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Ginger Beer

I invented this recipe myself based on a lot of trial and error.  It works, it's good.  There are a lot of ginger beer recipes out there that call for things like aspartame, food coloring, dried ginger powder, and other vile things.  Just say no to bad beer!

4 lemons, zested
16oz fresh ginger root, peeled 
8cupssugar
2lbslight malt extract
3lbslactose (for sweetening)
2tbsp yeast nutrient 
5galwater (spring or distilled - not tap!)
1pktdry ale yeast
  • Zest and juice the four lemons and put the zest and juice into a small stock pot (2 gallon size is probably fine). Discard the pith.  Don't worry too much about seeds, because you'll strain them out later.
  • Peel ginger root and slice it finely, then add it to the pot.  (Or just run it through a food processor until coarsely chopped.)
  • Add 1 gallon of the water and bring the pot to a boil.  Boil for 30 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and let it cool until no longer boiling.  
  • Add sugar and malt extract. 
  • Return to extremely low heat for another 20 minutes. Do not let it boil, scorch, or burn! Especially do not let it boil over.  It will ruin your life.
  • Add the remaining 4 gallons of water to your primary fermenter, then strain the wort into it. The temperature should be right around 82 degrees Fahrenheit if the water was at room temperature, but check it to make sure.
  • When temperature evens out (i.e. whenever it is below about 85 degrees), take a hydrometer reading, then add the yeast and yeast nutrient. Cover and seal with an airlock. The OG should be around 1.050.
Note: after the first few hours, this will begin to bubble violently. If you've made beer before, don't worry: this will not develop much in the way of foam, but you'll think Cthulhu is about to rise up out of it.  After about three days, the bubbling will settle down to normal beer bubbling levels.
  • When initial fermentation has slowed down (about a week), rack into your secondary fermenter.
  • Ferment out, and when you think it's ready, wait an extra two days.
  • Take another hydrometer reading (FG should be 1.020), then rack into a bottling bucket and add 5-6 oz priming sugar (3/4 cup), and the lactose.
  • Bottle. I like to add a couple of slivers of ginger to each bottle, but that's just for fancy.
  • Prime bottles in a warm location for two weeks. Be careful of explosions.  (Ginger beer is the only beer I've ever made that has exploded during priming, and it took out part of a wall.)
  • After two weeks, move the bottles to a cool location for aging for another two to four weeks.
  • Enjoy!
  • Warning: You might want to have a glass ready to pour these into when you open them... the bottles will most likely foam over when opened.
Weight Watchers Foodies:  5 Points per 12-oz bottle
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