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Topic: Homemade Soda : Ginger Beer  (Read 4561 times)
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cinnamon teal
« on: September 07, 2010 02:51:46 PM »

This is my first attempt at homemade soda. It's a batch of ginger beer from a recipe I found online. (I'll add a link as soon as I find it again. Here it is!) The flavor came out perfect, but I think next time I need to carbonate it a bit longer.



Here's how I made it.

1. I took a large piece of fresh ginger, about 4-5 inches long and the width of my palm, rinsed it off and left the skin on. I tossed it in the food processor and minced it pretty finely.
2. Then I put it in a large pot on the stove with 2 cups of washed raw sugar and 2 cups of distilled water and made a nice syrup out of it.
3. I let it cool and strained out the solids, added the remainder of the gallon of distilled water and the juice from one lemon. So far, I've followed the recipe pretty closely. But after tasting the mixture I decided that the ginger flavor was way too week. I like a strong ginger beer.
4. So I put everything back into the pot, brought it to a simmer and let it steep for a while. Then, I cooled it again. It took way longer this time, probably 2-3 hours.
5. Once it was cool enough (less than 110 F), I poured it into the gallon container (the one the distilled water came in) and added the juice of another lemon and 1/8 of a teaspoon of regular baking yeast.
6. Then I shook it like crazy to make sure that every bottle would have some yeast in it. Most recipes I found say to use 2 liter soda bottles, but the hubby and I can never finish one before it goes flat, so I opted to 1/2 liter water bottles. I filled them with a funnel, leaving about an inch of head space, and put the tops on tightly.



7. I put the bottles in a dark spot. The recipe says a warm dark place. It's been really warm here so I'd guess that the soda was around 80 F while it was carbonating.
8. I let it do it's thing and checked it every few hours. Probably about every 4 hours. You know it's done when you squeeze a bottle and it feels hard, like a soda bottle from the store.
9. Mine carbonated for about 24 hours. In retrospect, I think I should have left it longer but I was going to bed and I was afraid of the bottles exploding during the night. Yes, exploding! Apparently if you let them go too long, the pressure will cause the bottles to explode. Yikes! I guess glass bottles are a bad idea.
10. Once the carbonation was done, I put them in the fridge to stop the yeast.
11. Time to taste it! I poured mine into a glass and left the yeast in the bottom of the bottle. You'll be able to see it on the bottom, it looks like a bit of light colored mud.

It was surprisingly easy to make and I'm pretty happy with the way it came out. As I said before, I would like it to have a little more carbonation, but it's very drinkable the way it is. I'll definitely do it again. I wonder if I can make other flavors. Like with fruit juice? Or would it go bad. Hmmm... What do you think?
« Last Edit: September 07, 2010 04:45:11 PM by cinnamon teal » THIS ROCKS   Logged

Muria
« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2010 03:30:41 PM »

Interesting! I'd previously only seen recipes for ginger syrup that you added to carbonated water.  I'm wondering if the yeast carbonation works the same way as regular carbonation (I've read that carbonated beverages leech calcium from your body).

I don't know about other flavors. It might be worth trying in a small batch. You're cooking the juice anyway, so you should be killing any bacteria that might make it go bad. Whether it will ferment, though, is another question.

Any idea what the lemon juice is in the recipe for? Keeping it from going brown? Tartness? Something else?
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« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2010 03:45:05 PM »

Yum! Cheesy
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cinnamon teal
« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2010 04:41:34 PM »

Any idea what the lemon juice is in the recipe for? Keeping it from going brown? Tartness? Something else?

I think it's just for flavor. Some recipes say that it's optional. The little bit of added tartness goes really well with the ginger.
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blackie.sage
« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2010 05:36:57 PM »

I saw a recipe like that on Good Eats a long time ago and I always wanted to try it, but neither the show nor the online Food Network recipe specifically said what kind of yeast. I was afraid using bread yeast would make it taste gross, so I never made it.

... but since your recipe says bread yeast is fine, I'm totally going to have a go at it! Its so hard to get real ginger ale around here.

Muria: I really don't think it's the carbonation itself in beverages that could possibly leach calcium from the body, but more the other chemical junk in stuff like sodas or whatever. This drink wouldn't have any of those gross chemicals something like Pepsi would, especially if you use organic ginger/sugar.
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« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2010 01:37:06 AM »

I've always wanted to try this! :]
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« Reply #6 on: September 24, 2010 10:04:05 AM »

Very interesting! Sounds like a fun project. I'll save it for future use.
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Rebel
« Reply #7 on: September 24, 2010 02:12:46 PM »

 Hey there,

 I made homemade ginger ale and root beer all the time. I actually bottle in glass. I call them Pirate bottles - they have the cork and the latch. I've never had any bottle bombs.

 I use lemon because it creates a nice rounded flavor.  I've also made a lemon/lime soda and it ferments much longer than the rootbeer. I usually ferment for 24 hours minimally. I have one bottle that I refer to as the "tester" so that I can pop it open and see how the carbonation is going. The home made brew ages nicely in the fridge and tastes better the long it sits.

 I use ale yeast which I get at the beer supply store there is no yeast flavor afterwards and I don't get much yeast sludge in the bottoms of the bottles.

 Mother Earth news has an edition where they made fruit sodas.
 http://www.motherearthnews.com/Real-Food/2004-12-01/Brew-Soda-at-Home.aspx

 I like this guy's experimentations:
 www.rootbrew.blogsp ot.com
 he also fermented some lemon ginger juice he gets from Trader Joe's.

 I think there is a video on instructables where a lady made some strawberry lime soda? I can't remember exactly.
 ETA: it was CRAFT not instructables:
http://www.treehugger.com/files/2009/07/homemade-soda-recipe.php

 Good luck and keep experimenting!
« Last Edit: September 24, 2010 02:20:25 PM by Rebel » THIS ROCKS   Logged
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« Reply #8 on: September 26, 2010 10:33:36 AM »

Bookmark!  I want to try this!
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sweetcalimama78
« Reply #9 on: October 07, 2010 03:42:16 AM »

This is very interesting and wow, I bet it would save money on buying soda all the time!
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