I pretty much never drink soda. When I was little, my parents barely let my sisters and me have any soda since they are very health-concious. I grew to never crave for it, especially with a meal – I hate how the carbonation makes me feel so full. However, I love a good ginger beer/ ale. A few weeks ago, out of nowhere I decided to brew my own ginger beer, since it looks easy, and I like how I can make it more ginger-y and less sweet than the store-bought version. Ingredients are pretty cheap, the instructions are simple, you just need some patience since this is definitely something you need to plan ahead. This recipe was combined/ adapted from Mama Wellness and Bay Area Bites.
Many recipes I read call for champagne yeast or some other type of yeast. Being the cheap person that I am, I picked the recipe that use the wild yeast from grated fresh ginger. First, we’ll make something called a ‘ginger bug‘ (I’ve no idea why it has such a ridiculous name), and this bug will be used in brewing the ginger beer itself.
HOME MADE GINGER BEER RECIPE
Yield: 12 bottles, 16 oz each.
- Roughly 1lb ginger (see notes)
- 1.5 cups of white sugar
- 4 lemons
- Distilled water (or filtered water)
- Quart-size mason jar
- 12 plastic bottles, thoroughly cleaned and dried
- Fine strainer
- Make the ginger bug: Add 2 tbs of grated ginger, 2 tbs of sugar, and 2 cups of water to the mason jar. Stir and loosely cover ( I used cling wrap, or you can use a coffee filter and rubber band).
- Every day of the next 4-6 days: Add one tbs of grated ginger, one tbs of sugar, and stir. The duration really depends on the temperature. Last time it took me about 5 days. You ‘ll know the “bug” is ready when there’s foam/ bubble on top, white residue on the bottom of the jar, and it fizzes when you stir. It will also smell sweet and… fermented.
- When your ginger bug is ready, it’s time to make the ginger beer: Juice the lemons into a large pot, strain the seeds. Add the lemon rinds and 2-3 tbs grated ginger into the pot as well. Add 1 cup of sugar and 8 cups of filtered/ distilled water. Bring everything to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium, keep boiling for 15 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Combine ice and distilled/ filtered water to measure 15 cups. Add to boiled mixture and stir to melt the ice. The mixture should be pretty cool by now.
- Pour the mixture through a fine strainer into a big pot, or a big container. Stir the ginger bug mason jar and pour this through the mesh into the bowl as well. Make sure to stir and get the white residue on the bottom of the mason jar. Stir the content in the pot/ bowl to combine.
- Use a funnel to pour into bottles, leave about 1-1.5 inch head space for each bottle. Close the bottles, put in a cardboard box and at room-temperature for 3-7 days. Check every day. When the plastic bottle is taut, it means it’s ready. Transfer to the fridge to halt/ slow down the fermentation process.
- Ginger: I bought from the organic section at Kroger, $3.99/ lb. The Asian market nearby me sells ginger at a much cheaper price, but they’re super mature ginger (very fiber-y), and not as spicy.
- Water: Make sure you use at least filtered water. I’ve never used tap water, but people comment that tap water has chlorine, which can interfere with the fermenting process.
- Plastic bottles: I bought two six-pack of bottled water from Kroger, I think it’s the Simple Truth brand, purely because it looks nicer than the cheapest super thin water bottle. Glass bottles would indeed look nicer, especially if you’re gifting someone. However, you have to be very careful – the carbonation might make the glass bottles explode, and it definitely will NOT be fun.