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Ginger Beer (A Healthy Soda)

August 11, 2009

Having been bolstered by my recent success with secondary fermenting and flavoring kombucha, I decided to try my hand at making ginger beer (aka ginger ale).  The whole process starts with making a “ginger bug”, which is the bacteria that kick starts the fermentation process.  I tried this a couple of years ago and my “bug” never got bubbly and the experiment failed.  With Wild Fermentation in hand, I gave it another shot.  I mixed two teaspoons grated ginger, two teaspoons sugar and one cup of water and covered with a cloth.  After two days, I added the same amounts of ginger and sugar and after two more days, I had a bubbly ginger bug!

Ginger bug

Ginger bug

The next step is easy enough.  Boil 2 quarts of water and add 2 to 6 inches of grated ginger root and 1 1/2 cups of sugar.  (I wanted mine a medium ginger flavor, so I think I added about 3 or 4″.)  Boil for about 15 minutes and then cool.  When this mixture has cooled, strain it and add the juice of one lemon and the strained ginger bug.  You can reserve a few tablespoons of the  ginger bug and replenish it with extra water, ginger and sugar to keep it going if you want to continue to make ginger beer.  Then add enough water to your ginger and lemon mixture to make one gallon.  Then bottle in seal able bottles.  I primarily used Grolsch beer bottles, but Ikea carries some nice 1 liter bottles with a rubber gasket and bailed lid.  Wild Fermentation also suggests recycling plastic soda bottles with screw tops or using capped beer bottles.

Leave them to ferment in a room temperature spot for one to two weeks*.  Cool before opening and be prepared for it to rush out when you do open it.

*Wild Fermentation recommends leaving them to ferment for two weeks.  I had planned on doing this.  Then we left for NM.  All was well until 9 days or so into the fermentation process when my friend April, who was feeding our dogs for us, texted me that a bottle had exploded.  Eek!  Her husband placed the rest of the bottles into my fridge and we didn’t have any more casualties, so in the future, I think I will test one around one week.

With much trepidation, I opened the first bottle, praying that it wouldn’t explode and with a sharp pop, misty CO2 poured out along with a bit of fizzy ginger ale.  I poured some into a glass, took a swig and was delighted to find a very fizzy, lightly sweet and cold healthy soda.  It turned out so well, that I was in shock for awhile.  The color and flavor remind me slightly of Squirt, but man, it’s healthy for you!  This is pretty nifty, because I’m not the type of person who starts eating healthy and never gets a craving for any junk food ever again.  Sometimes I really crave a Coca Cola and I think that if get to drink this regularly I won’t feel those cravings.

Ginger Beer

Ginger Beer

So, give it a try.  It’s so easy and the results are very rewarding.  Just don’t forget that exploding glass is a pain in the neck to clean up and probably flies like shrapnel in a war zone.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Cindy permalink
    August 15, 2009 8:51 am

    I think I’ll try this with empty 2 litres. I’m a little scared of exploding glass : ) but have wanted to make ginger ale for awhile now. Ginger ale is the same as ginger beer?

    • August 15, 2009 9:01 am

      Yes, it’s the same thing, Cindy. Let me know how it turns out if you try it!

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