Sunday, 26 June 2011

Ginger Beer

We're sorting out and backing up all our data before we move to Australia, and here's something I found in the archives! This is a great recipe and I made it several summers in a row. I adapted it from one on h2g2; mostly grammatical and logistical changes if I recall correctly. I don't have time to make more at the moment but I'm looking forward to getting some going for Christmas! From the archive:

Producing your own ginger beer is very easy. It is produced in a biological process in much the same way as yoghurt. Ginger Beer is best enjoyed chilled and despite the cliché is also highly enjoyable on picnics. I am giving you a ginger beer plant which will produce four litres of ginger beer. It's ready to brew!

  1. Dissolve 18oz (500g) of caster sugar and 1½pt (900ml) of water, bring this mix to the boil and let it cool slightly. Add the strained juice of two lemons to the water.
  2. Strain your ginger plant through fine muslin (or a pair of tights or stockings!) and add the strained liquid to the sugar and lemon juice mixture, along with 6pt (3.4l)water.
  3. Stir the mixture well and bottle it straight away in strong screw-topped bottles, like those in which you would store cider or beer. Make sure you store the bottles in a cool place for about two weeks before you drink it. This is essential! I use two 2L plastic fizzy drinks bottles, or a selection of smaller ones.

Doubling the Plant
  1. Halve the sediment left on the muslin and divide it into two separate jars. Add ½pt (300ml) water, 2tsp (10ml) of ground ginger and 2tsp (10ml) caster sugar to each jar. Stir it well.
  2. The next day, and each day thereafter, add 1 level tsp (5ml) of ground ginger or cut root ginger and the same amount of caster sugar to your jar(s) and stir the mixture thoroughly.

Storing and Opening

You may find stress fractures develop in your plastic bottles from the carbonation pressure; you can degass them by opening the cap gently and letting air hiss out until a fine froth forms on the surface. Then re-cap and allow to brew for the full two weeks. It is a good idea to put your bottles of ginger beer in the fridge after two weeks, to halt the yeast and reduce the chance of explosion when opening. Also, unless you halt the yeast, it will continue to digest the sugar and the result will be extremely dry, even a little bitter. And it's very hard to dissolve more sugar into a cold fizzy drink. So make sure you have enough refrigerator space at the end of the two weeks' brewing.

To Make More Ginger Beer

Every two weeks, you can repeat the brewing process, then double your plant!

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