How to Make Homemade Ginger Beer

how_to_make_ginger_beer
If you are a fan of ginger beer, like me, you will love to know that it’s actually pretty darn simple to make your own. I mean, I’ve made this at night, after a night of drinking and haven’t screwed it up, so you know it’s easy. Yeah I like to cook in a buzzed state some times. I do that.

Plus it’s super fun to make and good to experiment with. I’ve changed up the sweetener and have tried out honey, agave, and turbinado sugar, all creating a different ginger beer taste.

This ginger beer is exceptionally good in a Dark & Stormy or any favorite cocktail that uses ginger beer.

Chances are you have most of the things you need. The only tricky thing to get a hold of? Champagne yeast.

As the guy at the wine shop funnily said to me, “You know – yeast is all around you. You could just harvest it yourself and use that.” Ha, indeed nerdy wine guy. I want to hug you. But I don’t have that much time to invest in nurturing my own yeast. So I’ll just turn to Amazon.com. I got this Lalvin EC-1118 Yeast.

The other tricky thing to look out for – explosion. Seriously. This is why using a 2 liter plastic bottle is important. Don’t ferment in glass – it’ll be much more messy and dangerous if things get hectic. Explosion hasn’t happened to me… yet.

I make sure to check on the bottle once a day. Once it’s made, I pretty much drink it every day though so it’s not that hard to check on.

EQUIPMENT YOU WILL NEED

  • Big pot
  • Blender or food processor
  • 2 liter plastic bottle (just an emptied-out soda bottle, rinsed)
  • Cheesecloth or flour sack towel
  • Ladle
  • Funnel
  • Duct tape or shipping tape

INGREDIENTS

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Roughly shave and chop up the ginger.

2. Put into blender with 1 quart of water. Blend until roughly pureed into a variety of small pieces.

3. Put the ginger water into the big pot with the sugar. Warm it up until sugar dissolves, like 5 minutes.

4. Take the ginger water mixture off the heat and wait for it to cool down until just above room temperature. (You should be able to dip a finger in and not feel pain, but warmth.) This takes maybe 20-30 mins.

5. Prep the 2 liter bottle with a funnel and cheesecloth situation. (see doodle #1 below)

6. Filter out ginger pieces through cheeseclothed funnel into the 2 liter bottle. Squeeze out all the juices.

7. Add lime or lemon juice.

8. Add more water, leaving about 3 inches to the opening of the bottle. (Important for fermentation process!) (see doodle #2 below)

9. Sprinkle the yeast on the top.

10. Slowly squeeze the bottle until the level of the mixture comes to the opening of the bottle. Cap super tightly.

11. Tape the bottle cap to prevent it from unscrewing itself loose. Just wrap some duct tape or shipping tape around the cap. This is pretty important. (The first time I made ginger beer my beer came out flat, I believe, because the cap unscrewed itself. Flat ginger beer is still pretty good, but not phenomenal.)

12. Leave the squeezed bottle on the counter or in a dark and relatively warmish area for about 12 hours. The beer will be ready when the bottle is firm and not dent-able at all when you squeeze it. Squeeze lightly.

13. Once firm, put the bottle in the fridge, which slows down the fermentation process. It’s now pretty much ready to enjoy!

14. Open at least once per day to release any ridiculous pressure. It seems the beer continues to ferment a little so what’s cool about that is the beer never really seems to go flat. I make sure to drink it all within a week. And since it’s so good you probably won’t have any problem with that.

DOODLE DIAGRAMS
1_cheesecloth_funnel_situation2_3in_to_top

Tweet me if you have any questions. @barbarianheart

Notes:
When I first posted this recipe I was making ginger beer in Washington, DC. Since moving to California I have noticed that making ginger beer has been a little bit more finicky. Beer-making is sensitive to environment and surroundings so keep that in mind when you make this. (It is best to work in as clean of a kitchen as possible.) Other aerial yeasts could get into your beer and it may make it a little more difficult. I have found since moving to CA, I have had to wait a little longer for fermentation to occur – or the sugar has to be adjusted. Usually if I have a flat beer after leaving it out for 12 hours, I drink a little of the flat stuff (mmm ginger water!), stick it in the fridge and notice that seemed to balance things out and fermentation occurs. I never throw out my flat ginger beer as it makes a good addition to cocktails and usually works itself out.