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Brewing Ginger Beer


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39 replies to this topic

#1 hummingbirdkiss

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Posted 01 August 2007 - 07:22 AM

I could not find a thread that listed this in it and I was wondering if anyone else makes it here?

it is not an alcoholic beer does not require anything more than ginger, brown sugar, a blender and a big glass jar to make

so I am not sure if this is the right place to post this..( feel free to move it if it isn't)

What it is ...is a fizzy and refreshing drink I grew up consuming as a child...

we actually called it "kid beer"

I just picked up some fantastic, fat, juicy ginger hands at the market, for a very good price... I was getting ready to make a batch today and thought I would see if anyone here shared my love of this drink?

if you would like to try it this is the only way I have ever made it (although I just googled it and there are far more complicated recipes)

..this is easier to me than making lemonade!!! and a good summer drink as well as a nice mixer ...

this recipe makes a bit more than half a gallon (and you can cut this down to whatever size you want)

Ginger beer

2 lbs of fresh scrubbed skin on ginger ( you don't even have to peel it just cut it up a bit so it fits in the blender)
4 quarts of water
blend it well in a blender then let it sit at room temp for 24 or so hours in a glass jar with a loose plastic lid I taste to see if it has fermented and if your house runs about 70 it works fine

strain all the sediment out and add brown sugar to taste start with about 1/2 cup see how you like it then go from there I dont like mine sweet so that is about all I use ...

this is the single most natural tummy soother on the planet I think

I used to have my son drink some before we went on trips he was so car sick all the time and this worked like a charm!

Edited by hummingbirdkiss, 01 August 2007 - 01:54 PM.


#2 cdh

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Posted 01 August 2007 - 09:16 AM

A pound of ginger to a quart of water? Egads, that's potent! And no lemon or other souring agent in there? And it is all raw ginger and no cooked ginger? And where does the fizz come from?

I've made homemade ginger ale with a bit of lemon oil, a bit of lemon juice and a whole lot less ginger, some of it boiled and some of it not... I like being able to keep the sugar content under control. I carbonate mine is a soda keg...

Edited by cdh, 01 August 2007 - 09:17 AM.

Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

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#3 insomniac

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Posted 01 August 2007 - 09:26 AM

I made ginger beer several times years ago in NZ....can't quite remember what the recipe was but I do remember using ginger, brown (or similar) sugar and water and feeding it every day with more ginger and sugar til it fermented, then using lemons??? too long ago but did have one ginger beer explosive event involving more than one bottle on a hot day..... :smile: worth it, bloody good tipple...

#4 hummingbirdkiss

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Posted 01 August 2007 - 01:38 PM

it should have read 2lb to 4 quarts I will edit it ..it was early I am sorry!!!

the fizz comes from the wild yeast same way it does when you leave fresh squeezed cider out ...

I have not had to leave it for more than 48 hours

add lemons to your drink later and some fizzy water ..more sugar whatever

Edited by hummingbirdkiss, 01 August 2007 - 01:55 PM.


#5 hummingbirdkiss

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Posted 01 August 2007 - 01:40 PM

this is a very "rustic" recipe

#6 cdh

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Posted 01 August 2007 - 02:06 PM

So do you think two parts water and one part ginger juice (from running ginger through a juicer) would approximate what it is that you let the wild yeast ferment? So the wild yeasts must bring the sourness too...

Edited by cdh, 01 August 2007 - 02:07 PM.

Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

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#7 slkinsey

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Posted 01 August 2007 - 02:20 PM

I like Audrey's recipe for a still ginger beer. You could always put it in a seltzer beer if you want carbonation.

"Mulch" 1 pound of ginger in the food processor, then put this together with 1/4 cup of light brown sugar and the juice of two limes in one gallon of hot water for one hour. Strain, cool and enjoy. This, along with any natural ginger beer, begins to lose its "zip" after 5-7 days. There is no way I know of to make ginger infusions at home that keep their spicy quality through extended storage.
Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

#8 hummingbirdkiss

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Posted 01 August 2007 - 02:25 PM

it is sharp and refreshing and mine has fizz from just the ginger and water

I agree about the short storage you make it and keep in the fridg but try to use it up in a week tops ..you will know when it is not good anymore ...it goes flat tasting ...

#9 hummingbirdkiss

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Posted 01 August 2007 - 02:26 PM

So do you think two parts water and one part ginger juice (from running ginger through a juicer) would approximate what it is that you let the wild yeast ferment?  So the wild yeasts must bring the sourness too...

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I dont know I have never tried a juicer ...but if I had one I would and I would do the same quantities for sure..

I imagine it would work very well!

#10 hummingbirdkiss

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Posted 01 August 2007 - 02:27 PM

the straining is a pain in the ass so I bet a juicer would be fantastic..try it and let me know...maybe I will get one!

#11 cdh

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Posted 01 August 2007 - 02:45 PM

Next time I pass by the store I'll grab a pound of ginger and give it a whirl through the juicer and see how it this recipe works out.
Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

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#12 hummingbirdkiss

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Posted 01 August 2007 - 02:59 PM

that is fantastic please let me know ..I would seriously buy a juicer if it works ..because pushing it through the strainer while traditional and all takes forever!!!

ginger beer is addictive stuff I am telling you!

I put a splash in ice cold Momokowa Diamond sake sometimes!

the two together are so good! then add a squeeze of lemon

Edited by hummingbirdkiss, 01 August 2007 - 03:01 PM.


#13 cdh

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Posted 02 August 2007 - 10:29 AM

OK. Got a half pound of ginger. Got out juicer. Applied juicer to ginger. Half a pound of ginger required me to clean the shredding disk in the juicer twice because the fibers built up and obfuscated the little ripping and shredding tines. Got about a half cup of juice out of the ginger and added a quart of water to that. Took all of 3 minutes.

Now I've got a quart+ of very potently zingy yellowish cloudy water and ginger juice.

Do I just wait for the bacteria and yeast to find this? Then let them do their thing? Then add sugar to taste?
Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

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#14 cdh

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Posted 02 August 2007 - 11:51 AM

Well, being impatient, I added some of this stuff, maybe an ounce or two to a glass of seltzer with a bit of lemon and sugar. At that strength, it was very nice indeed. I can't wait to see what happens when the wild yeasts and bugs have their way with the stuff.
Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

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#15 hummingbirdkiss

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Posted 02 August 2007 - 12:04 PM

OK.  Got a half pound of ginger.  Got out juicer.  Applied juicer to ginger.  Half a pound of ginger required me to clean the shredding disk in the juicer twice because the fibers built up and obfuscated the little ripping and shredding tines.  Got about a half cup of juice out of the ginger and added a quart of water to that.  Took all of 3 minutes.

Now I've got a quart+ of very potently zingy yellowish cloudy water and ginger juice. 

Do I just wait for the bacteria and yeast to find this? Then let them do their thing?  Then add sugar to taste?

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YES YES YES to everything I am so excited you did this!!!! you are going to see just how easy this is to do and be hooked I betcha!!!

just putting the lid on a jar of this stuff is enough to capture the yeast in the air and I am sure if you did not peel it and just rinsed the ginger there was yeast on that as well ...

I am so glad you tasted it! ...

when I offer this as a spritzer when folks come over they are usually quite stunned at how good it is ...nothing fancy this is real true(Caribbean) Island style ginger beer


ginger ..water add sugar later ..it is easier to dissolve in ..I will pour some off and dissolve the sugar in a small amt then pour it back into the batch of beer ...if you add it before you put it in the fridg

Edited by hummingbirdkiss, 02 August 2007 - 12:05 PM.


#16 hummingbirdkiss

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Posted 04 August 2007 - 08:14 AM

Cdh did it fizz? I can not wait to know!

#17 cdh

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Posted 04 August 2007 - 08:29 AM

Not after 24 hrs. Still tastes good mixed with seltzer and lemon. I'm away for the weekend, so we'll see if it gets fizzy by Monday.
Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

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#18 cdh

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Posted 06 August 2007 - 07:05 AM

Got home to find no fizz. It has started growing a slick of something across the top, but doesn't appear to be yeast, and doesn't smell so great. Your local airborn bugs appear much better suited to fermenting ginger juice than mine... There can't be much sugar in just ginger juice for the beasties to eat.

Edited by cdh, 06 August 2007 - 07:12 AM.

Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

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#19 hummingbirdkiss

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Posted 06 August 2007 - 11:22 AM

Got home to find no fizz.  It has started growing a slick of something across the top, but doesn't appear to be yeast, and doesn't smell so great.  Your local airborn bugs appear much better suited to fermenting ginger juice than mine...  There can't be much sugar in just ginger juice for the beasties to eat.

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:sad: maybe add some sugar and try a new batch? I am sorry!!! I have never had it fail and I have lived all over the place

#20 aonis

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Posted 23 July 2008 - 08:36 AM

it stopped foaming and Im not sure what to do.

#21 Mayhaw Man

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Posted 23 July 2008 - 11:28 AM

it stopped foaming and Im not sure what to do.

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Do you have a starting and finishing (or dead, or whatever) gravity on the stuff? It might just be done. Also, how did you make it? I'm with CDH, it's hard to say without some basic info.
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#22 aonis

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Posted 23 July 2008 - 12:18 PM

I made a bug of grated ginger, sugar and water.

after sitting for a few days it began to bubble and sound like a carbonated soda. I have kept feeding it sugar and ginger (not water) for the last few days and I'm not hearing anything in my jar. Is this normal? Or has the yeast come and gone? Did I over feed it?

any help would be great.

#23 KatieLoeb

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Posted 23 July 2008 - 12:27 PM

Is the purpose here to create a carbonated and alcoholic ginger beer? Most of the commercial varieties I've seen are merely a very spicy non-alcoholic version of regular carbonated ginger ale. I make non-alcoholic ginger beer via the Audrey Saunders recipe and carbonate it with a splash of ginger ale and it works just fine.

Just seems like the fermenting and bottling process is a lot of work for nothing, unless it somehow tastes better with a light alcohol content. Is it worth all the fuss? Posted Image

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#24 aonis

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Posted 23 July 2008 - 12:33 PM

I think wild fermentation of foods and beverages not only tastes better but is good for you. There isn't a terrible amount of fuss, just merely waiting and be patient enough to let nature take its course.

I've made my own sourdough starter from fermenting wild yeast and it's fantastic.

#25 KatieLoeb

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Posted 23 July 2008 - 12:37 PM

The "good for you" aspect of the ginger beer gets lost when you put the booze in it, however. :raz:

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#26 slkinsey

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Posted 23 July 2008 - 12:39 PM

If you don't add water but continue adding sugar and ginger, eventually the alcohol content (and probably sugar content as well) will get up to a point where the yeast (and bacteria, since this is naturally fermented) are inhibited.
Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

#27 aonis

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Posted 23 July 2008 - 12:41 PM

If you don't add water but continue adding sugar and ginger, eventually the alcohol content (and probably sugar content as well) will get up to a point where the yeast (and bacteria, since this is naturally fermented) are inhibited.

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so should I add more water or would i have to start over again?

#28 slkinsey

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Posted 23 July 2008 - 12:43 PM

It's hard for any of us to give you any advice unless you describe your process completely, including where you heard about this process and what result you hope to accomplish.
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#29 aonis

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Posted 23 July 2008 - 12:56 PM

It's hard for any of us to give you any advice unless you describe your process completely, including where you heard about this process and what result you hope to accomplish.

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I have this book called "Wild Fermentation"

I mixed

2tbs of ginger
2tbs of sugar
1c of water

I then added the same sugar and ginger everyday. I had one day (day 2) where everything was foaming nicely and sounded great but its been dormant since then. I keep it in a ball jar with cheese cloth on the opening and take it outside during the day and bring it into a warm room at night.

#30 cdh

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Posted 23 July 2008 - 01:02 PM

What is it that you want out of this thing? Are you attempting to culture a ginger beer plant?

Is the idea to get a bunch of microbes that like to ferment ginger sugar water, and then throw that lot of bugs into a big bunch of ginger sugar water? Fermentations only last so long, and 2T of sugar won't keep one going for a very long time.

Have you built up a good bunch of goo on the bottom of your jar? If so, that goo is your starter culture that should ferment a few gallons of ginger sugar water and leave a nice lactic acid sourness.
Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

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