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LightFuseGetAway 11-14-2011 02:44 AM

Ginger beer - 100 yr old recipes and force carbonation?
I'm not sure when it started... probably 8 years ago when I had some house brand Trader Joe's ginger beer. Until recently I had forgotten how much I loved the stuff. Then I ran across a recipe to make home made ginger ale. Talk about a slippery slope.

After trying a few batches of yeast-carbonated ginger beer, I built a carbonator to avoid exploding bottles in my housemate's kitchen.

I would like to know if there is a way to adapt old recipes from the turn of the century that require some fermentation so they could be produced using force carbonation instead of carbonating using yeast or a GBP?

Some examples can be found in "A treatise on beverages, or, The complete practical bottler" starting at page 801. The book also contains many other recipes for a wide variety of beverages that might be of interest to some of the folks here.

You can read or download the book for free at: http://www.archive.org/details/treatiseonbevera00sulzrich (links on the left side.)

So I would guess it would be necessary to ferment for the time given, then filter, chill, and force carbonate? Anyone have any suggestions on that?

Would love to get that same flavor that our great grandfathers had back in the day.

Thanks for any suggestions,


ReverendTenHigh 11-30-2011 04:53 PM

Hi, Owen. Ginger beer is good stuff for sure and I've made several batches over the last year. Homemade sodas are amazing. I just finished off the last of a batch of sasparilla that was out of this world and unlike anything you can get in any store.

You could just force carb without adding the yeast. Thats the only way your gonna prevent bottle bombs (assuming you are boiling your ginger "beer" before carbonating it).

That being said, I think the fermentation adds quite a bit of flavor to the brew. Especially if you are using a GBP (which i don't have, but would love to! ) I like to use the wild yeast on the ginger and supplement it with some ale yeast. I let the brew ferment for 3 or 4 days with the wild yeasts then add some ale yeast to kick things into gear and get it drinkable. The stuff never lasts long enough to worry about bombs.

I have a culture of the wild yeast going, I hope to grow it out and ferment entire batches with it and I hope santa brings me a microscope and some slants.

I don't know if I answered your question. You can skip the yeast all together, or I suppose you could ferment, then pasturize and maybe sulfite. I don't have any experience sulfiting things but you could always try pasturizing, if you have problems with overcarbing pasteurize and sulfite.

LightFuseGetAway 12-04-2011 08:33 PM

Hey Rev, thanks for the info... So the wild yeast thing concerns me a little.

I made a batch several weeks ago where I didn't use any yeast because I planned to force carb with a CO2 tank and a Carbonater Cap. I made 3 two liter bottles worth and varied the time they sat on the counter. I didn't boil the stuff, I thought just letting it sit on the counter would meld the flavors nicely. The third bottle, which sat on the counter for about 5 days, was hard as a rock when I checked it. I opened it and it was super fizzy. Is this because of the wild yeasts? I drank some of it and didn't feel too hot for the next several days. Did I get wild yeast carbonation, or did I get bacteria? I sterilized with 91% rubbing alcohol. Don't know if that works or whether bleach is necessary.

To get the wild yeast, do you just rinse off the ginger and grind up the skin along with the root?

Bundaberg ginger beer is probably my target flavor out of all the ginger beers and sodas I've had recently. I hear they use some kind of fermented yeast and ginger concentrate which they then combine with water and sugar, then carbonate.

Still got a lot of learning to do here.

Also, what is sulfiting?

Roach 12-05-2011 02:04 PM

I'm thinking your stomach answered that question.

Considering how fine of a solution (Pre-carbed) soda is, and how small of a batch it is, it would only take a short while to "meld the flavors". I would suggest refrigerating while you let your soda sit, though even over night - or one day would be about as long as I would wait.

Considering that the soda you're shooting for is force carbonated, I wouldn't be too concerned with using yeast to achieve flavor. Or use yeast/GBP, as they likely do, to make a slurry, then pasteurize that, and force carbonate after.

I always use the ginger skin, not sure why, I just never waste the time peeling something I'm just going to boil.

Info on Sulfiting/Campden (Brand Name) Campden tablets - Home Brewing Wiki

hannibalsbrews 12-07-2011 08:32 PM

I used DR Fankhauesers recipe which was a bit lacking but proved effective-I used plastic 2l soda bottles very well cleaned-ground the fresh ginger-followed process-scared the wife so I put them in the shower w/curtain pulled to avoid a mess while fermenting-none blew. It came out just fine-I would like to mention the sugar content was strong for me after follwing the recipe so I cut it down after few ore batches + it worked nicely. Just a bit more tweaking + I'll be bottling it.
His root beer recipe is ok to start out w/also but will prob need a good bit of tweaking also depending on your taste.

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