Strong Homebrew Ginger Beer

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Introduction: Strong Homebrew Ginger Beer

This Ginger Beer is perfect for Summer Days and Winter Nights. It's sweet, fiery and very refreshing.

It's very easy for people who are new to brewing to get started with. The options for experimenting with ingredients are endless. This was the first thing I brewed and have made a note of everything I have done and am now sharing with everyone else.

This brew has the potential to have a strength of anywhere between 5-9% depending on environmental factors and brewing.

Step 1: Ingredients and Equipment

Ingredients

  • 1 kg White Sugar (Granulated) - For an interesting flavour combination try 500 grams Brown and 500 grams White Sugar
  • 200 grams Fresh Root Ginger (Add more for a stronger Ginger flavour)
  • 2 Fresh Lemons (Or use 2 Oranges to add more flavour dynamic)
  • 4.5 Litres of water
  • 11 grams Beer Yeast (I use Gervin)

Equipment

  • 1 Standard Demijohn (Carboy) - 5 Litre
  • 1 Measuring Jug
  • 1 Funnel
  • 1 Siphon
  • 1 Glass Jam Jar or Cup
  • 1 Airlock
  • 2 Pan's For Boiling Water
  • 1 Mixing Spoon (Not Wooden)
  • 1 Kitchen Grater (Hand or Electric)
  • 1 Thermometer (So you don't kill the yeast)
  • 1 Hydrometer (This is needed to see how the brew is progressing)
  • Milton Sterilising Fluid or the equivalent
  • 1 Capping Machine (If using glass bottles)

Step 2: The Prep Work

Cleaning Everything

Begin by quickly washing the equipment over in warm soapy water to remove surface dirt, then wash thoroughly in cold water.

Mix up the sterilising solution and sterilise everything that's going to be used equipment wise. I tend to have a large plastic bowl to sterilise the equipment and do the Demijohn separately. Allow the equipment to sit in the sterilising solution for 15 minuets.

Wash down the surfaces you're going to use to transfer liquids and ingredients.

Failing to sterilise correctly could result in a spoilt brew because all the nasties got in.

Step 3: Mashing It Up

Creating The Base Liquid

So now that everything is fully cleaned and sterilised we can now begin to create the base liquid. This will hold all the chopped ingredients and be packed full of flavour.

Start by boiling 1 litre of water in a pan and the rest of the water in another pan.
The reason for this is we will have sterilised water base to start our brew.

Begin by washing the ginger root in cold water and scrub away any visible dirt patches and cut away any bad bits. Once the ginger root is clean you can grate the ginger root into a bowl, I leave the skin on. This will produce small scrapings of ginger and lot's of liquid.

Juice the lemons. If you want to add more lemon flavour you can zest the lemons providing they are un-waxed lemons. If the lemons are organic you are fine.

By now all the water should be boiling, slowly pour in the Sugar into the 1 litre pan and let it dissolve. Once done you can then add the shredded ginger root then allow it to simmer for 10-15 minuets, stirring occasionally with you're mixing spoon, then add the lemon juice.

Turn off both lots of water and allow them to cool down with lids on to stop any nasties getting in.

Step 4: The Yeast

Mini Yeast Farm

While the water is cooling down you can set the yeast going.
I tend to take a bit of the cooling plain boiling water and put it into a clean Jam Jar and place the Jam Jar in a bowl of colder water to quickly cool the water in it.

The water in the Jar needs to be around 20c

I take a tea spoon of sugar and stir it in, then stir the Yeast into this. I then put it to one side and cover loosely with foil or kitchen paper towel.

The water in the pan's can take an hour or more to be at a reasonable temperature or 20-25c which gives the Yeast plenty of time to get active.

At this point I do the British thing of grabbing a cup of tea and wait.

Step 5: Mixing It Up

Mixing It All Together

Now that everything has cooled to a reasonable temperature it's time to mix everything together. We will not be filtering any of the fruit from the liquid. As this will be brewing inside the Demijohn further increasing the flavour.

Taking A Hydrometer Reading

A reading can only be taken once all the water and sugar has been mixed together as this will give us our Original Gravity reading. This needs to be taken before adding the Yeast to the liquid.

Mix the contents of both pans into one pan and take a Hydrometer reading inside the larger pan.

You should roughly have an OG of 1.100 or there about's.

Filling It Up

It's now time to fill up the Demijohn with everything. Attach the funnel to the Demijohn and gradually transfer the mixture to the funnel. I find using the end of a spook to help push down the shredded ginger. This will take a bit of time and you will get sticky in the process.

Once this is done you can then pitch in the Yeast liquid in. Please allow a good 5 inches clearance from the top of the Demijohn.

Once filled, attach the Airlock to the Demijohn

Step 6: Brewing

Brewing It Up

Now that everything is all secured in the Demijohn, place the Demijohn in a room that's around 20c

The first 24 hours of fermentation will be rapid. Sometimes like a mini lava lamp. The Airlock will bubble like mad as well. Eventually the fermentation will begin to slow over a few days.

The yeast will begin to drop out of suspension and the beer will begin to get clearer. I tend to leave mine to brew for around 4 weeks in the Demijohn. The airlock should have no activity.

Once it's ready siphon it through some filtering mesh into a clean jug, to remove the ginger and most of the Yeast and then bottle it. Or you can if you want transfer it to another Demijohn, let it settle out for a few more days then bottle.
Use the Hydrometer again to take a reading and it should tell you how strong it will be overall.

You can then bottle this into Glass or Plastic bottles. However please remember to leave at-least 1-2 inch free from the top. This is to allow for expansion and to stop pressure building up.
If using glass bottles, don't use screw top ones. Pick some good strong capping bottles. I use 500ml Ale Bottles.

This will taste better the longer it's bottle conditioned for as well. Around 1-2 Weeks should be enough to leave you with a clear beer with fizz in it.

2 People Made This Project!

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23 Comments

Is it necessary to prime the bottles with sugar before filling?

If you don't add more sugar the brew won't carbonate in the bottles.

instead of adding to each bottle separately, can you add it to teh bottle that i am straining the fermented beer into. then put it into the smaller bottles? I would assume this is the same thing, just easier to do. I am putting my beer into 500ml sized bottles

Great recipe. I'm trying it out. The citrus aroma wafting out of the airlock is simply amazing. Never thought fermenting ginger could smell so awesome.

That said, there REALLY should be a note about the exact amount of yeast actually needed by the recipe. I'm a novice and I doubled the 11 gms to 22 gms because I took 9 ltrs instead of 4.5 ltrs. Then I didn't see any airlock activity for a few hours so I pitched and added another 22 gms.

Basically ended up adding 8 times the required yeast. Here's hoping it tastes as good as it smells and not total cr*p.

I just bottled this stuff and checked the final gravity. Its coming out at 11% ABV. I used a mixture of white and brown sugar. Looking forward to tasting it in a few weeks once its carbonated!

I've got this on the go at the moment, but for some reason, my og was only 1,046? I've also been asking myself the question, why is no priming needed?? Surely all the sugar has been used if the airlock has no activity!

Yes, was this step accidently skipped, or did you actually not prime at all?

I'm also doing another recipe which starts as a "ginger beer plant". I bottled it yesterday and it already tastes great. However, the sugar will have to ferment out in the bottles yet. Hard to get an og on it, but I think it will be about 4% when ready? I also added a red chilli pepper, which has given it a lovely kick!

Hi Danbriant!
I have two quick questions:
Many yeasts come in 11g packages and are meant to be used for 15-20l, is Gervins less potent or did you intend to use this higher concentration?
And did you have any issues with glass bottles? I read a lot about exploding bottles.

I only used Gervin because at the time it's what was easily available to me and is a good all round yeast and has an alight flavour to it. It's the standard go to yeast I believe.

Yeast can only multiply to what resources they have available. If you use 11g of yeast you will get a much faster fermentation start as there's more yeast to multiply. I also dislike having half opened yeast packets and would rather use it up in one go than have it in storage etc.

I used glass bottles and have never had anything explode on me yet. As long as your sure fermentation has stopped you should be OK to add a little bit of sugar to prime and then bottle them.

If you are worried feel free to use plastic ones the first time you do it and then you can always refine.