Making ginger beer
Sunday, 17 August 2008
Today I made some ginger beer!
Today, with the help of the wonderful Gareth, I made some ginger beer! It’s my own recipe. You mix up grated ginger, lemon zest and juice, sugar, yeast, and water, and let it bubble away in a demijohn. Here’s an arty video of my ginger beer in action. You can see the bubbles and the bits of ginger floating up and down:
Toby’s ginger beer recipe:
100g fresh root ginger
1 flat tsp yeast
2 heaped tsp tartaric acid (cream of tartar)
9 plastic 500ml fizzy drink bottles (get collecting!) PLASTIC, NOT GLASS
A one gallon demijohn, rubber bung, and an airlock (from the local health food shop)
Largish bowl; helps if it has a pouring lip
Sterilise the inside of the demijohn (if you don’t have sterilising powder, use a splash of plain bleach and warm water) and then rinse out.
Measure one pint of water into the kettle.
Peel and grate the ginger.
Scrape the zest from one of the lemons, then squeeze the juice from both.
Activate the yeast: put it in a small glass of water at body heat with 1/2 tsp of sugar - stir and leave.
Boil the kettle.
Into the bowl put:
-the ginger, lemon zest and juice, tartaric acid, and pour on the pint of boiling water. Stir, cover, and leave for a while.
Into the demijohn put:
-the sugar (use the funnel), and add some cold water to cover.
When the ginger/lemon mix has cooled a little, you have to get it into the demijohn. Good luck! Use the funnel and the handle of a tablespoon, but you’ll probably end up putting the ginger and zest in with your fingers. It makes them smell nice!
Top up the demijohn until it’s half full with cold water, and then add the yeast mix. Give it a good swirl to dissolve the sugar. Then top the demijohn up with more water until it’s up to one inch below its neck (swirl again). Fit the bung and airlock with some water.
Leave your new baby in a warm place (21º-25º C), or on a heating pad, for 48 hours. The fermentation can take several hours to start, so don’t worry if it doesn’t seem to be doing anything for a while. Once it gets going the bubbling airlock, and rising and falling bits of ginger can be quite hypnotic...
After 48 hours, pour the mixture from the demijohn through a sieve into a jug, to fill the plastic bottles. Leave a small air gap (1/2 inch) in each bottle to allow the pressure to build up. Put the tops on tightly and leave at room temperature for 24 hours to generate the fizz (this is how champagne is made, by the way!). Harmless yeast sediment will settle at the bottom of the bottles.
After 24 hours, put the bottles into the fridge for three days to stop the fermentation and let the ginger beer clear. Failure to do this may result in an EXPLOSION!
After three days your ginger beer is ready! Treat the bottles with respect! Open very slowly, and make sure you are not next to anything cherished or expensive while doing so. (I mean it) It’s best to pour the whole bottle into glasses in one go, as any ginger beer left in the bottle will have quite a lot of yeast in it.
PS: this ginger beer is slightly alcoholic, but then all the best people are too.