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Gareth

Home-made Ginger Beer and the everlasting Ginger Beer Plant.

Home-made Ginger Beer and the everlasting Ginger Beer Plant.

On the run up to my recent birthday, and the dinner that Lois prepared and served for me and my friends, I decided to make some home-made Ginger Beer, to serve as both a refreshing drink, and as an ingredient in Ice Cream floaters; it was a resounding success. I chose to to utilise the "Everlasting Ginger Beer Plant" method, starting it off 14 days before my Birthday dinner.

Ingredients;

You will need a large piece of Ginger root, of about 1lb or 450 grams.

2lbs or about 1kg of White granulated Sugar.

1 level teaspoon of yeast (I used a standard cheap bread making yeast).

The juice from 2 whole Lemons, or 4-6 tablespoons of bottled Lemon juice.

Lots of boiling water.

Equipment & Utensils.

1 Large capacity glass jar; I utilised a 1 litre capacity swing top type kilner jar. I really like this type of storage jar, finding them very convenient to use.

A grater that can produce reasonable fine gratings. I used my 6 sided" Dalak" style grater.

A plastic or wooden spatular.

A teaspoon and a tablespoon.

A two gallon capacity plastic bucket.

A Thermometer (if you have one, but it is not necessary)

A suitable funnel that fits into the neck of the bottles.

A suitable size piece of muslin or Coffee filters; paper ones that fit into the funnel are perfect, but I use a fine wire "basket" type that I obtained from an old coffee maker.

Enough empty Plastic screw top pop/soft drinks bottles making up about 1 gallon, or 5 litres capacity; Warning; Do not use glass bottles unlesss they are either; sparkling Wine, Chamapgne or Beer bottles, and you have the tops and equipment to cap them properly. I originally used wired flip top bottles to my cost, as one bottle exploded and the resulting mess of fizzy Ginger beer sprayed about my kitchen was difficult to clean up.

Method;

Making the Ginger Beer "Starter" or "Everlasting Ginger Plant."

Day One.

Sterlise the storage jar that you have chosen to use. Boil and cool 3/4 of a pint of water, and pour this into the jar. Grate about 1 teaspoon of ginger root into the jar, add a teaspoon of sugar, and stir well preferably with a plastic spatular. A few minutes later when the ingredients have started to settle, add the yeast to the surface of the mixture; do not stir again at this point, the yeast needs some oxygen through contact with the air to begin doing it's thing. Leave the top off of the jar and allow it to stand for about 8-10 hours or over night, then seal the jar with it's lid.

Day Two.

Add 1 teaspoon of finely grated Ginger root, and 1 teaspoon of sugar, stir in well and reseal the lid on the jar.

Day Three.

Add 1 teaspoon of finely grated Ginger root, and 1 teaspoon of sugar, stir in well and reseal the lid on the jar.

Day Four.

Add 1 teaspoon of finely grated Ginger root, and 1 teaspoon of sugar, stir in well and reseal the lid on the jar.

Day Five.

Add 1 teaspoon of finely grated Ginger root, and 1 teaspoon of sugar, stir in well and reseal the lid on the jar.

Day Six.

Add 1 teaspoon of finely grated Ginger root, and 1 teaspoon of sugar, stir in well and reseal the lid on the jar.

Day Seven.

Making and Bottling the Ginger beer.

Clean and sterlise the following; Bucket, Bottles, and Funnel.

To make 1 gallon or about 5 litres of Ginger beer; weigh out 1 & 1/2 lbs (or about 680 grams) of sugar and finely grate 4 heaped tablepoons of Ginger root and add these to the bucket. Dissolve the sugar with 1/2 a gallon or 2.5 litres of boiling water. Add the rest of the boiling water to make up the rest of the 1 gallon or 5 litres while constantly stirring, and then add the Lemon juice. Allow this mixture to stand and cool to below 40 degrees centigrade (or just above body temperature, if you do not have a thermometer). Install the muslin/paper coffee filter into the funnel, and place over the bucket. You may need the assistance of a second person for this, but I cheated, and drilled a hole in a length of wood to act as a third hand and hold the funnel steady for me. Strain the mixture from your starter jar thorugh the filter, allowing it to blend into the bucket of other ingredients. Scoop a jug full from the bucket and pour over the starter again, just to rinse it through a bit, and then gently squeeze the remaining juices from the starter. Stir the mixture in the bucket well, and allow to stand until it has stabalised at room temperature. Then using the funnel and filter, bottle off and allow to ferment for seven days before chilling and serving. If you have a home-brewing hydrometer this is the time to take your initial reading.

You now have two choices regarding the original Ginger Beer starter;

A) Throw away the starter.

B) Half the starter. Boil and cool about 3/4 pint of water and add to the original jar, grate 1 teaspoon of Ginger root and add to the jar, stir in another 1 teaspoon of Sugar, and then add the saved half of the original starter. Continue adding more grated Ginger and Sugar as outlined in the instructions above, and in seven days you can make another batch of very tasty Ginger Beer. You can then use the other half of the starter to begin again, doubling your Ginger Beer making capacity, give it away as a gift to a friend or family member, or throw it away whilst retaining and nurturing your half of the original starter.

My starting Specific Gravity reading was; 1.060 and after week of fermenting in the bottles a very low ABV of 0.75% was obtained. This provided a very tasty and refreshing drink before my Birthday dinner party, with the " Coup de grace" being a rather good Ginger beer ice cream floater for dessert. At seven days old, the taste was surprisingly sweet and smooth with a little hint of heat from the Ginger, and a very pleasent "Cream Soda" type texture on the tongue. However, after 14 days of fermenting in the bottles, the remaining 2 litres had acheived a very respectable ABV of 6.35%, the taste of Ginger had sharpened somewhat, but still had that "Cream Soda" type texture on the tongue, leaving the mouth dry, and giving a bit of a bubbly hot smack to the tonsils when swallowed. Lois and I drank the remaining 2 litres, resulting in us then enjoying one of those "tiddly, giggly, pissed and playful" evenings together.

The ingredients all together and ready to start making the starter; 2 teaspoons of sugar, a piece of root ginger, yeast, and warm water.

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The ginger root finely grated;

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The starter all made up and in it's jar:

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The yeast added to the starter:

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The starter's daily feed of; finely grated root ginger and sugar:

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30 minutes later and the refuelled starter is beginning to ferment:

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Making the Ginger Beer; the boiled water, dissolved sugar and extra grated ginger cooling in the bucket, ready for the addition of the starter:

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The starter ready to be added to the rest of the batch of Ginger Beer ingredients:

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The funnel and filter in postition over the bucket; see how easy it is with a drilled piece of wood:

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Pouring the starter in;

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Straining the starter through the filter:

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Close up of the now drained starter in the filter; this is when you half it, and begin all over again:

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The initial bottling of the ginger beer, so that it ferments in the bottles. Warning; do not use glass bottles as shown in the photo(s). Use srew topped plastic fizzy pop bottles.



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The first bottle filled and ready for capping:

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My first gallon of ginger beer, which will be ready to drink in seven days time:

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bodger

Brilliant Post Gareth.
I fear that bottles will now start to appear all over the house as a result of it. When Kaz sees this post it will bring back memories of the ginger beer plants that we used to have and she wont be able to help herself.
Morlan75

GREAT post!!! my mother used to make it and I never could rember the recipe so thanks for that Gareth

But... wich day did it explode on        


Erm.........
Gareth

The one (glass) bottle that exploded, occured at approximately 50 hours into the fermenting process. What made it worse was, that it was one of my treasured 1 litre capacity Ikea flip top bottles.

Lois will be along a little later to give her version of events    


Watchout for a photo post on; Elderflower champagne making in a day or two   ........ using plastic fizzy pop bottles this time.
dtalbot

Excellent post, mum ran one of these when I was a kid and I'd forgotten all about them but think with all the post redundancy free time I'll have after tomorrow I'll start one!
Morlan75

Gareth wrote:


Lois will be along a little later to give her version of events    



   
Gareth

My second batch of Ginger Beer has been initially brewed in a Demi-John: mainly to prevent the exploding bottle scenerio again...... the water filled air-lock not allowing a build up of carbon dioxide, horrendous pressures and a Ginger Beer fountain covered kitchen


here is a photo of the Ginger Beer fermenting away in the demi-john;

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This gallon of Ginger Beer has been resident in the demi-john for eight days now; this evening it will be bottled into plastic fizzy pop bottles
Gareth

Ho hum,

I had procastinated for few days, and this evening, on day eleven, I have actually got around to bottling off the Ginger Beer from the Demi-John. It is still fermenting away like mad, and has already pressurised the plastic pop bottles

Guess what Lois and I will be drinking this weekend?    
Lois

The Ginger Beer Beast

As a newby to Gareth's Art of home brewing I flippently assumed he was making a harmless ginger fizzy pop enjoyed by grannies and children alike.

Oh how wrong a newby can be!

Whilst in the making of this beast and my suspicions were aroused by the regular feeding required  

Everything was fine until the bottling in Gareth's beloved flip top Ikea bottles.

One hour later he wanted to check that the ginger beer had fizz OMG yes it did
His face drained of colour and he started to move the bottles very gingerly as if he was handling an unexploded bomb, if he had some tape to corden off the area i am sure it would of been used.

In my innocence I thought he was being over dramatic

There was a definite nervousness every time he entered his kitchen so I flippently wrote a sign on this sign were the words

MOSTLY HARMLESS
DON'T PANIC
and no Gareth's were harmed in the making of this ginger beer.

Mostly Harmless:
  This is definitely not the case 72 hours after bottling the ginger beer a bottle exploded and caused a ginger beer fountain in Gareth's kitchen.
  On the Saturday when it was ready to drink it was a harmless fizzy pop, by the Tuesday the beast had turned to 6.35% vol and most definitely rendered me tiddly pissed and playful  

Don't Panic:
  Was not the case, as the beast is now encasterated in a demi-john.
   Must be adhered to and should not be drunk on an empty stomach,
   False teeth must be warn as this will cave your head in  
   And if you had tonsils you won't after quaffing this brew.

No Gareth's were hurt in the making:
  Thankfully this  statement was true .....JUST allhail.gif

All said and done I would not trade the fun we had making this wee brew and certainly an initiation into the art of Gareth's brewing.

The ginger beer floats are a must to try and certainly worth the effort.

We can now walk around Gareth's kitchen with a certain amount of safety  for the time being at least. This definitely gives a new meaning to the word gingerly :evil9:

I look forward to some more adventures watch this space as it could be cocktail hour

As a leaving thought :
Hubble Bubble I think Gareth is brewing some more trouble    
Gareth

....and here is the sign that Lois made for me:

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As for being able to safely re-entry my kitchen  you have to negotiate various; cordless power tools, trollies, hand tools and boxes along with other bits & pieces that I have accumulated. After all, it was Lois who found passed out due to the build up of paint fumes last week.
Morlan75

Gareth wrote:
....and here is the sign that Lois made for me:

[img][/img]



 
Gareth

Last night we cooked a couple of chicken breasts and a good slice of Smoked and home-cured Pork belly slice in 1/2 a litre of the second (Demi-John) batch of Ginger Beer.

During the prep and cooking I became slighty distracted, and forgot to add any other herbs or spicies; not even an Oxo cube. A very wise move as it turned out, as the curing flavours of the; Sea Salt & Seaweed, Ground Black Peppercorns, ground dried Juniper berries, and the taste of the Oak chips used in the smoking process where more than enough flavouring required to compliment the taste of the Ginger Beer.

Accompanied with a combined mash of sweet potatoes, Swede and King Edwards, and a helping of Green Beans, this meal was a delight that we are definitely going to repeat in the future.
Gareth

Well,

I cannot believe that I have managed to keep my Ginger Beer starter alive and flourishing for over 3 months now. So far I have used £5.60 worth of fresh Ginger root to make 45 litres of Ginger beer; I'll hit the 50 litre mark with the batch I will make this weekend.

Lois has enjoyed this brewing escapade with me, especially the exploding bottles incident, but now she will not touch, let alone go near the Kilner Jar that the starter resides in. Every time that she has opened the jar, it has growled at her, while on the other hand, when I open the jar, the Ginger Beer starter purrs for me. It's been loads of fun, and we have made and drunk Ginger Beer that was suitable for children and grannies alike, right through to 6.35% ABV Mike Tyson has smacked my tonsils stuff.

It really is worth the little effort that is required to start your plant off, and to continue nurturing it, which has taken me on average 1 minute each day.
kaz

That's good going Gareth
Pilsbury

when I come up to see you guys you wil have to give me the 1/2 of your starter you intend to chuck away, see how many plants we can propergate from your original  
Gareth

Pilsbury wrote:
when I come up to see you guys you wil have to give me the 1/2 of your starter you intend to chuck away, see how many plants we can propergate from your original  



Now that sounds like a plan mate.  If you bring some empty plastic pop bottles with you, we'll also make a 5 litre  batch of Ginger Beer to take back with you.

You may have begun something of a trend, because if any OTGer's would like enough of my Ginger Beer Starter to get them going, all they have to do is send me a Personal/private Message containing their address, and it would be my pleasure to dispatch enough in the Post for the first batch to them.
MrsWW

Gareth wrote:
. . .  their address, and it would be my pleasure to dispatch enough in the Post for the first batch to them.


Is this safe to be posted or do Royal Mail have to be put on alert?  
Gareth

MrsWW wrote:
Gareth wrote:
. . .  their address, and it would be my pleasure to dispatch enough in the Post for the first batch to them.


Is this safe to be posted or do Royal Mail have to be put on alert?  



Lois & I could deliver some to you personally.


Failing that. the following would have to be informed: the anti terrorist squad, bomb disposal squad, MI5, MI6, SAS, UN  weapons of mass destruction inspectors, not to mention; Health and Safety Executive, Haz Mat,  World Health Organization,  NHS Direct, etc.
MrsWW



Will have to let you know when we have a free weekend but we're pretty booked up with stuff over the next few months  

Then of course I also need to devote time to Christmas Pud & Cake too  

Will PM you with some dates  
futhark30

Hello,
I've started making the ginger beer, but I have two quick questions.

For my first question, I'm assuming you're using imperial pints and gallons and I used those for this first batch, but wanted to check that this was correct.

Also, I'm planning on using both halves of the starter and doubling my ginger beer making capacity when this batch is through. Should I prepare the starter in 2 kilner jars-one for each half- or should I put all the starter in one larger kilner jar.

Many thanks. I'm certain it will be delicious.
Gareth

I have done a lot of learning about starters since I did the original post 3 years ago.

If you have a really good starter then it is best to maintain it. I only feed mine once a fortnight now, but have doubled the capacity of the original jar. If you split to two different jars you will end up with two different varieties of starter and there will be a considerable taste difference between the two.

I have a rather nice strain of starter and so have chosen to continue with that one alone.

I am now making 50 gallons a year. Lois and I will consume maybe 10 gallons of that as ginger beer over 12 months. These days half of the ginger beer I make, I am allowing to fully brew out into a rather good tasting but very potent ginger wine ....... as you can imagine I am very popular with friends, and last Saturday night 12 bottles of my ginger wine,  were consumed at a Owen's birthday party along with 4 bottles of my home-brewed Mead, and 4 bottles of my home-made Elderflower and Orange wine (my Bucks fizz recipe fully brewed out) ................ who else do you know who turns up to a party with 20 bottles of wine  
futhark30

Thank you very much. I'll be sure to keep it all together then when I double the recipe. That did make me think of one other thing, as I'd assumed that the starter had to be fed immediately after being separated for the mixing.

How much leeway is there with the feeding cycles between when the liquids are filtered out of the starter and when it is fed again? Wouldn't a fortnight leave a good seven days between the filtering and the next batch where the starter just sits.

Again, many thanks. Tonight will be day 2 of the ginger beer project.
Gareth

I always feed straight after draining off to to start a brew. I'm current brewing a batch monthly, and feeding at the two week mark ..... it's a system that works extremely well for me.


Would you care to participate in a little experiment with me?


A couple of years ago, Pilsbury was good enough to dehyrate and vacuum package a batch of well fed starter for me. I still have one packet left; I can have a quick hunt around for it and then post it to you and we can see if it is still viable.
futhark30

Thank you very much. That does clear up my confusion quite nicely.

Certainly I would be happy to, though the shipping might well be dreadful I fear. I'm in Iowa.

What sort of starter is it? Would that be sort of like a dry brewer's yeast in terms of using it in a recipe? I'm currently using winemaker's yeast from a mail order source, but would be curious as to what similarities/differences there might be.

That in and of itself may be a bit of an experiment: experimenting between different yeasts. The dry wine yeast was reportedly the most neutral and least likely to affect the flavor of the ingredients. I'm excited to see how the batch turns out.
Gareth

I ship an average of ten large parcels to various states across the whole of the US and Canada every week; This coming Monday morning I will be dispatching several identical parcels of 1.2 mtr long and weighing 5kgs to New Jersey, Missouri, Alabama, Oregon, Maine, Idaho and Tennessee ............... I see no proplem
futhark30

In that case, I would be game, though I'm still curious how a dry starter works as opposed to a dry yeast packet. I've only used the latter so far.  
futhark30

Following up, the batch went splendidly. I'm currently making a double batch now and hope to continue the plant well into the coming semester. Thank you for the good advice. I look forward to further experimentation in the realm of brewed sodas in the near future now.   And maybe a batch of that anise soda I saw posted.
Gareth

My favorite was the Dandelion & Burdock: http://overthegate.myfreeforum.org/about16413.html

Although it tastes great, you have to be careful with this one as it is both a diuretic and laxative combined in alcohol. Drink too much of this and it could become very messy      
futhark30

Thanks. I definitely have that one on my list. I've just got to find a source for the dandelion and burdock roots. For the moment I may do a small batch experimenting with the type of sweetener, maybe trying to use honey or brown sugar to see how it affects flavor. We shall see. I'd also love to try a variant that uses fresh fruit as a flavoring somehow. Fresh raspberries are in season now. I'm still poking around trying to figure out what sort of modifications I can make while maintaining the integrity of the recipe. Another experiment I'd like to try down the road is possibly a fizzy lemonade using the ginger base. We shall see. For the moment I may try a small batch with light brown sugar to see what happens.

Do you ever do modifications on the ginger beer when you do batches?
Gareth

The only real modification that I have made to my "natural Yeast" brewing recipes is that I now only use clear honey; I have completely replaced the sugar with honey ................. I love honey!

Hopefully, next season I will actually get around to beekeeping
futhark30

What sort of proportions do you use for honey vs. sugar? That sounds like a great idea.
Pilsbury

ok, might already be in the thread and i missed it but is there a way to garentee that the ginger beer doesnt become to alcoholic, the last thing i want to do is down a bottle and then worry about driving.....
a campden tablet (or 1/4) in the bottles after a few days or would that affect the taste to much.....

we are going through litres of drink in this weather and a lot of it seems to be ginger beer so its perfect to make our own but it really cant be to alcoholic.
futhark30

I've just been going by the ABV levels in the recipe. After 7 days by those values, it seems to be innocent enough with an ABV under 1%. I've gone through a litre in a sitting without ill effects. I did just get a hydrometer to measure this for myself as I experiment a bit, however, so I can't yet speak from experience.
Gareth

Pilsbury wrote :is there a way to garentee that the ginger beer doesnt become to alcoholic

Philistine!      



I have never tried to stop a ginger beer from fermenting: as you know I don't like to use any chemicals in my brews. But I thik you would be alright to drink a brew that has been fermenting for less than a week

I have conducted a successful experiment with a 25 litre batch of GB where the the mix was initially placed into the bottles without the starter. Stored for a week or two, and then about a teaspoonful of starter was added to individual bottles on an as required basis, which were then allowed to ferment for only a couple of days before consuming. ...... plenty of refreshing sweet ginger taste and fizz, but no alcoholic kick.  
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