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Traditional Ginger Beer

If you are interested in trying your hand at a traditional home made ginger beer, here's terrific a recipe

This is not really an alcoholic beer although it does have a very small percentage of alcohol from the fermentation process. The recipe is very simple and once you get the hang of making it you should experiment with other flavor combinations. This recipe has a strong bite.

You will need
• a large pot (about 8 - 10 litres) for boiling. Stainless steel or enamel is best.
• a fermenter (a plastic or glass container about 5 - 8 litres)
• a jug & a funnel
• a packet of sterilizing compound *
* available from Liquorcraft

Ingredients:
• 1 handful sized knob of fresh ginger root
• 2 cups of sugar
• 4.5 litres of water
• 1 sachet SAFale yeast *
• 1/4 tsp yeast nutrient *
* available from Liquorcraft

Optional:
• substitute brown sugar for of the white sugar with brown sugar for added flavour
• substitute maple syrup for some of the sugar
• substitute malt extract for some of the sugar
• 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (added bite)
• 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar (acid balance & smooth mouth feel)
• fresh lemon and/or lime sliced thinly or juice & zest only. You could try oranges too.

Method Stage 1
• If you have a juicer, juice the ginger root to make 1/4 to 1/3 cup of juice. If you don't have a juicer then grate or mash the ginger. A chinese ginger grater is excellent for this.

• Any citrus fruits can be sliced finely or you can use the juice & the zest of the fruit.

• Put the water into a large pot & bring it to the boil. Add the ginger & sugar plus any optional spices or fruits. Stir well until dissolved.

• At the same time add the yeast & yeast nutrient to half a cup of warm (not hot) water & stir well.

• Meanwhile let the mixture in the pot boil for a few minutes. If you are using fresh lemons or diced ginger you might want to boil longer to extract more flavors. When you have finished boiling turn off the heat & cool the mixture.You can use cold water & ice in a sink to speed the cooling.

• Use sterilizing compound to sterilize a fermenter according to the directions on the packet.

• When it has cooled enough to handle, strain the liquid through a sieve lined with cheesecloth or panty-hose into a suitable sized container (fermenter). When the temperature is 30C or less add the yeast, stir well, and then seal the fermenter with a brewing airlock or stretchy food wrap with a pin hole to allow gas to escape.

Stage 2
• The mixture should start fermenting some time during the first 24 hours. It is time to bottle when it is producing a steady stream of bubbles.

• You will need 6 x 750ml plastic lemonade bottles (or 8 x 600ml, 9 x 500ml, 12 x 375ml)

• Clean & sterilise the bottles & a pouring jug. Use sterilizing compound according to the directions on the packet.

• Decant the ginger beer into the jug (or pour directly from the fermenter if you can) without disturbing to much sediment in the bottom of the fermenter. It does not matter if a little sediment goes into the bottles. Fill each bottle to about 50mm from the top and screw on the plastic lid firmly.

• Squeeze all the air out of one bottle & re-seal it. Store all the bottles in a warm place.

• Keep an eye on the squeezed bottle. When it has re-inflated, the other bottles will probably be ready to drink. Put them all in the fridge straight away. This will cool the ginger beer so it stops fermenting & the pressure will stop building up. The squeezed bottle will need more time before it goes in the fridge.

• Once you have reached this stage, the bottles must be stored in the fridge all the time. If they are allowed to warm up again, the fermentation will re-start & the pressure will build up. It may even cause the bottles to explode.