Monday, September 6, 2010

Ginger Beer!

This weekend my housemate and I bottled the first batch of beer we brewed in our new place! It's a ginger beer we brewed on August 16th. It's not technically beer because they're no grain in it so I suppose it's more of a fruit wine. But comparable non alcoholic ginger drinks (like Reed's) are called ginger beer so I think the name calls to mind the appropriate flavour.

We started with something like 1 kilo of ginger, 2 lemons, some cloves, cinnamon, and maybe nutmeg (my housemate did the recipe mostly off the top of her head so the details are sketchy).

We couldn't find a good brew pot in the area that didn't cost an arm and a leg so for now we're using a Ball canning pot that has about a 5.25 gallon capacity. It's working fine so far, but the size means we can't do any all grain brews.

All the ginger needed to be ground up. It was tough work for my food processor. The stringy ginger kept getting caught up in everything. The house smelled incredible though.

The lemons were sliced and tossed in water (about 2 gallons) with the ginger and spices and about 2 kilos of raw sugar.

We boiled the crap out of it for a while.

Then we strained it and brought the temperature down so we could add the yeast. We used a champagne yeast (another brewing first for me) so it could handle the high sugar content.

Then we let it ferment away! It bubbled quite a lot for two weeks. The lid on the top bowed out because of all of the air pressure that built up inside the bucket. We bottled it into 12oz bottles and I think we ended up with 55 bottles total, so the batch was a bit more than 5 gallons. We tasted some when we bottled it and it was really good (pre-bottling the beer is alcoholic but not carbonated or cold, so it doesn't taste quite like the finished product). It has a solid ginger flavour with a spicy kick to it. Definitely a good way to start the year.

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