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The complete guide on how to make ginger beer

The complete guide on how to make ginger beer

What is Ginger Beer?

Ginger beer is a non-alcoholic fermented beverage simply made from fresh ginger, water, sugar, yeast, and lemon juice. The ginger beer has a yellowish color, cloudy appearance, and is easy to prepare. It requires 2 to 3 days for fermentation before it is ready to be served. It is similar to ginger ale but with a more obvious ginger flavor and less carbonation. Homemade ginger beer is the key ingredient to Mexican Mules, Moscow Mules, and is straight-up refreshingly delicious on its own.

The history of the cultivation of ginger lies back to 500 B.C. For a long time, ginger roots are widely used for medicinal purposes and flavoring in China and India. When the ginger root crops traveled to Africa, the Caribbean, and ultimately to Europe, it took a new form and became a famous beverage known as ginger beer. The method of ginger beer brewing start in the mid-1700s in Yorkshire England and had gained acceptance and popularity in other parts of the world by the 20th century. 

Ginger beer is the best drink for hot weather. There are many ginger beer kits available on the market but they usually have an artificial taste and lack spicy ginger flavor. While homemade beer will taste good with the enhanced spicy ginger flavor. Here we will tell you the complete homemade ginger beer recipe.

How to make ginger beer

How to make ginger beer

Let's learn about how to make ginger beer at home (ginger ale recipe) with fresh, grated ginger and active yeast. The recipe will roughly make about 2 L of ginger beer.

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 3 days

Total time:3 days

Course: drinks

Equipment required

  • Peeler or zester
  • Grater or blender
  • Clean 2-liter soda bottle
  • Kitchen scales
  • Thermometer
  • Funnel

Ingredients to make ginger beer

Ingredients to make ginger beer

Ingredients for ginger syrup

2 tbsp grated fresh ginger

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup water

Ingredients for ginger beer

Ginger syrup (ingredients above)

1/8 tsp brewer's yeast or active dry yeast

7 cups of filtered water

3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

Process of making ginger beer

Process of making ginger beer

  1. First of all, wash the ginger and peel a small portion of it with the help of the tip of a teaspoon or peeler. The thin paper-like skin of ginger will scrape off, then use the fine side of the grater to grate it or use a blender to blend it. Zest lemons if you are using the zest.
  2. Now add grated ginger, water, and sugar to the saucepan. Add as much water as the saucepan allows, leaving the room so that it doesn’t boil over.  
  3. Place the saucepan on the stove, turn it on, and set the flame to medium heat. Now stir the mixture constantly until all the sugar dissolved. Do not overcook the mixture.
  4. Now turn off the flame and let the mixture rest to allow for cooling for about an hour.
  5. When the mixture is cooled down, strain it. Keep the syrup for further processing and discard the solids. Let the ginger syrup coll down further.
  6. Till now, you have done preparing ginger syrup or gingerette, that is the first thing to prepare in the ginger beer recipe. You can stop at this step if you are searching for a short-cut to ginger ale recipe and don’t want to go into fermentation steps. You will have your homemade ginger ale ready in minutes. You can prepare it by pouring 3 or 4 tablespoons of ginger syrup (depending on how spicy ginger you like, you can increase or decrease the quantity of ginger syrup) on the ice and add 8 ounces of club soda or seltzer water. The rest of the ginger syrup can be easily bottled and stored in the refrigerator.  
  7. If you want to go for the fermentation process and experience the full ginger beer taste, place a funnel in the bottle and pour the syrup, water, and lemon juice, and sprinkle the active yeast into the bottle. This will start the fermentation process.
  8. Now close the bottles with their caps or linds tightly and shake the mixture until the yeast dissolves completely. Make sure to seal the bottles well. It is best to place the bottles on a shady shelf or in the pantry (a cool dark place) away from direct sunlight at about 18-20°C temperature for 2 to 3 days (or until fizz is achieved) for the fermentation process to occur.
  9. After 2 to 3 days the ginger beer is ready to drink and it should be stored in a refrigerator to slow down fermentation. Just like any other yeast powdered beverage, the fermentation continues to happen until you stop it. Refrigerating can prevent the further fermentation of your homemade ginger beer.
  10. However, refrigeration can only slow down the fermentation process and not completely stop it. That is why it is recommended to use ginger beer as a fresh beverage. It is best to consume it within 1 to 2 weeks.
  11. Also, do not forget about the bottles as when the fermentation process starts, the pressure begins to build up and it can be so much that the bottles may explode if you don’t take care of it.
  12. Make sure to release the cap or lid of the bottle every day to release the extra gas that has build-up due to the fermentation process, otherwise, there are chances that the bottle will explode and you will have a huge mess on your hands.
  13. Keep in consideration that homebrew happens to be volatile. If you can’t take care of releasing the pressure built-up from the fermentation process from the bottles, it is better to use plastic bottles instead of glass bottles.
  14. You will note that with the fermentation of a beverage, the sediments will sit at the bottom of the bottle and it is your choice that you strain it or shake and drink it.

Now your refreshing homemade ginger beer is ready to drink or use in a cocktail. You can also enjoy it over a glass of ice. Serve chilled to your friends and family and enjoy it. You may want to add simple syrup to get extra sweetness while serving ginger beer. It is because ginger beer tastes very dry naturally and adding sugar at the time bottling means extra carbonation and exploding bottles instead of sweetness.

Tips for success

  • For making ginger beer, always look for ginger with a firm and smooth skin and not wrinkled one.
  • Rinsed and emptied plastic bottles are the best way to store ginger beer.
  • Do not boil the mixture of ginger and water for a long time. You only have to cook until the sugar melts and dissolved in the mixture. Boost the process by stirring the mixture.
  • While straining the ginger, press the ginger solids to completely squeeze out all the ginger syrup.
  • Store ginger beer syrup in plastic bottles away from sunlight at cool room temperature.
  • Leave a bit of space at the top of ginger in the bottle, so they don’t bubble over while releasing pressure.
  • Release the pressure at least four times a day while fermenting your beer. Unscrew the cap very slowly because the yeast can cause the beer to bubble and foam. Loosen the cap as slowly as possible and listen to the air being released from the bottle.
  • If you want to store the ginger beer, keep it in the refrigerator as it will slow down the fermentation process.

Important Notes:

When the ginger beer is done with the fermenting process, you can use glass bottles for bottling and storing. You need to extra careful while unscrewing the bottles as the beverage can have pressure stored. While opening, make sure that the glass bottles are pointing away from your or anyone else’s face.

Also, make sure to use plastic bottles with screw tops for the fermentation process so that you can release pressure easily. After 24 hours of fermentation, you will see yeast colonies at the bottom and top of the liquid. This is normal, so don’t worry about that.

The more time you allow the ginger beer brew to ferment, the yeast will act to metabolize more sugar resulting in a drier and less sweet beverage. If you like to have a sweeter ginger beer, consider fermenting it for 1 to 2 days only or you can also start with more sugar than you require.

Ginger beer must not be confused with ginger ale. If we compare ginger ale vs ginger beer, it is seen that ginger beer is a fermented and brewed drink while ginger ale is ginger-flavored carbonated water. As ginger beer is a non-alcoholic drink, it can be enjoyed on its own. However, it is commonly used for cocktails like Moscow Mules. Now you know an easy way of making homemade ginger beer, make your ginger beer beverage at your home and enjoy it.

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