Recipe Home-made Ginger Beer and the everlasting Ginger Beer Plant

Gareth

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Home-made Ginger Beer and the everlasting Ginger Beer Plant.
On the run up to my recent birthday, and the dinner that Lois prepared and served for me and my friends, I decided to make some home-made Ginger Beer, to serve as both a refreshing drink, and as an ingredient in Ice Cream floaters; it was a resounding success. I chose to utilise the "Everlasting Ginger Beer Plant" method, starting it off 14 days before my Birthday dinner.
Ingredients;
You will need a large piece of Ginger root, of about 1lb or 450 grams.
2lbs or about 1kg of White granulated Sugar.
1 level teaspoon of yeast (I used a standard cheap bread making yeast).
The juice from 2 whole Lemons, or 4-6 tablespoons of bottled Lemon juice.
Lots of boiling water.
Equipment & Utensils.
1 Large capacity glass jar; I utilised a 1 litre capacity swing top type kilner jar. I really like this type of storage jar, finding them very convenient to use.
A grater that can produce reasonable fine gratings. I used my 6 sided" Dalak" style grater.
A plastic or wooden spatula.
A teaspoon and a tablespoon.
A two gallon/10 litre capacity plastic bucket.
A Thermometer (if you have one, but it is not necessary)
A suitable funnel that fits into the neck of the bottles.
A suitable size piece of muslin or Coffee filters; paper ones that fit into the funnel are perfect, but I use a fine wire "basket" type that I obtained from an old coffee maker.
Enough empty Plastic screw top pop/soft drinks bottles making up about 1 gallon, or 5 litres capacity; Warning; Do not use glass bottles unlesss they are either; sparkling Wine, Chamapgne or Beer bottles, and you have the tops and equipment to cap them properly. I originally used wired flip top bottles to my cost, as one bottle exploded and the resulting mess of fizzy Ginger beer sprayed about my kitchen was difficult to clean up.
Method;
Making the Ginger Beer "Starter" or "Everlasting Ginger Plant."
Day One.
Sterlise the storage jar that you have chosen to use. Boil and cool 3/4 of a pint of water, and pour this into the jar. Grate about 1 teaspoon of ginger root into the jar, add a teaspoon of sugar, and stir well preferably with a plastic spatular. A few minutes later when the ingredients have started to settle, add the yeast to the surface of the mixture; do not stir again at this point, the yeast needs some oxygen through contact with the air to begin doing it's thing. Leave the top off of the jar and allow it to stand for about 8-10 hours or over night, then seal the jar with it's lid.
Day Two.
Add 1 teaspoon of finely grated Ginger root, and 1 teaspoon of sugar, stir in well and reseal the lid on the jar.
Day Three.
Add 1 teaspoon of finely grated Ginger root, and 1 teaspoon of sugar, stir in well and reseal the lid on the jar.
Day Four.
Add 1 teaspoon of finely grated Ginger root, and 1 teaspoon of sugar, stir in well and reseal the lid on the jar.
Day Five.
Add 1 teaspoon of finely grated Ginger root, and 1 teaspoon of sugar, stir in well and reseal the lid on the jar.
Day Six.
Add 1 teaspoon of finely grated Ginger root, and 1 teaspoon of sugar, stir in well and reseal the lid on the jar.
Day Seven.
Making and Bottling the Ginger beer.
Clean and sterilise the following; Bucket, Bottles, and Funnel.
To make 1 gallon or about 5 litres of Ginger beer; weigh out 1 & 1/2 lbs (or about 680 grams) of sugar and finely grate 4 heaped tablespoons of Ginger root and add these to the bucket. Dissolve the sugar with 1/2 a gallon or 2.5 litres of boiling water. Add the rest of the boiling water to make up the rest of the 1 gallon or 5 litres while constantly stirring, and then add the Lemon juice. Allow this mixture to stand and cool to below 40 degrees centigrade (or just above body temperature, if you do not have a thermometer). Install the muslin/paper coffee filter into the funnel, and place over the bucket. You may need the assistance of a second person for this, but I cheated, and drilled a hole in a length of wood to act as a third hand and hold the funnel steady for me. Strain the mixture from your starter jar through the filter, allowing it to blend into the bucket of other ingredients. Scoop a jug full from the bucket and pour over the starter again, just to rinse it through a bit, and then gently squeeze the remaining juices from the starter. Stir the mixture in the bucket well, and allow to stand until it has stabilised at room temperature. Then using the funnel and filter, bottle off and allow to ferment for seven days before chilling and serving. If you have a home-brewing hydrometer this is the time to take your initial reading.
You now have two choices regarding the original Ginger Beer starter;
A) Throw away the starter.
B) Half the starter. Boil and cool about 3/4 pint of water and add to the original jar, grate 1 teaspoon of Ginger root and add to the jar, stir in another 1 teaspoon of Sugar, and then add the saved half of the original starter. Continue adding more grated Ginger and Sugar as outlined in the instructions above, and in seven days you can make another batch of very tasty Ginger Beer. You can then use the other half of the starter to begin again, doubling your Ginger Beer making capacity, give it away as a gift to a friend or family member, or throw it away whilst retaining and nurturing your half of the original starter.
My starting Specific Gravity reading was; 1.060 and after week of fermenting in the bottles a very low ABV of 0.75% was obtained. This provided a very tasty and refreshing drink before my Birthday dinner party, with the " Coup de grace" being a rather good Ginger beer ice cream floater for dessert. At seven days old, the taste was surprisingly sweet and smooth with a little hint of heat from the Ginger, and a very pleasant "Cream Soda" type texture on the tongue. However, after 14 days of fermenting in the bottles, the remaining 2 litres had achieved a very respectable ABV of 6.35%, the taste of Ginger had sharpened somewhat, but still had that "Cream Soda" type texture on the tongue, leaving the mouth dry, and giving a bit of a bubbly hot smack to the tonsils when swallowed. Lois and I drank the remaining 2 litres, resulting in us then enjoying one of those "tiddly, giggly, pissed and playful" evenings together.
The ingredients all together and ready to start making the starter; 2 teaspoons of sugar, a piece of root ginger, yeast, and warm water.
GingerBeerPlant001.jpg

The ginger root finely grated;
GingerBeerPlant002.jpg

The starter all made up and in it's jar:
GingerBeerPlant003.jpg

A small pinch of standard bread making yeast added to the starter:
GingerBeerPlant004.jpg

The starter's daily feed of; finely grated root ginger and sugar:
Gingerbeer001.jpg

30 minutes later and the refuelled starter is beginning to ferment:
Gingerbeer002.jpg
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Making the Ginger Beer; the boiled water, dissolved sugar and extra grated ginger cooling in the bucket, ready for the addition of the starter:
Gingerbeer003.jpg

The starter ready to be added to the rest of the batch of Ginger Beer ingredients:
Gingerbeer004.jpg

The funnel and filter in position over the bucket; see how easy it is with a drilled piece of wood:
Gingerbeer005.jpg

Pouring the starter in;
Gingerbeer006.jpg

Straining the starter through the filter:
Gingerbeer007.jpg

Close up of the now drained starter in the filter; this is when you half it, and begin all over again:
Gingerbeer008.jpg

The initial bottling of the ginger beer, so that it ferments in the bottles. Warning; do not use glass bottles as shown in the photo(s). Use screw topped plastic fizzy pop bottles.

Gingerbeer009.jpg

The first bottle filled and ready for capping:
Gingerbeer010.jpg

My first gallon of ginger beer, which will be ready to drink in seven days time:
Gingerbeer011.jpg
 
I used to make ginger beer as a kid but I used ground ginger for the plant.
Whilst fermenting in the shed at least one glass bottle exploded causing several punctures in the tyres of my brothers new Chopper!
 
Huh, I buy a fair bit of ginger and it always takes me forever to get through it all. I hadn't thought of trying this, I'd have figured it would take much longer than a week.
 
Huh, I buy a fair bit of ginger and it always takes me forever to get through it all. I hadn't thought of trying this, I'd have figured it would take much longer than a week.

Have you thought of pickling ginger, like the Japanese do to have with sushi? I've seen recipes and it seems simple enough. A good way to use up bits, and you could make it in little batches in small jars.
 
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