Of course, you can always buy your ginger beer, but if you have more of a DIY spirit, then you can easily make lightly alcoholic ginger beer at home. Then, all you have to do is count on your own signature home brew instead of buying ginger beer when you want to make a Moscow Mule.
Brewing Homemade Ginger Beer
Brewing your own ginger bear is not rocket science, but you must pay attention to what you are doing. Pressure explosion are possible as the yeast sets, so pay attention to what you are doing.
Ginger Beer Ingredients List
- 2 and ½ to 3 pounds of fresh ginger root
- 12 cups of fresh water
- 1 ½ cups (or less) of sugar or brown sugar
- 1 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice (store bought is fine as well.
- 1 package of yeast, preferably champagne yeast
- 1-gallon capacity glass jug with a fermentation-proof snap-lock and gasket
Your glass jug must be immaculately cleaned and sanitized. You should fill the jug and add one tablespoon of bleach to disinfect it for about half an hour. Clean thoroughly with very clean paper towels and allow to completely air dry. Your fermenting mix of ginger beer will become disgustingly smelly, and undrinkable, if any dirt or bacteria survives.
Scrub-wash and clean the ginger root while leaving the skin intact.
Chop your ginger root into small pieces, mix into one cup of clean water. Put the mix into a food processor or blender until you have a fine pulp.
Bring 11 cups of water to a boil in a very clean pot. Add the sugar until it is dissolved completely, your ginger pulp mix and the lemon juice. Allow this complete mix to cool down for about 2 hours.
Then, pour this mix into your immaculately clean 1-gallon capacity glass jug.
When the sugar and ginger break down during the fermentation process, you may wind up with a 4%, or less, alcohol by volume content.
Now, it is time to prep the champagne yeast, the main ingredient in this process. Heat up one cup of sugar and ginger pulp infused water to a mild boil and stir in the yeast. If it is too hot if will kill the yeast.
Set the covered yeast water mixture aside for an hour. When it begins foaming and bubbling, then the yeast has been activated. Add the cup of yeast water to your 1-gallon glass jug. Make sure there is an air cavity space of an inch or two at the top of the jug. Lock it securely.
Store your 1-gallon jug in a cool dark place for up to a week. You will see bubbling in the jug, a sign of the fermentation process. When the bubbling slows down, you will know that the fermentation process is slowing down. You may want to carefully open the jug slightly while wearing plastic gloves to alleviate the pressure if you notice overacting bubbling so as to avoid an explosion.
At the 7-day mark, open the jug. Place a fine sieve, cheese cloth or terry cloth over a very clean pot large enough to hold a gallon of liquid. Pour your ginger beer mix into the pot through the sieve, cheese cloth or terry cloth. The ginger pulp and particulates should be strained and separated from the original mix.
Prepare a new 1-gallon capacity glass jug with a snap-lock and gasket or thoroughly clean out the one you used. Pour the liquid from the pot into the jug. There will be less liquid than when you started out with. You can top it off with water poured through the ginger pulp mix and sediment you just removed from the mix. Make sure that you leave an inch or two of air cavity space in the jug.
The ginger beer will now ferment for an extra two weeks.
When you open the jug, there will be liquid and a sludge like mixture. Pour as much of the liquid as you can into a clean pot. If it is cloudy, that is ok.
Now we are going to sweeten the brew. Use a non-fermenting sugar like Xylitol sugar alcohol. Add as much as you like until you reach your preferred taste.
Make sure that you use a non-fermenting sugar, or the remaining yeast will keep breaking it down, increasing the alcohol content.
To create carbonization, heat one cup of water with a fourth or a fifth of a cup of sugar. Heat to a mild boil while stirring and dissolving the sugar. Allow to cool to room temperature for an hour or so.
Add the sugar water mixture to your ginger beer mix and stir. It will just be enough to kick start the carbonization process.
Prep your reception bottles. Use European-style bottles with swing-top lids and mini-gaskets if possible, but you can also just use mason jars.
Place your ginger beer bottle receptacles in the refrigerator to halt fermentation. You can drink it now. You can also store it in the fridge for four to six weeks to allow the flavors to firmly set.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and likewise, it will take time and practice to brew homemade ginger beer worthy enough for your Moscow Mule cocktails.