Fifey wrote:I wonder what the answer is then? I'd still rather not go to a GB kit unless things get really desperate.
DrSmurto, what have your recipes been and have they turned out well?
I've never made a GB using one of the kits. I recall picking them up and reading the ingredients at which point i shook my head, put the tin down and have never picked one up since!
There are a few schools of thought here. One is Bundaberg GB but alcoholic. That is, a traditional GB but with alcohol.
The other is ginger flavoured beer.
Two very different beasts.
I have made both and favour the former.
The 'all malt' GB i made was an AG recipe. 100% pils malt with my standard GB flavourings/spices and Nottingham yeast. Not bad but too 1-dimensional. To correct that i think it would be with an addition of crystal malt but then you risk make it cloying as i added no hops so there is no bitterness. Once you add malt to an alcoholic beverage you need somehting to balance that and hops do the best job so i guess you could add a bittering addition.
But.... my preferred ginger beverage is simple.
Enough raw sugar to give a 5-6% drink with the following added for a 20L batch.
Minimum 1kg of fresh ginger up to 1.25kg. Preferably using a combination of super fresh with some older ginger that has been 'ageing' in the crisper for a few months. Older ginger loses the fresh ginger aroma but the ginger bite increases.
A lemon or 2, chopped. You will read about only taking the zest and the juice as the pith is bitter but i like bitter as do all beer drinkers........think about it.
6-8 whole cloves. Not garlic cloves, the spice - cloves. Too much and it may numb your mouth and tongue so less is more.
A cinnamon stick (~5cm).
You can add chilli but despite being a chilli head who loves habaneros and the Death Sauces, i don't like chilli in drinks. It's far too easy to overdo it and you end up having to either grin and bare it or tip it.
You could add an asian twist to it by using limes instead of lemons as well Kaffir lime leaves.
The method i used was crude. Put the ginger (unpeeled - its going to get boiled so whatever is on the skin is irrelevant. Other than mould!) in a food processor and process it down to very small pieces. Dissolve the raw sugar in boiling water (normally 3-4L) and add the ginger, lemon, cloves and cinnamon. Boil for 30-60 mins. Strain into a fermenter, top up to 20L and once below 25C or so pitch a champagne yeast (EC-1118 is the one i used and the one most HBS sell).
It finishes bone dry and is thin. If you want sweetness mix with lemonade. I like it dry.
I used to make it to 7% and then water it down to approx 4-5% with lemonade (if you want a sweet GB) or soda water (if you want dry GB) and a batch wouldn't last in summer. I couldn't make it fast enough for the mates both male and female.
People go to great lengths to produce sweet GBs (and ciders) by adding artificial sweeteners and/or lactose. I take the KISS approach and simply add sweetness in the glass. Others put the effort in and make a ginger plant but this method is much easier and (IMO) more reliable in the results.
Each to their own