Friday, 19 August 2011

Making Ginger Beer

Last night we bottled our first ever batch of Ginger Beer.  We don't buy cold drinks in our grocery shopping, we've even stopped buying wine. So along with water and our lemon cordial we decided that our other cold beverage of choice would be Ginger Beer.  DH and I had parents that made it when we were children so it comes with fond memories.  I remember watching the plump sultanas floating in the bottles :)

Whilst having a read around Rhonda's blog at Down to Earth I came across her Ginger Beer recipe, and realised it was pretty easy!  So the following recipe is the one we made up. I used her recipe which stated to add 1 tsp of sugar and 1 tsp of ginger every day for 7 days, however when we tasted the brew last night, although it was yummy and the ginger flavour was there it was a bit sweet for my liking.  In saying that DH has a bit of a sweet tooth for sugary drinks and he thinks its fantastic! I found another one that stated adding 1 dessertspoon of each one every day, so with the new plant we are making tonight I will change to this formula and see if this boosts the Ginger and cuts the sugary taste.

This is how we made our homemade Ginger Beer:

You first need to make the 'plant'.  It's best to do this using a wide mouthed jar, but if you don't have one use whatever you think may work best.  For the water component of the plant, it needs to either be rain water or if using tap water, pour the water into the jar and let it sit open on the bench for 24hours.  This allows the chlorine to evaporate from the water.  When we bottled though we just used straight tap water without letting it sit.

Into your jar have 1 1/2 cups of water, add to this 1 dessertspoon of sugar (we used raw sugar as it stated it gave better colour, but you can use white) and 1 dessertspoon of ginger powder.  A pinch of active yeast (not the breadmaker yeast, it needs to be the little balls of yeast) and if you want add some sultanas.  Sultanas are optional, I added them as I remember them being in ours as a child and I think they have a yeast content to their skin? Give this a stir up and then find a breathable covering for it.  I used a new chux cloth held on with a rubber band.  

 You need to let the plant brew for 7 days.  Leave the cover on overnight to avoid dust and bugs but if you can take it off during the day this is good.  I left mine on for most of the time.
Now this is the important part - EVERY day for 7 days add 1 tsp of the same sugar you initially used and 1 dessertspoon of ginger powder.  Give it a little stir. Like I mentioned earlier I did the 1 tsp ratio and it was gingery but sweet so this one I am trying the 1 dessertspoon ratio.  Depends if you like your ginger beer to be gingery :) I will update on this when I have completed my second brewThis should smell like ginger beer. Ours did. Although in Rhonda's she mentioned you may smell a slight alcohol smell, this is ok and the alcohol either disappears or is miniscule.  The mix will also bubble up, this is ok, its the natural fermentation process with the yeast.
Our plant on the 7th day
On the 7th day, feed as normal and then in a large pot, dissolve 3 cups of white sugar in 20 cups of water.  I just had this over a gentle heat and stirred it to get it to dissolve.  To this add the juice of 2 lemons.  Next sit a strainer into a bowl or directly over your pot, sit a cheesecloth/muslin cloth or something similar (even a clean chux cloth would work) into the strainer with the sides overhanging the strainer.  Pour your plant into the cloth.  Gather the ends up and squeeze all the liquid into your pot.  If you have any liquid in a bowl from doing this add it now.  Squeeze it well until all the plant liquid has come out.  If you have sultanas in your mix, I just added these directly into the bottles once it was poured.  

Dissolving the sugar

My ever willing assistant washing the bottles - great job hun!

Juice of 2 lemons

Strainer and cheese cloth ready to go

The remnants of the plant waiting to be squeezed
A final squeeze and a mix and we have Ginger Beer!
Give the liquid a good stir around and bob's your uncle, you've made your very own Ginger Beer.  Using a funnel pour this liquid into clean empty soda bottles.  

Into the bottles
It's important to use plastic bottles as the bottles puff up and expand from the CO2 that is the product of the fermentation, this is what makes it fizzy.  As the bottle sits and ferments further, the CO2 is developed further and gets to the point where you can't dent the bottle, this is when it needs to go into the fridge (I think a couple of days but keep an eye on it!). This made up 4 x 1.5litre bottles.  Let them chill in the fridge and you can then drink them.    

All done! now to sit on the bench for a few days before going into the fridge
 Warning - keep your eye on these bottles when the are sitting and fermenting further, the CO2 can cause them to explode if they aren't put in the fridge when they need to be!

As I have said this is my first time making Ginger Beer, so as I make more if I come across any tips or things worth noting I will come back and add them.  It has been lots of fun and I recommend making it, the boys have enjoyed watching the process :) there are plenty of recipes out on the net for making it if you want to find more information or some alternatives :)


  1. thankyou for visiting my blog, I thought I would duck over and see yours too. what a lovely place to visit, I really have to make some ginger beer after reading your post.

  2. I remember my mum's homemade ginger beer exploding lol! It used to make quite a mess too! Mum kept her's hidden in an old fireplace with a pretty curtain she had made across the front.

    Hubby makes the ginger beer and beer at our place, I just leave him to explosions so far!

    Hope it all goes well for you :)

  3. Hi Kim, thanks for dropping by :) It's nice to cruise around the blogging community and find like minded people :) Have fun making the Ginger Beer.

    Tania, what a funny story about the exploding Ginger Beer! I am crossing my fingers mine doesn't get to that point :) What a neat hidey hole your Mum had for hers. Good idea leaving your hubby to make it. My DH isn't really into beer so he doesn't have much inclination to make any himself, so I just roped him into helping me out :)


Hiya, thanks for taking the time to comment on my post. I can't wait to read your comments and to share ideas, I am a busy mummy with 2 boys to run around after so I will try and get to comments as quickly as I can...if there is a delay in seeing them published this is why, not because I don't care, I'm just taking some time to smell the roses :)

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