Hard Ginger Beer
(5 gallons/19 L)
OG = 1.038 FG = 0.995 ABV = 5.5%
Kit Harrington of Root Sellers’ advises, “Start with the freshest ingredients possible, they really show when you make ginger beer. I recommend getting a cold press masticating juicer and juice the ginger yourself.”
4 lbs. (1.8 kg) pure cane sugar
1 tablespoon (15 mL) molasses
½ tsp. yeast nutrient
8 oz. (226 mL) lemon or lime (juiced)
8 oz. (226 mL) ginger root (juiced)
Clean fermenting ale yeast (Champagne works well also)
1 lb. (0.45 kg) sugar to backsweeten (added to cold keg)
Step by step
Bring sugar, molasses and water to a boil for 15 minutes. At flame out add yeast nutrient. Once cooled to yeast pitching temperature, add the yeast and allow the temperature to rise naturally to the upper limit of the yeast’s range; you want a good and fast ferment. After 10 days or so, cool to near freezing to drop out as much yeast you can. Transfer the clear finished ginger beer into an empty Corny keg and add the ginger juice, lemon (or lime) juice, and sugar (dissolved in 2 cups/500 mL boiling water) to backsweeten. Mix all this very well or the dense sugar syrup will drop to the bottom. Follow the same carbonation advice as the hard root beer recipe.
Packaging hard root and ginger beers:
Once the hard root beer or hard ginger beer fermentation has run its course, the next step is back sweetening and then bottling or kegging. If kegging, which is recommended for both brews over bottling, the root or ginger beer will be force carbonated. If you’re priming with corn sugar and bottling, do not use regular beer bottles as there will be more residual sugar than a normal beer, plus refermentation in the bottle, and this will likely result in exploding glass bottles, which are very dangerous and unpredictable. Instead, use bottles with thick, reinforced glass such as 750-mL bottles that are corked with a cage. Better still, use Champagne bottles. Store in refrigeration.