If you’re like most people, you’ve probably had ginger ale more times than you can count, but it’s a good bet you have never tried ginger beer.
The two aren’t the same – ginger beer has a fiery, invigorating kick and is fermented just like beer. Some recipes make a very alcoholic drink, with up to 11% alcohol, but you can brew ginger beer with little or no alcohol content if you want.
Ginger beer started out in Yorkshire, England in the 18th century, and became really popular in Britain and North America in the early 20th century. It is still popular in the UK, and it’s now become really fashionable to drink Crabbie’s ginger beer in pubs, alongside other cooling pints such as Magner’s cider.
Making ginger beer is incredibly easy and you only need a few simple ingredients. Basically, ginger beer is made from yeast, sugar, fresh ginger root, lemon and – optionally – honey.
To start with, you’ll need one or more 1/2 gallon sealable glass bottles – depending on how much you want to brew. Make sure that these are really strong ones, since the fermenting process creates a lot of gas, which can make the bottle explode if it is weak. Clean and sterilize the bottles thoroughly using either boiling water or sterilizing tablets, and then turn them upside down so that no dirt or dust can get into them while you are getting on with the rest of the recipe.
Take some fresh ginger root, peel it and then grate it using a fine hand grater. You’ll need about 2 tablespoons. Then, mix the ginger with the juice of one lemon and, if you want a more intense flavor, a tablespoon of honey as well. Then, set the mixture aside.
Now, take a quarter teaspoon of brewer’s yeast – you can get this in brewing and wine-making supply shops, as well as in some health food stores – and drop it into the bottle. Then, add 8 ounces of sugar as well. This can be regular granulated sugar, but caster sugar seems to work best. If you have difficulty pouring the sugar into the bottle, try using a funnel.
Add the ginger, lemon juice and honey mixture you prepared previously to the bottle, and then fill the bottle about three quarters of the way up with water. Although you can use tap water, the ginger beer will taste better if you use bottled water. Shake the bottle around for a few minutes until all the sugar is dissolved. Then, top it up with water, leaving a one inch gap at the top to give the gas somewhere to go.
Seal the bottle tightly, and put it somewhere warm for 48 hours, at which point the ginger beer should be fermented. Then, put the bottle in the fridge to stop the yeast fermenting more. The ginger beer should be chilled and ready to serve in a few hours. Just remember to pass the ginger beer through a sieve when you pour it out, since it is going to contain bits of grated ginger and yeast sediment.
I hope you enjoy this Beer Recipe on Cooking with Kimberly. Until next time…
Be a Champion in Your Kitchen & Eat Deliciously!
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