Sunday, 27 January 2013

Ginger Beer Revisited

A friend of mine, in a stroke of genius, has come up with the idea of hosting the inaugural "York Home Brew Beer Festival", due to take place at his house in just over a month. For this, all invitees must brew some sort of beverage over the coming weeks. As I'm not a beer drinker I thought this would be a good chance to revisit my alcoholic ginger beer.

I first made ginger beer back in 2010, before I had any idea about brewing. I still don't have much of a clue, and I fumble my way through with a barely adequate grasp, but I've not poisoned anyone yet. My first attempt was the classic "feeding the yeast" tactic, which can result in some highly explosive results. This time I'm trying a different approach. I did a bit of internet research and came up with this recipe on a Home Brew forum.

I've adapted it for a single 1 gallon demijohn:

200g fresh grated ginger (I only had 170g so that'll have to do)
1 tsp ground ginger
2 tbsp lemon juice (or 1/2 tsp citric acid)
500g sugar
1 tsp yeast nutrient
1 heaped tsp champagne yeast (I used Youngs generic wine stuff)
3 pints water plus extra to top up

I grated the ginger and put it in a large pan with the dry ginger, lemon juice and 3 pints of water to simmer for half an hour.

Next I added the sugar to the hot liquid to dissolve.

Once cooled slightly, I added to the demijohn, topped up with the rest of the water and got out my hydrometer.

I don't know about anyone else, but my readings are always something of a fudge as my wines/ciders, etc are always too cloudy to read them through the glass. Even so, the original gravity looked to be about 1.043, give or take. I also realised my thermometer's batteries had died so there was no way of adjusting it according to temperature... It was pretty cool though, so I didn't worry too much.

I then chucked in the yeast and nutrient and stuck in the bung and airlock. It's taking a while to start fermenting (I think fairly old yeast won't' help!) but there's definitely a bubble.

To be continued...

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