Alton Brown makes ginger ale

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Many of us are quite aware of the Good Eats homebrewing episode that was chock full of barely useful techniques and misguided but well-intentioned advice, so spare us your opinion on that one.

However, I'd really like to hear your thoughts on Alton's ginger ale recipe. I can't find a reason not to try it. The segment starts around 7 minutes.

[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bh-9YpCnV3w]YouTube - Good Eats S12E11 Ginger: Rise of the Rhizome (2/2)[/ame]
 

avaserfi

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That's pretty much how I made ginger ale when I made it. The only differences were that I used a 2" chunk of ginger and I grated lemon peel into my simple syrup.
 

avaserfi

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Ohh, sorry. It was great, you will never drink the store stuff again. This actually tastes like ginger! The more you put the more spicy it will be. This is one of those recipes that you can start with what Alton recommends and move from there. If you like more spice add more ginger, more citrus? bump up the lemon. If you like a more syrupy soft drink add more sugar.

I like mine really spicy so I put a bit extra ginger in it. So far everyone who has had it says it is the best they have had. This includes a few chefs who have asked me for the recipe.

Also, this is a great way to make any soda. Make a simple syrup steep with whatever flavorings you want (if any are needed) then add any other liquids and carb however you wish. I have made lemon, lemon-lime, pomegranate, sour cherry and watermelon. All taste like fresh fruit juice with a nice carb.
 

drunkatuw

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I was thinking about using a carbonator cap instead of waiting 48 hours for it to carbonate (I'm impatient). Do you think I should use less sugar since none of it will ferment or should I stick with the original recipe?
 

Yooper

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I was thinking about using a carbonator cap instead of waiting 48 hours for it to carbonate (I'm impatient). Do you think I should use less sugar since none of it will ferment or should I stick with the original recipe?
No, I use a carbonator cap all the time now. What I like to do is still use the same amount of sugar, though. Very little sugar is fermented by the yeast to carbonate, so you can use the same amount.

What I like to do is mix up the ingredients in a pitcher, to taste. Sometimes I add a little more lemon, or use less sugar. Then put it in the 2L bottle, add the carbonator cap and chill it.
 

the_bird

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I just made a batch of ginger candy a la Alton Brown. Absolute crack, the stuff was awesome. I was left with a bunch of spicy liquid from boiling the ginger, thinking that next time I make a batch, I'll integrate that into a simple little beer.
 

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Yooper..

Just to be clear.. when you add the carbo cap do you you leave it on the gas? or do you hit it with gas.. and if the latter.. how often do you re hit it...

just wondering.
 

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Yooper..

Just to be clear.. when you add the carbo cap do you you leave it on the gas? or do you hit it with gas.. and if the latter.. how often do you re hit it...

just wondering.
The last time I put it in the kegerator to chill it, and then left it on the gas overnight. But I've done it both ways- chilled it, hit it with gas (30 psi or so), shake it up gently with the gas still on, and then take it off the gas. You need to do it a couple of times to get it to carb up that way, but it's easy. Either way works fine.
 

thurdl01

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Tried this recipe so I could have some more immediate gratification while waiting for my first beer batch to brew. Came out quite well. I didn't bother filtering the ginger chunks out of the syrup before bottling, which I think brought a little more flavor to the party. Especially when you're drinking and get a nice shave of ginger.

Ya know, if you like ginger enough to not mind that.
 

drunkatuw

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I made this a few weeks ago and it was pretty good. It tastes nothing like commercial ginger ale (which I doubt has much ginger at all).

I used my carbinator cap to carb it and when I first tasted it, it was pretty bad. But I gave it two days in the bottle and then it was really good.
 

sterling214

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Thanks for posting this. I happend to have everything on hand that I needed to give this a shot so I will see in a couple of days how this tasts.
 

Sigafoos

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Made this yesterday and it was great! Of course I was the only one out of four who liked it, but the rest of them suck and don't like beer or other tasty things.

I was actually surprised at how much it tasted like the commercial stuff, only better. It wasn't totally different, it was just stronger and tastier.
 

sterling214

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This recipie will be a keeper. Next time I'll give it a bit more time to fully carb. I swear, it's going to be homemade soda, not homebrew, that has me buying kegging equipment.
 
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I FINALLY got around to giving this a shot today. I made 2 liters, per the recipe, and it was REALLY good! So, I measured the rest of the ginger on hand, and it turns out that I have enough for another 3 gallons. The big batch of syrup is steeping as I type. I'm going to put it on tap tonight!
 

MikeBlick

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I started this 2 days ago and just had my first glass. This is really good, and so easy!

I don't have a scale, so I used 3 tbs freshly grated ginger and a little more than 2/4 cup of sugar. Next time I might go for 4tbs ginger.

Thanks for posting this. I really like rye whiskey and ginger ale so this is going to be nice to have around.
 

Chad

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What kind of yeast are you all using for this? Alton uses what appears to be SAF instant yeast in the clip. I keep a pound of that in my freezer, so no problem there, but it seems with the wide array of yeasts available something tastier than bread yeast would be appropriate. Nottingham? S-05?

Chad
 

avaserfi

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I use rapid rise or active dry bread yeast - whichever is open. I haven't noticed any flavor contributed by the yeast because it is active for such a short amount of time.
 

cimirie

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I'm sorry for a potential hijack. It'll be quick! I guess I'm really confused with the whole process of soda making. I've heard people say "if you want it sweeter, add more sugar," which flies in the face of typical beer brewing logic. Is it really as simple as cold-crashing and storing the soda in the fridge after 24 hours to prevent fermentation?
 

avaserfi

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I'm sorry for a potential hijack. It'll be quick! I guess I'm really confused with the whole process of soda making. I've heard people say "if you want it sweeter, add more sugar," which flies in the face of typical beer brewing logic. Is it really as simple as cold-crashing and storing the soda in the fridge after 24 hours to prevent fermentation?
This is why it is fairly important to bottle soda in plastic if you are bottle carbonating it. Place the mixture in the bottle with your yeast and check every 12 hours or so by squeezing the bottle. Once the bottle is firm, like an unopened store bought soda, you can place it in the fridge and the yeast will go dormant stopping fermentation. If you remove the bottle from the fridge and leave it on the counter for a while the yeast can become active again.
 

Chad

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Okay, I've got a couple of 2L bottles fermenting as we speak. I upped the ginger to 2oz per bottle rather than Alton's 1.5. Still, I was surprised at how mild it was. I was expecting spicy ginger hot, but even tasting the undiluted syrup was pretty tame. Tasty, but tame.

We are addicted to Blenheim Ginger Ale, so perhaps my expectations are off. Even the "mild" version is spicy hot. The "Old #3 Hot" (red cap) version of Blenheim's will clear your sinuses faster than wasabi. That might be coloring my expectations. Is the ginger ale like beer in that it gets sharper as it carbonates?

Chad

ETA: Also see the Blenheim Shrine and The New York Times's William Grimes for more info on the best ginger ale ever. It is amazing in cocktails. The Magnolia Grill in Durham, NC, has a Pineapple Ginger Fizz (2oz pineapple juice, 2oz high quality rum and 3oz of Blenheims) that will forever change your opinion of fruity drinks.
 

Chad

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Okay, the ginger ale is carbed and cooled. Tasty, but more like lemon-lime soda than ginger ale. Maybe I got some overly mild ginger. Any thoughts? At this point I'll definitely make this again but probably triple the ginger per batch to see if that gets closer to what we like.

Has anyone else experienced this?

Chad
 
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The ginger flavor was much stronger during the first two days. Now that it's about a week old, the flavor is much more mild. I definitely agree that there's room for improvement (more ginger!), but this recipe is a great starting point.
 

chefmike

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+1,000 to the Blenheims red cap!

That stuff is AMAZING. I love it with rum.

Chad, if you get a stable recipe in that ball park, PM me!
 

hlumbard

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Is this slightly alcoholic? With the yeast eating the sugar are they producing a small amount?
 

Kauai_Kahuna

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Yuri- Thanks for posting this. This is my first venture into making soda's but it looks tasty.
I had to dig around to find my old carbonator cap adapter, grabbed some ginger, a lemon and started making this. The only change I made was using brown sugar but this does look like something I can easily make, and might enjoy.
 

Kauai_Kahuna

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OK, tasted my first batch yesterday, tasty but decided to make some more with much more ginger, a little more lemon juice and rinds, and just a little less sugar. Second two PET bottles has one being carbonated with C02, the other with a little WLP300 from a washed yeast batch.
Very easy to make, and I like the refreshing taste. With C02 it is totally alcohol free so I can finally bring some "home - brew?" to work and stop spending stupid amounts of money on soda's.
Thanks again for posting that video, nothing answers the questions and can kick you into gear better than a simple step by step video. For me seeing is believing.
 

Tim27

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I just made this stuff as an experiment. I used 3 oz. of ginger because I knew I would need the stronger flavor. Small problem though. It stank like maybe some "rhino farts". It had a really nasty sulfur like odor. I drank it anyway:drunk:. Anyone have a theory as to why my batch turned out this way?
 
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Yesterday's 5 gallon recipe (following the same method):

2.5 lbs grated ginger
3.5 lbs sugar
8 cups water

9.5 oz lemon juice + enough water to top up to 5 gallons

It's a little spicier than the original but not significantly different in flavor.
 

dirt55

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so i'd love to do this and keg it, any idea how long it would keep even if you boiled and sanitized everything???:drunk:
 

talenos

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I just made this stuff as an experiment. I used 3 oz. of ginger because I knew I would need the stronger flavor. Small problem though. It stank like maybe some "rhino farts". It had a really nasty sulfur like odor. I drank it anyway:drunk:. Anyone have a theory as to why my batch turned out this way?
Sounds like it has to be the yeast. How long did you have it out, and what yeast did you use?
 

mutedog

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I've done this using champagne yeast instead of baking yeast. Also if you're looking for some more flavor try adding other spices you like, cinnamon, clove, etc. I put a dash of cayenne pepper in one and it really turned up the heat on it.
 

talenos

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I tried making this last night. We used some honey in place of sugar and I put some of the lemon zest from the lemon into the steep.

I tried some today. Wasn't carbed, but it tasted pretty good. Ginger was definitely an understatement though. I will add more next time, but it was still quite good.
 

paulthenurse

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Yuri,
If you make up a Corny of this and put it immediatly into the kegerator under pressure do you need to add the yeast at all? Since you aren't looking for alcohol and the CO2 comes from the kegerator it doesn't seem like you need it at all.

PTN
 

Reinheitsgebot

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Jeffrey Morgenthaler » How To Make Your Own Ginger Beer

I make this stuff all the time.

To get the intenseness of the ginger, this guy recommends juicing the grated ginger, thus making a ginger juice. It is very concentrated, but when mixed as per the recipe, it is great.
Spicy, yet sweet enough - just like most store bought ones.

I make these in beer bottles, but will go to 2 L plastic bottles from now on.
 
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