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.

Galaxy/Apollo IPA

I recently decided to jump ahead with my brewing; after seeking advice and reading around I formulated my own recipe for an American IPA which uses an Australian hop, known as “Galaxy“, it known for being versatile as it is good to use at any part of the boil (See bellow).  With its fruity citrus flavours and peach aroma, I grew really fond of this hop when trying a beer from Brew Dog that featured them exclusively.  (IPA is Dead:Galaxy)   Additionally “Apollo” an American hop was suggested to me on a forum to use as a bittering hop, however when opening the packet I bought, the smell soon had me adding some for aroma too.

Hops are used for 3 things in brewing: bittering, flavouring, and scent. During a long boil period (Around 1 Hour),  they are added at different times to do different things. If the hops are added at the end of the boil, they add to the aroma of the beer. When added 15 mins before the end the aroma’s tend to be evaporated out, however in their stead flavours are released from the hop. If added at the start of the boil, both flavours and the aromas are boiled out, however the hops leave bitter tastes which are used to contrast and balance the sweet tastes produced by the malted barley.

American IPAs are a recent take on a old style which has changed much since it’s conception, IPA or India Pale Ale has origins in the 14 century however they draw much of their history from imperial Britain (18/19th century), they were developed to be exported to India, they were originally lightly hopped, the hops being a natural preservative enabled the beer to be able to last the long journey. As time passed IPA’s styles were brewed with more and more hops.  Today British IPA’s tend to use solely UK hops, and tend to be around 4%ABV, the american variety tend to be much stronger in ABV and more heavily hopped.

Currently my first batch is fermenting and will be ready for bottling in a few days. I plan to carbonate it with half a teaspoon of sugar per a bottle and condition for 2-4 weeks, maybe more depending on the result.  Here’s my recipe:

Galaxy/Apollo IPA, 15L Batch

3.00kg  Light Malt Liquid Extract
0.50kg  Biscuit Malt
0.25kg  Dextrin Malt

14g Apollo at 60 mins
14g Galaxy at 15 mins
14g Apollo at 01 mins
14g Galaxy at 01 mins

Yeast :
White Labs East Coast Ale (WLP008)

OG: 1.060, FG: 1.020,  ABV: 5.3% , EBC: 19°(est), IBU: 55.8(est)

Notes: Steep grains in cold water, bring water up to 70°C and steep for a further 25mins, boil 30 mins before adding hops.

Really enjoyed this, the taste was wonderful, the galaxy hops gave the taste I was hoping for. If I do this one again, I think I’ll up the flavouring hops, and the amount of light malt for a stronger ABV. I might also develop it into a Double IPA recipe.

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.