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Old 06-22-2011, 09:15 PM   #1
jroth420
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Default Ginger beer (alcoholic)

I have made a couple of batches of ginger beer at around 5.5%, but they keep drying out on me. Does anyone know of a way to keep some of the residual sugar or stop the yeast from eating it all so that I can end up with a product that is somewhat sweet, but still has the kick I am looking for? What kind of sugar should I be using (have used corn sugar)? I even managed to bottle it at the right point, but then it just continued in the bottle and fermented all of the sugar out, leaving a spicy, but dry finished product. Help!

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Old 06-23-2011, 06:31 AM   #2
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Try pasteurizing to kill off the yeast and stop them from eating up all your sugars. See this sticky in the cider forum:

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f32/easy-stove-top-pasteurizing-pics-193295/

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Old 06-23-2011, 04:24 PM   #3
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I agree that pasteurizing the way cider-makers do would be your best bet. Another option would be to let it ferment out and then add Splenda or another artificial non-fermentable sweetener, but I haven't done this personally.

jroth - would you be willing to post or PM me your recipe? My wife and I just returned from a trip to the UK, and she fell in love with an alcoholic ginger beer called Crabbie's. I'm collecting recipes so I can try to duplicate it or come close.

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Old 06-24-2011, 10:03 PM   #4
jroth420
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Default Ginger beer recipe

I have been tweaking it to get it where I want it, but the last one (which was killer until it dried out) was:

5 gal. water
2 lbs. Ginger root (peeled and chopped in food processor)
5 lbs. corn sugar
Zest of 3 limes
2 packets dry ale yeast

I boiled the ginger and water together for about 20 minutes just to pasteurize and incorporate the flavor into the water and then added the zest.

Pretty simple and after a week it was awesome, so I bottled, but it just finished out in the bottle. Good carbonation but all of my sweetness was gone.

Does pasteurizing change the flavor significantly?

I am trying to avoid using artificial sweeteners to make up the difference, but haven't had too much luck finding non-fermentable sugars that will work instead. Suggestions?

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Old 06-24-2011, 11:58 PM   #5
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Yeast will continue to eat up fermentable sugars until said yeast is killed.
Pasturize.
Rack first and add sulfites and force carb
lactose, maltose, stevia, sucralose?, aspartamine.
Or say screw it and mix it with sugar syrup when serving.
or make a non-alcoholic and mix it with rum when serving.
Use something other than yeast that has a lower alcohol tolerance?

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Old 07-02-2011, 11:20 PM   #6
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I have Made about 12 batches of non alcoholic ginger beer and im just starting to drink my second batch of Alcoholic ginger beer. I found that the first batch i made was really dry, I fermented that one for 2 weeks. With the second batch i have only fermented it for 1 week and there is a dramatic difference in the sweetness. When i try my 3 rd batch i think i will only ferment for 5 days and then it should be a little sweeter. I think that stopping fermentation earlier will give you a sweeter ginger beer. The Alcohol content of the second batch ended at about 5.5%. I am also using organic cane sugar and champagne yeast, I'm using a similar recipe to yours but i'm only using 1 5 gram packet of of yeast.

Not to sure if this will help or not just thought i would give you my 2 cents.

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Old 08-03-2012, 01:23 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jroth420 View Post
I have been tweaking it to get it where I want it, but the last one (which was killer until it dried out) was:

5 gal. water
2 lbs. Ginger root (peeled and chopped in food processor)
5 lbs. corn sugar
Zest of 3 limes
2 packets dry ale yeast

I boiled the ginger and water together for about 20 minutes just to pasteurize and incorporate the flavor into the water and then added the zest.

Pretty simple and after a week it was awesome, so I bottled, but it just finished out in the bottle. Good carbonation but all of my sweetness was gone.

Does pasteurizing change the flavor significantly?

I am trying to avoid using artificial sweeteners to make up the difference, but haven't had too much luck finding non-fermentable sugars that will work instead. Suggestions?
I made this recipe but added a pound of lactose to sweeten it and one pack of US-05 because it was what I had on hand. I chopped up the ginger in a food processor and am wondering if I made a mistake. The ginger flavor is VERY strong. Does it fade during fermentation or with age?

Also, what final gravity did you get (assuming you let ferment all the way out)?
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Old 08-06-2012, 12:50 AM   #8
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Well, maybe you might pick a low attenuating yeast?


On my first brew I used Danstar Windsor - dry yeast, never read it mentioned on these forums but it is supposed to have pretty low attenuation - and washed it into a jar. The beer was too sweet and eventually got an acetobacter infection when a fly got into the airlock. At that point I wasn't using alcohol in the airlock. Lesson learned. Anyways, I've been thinking about that sweet beer and the yeast wondering if it would sputter out at a high gravity and leave me with a sweet ginger beer? Just a thought.

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Old 08-09-2012, 12:08 PM   #9
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Pasteurizing is an option that I've tried, but its a bit of a hassle and frankly a bit scary (heating pressurized glass bottles...).
I think the best option is to use an ale yeast and base the recipe around its alcohol tolerance just as a wine or mead maker would. I 'think' you can still get away with adding a bit of priming solution which brings some yeast back to action, but I'm still experimenting with this myself at the moment (i don't like trying to guess the FG for carbonation, for the usual reasons).

Start with a high gravity and it should finish sweet. If it tastes too alcoholic balance out with more sweetness or more favourings next time until you get it right. I've found so far that its hard to make ginger beer taste too alcoholic; its just a naturally refreshing drink!

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Old 08-13-2012, 04:57 AM   #10
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Try fermenting 4 to 5 days only, and then bottling without priming. The results should be a sweet ginger beer with a mild alcohol content %. Otherwise, with a few batches I made a while back I let the ginger mixture ferment fully (took about 10 days), and the result was very dry. Also the drink was potent and my guests were getting slammed with a few bottles. I prefer a more of a mild alc% with ginger beer because that way you get to savor the flavor more. When cutting the fermentation time short and bottling, beware of exploding bottles as the yeast is highly active and there may be plenty of fermentable sugars still in the mixture. I had two bottles explode within two days of bottling. No priming necessary. Put them in the fridge to stop the carbonation, and then let them chill for at least a full day before drinking to let the gas dissolve into the beer.

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