New here, ginger beer!

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Hi all, glad to be here! I have tried brewing in the past (elderflower champagne and rhubarb wine), unsuccessfully (mainly due to inappropriate equipment and poor protocol I reckon) . This time I have been determined to do better. Using a recently purchased 2nd hand Spiedel 30L fermenter, I have started a ginger beer!

Rather than follow a specific recipe, I did the following based on looking at many different recipes:

Ingredients:
1kg brown sugar
1.35kg white sugar
700g peeled grated ginger
6 limes sliced up
5g Lalvin EC-1118
20 litres of water

I dissolved 2kg of sugar (1 white 1 brown) into 1.4L of water brought to boil.
I brought ginger and lime to boil and then simmered for 10 mins in 600ml of water.
I put the boiled ginger and lime into the fermenter, with the solids in a mesh bag.
I added the remaining 18 litres of water and the sugar syrup.
I later tapped of 500ml at 24°C and pitched the yeast into it.

At this point OG was 1.031 (adjusted to 20°C) which was a bit lower than I was expecting, so I dissolved 350g of white sugar in 500ml of water and added it to the fermenter, replacing 500ml of the brew which I had tapped off for a separate experiment (so total added water volume still 20L).

At this point adjusted OG measured 1.04.
I added the 500ml of brew with dissolved yeast to the fermenter and fitted the airlock. (Around midnight last night.)

The airlock is bubbling slowly - 1 bubble every 15 seconds, but I'm not sure my fermenter lid is 100% airtight, as it is missing the O ring. And it is fairly cool in the room, probably 16-18°C.

Any thoughts or comments appreciated!
 
Hi all, glad to be here! I have tried brewing in the past (elderflower champagne and rhubarb wine), unsuccessfully (mainly due to inappropriate equipment and poor protocol I reckon) . This time I have been determined to do better. Using a recently purchased 2nd hand Spiedel 30L fermenter, I have started a ginger beer!

Rather than follow a specific recipe, I did the following based on looking at many different recipes:

Ingredients:
1kg brown sugar
1.35kg white sugar
700g peeled grated ginger
6 limes sliced up
5g Lalvin EC-1118
20 litres of water

I dissolved 2kg of sugar (1 white 1 brown) into 1.4L of water brought to boil.
I brought ginger and lime to boil and then simmered for 10 mins in 600ml of water.
I put the boiled ginger and lime into the fermenter, with the solids in a mesh bag.
I added the remaining 18 litres of water and the sugar syrup.
I later tapped of 500ml at 24°C and pitched the yeast into it.

At this point OG was 1.031 (adjusted to 20°C) which was a bit lower than I was expecting, so I dissolved 350g of white sugar in 500ml of water and added it to the fermenter, replacing 500ml of the brew which I had tapped off for a separate experiment (so total added water volume still 20L).

At this point adjusted OG measured 1.04.
I added the 500ml of brew with dissolved yeast to the fermenter and fitted the airlock. (Around midnight last night.)

The airlock is bubbling slowly - 1 bubble every 15 seconds, but I'm not sure my fermenter lid is 100% airtight, as it is missing the O ring. And it is fairly cool in the room, probably 16-18°C.

Any thoughts or comments appreciated!
First off, Welcome to the group!

I can't comment much on making ginger beer but your comment about your fermenter - your gravity is at 1.04, with a regular beer that would be about finished up. I would let it sit for another couple days since you made an addition to it. As far as your lid, if you don't replace it, and you should, you could have put tape around the edge to help seal it.

Also, every time you open the lid you're risking contamination, so be careful adding to your brew.

Hopefully someone else will chime in to give you more advice. Please post your results on how it turned out.
 
Thanks for the reply OakIslandBrewery,

I think ginger beer has all fermentable sugars and is supposed to end up around at a specific gravity of around 1, so when fermentation finishes I should have an ABV of 5-5.5%. And when I prime the bottles that will go up by another 0.5.

I forgot to mention that the sugar I added to up the OG before pitching my yeast was dissolved into boiling water, so hopefully limiting risk of contamination. Fingers crossed! It has been sealed since and now bubbling at 1 bubble per 9 seconds, so perhaps it is all airtight, and fermenting normally for my room temp.

Supposedly 7-10 days will see it finishing up, but we'll see. I'll post regarding next step and final results!
 
An update:

It has been 6 days, and the ginger beer seems to have given up fermenting at 1.018.

Meanwhile, I have a parallel experimental 1 litre ferment of 50/50 ginger beer pineapple juice. This has fully fermented to 0.998. Its hard to gauge how drinkable this is when sampling it cloudy, flat and at room temperature from the hydrometer tube! But I'll try and get some sediment-free into a primed bottle and see how it tastes once fizzy and cold.

It makes me think that juice is a complete yeast food, while sugary ginger tea is not...

I boiled a teaspoon of bakers yeast and a handful of raisins and threw it in the fermenter to see if this gets the ginger beer going... if not I might throw in a few litres of pineapple juice. Next time I guess I should consider yeast nutrient.

I will update in a few days.
 
An update:

It has been 6 days, and the ginger beer seems to have given up fermenting at 1.018.

Meanwhile, I have a parallel experimental 1 litre ferment of 50/50 ginger beer pineapple juice. This has fully fermented to 0.998. Its hard to gauge how drinkable this is when sampling it cloudy, flat and at room temperature from the hydrometer tube! But I'll try and get some sediment-free into a primed bottle and see how it tastes once fizzy and cold.

It makes me think that juice is a complete yeast food, while sugary ginger tea is not...

I boiled a teaspoon of bakers yeast and a handful of raisins and threw it in the fermenter to see if this gets the ginger beer going... if not I might throw in a few litres of pineapple juice. Next time I guess I should consider yeast nutrient.

I will update in a few days.
Glad I was some help.

I think yeast nutrients are good to add, cheap insurance IMO. I wouldn't get too disappointed first sampling anything unless it's real horrible. It takes time for flavors to meld, meaning sort if like aging it a little. Beer goes through dramatic changes as it ages, especially the use of darker grains.
 
Another update:

I don't know whether it was the addition of the boiled bakers yeast and raisins or not, but fermentation of the ginger beer is still chugging away. My airlock was inactive, so I got frustrated and took the lid off to have a look, but saw that there were surface bubbles appearing, so the airlock wasn't working due to poorly sealed lid.

SG now reads 1.012.

Its a slow ferment, but working, so all good I hope!

Tastes ok. Thanks for the encouraging words OakIslandBrewery, hopefully time, CO2 and coldness will get it tasting good!

I bottled the litre of 50/50 pineapple and ginger beer, which had fermented dry, primed with 17g of brown sugar.

I will report in a few days.
 
Another update:

I don't know whether it was the addition of the boiled bakers yeast and raisins or not, but fermentation of the ginger beer is still chugging away. My airlock was inactive, so I got frustrated and took the lid off to have a look, but saw that there were surface bubbles appearing, so the airlock wasn't working due to poorly sealed lid.

SG now reads 1.012.

Its a slow ferment, but working, so all good I hope!

Tastes ok. Thanks for the encouraging words OakIslandBrewery, hopefully time, CO2 and coldness will get it tasting good!

I bottled the litre of 50/50 pineapple and ginger beer, which had fermented dry, primed with 17g of brown sugar.

I will report in a few days.
Letting many brewed creations sit does improve with time, but only if they're good to start. By the sounds of it I think you be ok.

Not sure how much the raisins add for fermentation but some more yeast probably kicked up some remaining sugars. Even after the bubbling stops leaving it sit for a while won't hurt, just to make sure. Extra time will help settle out and clarify your beer.

Try not to take the lid off next time, that's not a good practice. It could introduce wild yeast in the air or some unwanted smells. Not good.

Like I mentioned, I have zero experience with ginger beer but I have brewed lots and lots of beer. The fermentation aspect is very similar no matter what you're making.

I'm here to help if I can. I was hoping others would chime in, ones that have brewed ginger beer before but maybe they're busy. Right now you're stuck with me pal!
 
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