Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Ginger Beer w/ Ginger Bug

Alright, let's get started.  This is going to be my version of Ginger Beer with Ginger Bug from Sandor Katz's Art of Fermentation.  Step 1 was to make the starter, which can be found in a previous post.  Step 2 is to grate the ginger:

...lots of Ginger.  The original recommendation is for a 3" - 4" piece of ginger for each gallon of finished ginger beer, but I have got significantly more than that.  I grated it up and put it in my big brewing pot with about 2 1/2 gallons of water and started heating it up.

My stove doesn't quite have the power to get a real boil going in this giant pot, but it gets hot.  Next I added the palm sugar which is in little round pucks.  I bought a 3.3 lb jar from the Asian grocery where I got the ginger.  I don't think that's going to make it very strong from an alcohol perspective, but this is going to be more of a "tonic" beverage than a real beer.  I hope you like ginger...

I gave it about 15 minutes of "almost boiling" after the sugar was fully dissolved, then cut the heat, added another gallon of cool water to start bringing the temperature down, and started draining it into a clean carboy.  As expected, the hose flowed freely for a while, but eventually got clogged with ginger chunks.  Ma femme had a great suggestion to use a strainer/slotted spoon over the intake, and after that, all the liquid drained out with no problem.  We scooped it out into a big strainer:

and poured the rest of the water to make up 6 gallons through the pulp, including a couple rinses in the big pot to get all the sugar.  I had originally intended to put all the ginger in there with it, but there's no good, quick way to get chunks of junk into a carboy... let alone get it out a month from now.

By the end of the night, it had cooled to body temperature (maybe a little higher) so the starter went in, and the air lock went on.  Hopefully it starts bubbling away.  Adventure!