Ginger Beer

Okay, here's the recipe I have, mostly nicked from the internet but kind of tweaked by me. It's definitely not written in stone, I found a wide range of options, so mess around with it if you want.

Ideally you need a demijohn to ferment the stuff in, as excess air retards the formation of alcohol.Alternatively you could keep the mixture in one of those fermentation barrel things you can get from boots, or even a food-grade plastic bucket, as long as it was very well covered, I guess. I haven't actually tried doing this though


2 lemons or limes (preferably one unwaxed, or scrub it well)
450grams of sugar
8 pints water
1 flat teaspoon of normal bread yeast (I use Dove's farm quick yeast)
150-200 grams of fresh root ginger
two teaspoons of tartaric acid (cream of tartar - or just put in another lemon's worth of juice)

Ideally you need a big pan that will hold 8 pints of water for this, although you could do the mixing in batches, I guess.

put 3 pints of water on to boil in a pan. while waiting for it to boil peel (if you think it needs it) and grate the ginger, on a fairly fine setting. Or, if you like you could peel it then bung it in a blender with a bit of water. Some action that will release the spicy juices anyway (fnar fnar).

scrape the zest from one of the lemons/limes. Juice both of them.

put the yeast in a mug or small bowl with some slightly-less-than-blood-temp water and a teaspoon of sugar (this needs to be left for 5+ minutes to colonise).

When the water has boiled -

put the sugar and ginger and lemon/lime zest into it the water, then turn off the heat. Stir to dissolve sugar. Add the juice and tartaric acid (or extra juice).

add the 5 remaining pints of water. Or if the pan isn't big enough put the 5 pints in a clean food-grade plastic bucket or something, then add the hot mix to it.

It should be about blood temperature. If for any strange reason it is hotter than this wait until it has cooled to blood temp.

Add the yeast.

use a measuring jug to pour the mixture into a demijohn. Seal with a bubble seal (sterilise the water in the bubble seal with salt, which helps prevent little vinegar flies getting in as well).

Ferment for 48+ hours.

taste to see if you think it's alcoholic (i.e. not too sweet) enough - if it is sieve mix back into measuring jug and transfer to fizzy drink bottles, leaving a couple of inches gap at the top, then squeezing the air out. Store in fridge to prevent further fermentation. Open with care. Serve with ice (and bourbon, if you want a really fierce hangover)

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