What is ginger beer / ginger ale?
Ginger Beer is a non-alcoholic drink that is brewed from a ginger base (ginger bug) and a ginger tea. The addition of ginger makes it spicy, tangy and refreshing at the same time.
Ginger ale from the supermarket?
The well-known ginger ale labels contain sugar syrup with taste that is pumped up with CO2 and has certainly not been fermented. As a result, they contain sugar, artificial carbon dioxide, usually citric acid instead of lemon juice and no natural ginger.
Real ginger beer has a much stronger ginger taste, is less sweet and contains bacteria cultures that have a probiotic effect due to fermentation.
Which cultures do I need for ginger beer? What is a ginger bug?
A ginger bug is the culture that is added to make ginger beer. Ginger is a wonderful area for natural yeasts to colonize. It is therefore important to use only organic ginger for the production of ginger beer. These get the fermentation going almost single-handedly.
BUY GINGER BEER
CULTURES / FERMENTS & BOOKS
How do I get a ginger bug?
The easiest way - do it yourself! Simply rub 50g of ginger, add 2 tablespoons of sugar and add 150 ml of water. Stir firmly and place in a tightly sealable glass. After 3 days at the latest, there should be bubbles in the glass and gas should escape when the closure is opened. As soon as that is the case, your ginger bug is "ready for mission".
Alternatively, there is also the so-called "Ginger Beer Plant" - a mother culture similar to water kefir crystals that can be buried. This is hard to get in this country and our ginger beer is also made with self-made ginger bugs.
Which ginger is suitable?
Use only high quality organic ginger. The ginger is neither peeled for the bow nor for the syrup - it is washed off as easily as possible. We want all the surrounding yeasts that are on the ginger to start the fermentation.
Which sugar is ideal?
Ferments love naturalness. The untreated the sugar, the better your ginger beer will be. Refined sugar will work - more natural tastes better.
RECIPE: GINGER BEER
5L swing glass
7x 0.5 bottles with swing / twist-off closure
50g ginger coarsely grated
80g ginger coarsely grated
3 liters of water
Ginger syrup (cooled)
Squeezed 2 lemon
Apply ginger bug (3-5 days before main approach)
Mix all the ingredients together and let the mixture stand in a tightly sealable container for 3-5 days. Bubbles must have formed in the glass; gas escapes when the lid is opened. The bug is active.
Brew syrup (1 day before main preparation)
Brew a syrup from the specified ingredients and let it steep overnight. A very hot syrup should be waiting for you in the morning as a result.
Mix all the ingredients together. Attention - none of the liquids may have more than 40 degrees. Fill the approach into a well-sealable jar - preferably a swing-top jar.
After about 5-10 days, your drink should have lost massive amounts of sugar. Instead, carbonic acid has formed in the vessel. If your drink tastes a little sweeter than the end product you want, it's time to harvest. Remove all parts of the ginger with the help of a sieve. If necessary, taste your ginger beer again with lemon & fill it into bottles.
Ginger beer loves lemon !!
Let the ginger beer ferment for another 2 days at room temperature. With slight movement, bubbles should rise in the bottle. Your drink is now ready and should be refrigerated.
Tips & Tricks
Which glass is ideal for filling?
Use only high quality glass bottles or plastic bottles (PET). The carbonic acid that is created, especially when more sugar has been used, can lead to strong carbonic acid formation, which can sometimes cause the glass to explode. Always put the drink in the refrigerator before consuming it. Treat your ginger beer like champagne & only shake it when you want to christen a boat with it.
My ginger bug is not active?
With the amount of ginger and sugar specified in the recipe, your bug should develop a lot of carbonation and activity. If this is not the case, check the following conditions:
- Use of unpeeled, organic ginger
- Ginger Bug has never been exposed to a temperature above 40 degrees
- Sufficient sugar was added
If you've followed these rules, nothing should stand in the way of your success.
My finished ginger beer is not fizzy?
In order for carbon dioxide to form in your ginger beer, the following requirements are necessary:
- Ginger beer was filled into a tightly sealable glass (the gas should not be able to escape)
- there is enough sugar (the drink tastes sweet)
- it was never exposed to a temperature above 40 degrees
Be patient with your ginger beer. Let it stand at room temperature for a few days. Open the shutter slightly every day as soon as you hear a hissing sound and you are close to your goal. It makes no sense, as you do with vegetable ferments, to "burp" the bottles - that is, to let off the gas. New ones will form, but at the expense of the quality of your drink. This means that opening a bottle is only used to determine whether your ginger beer is ready.
My ginger beer tastes yeasty?
Unfortunately a very common problem that is a by-product of a successful fermentation.
- Sufficient use of lemon juice covers the yeast taste
- Filtering: when filling the ginger berry in bottles, first remove all solid components of the ginger; then leave your mixture in the refrigerator again overnight - the next day, very carefully fill your ginger beer into bottles. The yeast collects at the bottom of the jar - the less of it gets into the bottle, the less yeasty your ginger beer. Ie never use the bottom sediment in your bottling
My ginger beer tastes boring!
4 possible causes:
- too little ginger
- too little sugar
- too little lemon juice
- too old ginger beer
Does finished ginger beer have to be stored in a cool place?
As with all ferments, ginger beer goes into the refrigerator as soon as it has reached a state with which we are satisfied. On the one hand, because chilled ginger beer tastes much better than room temperature, but primarily to reduce fermentation to a minimum.
I don't want to use so much sugar!
Many people try to limit their sugar intake. So do we, that's why we drink fermented drinks.
In the course of fermentation, the natural yeast eats the sugar that we add and transform it into taste and carbonic acid. That means that for a fermentation to succeed, sugar is ALWAYS needed, which is just as present in sauerkraut as it is in our ginger beer. There is no fermentation without sugar, BUT sugar is always broken down by fermentation.
Our ginger beer recipe provides for an initial sugar content of 8 degrees Brix, i.e. 8g of sugar per 100ml of water. At the end of the fermentation the product is usually 4-5 degrees Brix, ie. 4-5g sugar in 100ml water. That's half of one. Coca Colas and a third of a fruit juice.
Does ginger beer contain alcohol?
The name Ginger Beer or Ginger Ale suggests alcohol. In fact, it is a non-alcoholic drink that can develop up to 1.5% alcohol through fermentation.
It's called Ginger Beer because it was used to make an alcoholic drink for a long time, see here . Today, Ginger Beer always refers to the non-carbonated variety.