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Ted's Ginger Muggs Ginger Beer

A few years back, one of the local food stores had a special on Ginger Beer over the summer. It was terrifically good, but also terrifically expensive, even on sale. It worked out at over $1.50 per 300 ml bottle. I experimented with several recipes I found online, modifying parts of them till I ended up with the following:

Ingredients:
(Makes 12-14 500 ml bottles)

  • 50 grams packaged ground ginger
  • 1 chunk ginger root, about 1 inches long, grated, or 1 heaped teaspoon bottled minced ginger
  • 75 ml of lemon juice (fresh or Realemon)
  • 1 tablespoon cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon Instant Dry Yeast (5 g)
  • 2 squirts RealLime (or juice of half a small fresh lime)
  • 3 cups sugar (750ml)
  • 25 ml One-On-One Ginger Beer Concentrate (*See note below)
  • 12 500 mg bottles of water (You can use tap water if you like, if it is drinkable in your area, but for this first batch you are after the plastic bottles and lids. I got mine on super-sale for $1.50 a dozen. Warning! Don't use the single-use plastic bottles or glass bottles . They might explode. Go for the more durable reusable plastic bottles and re-use them over and over. I used Aquafina 500 ml.)

Directions:

Starting your plant:
(Day One: Preparation: 10 Minutes.)
  1. To a large glass jar (1 litre or more), add
    • 1 heaped tablespoon ground ginger
    • ½ teaspoon instant dry yeast
    • 2 tablespoons sugar
  2. Add 750 ml warm (not hot) water
  3. Add 1 heaped teaspoon freshly grated or bottled minced ginger. Stir well.
  4. Cover jar with cheesecloth or similar mesh held in place by elastic band.
  5. Let stand in a warm place

Every day for the next 6 days add 1 teaspoon of ground ginger and 1 teaspoon of sugar.

Mixing your brew:
(Day Eight: Preparation: 15 minutes)
  1. Pour half the bottled water into a two gallon pot. (Be sure to save the empty bottles and caps! After the first couple of batches, you can use tap water if it is drinkable in your area. Just half fill with water right from the tap)
  2. Add 2 cups of sugar and stir well.
  3. Add a couple of squirts of lime juice and a tablespoon of cream of tartar and stir well.
  4. "Start" the yeast by adding ½ a teaspoonful of the dry instant yeast to ½ glass of warm water and ½ teaspoon sugar.
  5. Add the ginger plant to the pot, draining through a sieve lined with cheesecloth or other fine mesh. As this is not a true "ginger bug" you can discard the leavings.
  6. Add 25 ml of One-on-One Ginger Beer concentrate*. Stir well.
  7. Add the rising yeast mixture. Stir all well.
  8. Add the rest of the water to fill the brewing pot.
  9. Cover pot and set aside in a warm place for 24 hours.
Bottling your brew:
(Day Nine: Preparation: 20 minutes.)
  1. If you lifted the lid of the pot in the last 24 hours, you will have seen the surface bubbling away as the yeast went to work. You will have smelled the pleasant odors of lemon and ginger wafting through your house. Now is the time to start bottling it.
  2. To each of the empty plastic bottles add a few grains of sugar, about as much as will stick to the end of a teaspoon, no more. This is to give the yeast a new kick-start.
  3. Using a ladle, a large funnel, and one of those small cheap plastic and stainless steel mesh coffee filter baskets, filter the liquid into the bottles to about an inch and a half below the neck. The airspace is needed for gas expansion. Screw the caps down tightly.
  4. You should have enough for a 13 or 14 bottles if you can scrounge up a couple more bottles , or you can drink or discard the left-over liquid.
  5. Discard the lemon and ginger pulp you have filtered off.
  6. Now set the bottles aside in a warm spot
  7. After about 4 hours, you may find the bottles may have started falling over, if their bottoms have swelled out because of the pressure, or at very least they will have become quite hard if you squeeze them. I leave them sit overnight, but then comes the time to put them into the fridge to stop the yeast and aeration working. But the fermentation will continue slowly.
  8. After another 2 days you can start drinking your masterpiece, but I find it's best to wait 7 days to give the brew time to age to a rick, full taste.
  9. In the meantime, you can start another batch, feeding it daily as above, knowing that you have about a 9 day cycle between one batch and the next.

To me, an alcoholic, this non-alcoholic beverage is perfect - not too sweet, and very refreshing, not to mention easy to make and about 1/4 the cost of the store-bought stuff. The illustration at the top is from a label I made for bottles I gave away at Christmas. It is based on the Australian classic comic-strip character Ginger Meggs.

Note on One-on-One Ginger Beer Concentrate.

I have making variations of this recipe now for over 10 years, all the time trying to get a genuine Ginger Beer taste (or a real live Ginger Beer Plant). Unfortunately, the little symbiotic bacteria which is the true Ginger Beer bug has died out in most of the world. I have tried "Genuine Ginger Beer Plants" from England and Ireland, but both of these proved to be nothing more than ground ginger and intsant yeast. I have also tried all sorts of Ginger Beer Flavorings but they were all disappointing. Last year I came across One-on-One Flavor Concentrates and tried their product. It was just right to add that little extra "Oomph!" to my home-made ginger beer to make it taste like the real thing. It now has a true Ginger Beer bite!

Unfortunately, ordering it from the States was not very satifactory. First there was the exhorbitant shipping and handling rates — more than the product itself. An exchange rate of 35% was added to both of these items. On top of that It took the US Postal Service 7 weeks and a day to get it from from Los Angles to CanadianCustoms in Richmond BC.

Then I dicovered Fusion Flavors in Canada. They handled some One-on-One Flavors products, but not the Ginger Beer Concentrate, but I contacted them and they now have the product in stock. Of course, as an import it is about 30% higher than the US price, but the shipping cost is much more reasonable. It will cost you about $50 Canadian including taxes, shipping and handling for 250 ml, about 10 batches worth.

You can find their order page here: Fusion Flavours: Ginger Beer Concentrate

Contributed by Ted