ginger beer

  • Currently 4/5
this recipe from CHOW does not require special yeast and uses very basic ingredients found in the grocery store. success rate isn't as guaranteed as using a special yeast to kick off the fermentation. but it's another science/cooking project!

think of this as a starter that you will need to cultivate and maintain. so, yes, time-consuming and possibly frustrating but the reward is a spicy, cool drink with an alcoholic kick at the end. what's not to love.

click here for more ginger beer recipes at Homemade Dessert Recipes.

yields: about 3 quarts
6 inch piece fresh ginger
1 c turbinado sugar
12 c distilled water
2 medium lemons
special equipments
large, non-reactive pot (not aluminum or cast-iron)
bail top glass bottles
stockpot deep enough to submerge bottles with 1-2 inch of boiling water
rack set on bottom of stockpot, like an expandable vegetable steamer
1. starter/bug:
1.  combine 1 teaspoon grated ginger (peels, too), 1 teaspoon turbinado sugar and 1 cup distilled water in a small jar.
2.  stir, cover with cheesecloth, and leave in a room-temperature area (70°F to 75°F works best).
3.  add 1 teaspoon of ginger and sugar every other day until the bug becomes active (it should take 6 to 8 days). the bug is active once there are a few bubbles on the surface and a white residue forms on the bottom of the container.
2. halve the lemons and juice them, reserving both the juice and the rinds.
3. in a large pot, combine 4 cups distilled water with 2 tsp grated ginger (about 2 inches), the remaining turbinado sugar (should be a scant cup), the juice of the lemons and the lemon rinds and bring to a boil over high heat. let this mixture boil for 15 minutes and then remove from heat. discard the lemon rinds.
4. add the remaining 7 cups distilled water and let the mixture cool to room temperature (about 70°F to 75°F). pour through a fine mesh strainer into a large, clean pot. then strain the bug into the pot (stir before straining to make sure that the white residue gets included). mix to combine.
5. bottling:
1.  carefully sterilize bottles according to standards set up for canning by setting upright on a rack in the stockpot and boiling for about 10 minutes. the Chow article uses bleach.
2.  with a funnel, also sterilized, fill up your bottles and set about 1 cup aside in a marked tester bottle. leave about an inch of space near top.
6. fermentation:
1.  set the sealed ginger beer bottles upright to ferment at room temperature (about 70°F to 75°F works best) in an area where it is OK if the bottles explode (such as a bathtub). let the soda ferment for about 7 to 10 days.
2.  around day 7, test the flavor and carbonation of the ginger beer by sampling the test bottle. (note: Chow fermented the soda for about 8 days. the longer you let the soda ferment, the more sugar the yeast will consume, and therefore the less sugary the soda will be and the more alcoholic.)
7. when the soda is ready, place the labels on the bottles and put the bottles in the refrigerator to halt the fermentation process. make sure the bottles are completely cold prior to opening.
bail top bottles can be found at the Container Store or IKEA, which sell 34-oz bottle. better, yet, save those fancy fizzy lemonade bottles or reuse your pretty Grolsch beer bottles which have a proven record of containing carbonated beverage without exploding. and if you can find a Grolsch beer bottle with the old porcelain cap, even cooler.
Dish   BeveragePrep Time   45 minutes
Features   Vegan, Vegetarian

More recipes like this one...