Wanted to try something new, so I decided to try to make my own Ginger Beer soda. I got this recipe from the Chelsea Green website.
Grate ginger with skin until you get about 2 tsp. Add this to 1 cup of water and 2 tsp of sugar. I also threw in 1 tsp or so of raisins. You’re supposed to let this sit for a few days to cultivate the wild yeast from the skin of the ginger. I added the raisins to try to get a more robust yeast strain.
Ginger bug looks nice and active. A good 3/8″ of foam on the top layer. Heated 2 quarts of water to a boil and added about 6″ of coarsely grated fresh ginger root (including skin) and 1 1/2 cups of sugar. Brought this to a boil again for 15 minutes. After this, strained it through a metal coffee strainer and added 3 trays of ice cubes to cool down to about 80ºF. Then strained the ginger bug (yeast mixture) into the pot. Mixed briefly and then split this mixture between two 2L soda bottles along with 4Tsp Lemon Juice. Topped them each off with more water and capped them. I filled them to about 1 1/2″ from the very top. Not really sure how this works with soda. Now they’ll sit and do their thing for two weeks. Seems too long to me, but we’ll see. Hopefully no explosions.
Both bottles have quite a bit of pressure and barely any give when pressed. Put them in the fridge to cold crash the yeast out. I think two weeks would have resulted in the bottoms being blown out. We’ll see if the carbonation ends up being enough.
Finally cracked this yesterday or the day before. Interesting taste. It is heavily carbonated, so a definite soda water type taste, and maybe not enough sugar. The ginger part tastes a little like crystallized ginger, but it does not, overall, taste like ginger ale or ginger beer. Very light in color. Also appears to have a Hydrogen Sulfide problem, with a faint sulfur smell, possibly due to bacterial contamination or maybe sulfur that was sprayed on the grapes. Seeing as I only used a handful of raisins, I would guess this is not the issue. Maybe next time I’ll use wine yeast instead of the natural stuff to try to prevent this. Also, I think maybe I need to look at varieties of ginger to use.