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Brewing Ginger Ale


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#1 dpwishy

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Posted 08 March 2010 - 08:22 PM

I am in the process of brewing my first 2 liter of ginger ale. Figured I'd share the process.

2 liter bottle
1 ½ tablespoons Ginger root grated
1 cup of sugar
water
1/2 teaspoon of yeast (bakers of champagne)
In a couple recipes I read to add the juice of a lemon

You add the ingredients and fill the bottle about an inch and a half or so below the cap cap line, and tighten the cap. The bottle is to be left at room temp until it becomes "hard" to the touch like its an unopened soda at a store. Then it should be moved into the fridge to stop the process so it wont keep eating the sugar and making this alcoholic and not a soda. Iv heard this can take up to 4 days (to carbonate), others claim one. I bet the room temperature as a big factor in speed. There will be an alcohol content obviously, the carbonation is due to the yeast, which alcohol is also a by product of it. I read that it takes about a gallon and a half to equal one 12 ounce beer alcohol wise. So I am guessing its non existent taste wise and just enough to preserve the drink. But You all know my past, and that I am an alcoholic, so if there is any taste or if this is stronger than expected, this is will be one the and only try, but I hope to be able to brew more sodas, root beer, cream soda, birch beer and so on.

One thing I wanted to add, it said just to add the ginger to the sugar into the bottle, I thought this was a stupid idea and decided to tea my ginger. Who wants grated ginger in their drink? not me. I am doing a few extractions on the ginger/water as we speak now. I plan to boil the material at least three times, filtering in between and adding new water, and finally filtering out the material in the last batch. For the lemon I added one shot glass full of lemon juice from those yellow balls.

Ill post an end picture,
I was going to post pictures for the whole process,
but I mean, its adding 4 things to a bottle lol

I used organic bakers yeast,
so I probably will have a slight yeast taste,
I am hoping I wont.
Nxt run ill use champagne yeast,
moneys just short atm

In divine friendship,
your brother,
-wishy

Edited by dpwishy, 08 March 2010 - 09:48 PM.

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#2 essentrik1

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Posted 08 March 2010 - 08:56 PM

Basic Brewing Radio did an episode or two on brewing authentic ginger ale/beer. You should check it out. If I had more money/time/equipment, I would be doing that as well. Sounds tasty as hell.

#3 riseabovethought

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Posted 08 March 2010 - 09:04 PM

Cool brother. I've been tempted to do this for ages. When my wife was pregnant, they told her Ginger ale is perfect for a healthy anti- nausea drink... and I like your style - extracting and making a tea.

I just wonder about the sugar part. Could honey or stevia be used instead?

And how about mixing in some club soda, & skipping the yeast? Just wondering your opinions. Thanks DP. Always a pleasure.

Edited by riseabovethought, 09 March 2010 - 01:41 AM.


#4 Poppy

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Posted 08 March 2010 - 09:20 PM

Very nice wishy!

I will have to do this soon.....


:bow::bow:

#5 SilvrHairDevil

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Posted 08 March 2010 - 10:00 PM

That mention of ginger sediment brought back an old recollection of the locally brewed ginger beer I got as a kid.

For myself, I wouldn't see it as a drawback and it may give you a fuller flavor than an extract.

Remember - you will have a slight yeast sediment also. When you open the bottle, you should pour it all off to avoid redistributing the sediment and clouding the remainder anyway.

Use bread yeast for this. You will get quicker carbonation with close to zero alcohol.

You can make root beer, birch beer, spruce beer and maple beer with this same process.

#6 Umbo

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Posted 08 March 2010 - 10:08 PM

That reminds me of a 'ginger jack' I made
in the fall. Pressed apples for cider, juiced
fresh ginger hands, brewed echinacea tea,
and added all together..un-f-ing believable!
Added some fresh made cranberry juice to
some of it and that was even better!
There is a place in Vermont that makes it,
Shelburne farms, we modeled our after
theirs.
Your recipe sounds good tho wishy! Best of luck.

#7 dpwishy

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Posted 08 March 2010 - 10:08 PM

That mention of ginger sediment brought back an old recollection of the locally brewed ginger beer I got as a kid.
For myself, I wouldn'tsee it as a drawback and it may give you a fuller flavor than an extract.

Remember - you will have a slight yeast sediment also. When you open the bottle, you should pour it all off to avoid redistributing the sediment and clouding the remainder anyway.

Use bread yeast for this. You will get quicker carbonation with close to zero alcohol.
.


Do you mean pour off the soda when its done to a new container?
And also what temp range does baking yeast need, that's what I'm using. We have not been using the heat in my apartment and I'm guessing its always around 50-55 degree's, will this be to cold for the yeast to do its thing?

In divine friendship,
your brother,
-wishy

#8 SilvrHairDevil

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Posted 09 March 2010 - 02:53 AM

Do you mean pour off the soda when its done to a new container?
And also what temp range does baking yeast need, that's what I'm using. We have not been using the heat in my apartment and I'm guessing its always around 50-55 degree's, will this be to cold for the yeast to do its thing


Pour off the soda into glasses when it's time to drink it. It can stay in its bottle until then. But when you do pour it - pour it all.

Best to get that up to 70-75 degrees if you can - it will take forever and 6 weeks unless it gets warm enough to work.

Go by the firmness of the plastic bottle. When it gets hard, you're ready.

Make sure the cap is screwed on firmly but not torqued enough to distort the plastic and so lose pressure.

#9 heritage ranch

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Posted 09 March 2010 - 03:22 AM

Cool brother. I've been tempted to do this for ages. When my wife was pregnant, they told her Ginger ale is perfect for a healthy anti- nausea drink... and I like your style - extracting and making a tea.

I just wonder about the sugar part. Could honey or stevia be used instead? honey might work as it does have a sugar content to feed the critters, but it might also not work so well as honey has some natural preservatives that might hinder the growth of the yeast, i know honey can mess up a kombucha scoby if used a lo. i seriously doubt the stevia would work, not much to feed the yeast

And how about mixing in some club soda, & skipping the yeast? Just wondering your opinions. the vast majority of club sodas are mechanically carbonated with co2 under pressure and with out an active culture you would not generate any co2 to carbonate the new drink Thanks DP. Always a pleasure.



#10 dpwishy

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Posted 09 March 2010 - 07:35 AM

the vast majority of club sodas are mechanically carbonated with CO2 under pressure and with out an active culture you would not generate any CO2 to carbonate the new drink


Now a days we just send co2 through all our sodas, but back in the day this wasn't just to carbonate our drinks. The tiny amount of alcohol that is produced also acts as a preserver. In this case the carbonation was an extra bi-product, but now for us we are looking for this carbonation and the alcohol is just an extra by product, how ironic eh? Making/getting sterile "safe" drinks back in the day wasn't easy. Most people had to add alcohol to water at a certain ratio just so that it was drinkable and wouldn't make you sick.

You can brew these all yourself, I am going to start to use real pure cane sugar next time. At your local brewing store you can buy extracts if you can not find the right barks or ingredients to make other sodas from complete "scratch". They sell root beer extracts, cream soda, ginger ale, birch beer and so on, there are tons and tons of extracts at the brewing store you can buy.

I know I could have used one tablespoon of ginger ale extract from a brewing store, instead of the 1 and a half tablespoons of grated ginger root. But wtf, real ginger sounded better to me. And that much ginger costs like 40 cents lol

And how about mixing in some club soda, & skipping the yeast?.


I assume seltzer water (which is club soda right?) is just carbonated water? So you could probably just add brewing extract/root with the sugar and mix it together. But that's just a guess. But I don't see why that would be a good option, for the price of the 2 liters of seltzer water, the sugar, yeast and extract/root. You will by pass the amount of money it costs to just buy some ginger ale already made.

Also, I would assume the stirring that would be needed to dissolve all the sugar/root or extract,
would completely destroy your carbonation levels in the seltzer water and turn it flat almost instantly.

A lbs of sugar is like a few bucks, its super cheap.
Ginger root is even cheaper, and I bought enough organic yeast to make 823498938924 bottles for 2 bucks.
So in the end you are paying like 30-40 cents for ginger, like 10 cents for the cup of sugar, 10 cents for the yeast, and the water is free. So 60 cents for a 2 liter?

And If you made this is 5 gallon jug/batches, the prices of a single 2 litter would be SOOOO much cheaper.
Far below even 60 cents, Its to early to do the math now, but maybe I will later :)

In divine friendship,
your brother,
-wishy

Edited by dpwishy, 09 March 2010 - 07:57 AM.


#11 bear

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Posted 09 March 2010 - 09:40 AM

If I may offer a humble suggestion
manual carbonation of soda with yeast sucks balls
if you really want to pro this out what you do is boil up a really strong ginger/whatever syrup that is so strong you would never want to drink it.
put it in a soda keg, fill up to 5 gallons, and put it under 30psi of co2 pressure.
it'll carbonate in 24 hours and it won't be yeasty, instead of like 4 months and yeastiness.

5 gallons of soda, cost = 50 cents or something?
I also suggest unsweetened fruit juice sodas!

#12 dpwishy

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Posted 09 March 2010 - 11:56 AM

If I may offer a humble suggestion
manual carbonation of soda with yeast sucks balls
if you really want to pro this out what you do is boil up a really strong ginger/whatever syrup that is so strong you would never want to drink it.
put it in a soda keg, fill up to 5 gallons, and put it under 30psi of co2 pressure.
it'll carbonate in 24 hours and it won't be yeasty, instead of like 4 months and yeastiness.!


Well I plan on letting it settle, then siphoning it off like I used to when I used to extract bark powder. I may even leave the bottom 3 inches to just throw away where the yeast has settled. If I do taste yeast, I will go to champagne yeast, which has no taste. But as mentioned above, bakers yeast will be better for zero to no alcohol content. Just trying to see how much of a taste it will leave. 4 months is an overshoot by a million, Its been in my room with the heat on for about 12 hours, It has gotten pressure already, and wouldn't be surprised if it only needs another 12 hours, so 24 hours altogether. So I guess we shall know pretty soon.

As for the keg method, I am hardly getting by at the moment money wise.
Cant afford anything crazy,
only thing I had to buy here was a 2 dollar bag of yeast and 40 cents of ginger.
But I agree, that would be pro wazzle status

In divine friendship,
your brother,
-wishy

#13 SilvrHairDevil

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Posted 09 March 2010 - 11:56 AM

If I may offer a humble suggestion
manual carbonation of soda with yeast sucks balls
if you really want to pro this out what you do is boil up a really strong ginger/whatever syrup that is so strong you would never want to drink it.
put it in a soda keg, fill up to 5 gallons, and put it under 30psi of co2 pressure.
it'll carbonate in 24 hours and it won't be yeasty, instead of like 4 months and yeastiness.

5 gallons of soda, cost = 50 cents or something?
I also suggest unsweetened fruit juice sodas!



At the risk of sidetracking this thread - I have seen a similar set-up with high gravity beer. Instead of adding the water to a keg and pressurizing it, the beer "syrup" is mixed with carbonated water at the serving spout, like soda fountain drinks.

#14 dpwishy

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Posted 09 March 2010 - 03:55 PM

So this def looks like It will finish tonightish, there is a sediment at the bottom that fills in all the nobs at the bottom of the 2 litter. At first I thought it was yeast, but then I realized there was only 1/4 a teaspoon of yeast, you should hardly be able to see any of it. So I am thinking its all ginger that was grated so fine that it made it through the filter, so I think I am going to keep it all in there instead of siphoning.

What do you guys think?

In Divine Friendship,
your brother,
-wishy

#15 SilvrHairDevil

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Posted 10 March 2010 - 01:29 AM

It's yeast. Yeast propagates while doing its carbonation thing. When the pressure builds up, it kills the newly-propagated yeast and that's what you see settled on the bottom of your bottle.

Check my first reply for how to deal with it.

#16 heritage ranch

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Posted 10 March 2010 - 02:28 AM

If I may offer a humble suggestion
manual carbonation of soda with yeast sucks balls
if you really want to pro this out what you do is boil up a really strong ginger/whatever syrup that is so strong you would never want to drink it.
put it in a soda keg, fill up to 5 gallons, and put it under 30psi of co2 pressure.
it'll carbonate in 24 hours and it won't be yeasty, instead of like 4 months and yeastiness.

5 gallons of soda, cost = 50 cents or something?
I also suggest unsweetened fruit juice sodas!



we carbonate our rootbeer in 3-4 days. they get so fizzy you have to be extra carefull when opening and to only open a well chilled bottle. and there is NO yeast taste. we dont use a processed yeast we make our own starter, a "ginger bug" basically you mix up a sugary ginger liquid and cover with cheese cloth and set out on the counter till nice and fizzy. (couple days) then toss it in the fridge. when we make root beer or other "soda" we add a table spoon or so of this starter to the home made soda mix, cover loosley and leave on counter for a day or so, till you see it bubling nicely, then cap and leave at room temp a couple more days, then chill and consume. great stuff. not only does the alc act as a preservitive (to a point) but the live culture produces enzymes, kinda like the benifits of yogurt. yes healthy soda

i think my favorite is apple soda. start with some truly raw (unpasturized) apple cider. pour in a mason jar and cover lightly. leave on counter at room temp a day or so till it starts to buble good. then bottle and cap. leave on counter a couple more days (depends on temp and sugar content) then chill well. enjoy cold. the fermentation carbonates it very well and also takes a bit of the edge off the sweetness. good stuff. i got a gallon of raw cider in the freezer, might need to thaw it out and get it cooking.

#17 heritage ranch

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Posted 10 March 2010 - 02:30 AM

So this def looks like It will finish tonightish, there is a sediment at the bottom that fills in all the nobs at the bottom of the 2 litter. At first I thought it was yeast, but then I realized there was only 1/4 a teaspoon of yeast, you should hardly be able to see any of it. So I am thinking its all ginger that was grated so fine that it made it through the filter, so I think I am going to keep it all in there instead of siphoning.

What do you guys think?

In Divine Friendship,
your brother,
-wishy



you may have started with only a 1/4 tsp but it multiplies, as they grow and multiply, that is what makes the carbonation

#18 SilvrHairDevil

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Posted 10 March 2010 - 03:49 PM

HR - that's an interesting idea. Using the natural yeast that comes with the fruit.

Grapes, blackberries, apples - all come with their own yeast colonies and I imagine many others do, too.

The cultivated strains of yeasts were developed for consistency of flavor and alcohol production, which aren't a concern when carbonating soft drinks.

#19 hungryjim

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Posted 21 March 2010 - 02:30 PM

Thanks to everyone here for being so intelligent, and resourceful...wifey hates my interests and hobbies, but LOVES ginger ale....props!




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