Ginger or Lemon Beer alcoholic or not

Discussion in 'Food - Cooking, Preserving & Fermentation' started by ClissAT, Oct 31, 2018.

  1. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Well I've got my knickers in a twist with this new 10c 'refund' levy. I'm not going to play their stupid game!
    In the beginning I thought it was a good idea so I investigated and discovered I have to give the govt my bank account details and phone number! Well no, thats not how I do things. If they can't pay me annonomously in cash at my local tip then I'm not driving untold k's to drop off a few cans and bottles!
    To make matters worse the price of all 'take-away' sized bottles and cans have already gone up by the 10c amount. So if you don't take your cans back, the wholesaler makes a killing.
    So I decided from now on to stop buying such items and make my own instead, from home grown produce.
    I'll get off my soap box now! :whistles:

    Which brings me to the subject of this thread, ginger beer or ale and lemonade or beer.

    I scanned youtube and google for recipes and ended up with 3 for each drink, including one each alcoholic.
    Seems it really doesn't matter what fruit is used, the process is always quite similar and to get an alcoholic version is similar also but requires the purchase of champagne yeast from the brew shop. The alternative to buying the yeast is to make the bug using the skin of the ginger or lemon a bit like making sourdough culture and therefore having the same likelihood of hit and miss chemistry (or making methanol!)

    So does anyone make their own and have favourite recipes they would put here? I'm looking for easy/simple/cheap! ;)

    I'm leaning towards ginger or lemon beer and ale instead of normal beer because I've watched friends stuff up beer making for years on end! Not my cup of tea(or glass of beer in this case). I grow these fresh ingredients. I already make my own kahlua using russian vodka my son brings into Australia annually. I also make orange or mint liqueurs with that vodka or very good brandy. Just now need some lemonade and ginger beer or ale to go with those liqueurs.

    I'm prepared to buy some simple tools and bottles with snap lids but that's the extent of it.
     
  2. AndrewB

    AndrewB Well-Known Member Premium Member GOLD

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    I looked into ginger beer, but it seems kind of high maintenance compared to my kombucha.

    Interested in seeing how you go with it though, I love ginger beer & would add it to my brewing collection if its a simple & easy enough recipe.
     
  3. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    So I started my bug or plant today.
    Grated far too much to begin with but got carried away.
    So the bottle is almost full already and still needs to be fed for next 5days!
    I'll have to move it to the larger bottle tomorrow.
    Nice warm weather here for cultures so hoping it will be a good one.
    Relying on natural air borne yeasts and what is already on the skin of the ginger.
    I remember my Mother always made better ginger beer in summer and that was up in the tropics.


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    Last edited: Nov 2, 2018
  4. AndrewB

    AndrewB Well-Known Member Premium Member GOLD

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    I picked up a few new jars today, so might give it a go with you.
     
  5. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    I came across this really simple ginger ale recipe.

    1 cup water, 1 cup white sugar, 2 tablespoons grated ginger (skin on doesn't matter).

    Stir and bring to a simmer on stove to dissolve sugar.

    Strain and press the ginger tightly to get all the flavour.

    Cool, bottle and store in fridge.

    To make a glass of ginger ale:- some ice, 2 tablespoons of this syrup with sparkling water, soda, mineral water, or soda stream. Use more syrup if you like a stronger flavour.
    Too easy!


    My plant is working well tonight making lots of fizz!
    Some say 3days is enough if working well.
     
  6. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Today I have had to use my plant because it is working so well it will go off if I don't cool it down!
    My house gets very hot in summer, yesterday it got to 34c, today at 1:40pm already there with 3hrs of heat still to go!
    My plant was fizzing like crazy and just beginning to 'go off'. I've been using it each evening to make a nice iced drink with water and a few spoons of the plant juice. There's just enough fiz in the plant to add a little to the iced drink.

    The next part of my recipe is making the tea.

    But I better back up a bit to give the recipe for the plant:-
    Grate 2inches of fresh ginger and add to a wide mouthed jar;
    Add 4tbsp white sugar and 1/2 (half) cup water and stir to dissolve.
    Cover jar with muslin and set on warm bench.
    Each day add to plant the following:- 1inch of ginger grated, 2-4tbsp water(equal volume to ginger), 2 tbsp sugar and stir to dissolve.
    Repeat this process for up to a week until fizzing well.
    If it takes just a few days that's ok, use it then. Its the natural yeasts you are developing, so when the plant is fizzing, it is ready. Fridge remainder to stop it working too much or it will go off.

    To make the tea:-
    The tea is the actual drink which is spiked with liquer from the plant to make it 'work'.

    Grate 4inches fresh ginger into a 2lt saucepan;
    Add 1cup sugar and 1lt water;
    Set aside for a few hours.
    Later, the sugar should be almost dissolved. Use a wooden spoon to stir.
    Heat to finish dissolving as the chemistry of heating makes a better syrup.
    Just needs to be finger hot.
    Leave to cool a bit while cleaning the 2lt container to keep the tea in.
    Add 1/2 (half) a cup of strained plant into container;
    Top up with strained contents from saucepan, squeezing the ginger a little with fingers to get more flavour.
    Top up 2lt container with cold water, screw on cap and set on bench for a few days for the yeasts to multiply to make the fiz.

    Place ginger from tea back into plant, add an equal volume of water and sugar and stir to dissolve. Cover and set aside on bench. If not wanting more fizz in plant, fridge till needed. Put on bench to warm up to get the plant working again, then feed as usual daily till fizzing well.

    If using a plastic container to keep the tea in, it will go hard which tells you it is gassed nicely from the action of the yeast you have been developing in the plant and ready to drink. Should be alcoholic due to the amount of sugar used if it's taken around a week to go hard. Can be drunk after first day over ice as a nice softdrink but will take several days to develop alcohol. Check taste after a week to be sure it isn't going off or it will become wine or spirits. Fridge to keep a few weeks at most. When making home brew, be careful because you can make the wrong type of alcohol which can make you sick.

    Poor over ice to drink or if very well chilled, use in soda stream or soda king to carbonate.

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    Last edited: Nov 5, 2018
  7. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    I got onto a Soda King at BigW for $59 including 60dose gas canister and 1x1lt glass bottle.
    Which is really good value.
    The catch with these soda machines is there might not be a canister exchange near you.
    Apparently the shop that sells them should also exchange canisters but not always so.
    Fortunately for me, my nearest BigW does exchange although this store is 35ks away so I better not run out! So the cost of an exchange canister will be around $19 for a 60 dose size. However if you like a nice bit of carbonation, it will take 3-5 doses to fizz your 1lt drink.
    This means you will only get 20 drinks for $19 at 3doses per 1lt drink, which really isn't much of a saving, but does mean you know where your drink came from and you can control the amount and type of sugar you consume.
     
  8. AndrewB

    AndrewB Well-Known Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Hmm, you shouldn't need to carbonate it, the fermentation process should do that for you if you add sugar & let it sit for a few days on the bench.
     
  9. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Actually you are quite right there Andrew.
    However I don't have the right sort of bottles to contain that excellent natural carbonation.
    I will buy some eventually but for now I have to do it the fake way in combo gass and yeast.
    Also I'm reluctant to leave it on the bench too many days in these temps before chilling due to the risk of making methanol or ethanol rather than alcohol.
    Or simply blowing up, for that matter!
    I'll have to put the plant and the tea in the fridge tomorrow as temps are supposed to be up 4-5c higher than today and I won't be here to rescue it. Even now the inside temp is still 27c at 10:30pm.

    I made an iced drink tonight (1/4cup plant juice in tumbler of rain water with ice) and it had a definite bite so alcohol is forming in the plant (bug) for sure. It is also very strongly flavoured even when diluted that much!

    I haven't tasted the tea yet other than to make a small drink with the tiny bit of leftover tea this morning. But it had a good strong flavour.
     
  10. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    It was sooo sooo hot up in Gympie today. I reckon it got to 45 outside on the footpath.
    Driving home in my son's older style 4x4 with simple aircon where to adjust it you wind windows up or down,............ the wind was like blast furness temps on my face coming in from the highway driving home.

    I couldn't wait to activate my soda king machine. I'd put some ginger tea and water combo in the fridge to chill in readiness. But I am disappointed!

    The machine doesn't work very well, button only works sometimes and 4 button pushes failed to put any fizz into the drink even though I could taste the salty soda and saw the gas go in. I had good anticipations for this machine being Aussie made and all.

    Disappointed to say the least!

    I'll open the second cylinder and insert to be sure its not that causing the problems.

    IMG_20181106_152331-01.jpeg
     
  11. AndrewB

    AndrewB Well-Known Member Premium Member GOLD

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  12. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Wasn't able to get the original cylinder out of the casing so couldn't test it against the second cylinder.
    I've decided to return the whole thing back to BigW for a refund.

    I made another drink last night to be sure it was not opperator problem and tried to add enough carbonation to make the drink fizzy. I added ice to be sure it was cold enough as advice says to only use iced water. But it was so salty I could hardly drink it and definitely not pleasurable to drink. And again the button only worked sometimes.

    Very disappointing.


    Apart from that, I've put both plant and tea in the fridge due to the heat. I took them out of the fridge when I got home late yesterday and they began working right away. By late last night the tea had a real frothy top and the plant was also foaming. So back into the fridge for both.
     
  13. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    I took the soda king back for a full refund.
    The tea which I keep in the fridge makes a nice drink when diluted with 60% or more of iced water, but not very fizzy.
    It has a mouth feel bite to it due to being made from ginger but no real gas.
    Still a nice refreshing drink but not what I was aiming for as a summer refresher after hard work.

    How did yours turn out Andrew?

    The plant (bug) is also in the fridge waiting. The juice from the plant makes an excellent cleaner! I might make some without sugar. Or maybe its the sugar that makes it a good cleaner?
     
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