Given this is a recipe, there should be about 200 words here detailing my life story and how gingerbeer is somehow crucial to it, so I hit the SEO count. But that’s tedious, so here’s what I did to create some pretty great alcoholic (roughly 6%) ginger beer. Enjoy!
- Five litres of water
- 200 grams fresh Ginger root
- 450 grams of caster sugar
- Two lemons
- One lime
- Two heaped teaspoons cream of tartar
- One campden tablet
- Sparkling wine yeast / champagne yeast (one sachet or 15g)
- One teaspoon of chilli flakes (optional, depends how much ‘heat’ you like in your gingerbeer!)
- 100ml water
- 110 grams of caster sugar
- Large pan (sufficient to hold 5 litres of water, plus the other ingredients)
- Lemon zester
- One gallon demijohn or fermenter bucket.
- Eight or nine 500ml bottles (these need to be safe for carbonation, you don’t want bottles that may explode under pressure!)
- Rubber bung and airlock (if you have a fermenter bucket then whatever airlock fits it)
- No-rinse Sanitizer
- A fine sieve
- Wooden spoon
- Small glass
- One Litre jug
- Large bowl
Instructions – Pre-fermentation
Before starting boil up some water in the kettle and let it cool for step 3. Sanitise the demijohn, glass, spoon , pan lid and jug (basically any equipment that comes into contact with your brew after the boil). Keep some sanitiser in your airlock where it’ll remain during fermentation to prevent nasties getting into your brew.
- Put your five litres of water in the pan. Crush the campden tablet and mix into the water. Leave for an hour (or over night) with the pan covered. This should help deal with any chlorine or other common chemicals used for sanitising tap water and prevent off flavours.
- Start boiling the water, in the meantime you can start preparing your ingredients…
- Add the yeast to the glass with a teaspoon of sugar then add some warm water (just above 20 degrees C) and stir. Put to one side.
- Zest one of the lemons and the lime. Put the zest in the large bowl.
- Add the 450 grams of caster sugar to the bowl. If you’re using chilli add that in now too.
- Grate the 200 grams of ginger and add to the bowl too and stir in.
- Juice the two lemons and lime into a jug. Add the cream of tartar to the jug and stir in.
- Once the water is boiled add the contents of the bowl and stir in.
- Turn off the heat and let the content of the pan cool to 30 degrees C. You can speed this up by putting the pan in the sink and filling the space around it with cold water (and ice/ice packs).
- Once the mixture has cooled add the contents of the jug and the yeast and stir in.
- Using the jug, transfer the mixture from the pan into the demijohn. Seal it with the bung and airlock.
- Place the demijohn somewhere it can be left safely for a couple of weeks. It should be dark and warm (ideally a stable 20 degrees C, but somewhere between 15 and 25 will be fine). A cupboard (e.g. under the stairs) would be perfect. Check after a day to see that bubbles are working through the airlock – that’s CO2 generated by the yeast during fermentation.
- Fermentation can be up to 14 days. During the first few days it’s worth picking up the bottle and ‘stirring’ the contents (without opening it!) , but after 3 days leave it alone and just check how it’s progressing. You can tell fermentation has completed as there will be no bubbles of CO2 working their way through the airlock.
Instructions – Post-fermentation (bottling)
Again, before starting sanatise the equipment that’ll come into contact with your brew – this will be the large pan, sieve, spoon, funnel, bottles and jug.
- Boil the 100ml of water and add the 100 grams of caster sugar. Leave it to cool to around room temperature.
- Pour the contents of the demijohn into the pan, using the sieve to filter out the ginger. You’ll need to empty the sieve part way through as it isn’t going to hold the whole lot of the mix easily.
- Add the sugar and water mix and stir in.
- Using the jug and funnel add the contents of the pan to the bottles, leaving a small air gap between the gingerbeer and the top of the glass.
- Seal the bottles and put them somewhere dark and warm (the same place you stored the demijohn, basically) for 5 days. After 5 days put them in the fridge and enjoy once cold!
As started, the gingerbeer is likely to come out around 6%, based on the amount of sugar added. I’ve done this recipe twice. I added the chilli the second time, and arrived at the right amount of sugar to add when bottling (it’s roughly 3 tsp per bottle) to get good carbonation and sweetness. When I make it next I’ll work out the actually ABV, as I now own a hydrometer so will be able to take measurements to calculate it.