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Rhubarb Beer(Ginger beer type)

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Federico Calza

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I want to make some ginger beer but because of my ginger allergy I decided to do a ginger beer with rhubarb.

I have informed my self for the last couple of days and I can't find a recipe for it.

1. My first problem is how do I want to add the rhubarb, do I want a more wine type end product so first process the rhubarb and then boil it before adding or just adding sticks of it, or I read that some guy slightly caramelized slices of rhubarb before fermenting.

2. Should I add some rhubarb juice? Or honey even though I don't want it too sweet? Or maybe some lemon?

3. I want to add peppermint leaves at some point, should I just do it when consuming or before?

4. I want it fairly carbonated, is there something that could mess with the carbonation?

I would love to know if you have experience on this matter and if you could help me with any of these questions.
 
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PiXeLaTeD

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I've never tried this with rhubarb, but I have a couple questions that are relevant to yours -
1. I'd suggest preparing the rhubarb in whichever way you prefer it's taste. If you want a darker flavor, you can always experiment with varying levels of charring, or even caramelizing your sugars slightly.
2. Are you looking for an alcoholic beverage or just probiotic?
2a. As far as alcohol percentage, what are you going for? Fermentation, here, is probably going to require *some* sugar, but the amount you should use is dependent on what you're hoping to have as your end product.
3. As far as peppermint, I'd suggest using low concentrations due to organisms having a hard time growing in its presence, or waiting until the end.
4. The carbonation is done in most of these cases (home ferment, small-scale) by bottle priming - sealing the beverage in a bottle that can withstand high pressure and letting the yeast do their work on remaining sugars - to the desired level of carbonation.
Oh, and lemon is good for yeast health and balancing final pH, and you'll get a much better flavor extraction from the rhubarb by shredding and boiling it than by any other (reasonably priced) method.
 
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Federico Calza

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2. Are you looking for an alcoholic beverage or just probiotic?
2a. As far as alcohol percentage, what are you going for? Fermentation, here, is probably going to require *some* sugar, but the amount you should use is dependent on what you're hoping to have as your end product.
.
Thanks really helped me out!
I was thinking of a carbonated beverage almost soda like, I live in Germany and we have these of rhubarb sodas which are just rhubarb juice, sprinkling water and fresh mint, and I wanted to make something similar but with something special.
So I was thinking of a 4-5% alcohol from 1:1 rhubarb and sugar, but not fully fermented to have that strong rhubarb taste with a sweeteness. Do you think that much sugar is overkill or should I do more sugar? Or instead of more sugar caramellize part of the rhubarb?
 

PiXeLaTeD

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If I wanted to make it candy-like and have an unctuous (may not translate well - dark and refreshing to those who like dark flavors), sweet flavor, I'd let my rhubarb crisp in a pan, like letting garlic brown in butter, but in a pan with no oil. Gentle heat until it reduces, then add in the water for your mash. The initial braise/fry will remove the more volatile oils - in ginger beer, that would be the spicy bit - and leave the more rounded flavors that give you a rhubarb pie sort of flavor.
As far as sugar goes, if you're looking for a notable sweetness at 5%, you're going to need around 1.5 to 2 pounds (0.7 to 0.9kg) per gallon. A gallon is ~3.74 litres, so divide the kilograms per gallon and multiply by your number of litres. A ginger bug won't be ideal at those ratios, and you'll need a true yeast. Whether it be baker's yeast or distiller's yeast, you'll be fine for a first run. You can put your ginger bug in top of the yeast, but if you're planning on a certain percentage alcohol attenuation, I'd just use yeast.
 

PiXeLaTeD

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Does Germany have a drinking age, these days? Because that of the U.S. is 21 and I'm pretty sure I'm on thin ice advising you of how to make alcoholic beverages.
 
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Federico Calza

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Does Germany have a drinking age, these days? Because that of the U.S. is 21 and I'm pretty sure I'm on thin ice advising you of how to make alcoholic beverages.
Don't worry it's 16 for beer and wine and 18 for everything else.
 

PiXeLaTeD

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I f\/*|<I/\/* love Germany.
Anything more? What temperatures are you working with, and what volume of final product are you looking for? I tend to use this to convert from sugar in g/L to potential alcohol - h
//www.distilling-spirits.com/tools/calculations/sugar-alcohol-conversion/
If you want sweetness, add some more sugar on top of whatever value you end up with for your percentage. For example, if I were doing 1 US gallon, I'd do one pound of sugar for ~5%. Converted to metric, that comes to about 400g and 3.74 litres. Divide 400g by 3.74(litres per gallon) and you get ~107g/L which gives me a bit above 5% in the calculator tool.
 
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Federico Calza

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I was thinking of keeping it on around 20°C which would be around 70°F, and do it on a smaller scale to first find the right taste(1L/1.5L).
Also it's not really rhubarb season so that's another problem to solve, but I feel like I have everything I need.
For the carbonation I was thinking of just using beer bottles(the ones you can hermetically close) because they are easy to find, do you have a better idea?
 

PiXeLaTeD

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When you say 'hermetically close' I have no idea what you're talking about. If you're suggesting flip-top bottles that once contained beer, I am totally in agreement with your choice. Personally, I use flip-top bottles to bottle prime/carbonate and I would have it no other way this early in my brewing life. Just tasted my first coffee/ginger beer. My goodness. I'm at a loss for words. Still too sweet, but it's on its way to a lovely drink. :)
Here's hoping you find your ingredients and get everything going! Have you considered canned rhubarb? Is that a thing?
I'd suggest starting with at least two litres. I tend to go with 1 gallon - ~3.74 litres - when I do a test. Perhaps upwards of two gallons. It's still not a huge loss and it gives a reasonable expectation of how a larger batch will behave. Also, the larger the batch, the less subtle differences will affect it.
 
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