Oh, September, how happy I am to see you! Don’t get me wrong, I’m not wishing away the last of the summer heat, but I’m happy that the nights are a little cooler making it easier to sleep. I’m also pleased that the average temperature is low enough for me to start brewing again.
As I’ve mentioned previously, it’s around this time of year that I get the fermenting buckets out of storage and I start making the ales that will provide much of our winter drinking pleasure. I’ve started a little earlier than usual this year, though, as I want to include another beer to my repertoire – ginger beer. I have made ginger beer in the past with some success and I quite like a ginger beer shandy once in a while – that’s “half beer, half ginger beer” and not “half lemonade, half ginger beer” as one of my bar staff once interpreted the request (it was the same guy who misheard a customer and gave him lime & bitter in place of the light & bitter he requested – he didn’t last long at that pub!).
Making non-alcoholic ginger beer – and lashings of it – is very simple, here’s a quick recipe:
What you will need :
A large bowl or plastic bucket,
A length of plastic tube (for syphoning),
The rind & juice of 1 lemon,
25ml (5 level tsp) cream of tartar,
450 (1lb) sugar,
25g (1oz) fresh root ginger (peeled),
2.3 litres (4 pints) boiling water,
2.3 litres (4 pints) cold water,
15g (1/2 oz) fresh yeast,
1 slice toast.
And this is what you do:
Place the lemon rind, cream of tartar and sugar in the bowl (or bucket).
Bruise the ginger (battering it with a rolling pin works well!) and place in the bowl.
Pour over the boiling water and stir until the sugar is dissolved.
Add the cold water and lemon juice.
Leave to cool until just warm to the hand.
Spread the yeast on the toast and float it on the mixture.
Cover with a clean cloth and leave in a warm place for 24* hours until frothy.
Remove any scum from the top of the mixture.
Discard the toast.
Syphon the beer into sterilised bottles – avoiding any sediment.
Seal the bottles with screw tops.
Leave for 3 days in a cool place before drinking.
Drink within 3 days or the ginger beer will taste too yeasty.
Makes approximately 5.1 litres (9 pints)
* – Leave the mixture for about 6 days and you’ll have alcoholic ginger beer!
If, like me, the thought of doing all that seems too much like hard work, you can always get a kit from your local home-brew store and follow the instructions for either alcoholic or non-alcoholic ginger beer. Good Luck!