Part 1-Starting the BUG
You will need:
- Small jar
- small dishtowel or Paper towel
- Rubber band
- 2 inch of Ginger root
- 1 cup water
- 2 tsp sugar
1. The ginger bug could not be easier to start:
Grate about 2 teaspoons of ginger (with skin) into a small jar, add 1 cup water and 2 teaspoons sugar, and stir.
Cover with a dishtowel or paper towel and secure with a rubber band (air in bugs out)
2. Stir frequently, and add a little more grated ginger and sugar each day for a few days, until the mixture is vigorously bubbly.
Ginger roots are rich in yeasts and lactic acid bacteria, so ginger bugs usually get bubbly quickly. However, If you do not get organic it may never get bubbly as my last batch did not. My theory is that most of the ginger imported into the United States has undergone irradiation, thus destroying its bacteria and yeast. Foods marketed as organic cannot be irradiated (according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s organic standards), so for best results make ginger bug with organic ginger, or ginger from a known, non-irradiated source.
Check back in a couple of days for part two because I’m doing this post in REAL time…you are making it with me, so now we wait!
See the little bubbles forming on the sides! This is GOOD and it smells gingery and yeasty, both happy things!
6/7//2015 Beer making day!
Part 2 – Making the Beer
- My bug is nice and bubbly so I prepare a ginger decoction that will become my ginger beer. I like to make a concentrated decoction that cools to room temperature as it is later diluted with cold water. To make such a concentrate, fill a cooking pot with water measuring about half the volume of ginger beer you wish to make. Add finely sliced or grated ginger, using two to six inches of Ginger root (or more) for each gallon of ginger beer you are making (though only half this volume is in the pot). Today I used A good 6 inch ginger root, and I’m making 2 gallons.
- Bring to a boil, then gently simmer the ginger, covered, for about 15 minutes.
- After boiling the ginger, pour the liquid into an open fermentation vessel (crock, or bucket), Add sugar. I use two cups of sugar per gallon. (you can use more or less to taste) Once the sugar is dissolved in hot ginger water, add additional water to reach the target volume. This will cool your sweet ginger decoction. If it feels hot to the touch, leave it a few hours to cool before adding ginger bug. If it feels no warmer than room temperature, go ahead and add ginger bug. Add a little lemon juice too, if you like.
- Stir well. Cover with a cloth to protect from flies and leave to ferment in the open crock, stirring periodically, until the ginger beer is visibly bubbly, anywhere from a few hours to a few days depending upon temperature and the potency of the starter, I leave mine to ferment a bit and only bottle it when it looks like it has peeked and is starting to be less bubbly. the longer the ferment the higher the alcohol content.
Now my Beer is in the crock, Check back for bottling day!
6/11/2015 Bottling Day!
Part 3 – Bottling your Ginger Beer
You will need:
- Large Strainer
- Cheesecloth or Dishtowel
- Large bowl
- Clamp top bottles or recycled soda bottles
- Clean – The area you will be working in and all your tools and containers.
- Line the strainer with your cloth and place over bowl.
- Scoop out the big chunks of ginger from your crock with a slotted spoon.
- Gently pour your beer into the lined strainer, let it strain through until you almost reach the bottom of the strainer, I use a bowl with a pour spout, then just lift my strainer off and put the funnel in a bottle and fill, leaving at least one inch head room. then just repeat until the beer is all bottled.
- Leave bottles to ferment out of direct sunlight in a cool spot until they become carbonated.
- Gauge carbonation with a plastic soda bottle. When it resists squeezing between your fingers and no longer yields easily, it is carbonated.
- Refrigerate bottles to cool and prevent further carbonation.
- Ginger beer will continue to slowly ferment (and pressurize) in the refrigerator, so enjoy it within a few weeks.
OR – For a faster version try Ghanaian Ginger Beer