch 4 Ginger Beer 1 Imperial Gallon:
200g Dextrose
300g Demerara Sugar
500g Ginger (steeped for 1hr @ 80*C)
500g Strawberries (Crushed and Pasteurized)
3 Kiwis (Crushed and Pasteurized)
Munton’s Ale Yeast
OG 1.060 sg
FG  1.040 sg
ABV: 2.7%

For this batch I decided to use brown sugar after seeing it recommended on several forums, though I’m quickly realising this was a mistake; it didn’t give a particularly nice taste. Additionally as I had no lactose this time around the drink was quite dry and required additonal sugar to taste. Ale yeast was used this time as I managed to find a cheap stock online, not to mention it fits the drink much more than wine yeast.
Whist I think the strawberries worked it was very evident that the kiwi did not. I think for my next batch I’m going to be a little less adventurous and try more citrus tastes, but first I’ve either got to, give up and drink my current stock, or drain it. I wouldn’t like to drain it as it’s very wasteful, but god is it awful.

Batch 3 Ginger Beer

For my third batch of ginger beer I decided to change the recipe quite a bit; I added limes and mint leafs to see how well they would play with the drink. Additionally, I decided to use Muntons Enhancer (A mix of pale malt and dextrose) rather than sugar to give it more body, and I upped the amount of ginger for more of a kick.

I also changed my method a little bit (granting a much better yield, and ensuring sanitation).  Rather than simply leaving the grated ginger in the demijohn, I decided to boil the ginger in water (just under 1 gallon) with the enhancer and lactose for 1 hour; after that, I added the lime and lemon juice and boiled for a further 10 mins. I then strained the wort (after cooling it in a ice bath) and added to the the demijohn and topped it up (with water) to 1 gallon.  Finally, I added the yeast and the nutrient.

Batch 3 Ginger Beer (1 Imperial Gallon):
300g Muntons Enhancer
500g Lactose (Milk Sugar)
300g Ginger
15g Mint Leafs
1 Lemon Zest
1 Lime Zest
Juice of 2 lemons
Juice of 4 limes
1/2 tsp Yeast Nutrient
Wine Yeast
OG: 1.060
FG: 1.040
ABV: 2.7%

So how did it go? Well, the limes added a noticeable taste which was rather nice; however, the mint leafs didn’t seem to affect the taste much. I used a wine yeast as it was all Wilko’s had in stock, though I think I’ll use an ale yeast next time as it will suit the taste more. The increased amount of ginger gave a more fiery taste, though I am tempted to go even more crazy with batch 4 and try 500g, as I love fiery ginger beer. I’m also considering experimenting with some more fruit for batch 4, possibilities are: Oranges, Strawberries,  Kiwis and/or Pineapples; if you have any suggestions, feel free to throw them at me. I do want to try and get rid of the Lactose as it’s not very effective, so I’m looking at alternatives. (Such as Saccharin.)

Ginger Beer

Batch 2 of my ginger beer is almost done so I thought I’d do a bit of a write up on the recipe. Ginger beer is very cheap to make and requires very little equipment, at its cheapest you can brew it in bottles (With a bit of care taken to avoid an explosion) using bread yeast. I’v been brewing my ginger beer in a demijohn with an air lock, this gets rid of the possibility of an explosion due to pressure build up, it also allows me to lower the risk of bacteria and oxidation destroying the drink as well.

You may be wondering how can brewing ginger beer lead to an explosion? When brewing, yeast is used to convert Sugar to CO2 (Carbon-dioxide)  and Alcohol, if you brew in sealed environment like a bottle, the CO2 cannot escape this leads to a pressure build up and eventually explosion, if you’re using glass this can be very dangerous.

I looked at several recipes when designing my first batch, most of them are designed for people with no brewing equipment:

The recipe I eventually set on was one I found on a forum:

Two lemons
450gms sugar
8 pints (4.4litres) of water (enough to fill a demi-john)
Flat teaspoonful of Dried Yeast
100gm Fresh root ginger
Two heaped tea spoons of tartaric acid (Cream of Tartar)

A large pan that can boil four and a half litres of water
A jug
A glass
A coarse cheese grater
A wooden spoon
A 1 gallon demijohn
A bubble seal for the demijohn
A lemon juicer
A lemon zester
A fine sieve
9 glass or plastic bottles of 500ml volume with screw caps (eg plastic coke bottles)

1. Put 8 pints of water in the large pan and bring it to the boil
2. While the water is coming to the boil…
scrape the zest from one of the lemons
grate the ginger on the coarse cheese grater
add the sugar to the ginger and lemon zest in a bowl
cut the lemons in half and squeeze the juice into the jug
add the tartaric acid to the lemon juice
put the yeast into some warm water with a little sugar in a glass
3. When the water has boiled ….
add the sugar, ginger and lemon zest to the water, turn off the heat and stir
allow the water to cool to roughly blood heat, stirring occasionally
add the lemon juice and tartaric acid to the water
add the yeast mixture
4. Use the jug to pour the mixture into the demi-john
5. Seal the demijohn with the bubble seal
6. Stand the demijohn in a warm place for 48 hrs at a bubble rate of 40/minute
7. After 48 hrs pour the mixture through the sieve into the jug and fill the bottles leaving an air gap for the pressure to build up in. Screw the caps tightly onto the bottles (8 pints (4.5l) should fill 9 bottles)
8. Leave the bottles at room temperature for 24 hrs
9. Put the bottles in the fridge for 2-3 days to allow the yeast to settle (failure to do this may result in an explosion!)

1. Open the bottles slowly to release the gas
2. Pour the whole of a bottle into glasses, as any gingerbeer remaining in the bottle will contain quite a lot of yeast.
3. Drink
The ginger beer made this way should be fizzy and fairly sweet.
If you ferment the mixture in the demijohn for longer than 48 hrs then the alcohol content will increase at the expense of the sweetness – try different times to suit your taste.

I slightly deviated from the method after bottling  by only leaving it 12hrs at room temp to make sure I was safe using glass.

For my second batch I decided to go a bit crazy and use a lot of ginger as I felt the last one was quiet weak:

For 1 Imperial Gallon (8 pints):
200g Dextrose (brewing sugar)
500g Lactose (milk sugar)
225g Ginger
1 lemon zest
Juice of 2 lemons
1/2 tsp yeast nutrient
1/4 tsp creme of tarter
wine yeast (Had no ale yeast in)
OG 1.060sg

I’m also allowing it to ferment for much longer (about a week) because of this I’ve used a lot more suger, I’ve also included lactose (a form of sugar found in milk) which does not ferment so it sweetens the drink unlike the dextrose which is eaten by the yeast; I used 500g as I was unsure how much I would need, it didn’t taste very sweet so I opted to use a lot and see how it turns out.

My recipe is obviously a work in progress; I’m going to alter it slowly after every batch and work towards a recipe that suits me. I’ll post an update once it’s ready to drink with my thoughts on it’s taste and what adjustments I think will be needed for batch 3.