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.

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35 Comments

0
RossS26
RossS26

3 months ago

To make it sweet just add lactose as it will not ferment

0
Cliftos2000
Cliftos2000

1 year ago

Very first attempt at brewing and love GB. Followed the instructions to the letter and just racked off 8 bottles of the stuff to bottle condition (half still and half to carbonate).

Got an OG of 1.052 and a FG of 0.990 and I must say, sweet it isn't. Dry as the Sahara that's been mugged by a Ginger Monster.

Now, I'm assuming I'm at fault on this one, sweetness wise. Any tips anyone on preventing the dryness in the future?

0
AnthonyS
AnthonyS

Reply 1 year ago

Yep with a FG of 0.990 it's going to be very dry as all the sugar has been converted to alcohol. There are a few things you can do to ensure a ginger beer that's more to your taste.

1. Monitor the ferment and when it reaches 1.020 kill the yeast with Sodium metabisulfite to stop fermentation. With this method you can't bottle and naturally carbonate the GB it would need to be kegged.


2. Add lactose to the simmer, lactose doesn't ferment and will leave the GB sweet even when you let its ferment down to 0.990.

3. Add Sodium metabisulfite and then back sweeten the fermented GB with lactose or sugar to your taste.

1
Tokominovo
Tokominovo

4 years ago

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

0
ire_irae
ire_irae

Reply 4 years ago

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

0
ChrisD406
ChrisD406

Reply 4 years ago

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

0
dug1000
dug1000

Reply 1 year ago

Yep. Use fine corn sugar as it dissolves easily.

0
robcleaton
robcleaton

Reply 2 years ago

How much sugar did you use for the bottling bit? I've brewed beers recently and used 3tablespoons of honey instead and wondered if this would also work?

0
BeginningBrewer
BeginningBrewer

2 years ago

Thanks for sharing! To anyone whose made this, did your SG also start a lot lower than the recipe said? (1.082 for me).

0
dug1000
dug1000

Reply 1 year ago

At that OG you may be looking at a final product of 9.5% ABV instead of 11%. You still have a pretty strong ginger beer there! Sounds tasty!

0
robcleaton
robcleaton

Question 2 years ago

Has anyone tried honey for priming before bottles instead of sugar?

0
scanlanchloelouise
scanlanchloelouise

2 years ago

Hi I made this but the yeast seems to have eaten all the sugar and now the ginger beer is very dry and not sweet at all. Infact its pretty gross tasting but the ginger and chili flavour is delish. I tried just the ginger bug recipe which was delish but the gravity reading was only like 1% in the end. Any suggestions on how to get a sweet beer while obtaining a 4% reading? thanks

0
craigmorant
craigmorant

Question 3 years ago on Introduction

What if you leave the beer in the demijohn fruit and all for 7-8 weeks do it spoil if airlocked

0
oluka peter
oluka peter

Question 3 years ago

how about using a ginger bug or whey instead of Beer Yeast, would my brew be still as strong?

0
ire_irae
ire_irae

4 years ago

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.

0
edelled
edelled

5 years ago

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!

0
DaveP106
DaveP106

6 years ago

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!

0
synthdust
synthdust

Reply 6 years ago

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

0
DaveP106
DaveP106

6 years ago

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!