Ginger Beer

Hubs is partial to ginger beer be it a glass of tastebud tingling Luscombe Hot Ginger Beer of a pint of Crabbies.When he saw the River Cottage Every Day episode where they made ginger beer he knew he had to make it. Now given some of our past adventures in brewing haven’t exactly been successful, um Nettle Beer that had an acquired taste and looked like dishwater, I tried not to get too excited about this latest foray.

When studying A’level biology as part of the Food Science module along with making sauerkraut we also made ginger beer. Looking back it was quite odd that us 17 year olds were encouraged to make alcohol all in the name of science. Back then my ginger beer went very well, possibly too well as it exploded all over the garage. The tale of when I covered the garage in ginger beer is often recalled around the family dinner table. This time the bottle was sitting behind my desk and I wasn’t going to let this bottle explode. 2 days into brewing the bottle began to make the tell-tale squealing sound that a plastic bottle makes when it is about to shoot its gingery contents across the room. That day I had to release the gas from the bottle no less that 3 times to keep the pressure at a safe limit.

After chilling the beer to stop the yeast and filtering it I have to say it’s made a decent drinkable beer. We have attempted to measure the alcohol content of the beer using a hydrometer. Made an error with the first measurements making us think we had made a 4% beer, but in reality it’s around the 3% mark.  It’s certainly worth giving this recipe a try, just remember to keep a close eye on it so it doesn’t explode. If you made it today it would be ready for Christmas.

Ginger Beer
from River Cottage Every Day

¼ tsp brewer’s yeast (you can get it in Wilkinsons)

225g caster sugar

1½-2 tbsp finely grated fresh root ginger

Juice of 1 lemon

1 good tbsp honey

screw-top, 2-litre plastic bottles, which you have cleaned thoroughly using sterilising tablets

1) Add the yeast to the bottle. With a funnel, pour in the sugar.

2) Mix the grated ginger with the lemon juice and honey.

3) Pour the ginger mixture through the funnel into the bottle. Now fill the bottle about ¾ full with water, put the cap on and shake the bottle until all the sugar is dissolved.

4) Top up the bottle with water, leaving a 2.5cm gap at the top, to allow for production of gas. Cap the bottle tightly, then place it somewhere warm. Leave it for about 48 hours. Once the bottle feels very hard and has no give in it, your beer should be ready.

5) Place the bottle in the fridge for several hours to stop the yeast working. Once the beer is thoroughly chilled, pass it through a fine sieve and serve.


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