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Alcoholic ginger beer

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scottkct

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Overall the process went well. I next time I'll probably go with 6lbs of sugar to try and hit 1.050+ before and 1.020-15 after, and maybe 3lbs of ginger. Will report back soon.
Hey cyborgmexican, curious how this turned out for you?
 

NorskKiwi

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As am I. I didn't get back to making ginger beer yet but want to start in the coming months.
 

MattMagic

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After reading through all 20 pages, I'm not quite sure how people are getting these gravity numbers. For a 5 gallon batch, you'll need about 5.5lbs of cane sugar to get to 1.050 OG, with slightly more turbinado to reach the same OG....

With 5.5lbs of sugar, if you ferment all the way to dry, you should end up with a FG of about 1.013 at just shy of 5% ABV. Fermenting only to 1.02 should leave with you something just shy of 4%.

Has anyone tried making say.... 4 gallons of unflavored sugar alcohol with whatever citrus to control bacteria to about 6.5% fermented all the way dry, and then after fermentation, adding a gallon of ginger steeped water+ additional sugar to taste (which will also carbonation in-bottle), and then pasteurize? Seems like that would give you about 5% alcohol with fresh ginger taste, and good sweetness. You could even make this stuff 10% pretty easily with good sweetness and a fresh ginger flavor.

I don't understand the important of having ginger during fermentation. I guess my goal is an alcoholic ginger soda really... and fermenting soda really doesn't have the time to change the flavors of the ginger... I could be wrong.

Any thoughts?
 

jamin7

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I've made this a few times. I like a lot of ginger heat. You can reduce the ginger if you don't like it that bold. Try this:

5 gal batch

2 lbs fresh ginger, cut into slices
17 cups sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
3 cloves
1/2 tsp allspice
1 vanilla bean, split
1 packet champagne yeast

Boil 2 lb ginger for about 30 mins. Remove from heat, stir in the sugar and spices. Cool, transfer to fermenter, pitch yeast.

After fermentation is complete, rack to a secondary, crush and add 5 campden tablets to kill any remaining yeast. You can also add another lb of fresh ginger if you really like the ginger flavor. Let it sit for about 2 weeks (1 week if not using more ginger). Boil a small amount of water and add sugar needed for desired sweetness. Add to keg, then rack the ginger beer on top. Force carbonate @ 30 PSI (serving pressure).

Good luck!
brewed this guy a few weeks ago and served it last night.

did 2lbs ginger in the boil and added 1/2lb (very lightly boiled) ginger during fermentation. the second addition seriously ratcheted the ginger flavor up to 11, a little too strong for my taste.

also, the fermentation rate was pretty exponential -- went from 2-3% ABV to 7% ABV super fast. i was aiming for 4% but it shot above that before I could kill the yeast.

people loved it, however. most people added a splash of bourbon and an ice cube or two.
 

FrodeM

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I just bottled the ginger brew I have been brewing for the past few months, and I have some results.

Replacing some lemon with lime was a bad idea in my case. Lime didn't work well with the somewhat bitter ginger flavour.

Second problem is that most of the taste dies off quickly, and there is nothing left to mask the yeast flavour.

In the end it tastes very much ginger, but a very sharp kind of ginger. After the ginger it's pretty sour and bitter, eventually going over to a more yeasty flavour. Letting it sit for some days will reduce the yeasty flavour though, but the combination of acid and bitter is still quite a bit rough.

It's absolutely impossible to taste the juniper berries or the honey I had in this, but who knows? Maybe in half a year...
 

jimbostarr

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After reading through all 20 pages, I'm not quite sure how people are getting these gravity numbers. For a 5 gallon batch, you'll need about 5.5lbs of cane sugar to get to 1.050 OG, with slightly more turbinado to reach the same OG....

With 5.5lbs of sugar, if you ferment all the way to dry, you should end up with a FG of about 1.013 at just shy of 5% ABV. Fermenting only to 1.02 should leave with you something just shy of 4%.

Has anyone tried making say.... 4 gallons of unflavored sugar alcohol with whatever citrus to control bacteria to about 6.5% fermented all the way dry, and then after fermentation, adding a gallon of ginger steeped water+ additional sugar to taste (which will also carbonation in-bottle), and then pasteurize? Seems like that would give you about 5% alcohol with fresh ginger taste, and good sweetness. You could even make this stuff 10% pretty easily with good sweetness and a fresh ginger flavor.

I don't understand the important of having ginger during fermentation. I guess my goal is an alcoholic ginger soda really... and fermenting soda really doesn't have the time to change the flavors of the ginger... I could be wrong.

Any thoughts?
I am working on that right now. A month ago I started a 5 gal batch of well water with 7 lb sugar and wine yeast - EC-1118. OG was 1.09. Now it's 1.03 and it measures 5% alcohol in my Vino o meter. I plan to go down to 1.01 then add ginger and lemon. Or even cheat a little and add some Jamaican ginger beer soda if the flavor is wrong.
 

witster18

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flash freeze? not freeze bottle explode freeze... but a quick freeze... is this option a possibility for bottle conditioning a hard ginger beer... I so want to make one(like WIld Ginger or similar... just something like an original say goya ginger beer but around 5%)... I've read this entire thread and feel no closer to accomplishing this goal... I don't wanna keg it for other reasons... or just brew-it, ferment, and then camden?
 

witster18

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screw it... gonna just do a fairly basic unmalted wheat beer(pils,unmalted wheat, oats)... secondary the hell out of it with some lemon juice, lemon zest, a ton of ginger... couple cinnamon sticks.. then add a lot of non-fermentables at bottling...
 

z-bob

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screw it... gonna just do a fairly basic unmalted wheat beer(pils,unmalted wheat, oats)... secondary the hell out of it with some lemon juice, lemon zest, a ton of ginger... couple cinnamon sticks.. then add a lot of non-fermentables at bottling...
It's not very high on my brew list, but that's how I intend to try it. But instead of a ton of ginger in the secondary, I'll use dried ginger in the boil and a moderate amount of fresh ginger in the fermenter.
 

Tbirdicus

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I just brewed a 20 L batch of ginger beer tonight - my first attempt at this style.

I modified Moonshae's recipe, and added some other aspects that I thought might be good.

20 L water
2 lbs thinly sliced ginger added to wort, 1 lb thinly sliced ginger dumped into primary
1 kg light Pilsner DME
12.5 cups white sugar
3 lemons sliced
1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 tsp allspice
5 cloves
Champage/Cider yeast (couldn't find red star in my small city)

I followed Moonshae's suggestion of boiling the ginger wort for 30 mins (in 9 L of water), then I added sugars and spices and mixed. I tried to cool it quickly and added the additional water - bringing up the volume to 19 L. I last measured the OG at 1.070 (seemed high?), but the temp was still around 40 Celsius. My brother just pitched the yeast at 24 Celsius, as we made it at his place. I asked him to measure again just before pitching, so I'll add that number later.
My plan is to ferment for 2 weeks in the primary, transfer to a secondary for 1 week, then bottle after the three week mark. I don't care what my FG is, I'd love to end up around 5-7% ABV.
I'm considering a pasteurization, as I don't want to blow up bottles/don't have stuff to force carbonate.

Thoughts? I'll let you all know how this turns out. In a perfect brew, this should turn out as a light, beery and more dry Hollows and Fentimans clone (I find crabbies far too sweet).
 

jimbostarr

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I am working on that right now. A month ago I started a 5 gal batch of well water with 7 lb sugar and wine yeast - EC-1118. OG was 1.09. Now it's 1.03 and it measures 5% alcohol in my Vino o meter. I plan to go down to 1.01 then add ginger and lemon. Or even cheat a little and add some Jamaican ginger beer soda if the flavor is wrong.
Ok, I bottled this a month ago and it was fantastic! I added 2 liters of ground and pressed ginger root (5 pounds) and about a gallon of Tree ripe sweet and sour mix). It's about 7% alcohol. Very nice to have a brew that doesn't try to cover over an apple cider flavor. My friends say it the best I've made yet!
 

Likefully

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Thoughts? I'll let you all know how this turns out. In a perfect brew, this should turn out as a light, beery and more dry Hollows and Fentimans clone (I find crabbies far too sweet).
With that amount of sugar you are going to get a nice alcoholic gingerbeer. I am interested to hear how the pislner malt adds to the flavour - that's one ingredient I would have excluded.

I think the spices will work well, but what gave my ginger beers the edge was a teaspoon of paprika or cayenne pepper. That makes the beer burn your throat like real ginger does. Without that burn I would think there may just be something missing when you drink it (I think you won't get the burn from even as much ginger as you put in). I don't think all spice will give the same burn...but I am not familiar with it.
 

Tbirdicus

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View attachment ImageUploadedByHome Brew1468634124.487519.jpg
This is what it looked like in secondary. I am not sure what to think of the finished product. I fermented the entire batch with chopped ginger and sliced lemon in it; I think that this contributed to sudsy/shaving cream flavours. Also could be due to the Pilsner DME that I added into this modified recipe.
Cons - this beer is cloudy and I couldn't filter it entirely. Shaving cream/sudsy taste. Most people politely decline to have a glass after tasting it.
Pros - this beer has to be around 8% ABV. It has spicy ginger taste and makes a great summer drink cold or with 7UP....I never wanted to compromise this beer, but sometimes you have to do what needs be done. I don't mind it, my dad and a friend of mine love it.

Next time I will follow the original recipe more closely and eliminate the DME and lemon slices in primary.

You don't learn if you don't take risks.
 

PuffinPunch

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I made a half batch based on bits from this thread. Pretty similar to yours Tbirdicus, but without anything added to the primary. I intended on a 2.5gal or 10L batch but even at the 12L I ended up with, my OG seems pretty high at 1.072. Recipe and steps below.

470g peeled and sliced ginger
500g white sugar
500g brown sugar
500ml honey
2 cloves
1 vanilla bean, split
1 cinnamon stick
1/4 tsp allspice
Juice of 3 lemons
10L water

I boiled 4l of water and added the ginger. After 15 minutes I added the cloves, vanilla, cinnamon and allspice. I added the sugar and honey about 5-10 mins after that and added the lemon at the very end, taking the whole thing off heat as soon as it had reached a boil. I did this to sterilise everything, rather than adding ingredients after removing from heat. Hope that doesn't bodge anything up as it goes against some of the advice in here.

After an ice bath for 30min or so to bring the temp down, I poured the lot into a fermentation vessel, using a hop spider as a makeshift strainer to capture all the ginger mix. After this, I topped up to 12L with cold water (went a little over my target of 10L as I wasn't paying attention), pouring over the ginger mix in the hop spider to sort of sparge a bit. I picked up some ginger yeast from my local yesterday. Not sure if it'll do any better than bread yeast would but thought I might as well given it was cheap. I poured that into some warm water to activate for ten minutes or so and then pitched into the wort at about 21C. Is it wort? I don't know what else to call it.

OG was 1.072. I'm hoping fermentation will leave me with a higher than normal FG so it stays sweet and isn't too strong to really enjoy. I plan to let it run its course in the fermenter before priming and bottling like I would beer. I hope that doesn't result in any bottle bombs. Might use a little less priming sugar than usual to stay on the safe side? It seems to be something people worry a lot about, though I wonder whether thats just because most of the guidance I've seen online seems to be for cooks rather than homebrewers, who may not be used to the balance you need when bottling.
 

thrifty_bob

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This is interesting because I would have worried the skin might contribute an off flavor, and you are absolutely right about how hard it is to peel that much ginger. Making my first batch tonite, here is my recipe, inspired by gingerman and the Ginger Libation label:

3 gallon batch

2lbs fresh ginger, chopped in food processor
4lbs turbinado sugar
2cups pineapple juice
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup key lime juice
1/2 tsp cream of tartar for head retention
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
Red Star Champagne yeast
3 gallons water
Start gravity of 1.052

Brought sugar, water, and ginger to a boil, turned off the flame and let steep for 1 hour. Added juices, cream of tartar, and cayenne, then strained into fermenter. Let cool overnight and pitched yeast. If all goes well, I will stop fermentation at 1.008 and have 6% ABV and a decent amount of residual sweetness. The turbinado sugar is 95.7% fermentable, so if it tastes too sweet I will let it go a little further. My total cost for the ingredients from Whole Foods here in Charlotte NC was around $24.

**update 7/30**
OK so after 7 days of fermenting the gravity was at 1.014, the taste was wonderful, so I pulled it out, finished it, and kegged it. Just waiting on it to carbonate, should take a week, the taste is very hot and strong ginger, alcohol at 5.2%, a fair amount of sweetness, and just a slight hint of pineapple. VERY happy with how this turned out.
I know it's an old, old post, but it sounds almost like what we are looking to make, so my appologies for digging up such an old thread.

A friend and I are planning to make a 5 gallon batch of ginger beer similar to sneakymead's post #37 above, which we will split, but we will make it with a bit less ginger, a bit more pineapple, and less red pepper.

The big change is that we plan to bottle it in 1 liter plastic beer bottles, not keg it., if possible. We would like the sweetness to be about at 1.015 to 1.020 similar to Crabbies.

I am thinking of adding campden tablets or potassium sorbate to stop the fermentation and then bottle and use a small CO2 dispenser to pour it carbonated. Anyone tried that? How much would we need for a 5 gallon batch?

Here is the 5 gallon recipe we plan:
3 lbs fresh ginger (young ginger with thin skin), grated (15% less)
7 lbs turbinado sugar
4 cups pineapple juice (Dole canned ok?)
3/4 cup lemon juice
3/4 cup lime juice
1 tsp cream of tartar for head retention
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 packet Ale yeast
5 gallons water
Start gravity of 1.052-1.055

Thanks for any ideas, suggestion or help, as it's my 2nd time making ginger beer. The first try wasn't so great, so trying to be more careful, and follow a known good recipe with minor tweaks this time :)
 
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I've made ginger beer in the past, and it is not that different from making an extract batch of beer. Keep things simple and add only what you need. Adding some citrus for acidity is ok but I think you're overdoing it with lemon, lime, and pineapple. I've never had to add cayenne to add heat to the beer...the ginger takes care of that nicely if it is fresh. I haven't had any head at all, in any ginger beer I've ever had, so you probably could do away with the cream of tartar (never used it before though).

My recipe uses cane sugar, grated ginger, some lemon for acidity, and water. I used US-05 but you can use whatever you want.
 

thrifty_bob

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I've made ginger beer in the past, and it is not that different from making an extract batch of beer. Keep things simple and add only what you need. Adding some citrus for acidity is ok but I think you're overdoing it with lemon, lime, and pineapple. I've never had to add cayenne to add heat to the beer...the ginger takes care of that nicely if it is fresh. I haven't had any head at all, in any ginger beer I've ever had, so you probably could do away with the cream of tartar (never used it before though).

My recipe uses cane sugar, grated ginger, some lemon for acidity, and water. I used US-05 but you can use whatever you want.
We made it today before I got your reply. We stuck generally close to sneakymeade's successful recipe, but did make a few tweaks. Recipe used as follows:

Here is the 5 gallon recipe we made:
3.5 lbs fresh ginger (fresh young ginger with thin skin), chopped, then blended, other ingrediaents added, boiled and simmered 35 min.
7 lbs turbinado sugar
4 cups pineapple juice (Dole canned)
1.25 cups lemon juice
.50 cups lime juice
2 tsp cream of tartar for head retention (I saw recipies using 5 tsp for 5 gallons, so I doubled the 1 tsp to 2)
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
5 gallons water

Still to be added:
Ale yeast
.50 cups corn sugar for priming

We got about 6+ gallons with pulp still in the bag in the primary, and it tasted sweet, but quite good with some pineapple and citrus flavor, but mostly ginger, and you really can't tell that some of the spiciness is coming from the pepper. We will test the specific gravity and pitch ale yeast tomorrow. We are planning for about a week of fermentation, and if the taste/sweetness is good, then add priming sugar and bottle a few bottles in plastic, and the rest in glass. Once it's carbonated (we will know from the plastic ones) we will pasturize them all.

I got the impression from what I read that the ginger taste will diminsh some when its fermented, and it has a pretty strong ginger flavor now, so we are hoping it will calm down a bit and be just right later as a result. I guess we will find out in a few weeks.

PS: SG was measured today at 1.0575 at room temperature, and SA05 yeast was added. It looks like we will get about 6 gallons.
 
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thrifty_bob

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So it fermented out way too far to 0.9995, and lacked any sweetness. We added 63 gr/liter more turbinado sugar after adjusting 100 ml with 6.3 gr to try to get back to 1.0200 sweetness, which tasted good. We added another 1/2 cup above that to ferment out as priming sugar and bottled in some 1 litre plastic bottles and some glass bottles, and we are waiting for it to carbonate.

Something odd, there were 2 plastic bottles of the mixture we tasted from, and for those two we added and mixed the sugar in directly, ie cold, vs most of them where we melted the sugar first and let it cool, and then mixed it in. The ones it was added to raw pressurized much quicker.

I've been tasting it from that one and it's quite good. We plan to pasteurize when the test bottles are carbonated.

Does anyone know how long that should take?
 

thrifty_bob

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We pasteurized the bottles at 170 for 10 to 20 min (larger bottles longer) after one exploded at 175. It blew the lid off the canning kettle and made a mess of broken glass inside but otherwise no harm done. It tastes quite good, but way too much alcohol for my tastes.

If I was doing it again I would start with SG at 1.0375 and let it ferment out, then add sugar to sweeten + prime and pasteurize when carbonated.
 
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