I have been trying to create a sweet bottle carbonated ginger beer for a while without using artificial sweeteners, lactose or darker malts (which are either difficult for me to get or I don't want to use). I wouldn't say this is sweet, in the sense of a store bought ginger beer (and what I have been aiming for), but it is the closest I have got so far.
So my theory is that using caramelised sugar (which is supposably less fermentable) that some of the sweetness from the caramelising process will be remain after fermentation. My first attempt (using wine yeast) and much higher quantities of caramelised sugar resulted in a very high alcohol ginger wine - which indicated to me, that depending on how the caramel is prepared, a large percentage of the caramelised sugar is still fermentable.
This time when making the caramelised sugar (see link below) - I left it on the stove until it just started smoking - it seems to have imparted a balance, not sweet but not really dry, leaving a nice after taste.
The process that I have used to extract the ginger flavour appears to be very successful - and it has a bite similar to store bought ginger beer (very strong). After three weeks in the bottle the ginger is dominant though I'm hoping the caramel/toffee will come through a little more as it ages.
- 1.25 kg ginger, sliced/food processed. Cover with boiling water in 2 or 3 containers and leave for 1/2-1 hour, pour liquid through sieve into fermenter. Repeat process twice until most of the ginger has been extracted.
- 0.75 kg caramelised brown sugar. Directions can be found here - see making caramel syrup http://www.franklinbrew.org/wp/?page_id=391
. I split the 750gm into three batches. Once made dissolve into boiling water and add to the fermentor.
- 1.35 kg brown sugar - adjust for desired alcohol strength. Either dissolve in boiling water or dissolve into warm "ginger water" before adding to fermentor.
- 4 lemons juiced
Top up fermenter with cool /cold water and add some yeast nutrient and acid blend. Once at room temperature add yeast starter. After primary fermentation is finished bottle.