ginger beer

I've wanted to make ginger beer for ages. Something to drink when every one else is drinking proper grown up drinks which I mostly avoid because for a whole lot of boring reasons I am a very cheap drunk. There are lots of recipes out there for ginger beer - I cobbled this one together based on what I read, the equipment I have and what makes sense to me. It's still a work in progress but comes out very drinkable most of the time. Don't be tempted to add more yeast for more fizz - I ended up with some bottles on the back step that brewed for two weeks and by the end they were quite alcoholic and very nasty tasting. The best batches taste like a designer ginger beer with a very smooth mouth feel. Some have said it is a little sweet and my dad has said that it's not fizzy enough but others have said it is very good. I think this ginger beer tastes best after it has been in the fridge for about a week. However I've read some accounts that say to keep homemade ginger beer no longer than 3 days. So like you know, all care and no responsibility. But I certainly haven't suffered any ill effects from leaving it longer. I use 2lt plastic orange juice or smaller soft drink bottles which means that the pressure can build with no risk of a dangerous explosion.  It is also very mildly alcoholic.


You will need
Preserving pan, saucepan or other receptacle with a lid and at least 3lt capacity
4 x 2lt plastic orange juice bottles or similar
4 cups white sugar
6 tablespoons of finely sliced ginger
1 scant teaspoon dried yeast
juice and some zest of 4 big lemons (use more lemons if they are small)
sultanas or sugar

Stage one

  • Place the ginger, lemon juice zest and sugar in recptacle of choice (I use my jamming pan). 
  • Add some water and cook until sugar is dissolved. 
  • Allow to sit for a while after coming off the heat - this will lead to a stronger ginger taste. 
  • Add enough cold water to bring the temperature down to tepid. 
  • Add the yeast and stir. 
  • Cover with lid and leave somewhere for about 24 hours or until there is good yeast activity - the top will bubble a bit.

Stage two

  • Strain the mix. I use a colander and then a fine strainer. 
  • Divide between the four bottles and add cold water leaving a little room at the top of the bottle. 
  • Add a teaspoon of sugar (I use brown sugar at this point for the colour but it doesn't matter) or a couple of sultanas. 
  • Screw the lids on tightly and put on a shelf somewhere. This is when the yeast action together with the pressure of a closed lid will cause carbonation. I've found it takes a bout a day and that the bottle will be bulging. 
  • At this point pop the bottles in the fridge to slow the process down and chill for drinking. The ginger beer is ready to drink at this point but will taste even better in a few days.