Sisters Are Brewing It For Themselves

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 yourΒ local home-brew storeΒ and follow the instructions for either alcoholic or non-alcoholic ginger beer. Good Luck!

27 thoughts on “Sisters Are Brewing It For Themselves

  1. Although somewhat troubled by your propensity for brewing anything non-alcoholic, I am deeply jealous of the skills involved. Craft beers (or real ales or whatever you want to call it) are sorely missed at Casa Alotofwind. Every time I find myself in Gib there’s a pilgrimage to the beer shelf in Morrisons…

    • Thanks, Robin!
      I look on it the same way as for the vegetarian recipes that I post – wouldn’t want it as a permanent way of life – but for the sake of the teetotalers, I’ll keep a balanced view πŸ™‚
      Shall I put a few aside for you?
      Remember Bar Humbug is open over the Christmas Holidays if you want to visit!

  2. Sounds easy enough for me to try. Where do you get your fresh yeast from though Sue? I have no problem getting dried levadura, but haven’t seen it fresh. xx

    • It is very easy, Elle, if it wasn’t, I’d never have tried it!
      I get my fresh yeast from the baker in the village but I have bought it from Carrefour as well – in the refrigerated section, near to the ready made pastry. I’m sure that other supermarkets sell it.
      Let me know how it turns out?
      Good luck xx

  3. It’s very easy to make, Paddy.
    Good luck with your brewing – it doesn’t take up much time. The first part only takes about 10 minutes, then you can leave it for about a week. The second fermentation & bottling takes about an hour. I’m sure you’ll be able to squeeze it into your schedule. πŸ™‚ xx

  4. I’m so glad that you mentioned that brew kit at the end, because it sounds like an awesome recipe, but I think I’d screw it up. I don’t actually recall if I’ve ever had ginger beer, with or without alcohol.

    • I kept putting off making it from scratch because I thought I’d screw it up – but it really is very simple to make and I’m glad I finally made it. The brew kits are a little easier. I prefer the non-alcoholic ginger beer – it’s very refreshing with just that ‘kick’ you get from ginger. Try and track some down, Cathy, but don’t get it confused with Ginger Wine – that’s a different drink altogether! πŸ™‚

    • Non-alcoholic Ginger Beer is more like a soda, than a beer, Jennifer – it’s really quite refreshing! However, if you have a recipe for your vin brule, I’d love to try making it. πŸ™‚

  5. Ah yes, the cooler air does make sleeping so delightful. That is until the COLD really kicks in – here in Croatia anyways.

    I want to try this recipe, but the storage area is so full with wine and home made spirits right now – what’s the latest time in the season that this can be brewed?

    • It certainly is more pleasant – but as you say, until the cold kicks in – as we are inland we do get quite cold winters (but, thankfully, nowhere near as cold as back in the UK!)

      Most yeasts can ferment at temperatures between 18Β°C-32Β°C. However, it will perform best when the temperature is between 21Β°C-27Β°C. If the temperature is allowed to drop too low fermentation activity will stop. The temperature should remain constant throughout the fermentation process so if you have a store cupboard or such – you should be good for a while yet. We only brew in autumn and spring – it’s too cold in winter and too hot in summer. We look for daytime temperatures of around 28Β°-30Β° and nighttime ones of 16Β°-22Β° – the brews stay at around 24Β°-26Β° (we have stick-on thermometers on the brew-bins – the dark vertical strip visible in the first picture).
      Thanks for stopping by and good luck! Let me know how you get on with it? πŸ™‚

  6. Pingback: La Cosecha | Hidden Spain

    • Carrefour in MΓ©rida is the only place that I’ve found it around here, Tanya – maybe the CΓ‘ceres one has it too? Let me know how you get on? πŸ™‚

    • Let us know how you get on with it, Josh?
      Craft ales? I probably could if I could get my hands on some hops………… I’ll probably stick to the kits (it’s easier!!)
      Thanks for stopping by πŸ™‚

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