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Low Strength - Sweet Style Ginger Beer Recipe
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How to make a Low-Strength Ginger Beer using Bakers Yeast
In the previous recipe, we explained how to make ginger beer by using Lennon Jamaika Ginger and wine yeast in order to obtain a high alcoholic strength ginger beer. Wine yeast can ferment up to higher alcohol levels compared to bakers’ yeast. But due to lockdown, wine yeast is not easy to come by. In this recipe we are going to be using bakers’ yeast for our fermentation. We are also going to be making our own ginger syrup instead of using Lennon Jamaika Ginger. Keep in mind that this will deliver a product with a lower alcoholic strength and higher residual sugar.
This recipe will be making approximately 4,5 L of ginger beer.
1) For the Ginger Syrup
- 2 L water
- 25 grams ginger root (crushed or grated)
- 2 cups (500ml) sugar
2) 1 small/medium sized lemon cut into 1/4 or 1/8 slices.
3) 2,25 L lukewarm water (30 – 35 degrees Celsius)
4) For yeast re-hydration
- 5 mL sugar
- 250 mL lukewarm water (30 – 35 degrees Celsius)
- 10 grams of Bakers’ yeast
1) Saucepan (should be able to hold at least 2,5 L of liquid)
2) Wooden spoon
3) Straining cloth and kitchen strainer
4) Glass bowl (should be able to contain at least 500 ml of liquid)
5) 1 x 5 litre fermentation bottles
6) Fermentation lock with bung / cloth and elastic band
7) Siphoning tube
9) 6 x 750 swing top bottles
1) Boil the water and add the crushed ginger and sugar. Stir until all the sugar has dissolved.
2) Turn off the heat and allow the mixture to cool for at least one hour
3) Place your sieve over a clean bowl, and line it with your straining cloth. Once the syrup has steeped for at least once hour, it can be strained in order to remove the ginger.
1) Add the yeast to the 250 mL of lukewarm water. Wait until you see some activity before adding the 5 mL sugar. Set aside for 5 -10 minutes.
1) In your 5 L fermentation bottle: Dissolve the rest of your sugar into the remaining 2,25 L of water. Add the rehydrated yeast, ginger syrup, and lemon slices.
2) Close your bottle with the screw cap containing the fermentation lock (bubbler). Remove the red cap on the bubbler and fill the bubbler with water to the indicated mark. Replace the red cap onto the bubbler and place the fermentation bottle in a comfortable (21-25 °C) room, out of the sun. If you do not have a fermentation lock, you can cover the opening with a cloth and secure it with an elastic band.
3) Allow to ferment for 24 hours.
4) After 24 hours, strain your fermenting beer. Using the funnel, fill the swing top bottles. Keep in mind that the bottles should not be filled all the way to the top. Leave a 20 % head space.
5) Allow to bottle ferment for two to three days.
6) After the second fermentation, place your beer in die fridge and enjoy!
There are some slight differences in this recipe compared to our previous recipe " High-Strength Ginger beer Recipe (using Lennon Jamaika Ginger) , that we would like to discuss.
Bakers Yeast does not have a high tolerance towards alcohol toxicity, which means that we have to adjust our process to get the most out of the yeast and still have an enjoyable product.
In our first recipe, we used wine yeast that can handle up to 15% alcohol. The primary fermentation took place until all of the sugars had been converted into alcohol. This was followed by a secondary fermentation - which is a bottle carbonation step - in which a small amount of sugar was added to produce enough CO2 to make a carbonated beverage.
If we were to follow the same steps applicable to Wine Yeast when using bakers yeast, you will notice that the primary fermentation will not be complete, leaving behind some residual sugars. This is due to the yeast cells dying from alcohol toxicity before all of the sugars could have been consumed. If you were to then bottle this result, no carbonation would form, since there are no living yeast left to carry out the rest of the fermentation required.
In this recipe, the primary fermentation is split up into two steps, a 24 hour fermentation period inside the fermentation vessel (5 L bottle) and then the rest of the fermentation inside the swing-top bottles. This will still allow CO2 to build up inside the bottle, giving you a sweet, carbonated product. However, it limits the amount of CO2 so that the bottle does not burst or pop, as would happen if the entire fermentation was carried out in the bottle.
You will also notice that we did not rack the beer after the first 24 hour fermentation period. This is because the beer is still fermenting actively and the yeast is still in suspension. There will not be a sediment layer at the bottom of the fermentation vessel to rack the beer from after only 24 hours. You should be aware that this recipe will, therefore, deliver a product with a lot of yeast sediment once it is complete.