Ginger Beer Experiment

Grace and I have taken the time to make a new Ginger Beer plant – harking back to my own youth when we made ginger beer almost every week at home. The technique was introduced to me by my Grandmother who furnished me with a “kit” which I recall came in a stone bottle of some sort and consisted of ground ginger and some instructions. I can’t remember whether we obtained the yeast elsewhere although I do have a memory of smelly blocks of soft gooey stuff so we probably got that from the baker in Dene Street (sadly long gone, now).

The receipe we used this time was something of a guess at what was needed: the plant itself (and there are those who would disagree that this was a genuine real symbiotic ginger beer plant – they’re probably right) was stared using a teaspoon of dried yeast (the type we use in the bread machine), a teaspoonfull of ground ginger and a teaspoon of sugar all mixed with about a pint of like warm water and placed in a covered, but not sealed jar. Each day Grace added another teaspoon each of ground ginger and sugar. This went on for seven days until last night when I completed the first bottling.

Bottling consisted of: dissolving eight ounces of sugar in hot water, adding the jiuce of one lemon and making the quantity up to about 6 pints. The ginger beer plant itself was poured into this via a sieve and cloth strainer. It took a few minutes to get through the cloth as the solids quickly clogged things up. After that, the fluid was put into pint bottles and capped with crown caps (which I had for my conventional beer making).

The solids from the straining process were returned to the jar, a pint of fresh water added and the plant restarted ready for next week’s bottling.

The seven bottles of new ginger beer are now maturing in the shed in a large plastic bucket withe a cardboard cover. This is specifically to protect, to some extent, from the risk of explosion that the bottles pose as the small amounts of yeast still supended in the solution go to work on the new sugar and carbonate the beer (alchohol is a side product). I have vivid memories of bottles spraying all over the kitchen at home on one occasion.

Two weeks to wait – then I’ll test and report!

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