My grandma Aggie first introduced me to home sodamaking. With my help (but moreso my youthful curiosity), she prepared Root Beer for our midsummer family reunions. I vividly remember the sight and smell of Ramblin’ root beer extract running down a pile of sugar at the bottom of the 5-gallon bucket where she mixed the brew. She bottled in green glass with old-school press-on steel caps (non-twist-off). I helped haul the bottles out to the lawn to warm in the sun. After a few days we’d sample one and then move them down to the fridge in the basement to wait for reunion day.
So, this recipe is a simpler ginger variant of that concept. Not too difficult but I hope you’ll find the results as refreshing and delightful as I do.
Matt’s Authentic Ginger Brew
Ingredients (per 2L bottle)
3 oz of Fresh ginger
1 to 1.5 Lemons (5-6 oz juice)
1 Cup Sugar (experience will help you tweak the sweetness, the yeast consumes a lot of it in the carbonation process)
Water – Approx. 2 liters, lukewarm (80-100 F)
¼ tsp Red Star Yeast (or equal – but not instant or rapid-rise yeast)
Lemon Juicer (any type should do)
Large funnel that fits into a 2L bottle
2L Plastic Bottle(s) (sanitized with Hydrogen Peroxide (or bleach) then triple-rinsed with hot water)
Gentle heat source (Hot water heater, Dehydrator)
- Juice the Ginger in the electric Juicer. (Passing it through multiple times helps maximize the squeeze).
- Squeeze the lemons.
- Add ginger and lemon juices to 2 L Bottle.
- Insert funnel and add sugar, shaking if necessary.
- Fill the bottle with water (leaving about 1” of headspace).
- Add Yeast.
- Cap and Shake until all sugar is dissolved.
- Lay bottles down in a warm location (I put mine on the Hot Water Heater) but you can use a dehydrator set to about 95F.
- Check bottles at least daily (squeeze to test firmness) – usually it’s ready in 24-48 hours.
- Refrigerate until consumption when bottles are pressurized (firm to the squeeze). If left out, bottles will continue to pressurize and that’s not good. See Caution below.
NOTE: The heat helps the yeast get started and work faster. I’ve achieved decent carbonation in as little as 18 hours. Store in a cooler place if you don’t want the pressure to build too fast.
CAUTION: Beware of overpressurization & bursting bottles! Based on my previous Rocket Launch testing, these bottles can handle over 150 PSI. But if left for too long, the trapped carbon dioxide will exceed this. The plastic can stretch slowly and possibly burst. If the bottle gets taller or stretch marks appear in the plastic at the neck, be very careful in handling the bottles. Pressure can be relieved by slowly opening the cap…but beware of the foam.
NOTE: When I mixed the lemon and ginger juice, the solution became slightly pink. I am not sure if this affected the flavor but taste may be slightly different if the juices are added to the water separately.
Thanks for coming!!
MAKING GINGER ALE AT HOME by David B. Fankhauser, Ph.D.