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Old 10-30-2009, 04:32 AM   #1
stromam
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Default Ginger beer, horray!

Today I made my first attempt at a ginger brew. I took a bunch of info from a number of other recipes, and kind of made it my own.

24 oz. fresh ginger (some sliced, some julienned, some chopped)
4 lbs light DME
1 lb Corn sugar
1/2 lb raw honey
4 lemons (zest & juice of all 4, pith of 2)
1/2 oz. Cascade hops
2 cups Safale US-05 starter

Brought about 3 gallons to a boil then added all my sugars, 1 lb of the ginger, all the lemon juice, and the 2 lemon rinds.

15 minute mark - removed rind, added 1/4 lb of ginger, zest of 4 lemons and 1/4 ounce cascade hops.

30 minute mark - added last of ginger (1/4 lb)

35 minute mark - added 1/4 oz. cascade hops

40 minute mark - chilled & pitched yeast @ 75 F

OG - 1.048

Had a very interesting profile. Very mild bitterness (which is what i was going for, used the pith for bitter, not hops), light hop aroma/flavor, nice amount of heat from ginger, as well as lingering mild ginger flavor. I plan on adding another 1/2 lb raw honey in a day or two. Cant wait to try this thing in 2-3 weeks. Yeast started up in less than 2 hours. Also my hands wreak of ginger, and probably will for a day or two!

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Old 10-30-2009, 06:25 AM   #2
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How was the bitternessfrom the pith rather than hops?

I would assume the flavor is much different.

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Old 10-30-2009, 12:59 PM   #3
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Its pretty nice, I only boiled the pith for about 20 minutes, so its not very pronounces. I'll have a better idea after fermentation, its pretty vigorous so it should only take a few days. I'll keep you posted.

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Old 10-31-2009, 03:48 AM   #4
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Looking for some reassurance.

I noticed the temp was pretty high (75 F) so I turned on the faucet (i keep my fermenters in the spare room tub), and it should be down below 70 shortly. I also took a SG reading and its down from 1.048 to 1.032. Is it too late... am I gonna get those nasty off flavors I've heard so much about?

Also I took a taste after my reading. I didn't notice any really bad flavors (yet), but the ginger is pretty hot. I brought the boiled ginger over with the wort and am a little worried its gonna keep bringing more heat. Should I rack it ASAP, or just let it go? Also will the heat subside with aging?

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Old 10-31-2009, 03:54 AM   #5
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I think the heat will subside with age, or so I've heard.

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Old 03-15-2010, 11:37 AM   #6
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Just an update.

This one turned out very well, although the ginger was just a bit much. If i did it over again, I think i would cut the last ginger addition in half, or extended the boil for another 5 minutes. It was very light and refreshing with a definite ginger heat. I have several friends that didn't care for it, many that were on the fence, but a couple that really loved it. I personally am quite fond of it, although I love ginger.

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Old 07-17-2011, 02:32 AM   #7
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Default Couple of questions if you remember...

I just racked a batch of ginger beer and I could use your advice in this my first post! This is only my second time brewing as well.

1. You mention boiling 3 gallons of water, did you dilute to the standard 5 gal batch or stick to 3 gals minus steam loss?

2. Did you bottle? What did you use to condition? I'm trying to get a decent ABV% but still retain some sweetness. I just put the batch into a secondary after 5 days of strong yeast activity in hopes to keep a bit of the sugars. Furthering that idea, I plan to bottle after a week or so in secondary and then open a bottle maybe two weeks later and taste. If I'm not satisfied, I'll keep waiting and tasting. If I am satisfied, I plan to pasteurize by heating the bottles in a pan of water on the stove to kill the yeast and maintain the sweetness balance. Thoughts or comments?

My recipe was, like yours, thrown together from reading others attempts and is an experiment.

5 gal batch
2.5 lbs fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
8 lbs white sugar, 1 cup brown sugar
some cinnamon sticks, split vanilla bean, cloves
Windsor Yeast

Boiled for about 30 minutes, cooled and pitched. Good activity. Racked 5 days later and "dry hopped" with another 1/2lb of ginger (we are shooting for HOT ginger flavor). OG was about 1.055. There was still a decent amount of sweetness when we racked, but I didn't get to check the gravity.

I'd love any feedback. Again, this is totally an experiment.


Quote:
Originally Posted by stromam View Post
Today I made my first attempt at a ginger brew. I took a bunch of info from a number of other recipes, and kind of made it my own.

24 oz. fresh ginger (some sliced, some julienned, some chopped)
4 lbs light DME
1 lb Corn sugar
1/2 lb raw honey
4 lemons (zest & juice of all 4, pith of 2)
1/2 oz. Cascade hops
2 cups Safale US-05 starter

Brought about 3 gallons to a boil then added all my sugars, 1 lb of the ginger, all the lemon juice, and the 2 lemon rinds.

15 minute mark - removed rind, added 1/4 lb of ginger, zest of 4 lemons and 1/4 ounce cascade hops.

30 minute mark - added last of ginger (1/4 lb)

35 minute mark - added 1/4 oz. cascade hops

40 minute mark - chilled & pitched yeast @ 75 F

OG - 1.048

Had a very interesting profile. Very mild bitterness (which is what i was going for, used the pith for bitter, not hops), light hop aroma/flavor, nice amount of heat from ginger, as well as lingering mild ginger flavor. I plan on adding another 1/2 lb raw honey in a day or two. Cant wait to try this thing in 2-3 weeks. Yeast started up in less than 2 hours. Also my hands wreak of ginger, and probably will for a day or two!
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Old 07-18-2011, 02:13 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aexe View Post
I just racked a batch of ginger beer and I could use your advice in this my first post! This is only my second time brewing as well.

1. You mention boiling 3 gallons of water, did you dilute to the standard 5 gal batch or stick to 3 gals minus steam loss?

2. Did you bottle? What did you use to condition? I'm trying to get a decent ABV% but still retain some sweetness. I just put the batch into a secondary after 5 days of strong yeast activity in hopes to keep a bit of the sugars. Furthering that idea, I plan to bottle after a week or so in secondary and then open a bottle maybe two weeks later and taste. If I'm not satisfied, I'll keep waiting and tasting. If I am satisfied, I plan to pasteurize by heating the bottles in a pan of water on the stove to kill the yeast and maintain the sweetness balance. Thoughts or comments?

My recipe was, like yours, thrown together from reading others attempts and is an experiment.

5 gal batch
2.5 lbs fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
8 lbs white sugar, 1 cup brown sugar
some cinnamon sticks, split vanilla bean, cloves
Windsor Yeast

Boiled for about 30 minutes, cooled and pitched. Good activity. Racked 5 days later and "dry hopped" with another 1/2lb of ginger (we are shooting for HOT ginger flavor). OG was about 1.055. There was still a decent amount of sweetness when we racked, but I didn't get to check the gravity.

I'd love any feedback. Again, this is totally an experiment.
Yes, I diluted to 5 gallons after brewing.

Since you just used white sugar, then it isn't really going to be a beer. It will ferment to completion and be very dry and "cidery". If you were going to do it again I would recommend using mostly (if not all) light or amber DME. That is the only reliable way to get some residual sweetness after fermentation (because some of the sugars in DME are not fermentable, as opposed to table sugar which is 100% fermentable).

I would definitely let it ferment to completion, then bottle with some sugar and let it carbonate in the bottle.

The alternative is to let it ferment to completion, de-activate the yeast with some metabisulfite and another chemical (I can't remember what it is, but just search a wine or mead forum for "back sweeten") then you can add whatever sugar you want to get the sweetness level you desire. The problem with this is you can't carbonate it in the bottle if you de-activate the yeast, you will either have to live with it flat or force-carb it in a keg.

The problem with your plan of letting it continue to ferment in the bottles and trying to pasteurize somewhere in the middle, is when you try to heat the carbonated bottles you will without a doubt have 50 or so bombs ready to explode and embed tiny pieces of glass into whoever happens to be near, that is assuming they don't explode before you get a chance to try.

When bottling you should always make sure, 100% sure, that the fermentation is complete (that means taking gravity readings 2-3 days in a row and make sure there is no change). Then you add just enough sugar to allow for the amount of carbonation you want, otherwise you will wind up with either under-carbonated, or bottle bombs.

If I were you I would just let it ferment to completion, add back some sugar (maybe 5 ounces or so) just like you do with beer, bottle and let it carb up. Once it is carbonated you can either drink it down as is, or if the ginger is too intense, just let it age in a closet for a couple months and taste it again.
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Old 07-18-2011, 02:16 PM   #9
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Mine turned out a bit too "hot" for my taste when it was first done, but i did have one friend that really liked it. After it had aged for about 6 months, it was just right for my taste and now they are all gone.

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Old 07-18-2011, 10:33 PM   #10
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Default Pasteurization

Gotcha, thanks for the advice.

I got the idea for pasteurizing from this forum: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f32/easy...g-pics-193295/ and it seems like it's worked for a lot of people.

I suppose fermenting to completion and bottle carbing is probably the safer route. This will probably end up really dry, yea? I used dextrose as the bottle primer in my first batch of beer, any suggestions for ginger beer?

Thanks again!

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