Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Ginger Beer to the Rescue

As a brewer, I occasionally get to share my hobby with more friends and family. For some reason, not everyone is a fan of Real Beer. I could go into the many scientific and behavioral theories on this affliction, but I don’t want this blog to be mired in the political and cultural war that would result from this debate. The short answer is to brew up some soda.

There are many nice kits that exist where you add water, cane sugar, and yeast--if bottling. Then bottle or keg the creation and enjoy a wide variety of flavors where you can modify and perfect the family recipe.

There is one major downfall in the world of extract soda kits: GINGER BEER. This is a special brew for those who like Extreme Soda in place of their Extreme Beer. Only a few brands really add the ginger required to make a strong, biting, ginger beer, and it is always more fun trying something different.

So here is my recipe for Ginger Beer:

Boil 2.1 gallons of water
After boiling for a few minutes, turn down the heat
- Add:
- 2 oz of fresh ground ginger
- 2 lbs of sugar
- The juice of one whole lemon (make sure its FRESH)
Simmer the concoction for 20 minutes
Remove from the heat and allow the whole thing to cool to 70F
Strain all the liquid into another large pot, making sure to capture most of the loose ginger
- Stir in one package of champagne or ale yeast
Funnel into 4 CLEAN 2 liter bottles

After 1-2 days of sitting on the counter, the yeast will grow enough to add C02 to the bottle, but no discernible alcohol. The bottle will be firm to pressure, like buying a new bottle of soda.

Put the bottles in the fridge so they don't over carbonate (rupture), and drink after 2 days in the fridge. Drink all of it within a few weeks.

Modify future batches based on your own tastes. I have thought of adding pineapple juice or cranberry juice. There is also an alcoholic version of Ginger Beer waiting to be made. Maybe I will experiment with that in a few weeks...

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