Historical Beers Early American Ginger Beer

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

Help Support Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum:

kevin58

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Sep 4, 2017
Messages
1,357
Reaction score
1,012
Yeast
Wine Yeast
Yeast Starter
No
Batch Size (Gallons)
1
Original Gravity
Unknown
Final Gravity
Unknown
Boiling Time (Minutes)
5
IBU
N/A
Color
Gold
Primary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp)
24 hours @ room temp
Secondary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp)
none
Additional Fermentation
none
Tasting Notes
Bright, refreshing, ginger prominent with hint of lemon.
This recipe comes from the living history folks at Townsends.us. I stumbled across their video series on 18th century cooking and this episode was all about ginger beer. It is a combination of two historic recipes they have found... one from 1737 which is more of a molasses beer with ginger in it and the second is a straight ginger beer recipe from 1811.

1 gallon water

8 oz Molasses (not blackstrap)
8 oz Turbinado brown sugar
1 oz Ginger powder
3 oz Ginger fresh chopped and/or diced
Juice of one lemon

1/6th pack of dry yeast for wine or champagne

I tried to stick pretty close to how they did it in the video but I did ignore some of their advice. I let mine ferment for about 24 hours instead of 12 to 16 ...and I let it sit out for a couple of days after bottling instead of refrigerating right away.

I mixed my ingredients while the water was heating on the stove. First the molasses making sure it was mixed well before adding the Turbinado which was also stirred until thoroughly mixed.

Next I stirred in the Ginger powder followed by the chopped fresh ginger. (I would describe the chop used as a "rough chop")

Lastly I squeezed the juice of a fresh lemon into the mixture and brought it to a boil for just a couple of minutes before taking it off the heat and setting it aside in a sink full of ice water to cool.

I let the mixture cool to "blood temperature" and transferred it to a 1 gallon glass jug and pitched the yeast. Since the yeast packet was for 6 gallons I weighed out 1/6th. I put an airlock on it and set it aside until the next day. (next time I might try an open fermentation in a bowl as in the video)

24 hours later I filled and capped 7, 12 oz bottles. I probably could have gotten at least one more but the last of it was getting pretty clouded up with sediment. Ignoring the recommendation for no good reason, I let the bottles sit at room temperature for 3 days and then put them in the refrigerator.

Early American Ginger Beer.jpg

After a week of conditioning I opened one up. It was a gusher and nearly half spewed into the sink before I could get it under a glass. After opening a couple more however I suspect that this particular bottle may have been the last one that I capped because it was thick with sediment and to my taste, overly sweet and strong with ginger flavor. I'm guessing this is the case because the next two bottles did not gush and the flavor was much more balanced.

A co-worker agreed to test one for me and he also did not experience any gushing. He made a cocktail called a dark and stormy with half of it and drank the other half straight. He says he liked it all by itself so much wished he hadn't used up the first half making a cocktail.

I didn't take any gravity readings so I have no idea what the ABV is. I don't think alcohol was ever the point of this drink anyway. One taste and its not hard to imagine what a treat something like this would have been to people living in the 18th and early 19th century. It's a mouth bomb of bright, fresh and zingy flavors.

Here's the video:

 

Metalchef1

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Apr 6, 2017
Messages
424
Reaction score
93
I'm going to have to make this.... And going to have to make variations of it too...
I'm mildly obsessed with ginger.
I just bottled a sour ginger wit that I'm really hoping will rock after a bit of bottle conditioning.
 

SirHC_

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 7, 2016
Messages
166
Reaction score
69
Location
Dubuque
looks great, I've made homemade ginger beer in the past with varying results. I'll have to try this one next!
 

KrazyK

New Member
Joined
Jun 9, 2020
Messages
3
Reaction score
11
Sorry to dig up such an old thread, but I have been addicted to ginger beer brewing since the start of this quarantine. I made myself up a 3 gallon batch of this following the recipe. OG was 1.040, FG was 0.998, and I am in love! My next batch will have some fresh ginger added to the secondary to get a bit more spice, but this stuff is AWESOME. Thanks so much for the recipe. Cheers!
 

AkTom

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 19, 2013
Messages
1,968
Reaction score
1,516
Location
Big Spring
@KrazyK , so you just X3 the ingredients? Anything else different? How long did you let it go?
Ask I for a friend...
 

KrazyK

New Member
Joined
Jun 9, 2020
Messages
3
Reaction score
11
@KrazyK , so you just X3 the ingredients? Anything else different? How long did you let it go?
Ask I for a friend...
Hi AkTom, yes just tripled everything listed and crossed my fingers! I left it in the primary for three days, then in secondary for another 4 days since I like my ginger beers dry and spicy. I kept most of the ginger pieces when I transferred to my fermenter, but filtered them out when I racked it. I also primed my 1 liter bottles with 1 tbsp of syrup I made from 2 cups of water and 1/4 c sugar brought to a boil and cooled. Definitely gave it enough to get the bottles carbed up nicely.
Oh, for the yeast I used Lalvin EC-1118, but I would bet just good old fashioned bread making yeast would work just fine as well.
 

susanmcm

Member
Joined
Sep 1, 2020
Messages
6
Reaction score
3
Thanks for your video! Your presence is invigorating. I’m excited to try this one out-
 
Top