Ginger Beer is a naturally sparkling and slightly alcoholic drink with a particular sweet and spicy flavor. Through the fermentation process it is obtained this rich in probiotics, or those “good” bacteria useful for our guts. Not only very refreshing and beneficial, ginger beer is also very easy and fun to make at home. Read on to find out how to make your own craft ginger beer.
Are you looking to get more probiotics into your diet? You may be interested in the article “13 fermented foods with probiotics“.
HOW TO BREW GINGER BEER AT HOME
Making ginger beer is a three-step process. You start by preparing the ginger bug, or ginger starter, the so-called yeast. Grated ginger is fermented in water with sugar and lemon juice, allowing the natural yeasts in the ginger to feed on the sugar and multiply. During the fermentation process, good bacteria feed on sugar releasing carbon dioxide making it sparkling.
If you are passionate about the world of fermentation, you may be interested in the article on ‘The 3 types of fermentation: alcoholic, lactic and acetic“.
If you have some friends already brewing their ginger beer, you might ask him for some of his ginger starter. Otherwise, you create your own ginger bug; it’s a rather simple process that requires a little time and patience.
We recommend using bottled mineral water or dechlorinated water. Do not use tap water because it probably contains chlorine, which inhibits fermentation.
STEP 1: CREATE THE STARTER
Ingredients for the ginger starter:
- 3 tablespoons of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
- 3 tablespoons of organic raw sugar
- 2 cups of water
You also need:
- 1 liter glass jar or jug
- Gauze or cotton cloth
- elastic band
How to make the ginger starter:
- To make your ginger starter, add a teaspoon of peeled and grated ginger and a teaspoon of sugar to a jar. Add two cups of mineral water and mix.
- Cover the jar with gauze or a cloth napkin tied with a rubber band. Let the jar sit in a dark place for 24 hours.
- Once a day for a week add a teaspoon of sugar and a teaspoon of fresh grated ginger to the jar and mix well. This ensures that your ginger starter contains nourishment and grows, a bit like you would do with mother yeast. Mix it a couple of times a day. During this process the natural yeasts released and create a white substance come to the bottom of the jar. This is where probiotics come from.
- After about three or five days (perhaps longer if the house is very cold), you stir the liquid when it starts bubbling. Once you can feel the bubbles without touching the jar, your ginger starter is ready to use. It will take seven to ten days in a warm house, but times get longer if the house is cool. If your ginger starter isn’t bubbling after seven days, keep adding a teaspoon of sugar and ginger until it boils.
- Here is your ginger bug ready. Read on to find out how to use it to make ginger beer. Keep adding water, ginger, and sugar to the starter as you keep using it for your batches of ginger beer. If you find mold floating on top of the starter, unfortunately you have to throw it out and make a new one.
STEP 2: PREPARE THE GINGER BEER WITH YOUR STARTER
Ingredients for Ginger Beer:
- 1 cup of ginger starter
- 1 liter (scarce) of mineral water
- 1 and ¼ cups of sugar (organic raw cane sugar recommended)
- half a cup of fresh lemon juice
- 1/3 cup fresh ginger, grated
- Fill a pitcher with mineral water and add the sugar, lemon juice, grated ginger and ginger starter. Mix very well.
- Cover the jug with gauze or a cloth napkin tied with a rubber band and place it in a dark place at room temperature for eight to ten days.
- Taste the mixture periodically to check if you need to add more sugar. Natural probiotics will consume sugar, so if the drink loses all its sweetness, add a little more sugar (no more than 2 tablespoons at a time), but be careful not to overload the probiotics, as they can die if you administer them. too much sugar.
- Stir the mixture once or twice a day. You will notice a white substance forming around the ginger at the bottom of the pitcher. These are the natural yeasts that come out of ginger: it’s a good sign! Bubbles will form on the surface of the liquid. Ginger beer is ready when it becomes fizzy when you mix it.
- Once the ginger beer is ready, taste it. If it doesn’t taste sweet, add more sugar and ginger because, once bottled, the result goes through another fermentation phase in which the acetic bacteria continue to need to feed on sugar.
LAST STEP: THE FINAL FERMENTATION
Now you can bottle the ginger beer as it is, or flavor it before bottling it. Pour the liquid (including the ginger pulp) into glass bottles with a clip and place them in a dark room for two to four days. This step makes the ginger beer particularly sparkling. The warmer the room, the faster the drink becomes sparkling. Open a bottle every day to check the effervescence and the level of sweetness. Both the effervescence and the sweetness depend on your tastes, but be very careful not to let the bottles rest for too long as they may blow.
Store the bottles in the refrigerator to slow down the fermentation process. You will notice your ginger beer will continue to ferment in the refrigerator, better then to consume the drink within a few days to enjoy its sweetness to the fullest. Leaving it in the refrigerator for more than a week will result in a “drier” and less sweet ginger beer.
If you keep feeding your ginger starter, you can keep making your own artisan ginger beers, so you’ll always have your fresh, thirst-quenching, probiotic drink in the fridge.
FLAVORED GINGER BEER
Ginger beer is an easy-to-flavor drink because almost any type of fruit or herb goes beautifully with ginger. The fact that there is already a great deal of sweet and spicy flavor in it provides a wonderful base for incorporating other sweet, sour or creamy flavors. The right time to flavor your ginger beer is before the final fermentation, right before bottling.
Getting creative with fruit and herb combinations is easy when it comes to ginger beer, and you’re pretty much sure you’ll end up with a delicious spectacular healthy drink!