Make Your Own Ginger Beer using Ginger Bug or Yeast (non alcoholic)
Make Your Own Ginger Beer using Ginger Bug or Yeast (non alcoholic)
Sugar in Store Bought Sodas
Personally, I avoid store bought pop and have since childhood. The rest of the family drank it, but I decided young that it was not good for me and opted for other choices. (I am quite certain I was an odd child.)
The amount of sugar in store bought soda seems completely insane to me.
If you (like many many people) have a pop habit, it’s a good habit to break. My opinion of course.;)
Homemade pop on the other hand not only contains much less sugar (the yeast consumes the added sugar), but has the added benefit of being probiotic. It’s a perfect alternative to store bought because you still feel like you’re drinking pop! If you are trying to break the pop habit, this is for you!
Flavor your ginger beer soda however you want and be astounded by the process of natural carbonation (I’m easily amused).
Ginger is used to create a ‘ginger bug‘ which can be used as a base for fermenting your own sodas. It works very much like a sourdough starter, and in fact can be used to leaven bread as well.
I LOVE ginger. I use somewhere around 2 pounds of it every week in homemade sodas, tea, ferments, meals, and even desserts (like ginger snap cookies!).
Lucky for me it’s a health food.;)
I’ve kept the same ‘ginger bug’ for years – as long as you keep it fed and happy, it will last indefinitely. It takes about 8 days (on average) to produce an active ginger bug and I think it’s worth it for the flavor alone, but if you don’t, this soda can be made using store bought yeast as well.
Lacto-Fermentation, Ginger, & Alcohol Content
Lacto-fermented soda stores well, so I like to make large batches of ginger beer, but the recipe can be halved if you like.
Any flavorings you like can be added to change it up and make an assortment of homemade sodas.
A little raspberry added to this recipe is fantastic; I’ve also added mango to this ginger beer – and it is one of my favorites! Don’t be afraid to experiment – just add what strikes your fancy to the recipe before boiling and simmering.
Ginger is great for you in many ways, but the most well known may be as the cure for an upset tummy – and soda is one medicine most kids won’t mind taking.:)
This recipe will produce a negligible amount of alcohol (just like the ginger beers you buy at the store which are often marked as .5% abv). Alcohol is a by-product of fermentation, as is the CO2 which presents as carbonation in the soda. If a lacto-ferment is producing CO2, then it must also produce alcohol. If the exact amount of alcohol is a concern for you, use a hydrometer to check the amount of alcohol produced. Adding less sugar will produce less alcohol, however you must add some sugar to feed the yeasts.
Any fermentable sugar can be used. Many people believe honey will kill a ferment, but if you’ve ever made mead, you know this is not true.:) I’ve never made this with honey, but if you have I’d love if you’d leave a comment about it!
The “lacto” in lacto-ferment refers to lactobacillus bacteria, a bacteria which does all kinds of healthy probiotic type things in your gut.
It acts as a natural preservative in ferments and is a simple method of adding probiotics to your foods. It is also responsible for destroying unhealthy bacteria within the ferment.
Enough of the sciency stuff, let’s make with the ginger beer…
Ginger Beer Recipe
1 cup ginger bug OR 1/2 tsp. brewers yeast
1 gallon dechlorinated water, divided
1 cup sugar
4 tbsp. fresh grated ginger
juice of one lemon
1 tsp. lemon zest (optional)
1/8 cup lime juice (optional)
spices (optional) ** cinnamon stick, peppercorns, cayenne, coriander, star anise, cloves
To Make Ginger Beer:
Boil 1/3 gallon water in large pot.
Add fresh ginger, lemon zest, any spices, and sugar.
Simmer 15 minutes, remove from heat and let cool to 80 degrees.
Strain ginger bug into the fermentation container, adding pulp back to your ginger bug.
If you don’t have a 1 gallon fermentation container, you can use sanitized 1 gallon milk jugs. They are easily acquired and a small sized bung with airlock fits perfectly.
Replace ginger bug liquid used (1 cup water), and feed it. I recommend leaving your bug at room temperature and feeding daily for a couple days before storing in the fridge to make sure it is active and happy.
Strain stove top mixture into fermentation container and squeeze the remaining liquid from the pulp.
Add lemon and lime juices.
Top off with water up to the ‘shoulders’ of container and stir.
*For yeast method, now is the time to add yeast. *
Ginger beer will be very active! You will get a LOT of carbonation which in my way I find very amusing to watch lol. Bubbles!
Place airlock on container and place somewhere warm (72 – 80 degrees).
Stir daily with non reactive utensil (ie: wood, plastic, or stainless steel. I tend to use a wooden chopstick).
On day 3, pour into drinking containers. Bail top beverage containers make an attractive option, but I have a limited supply of them, so I often use sanitized 1 litre pop bottles.:)
Ginger beer can be stored in a pantry or cupboard and chilled in fridge for a few hours before serving.
Bottles should be ‘burped’ every 24 – 48 hours to avoid the buildup of CO2 which can lead to “bottle bombs”. Bottle bombs are no joke! A glass container exploding randomly with all that pressure is dangerous and destructive – not to mention messy. This is why I prefer sanitized pop bottles (which I have to get from other people because I do not drink pop lol).
Pop bottles are designed to withstand the pressure from carbonation and I’d much rather a plastic container explosion than a glass one!
A note on opening your fermented soda – you might be surprised at the amount of natural carbonation in that little bottle of ginger beer! Slowly release the lid of chilled soda over a sink or outside to avoid a huge mess. A chilled soda won’t bubble up quite so much, so I recommend letting it chill in the fridge overnight before opening.
Have you ever made your own ginger beer? Did you use a ginger bug or yeast? Have you tried making ginger beer using honey?
posted by Brooke on June 15, 2018
I attempted this recipe and followed it exactly as written, but four days later there isn’t much carbonation. It only bubbles when I stir it up. I don’t know what went wrong. Maybe there should have been more than 1/2 teaspoon of yeast put in? Any help would be appreciated.
posted by YogurtHydro on June 17, 2018
If you are getting some bubbles and there is no off-smell or signs of mold then the ferment seems to be working. You can add another 1/2 tsp of yeast to perk it off if you aren’t seeing much change.
Sorry for the late reply, my dog was attacked by a coyote and has taken all my attention these last couple of days!
posted by Pablo Guero on November 26, 2018
What should you strain the ginger bug through when adding it to the fermentation container? Does the filter need to be non-reactive? (Wood, plastic?)
posted by YogurtHydro on November 27, 2018
Non-reactive is best, although it will be in contact a very short time and probably wouldn’t hurt anything so quickly. Plastic or stainless steel are commonly used. If you don’t have anything else you can also use a very clean, tightly woven cloth – like a tea towel, pillow case or even a t-shirt.;)