Friday, September 4, 2009

Ginger Beer Trick

The Wife has entered me in the Masterchef thingy. Which is cool, despite me despising reality TV in general and having watched about 20 minutes of Masterchef this year in particular. The chance to accelerate my learning in the kitchen and get exposure for the possible commercial future of Lantanaland is not one to pass up for simple snobbery,

The Wife did all the entry forms and they questions they asked and the bit I did watch this year leads me to believe that I would struggle in one key area – accuracy. I mean that in presentation and in recipes that require minute accuracy and attention to detail I just fall over. This is why the beer brewing kit that The Wife bought me has sat there unused for four years, because beer requires accuracy and attention to detail to be any good. It is just chemistry.

This early summer weather though has wakened a desire from the last year of high school. No I’m not chasing anything that moves in a short skirt and knee high socks, but if The Wife wants to dress that way I won’t complain. In the last year of school my mate Motts and I brewed the most fantastic ginger beer you will have ever tasted.

We used the traditional bug method, which as I found works off a different bacteria than a yeast based brew, using lactobacillus cultured from leaving some fruit free of pesticides in water out in the sun for a few days. You then add sugar and ginger every day for a week to create the liquid gold for your flavour base. When we made it in high school we loved experimenting. More lemon, less sugar, opening the bottles half way through brewing and adding a shot of rum, we tried it all. Of course we had the explosions that anyone who brews ginger beer experiences. The last bottle that we left behind was opened by Motts dad, it exploded across the yard behind the bottle top and in true loony tunes fashion he tipped the bottle upside down and a single drop came out. I shudder to think what might have happened to Gladstone’s best surgeon if the bottle had succumbed to the pressure before he knocked the top off.

In keeping to form though, I am going to replace the sugar in the recipe with Lantanaland Gold honey, and will balance that with limes instead of lemons. There is nothing better than a mildly alcoholic ginger beer on a hot day and this bloke even has a few tricks for getting round the exploding bottle problem. Read his tips here and I’ll report back with the results!


  1. The Wife also provided MasterChef with a link to this site. Hmmm I wonder if they will mind that I filled out your probing questions?! In your defence I did quiz you on most of them.

    Anyhoo, to more important matters - when will the G beer be reading for the drinking?

  2. Homebrewing's no different to any other form of cooking, you can be as imprecise as you like. All you have to be careful about is sterility of the hardware to stop shit going manky.

    There's a good recipe for a honey-based ale in the World of Bollocks archives, all the Old Chateau Dodgy Brewhouse recipes are up there.

    Red Eye Honey Ale
    • Morgans Pale Malt Extract 1.7kg
    • Morgans Caramalt Master Blend 1kg
    • Beechworth Honey 1kg
    • Hallertau hops 50g (bittering) + 12g (finishing)
    • Safale yeast
    Half Pale Malt Extract simmered (‘kettled’) 45min in ~4L water with 50g Hallertau; 12g Hallertau then steeped in this for 10min.
    Volume ~23L
    Initial temp/SG not recorded
    Final SG 1012

    Design notes: recipe taken from Morgans ‘brewsletter’ - no actual kit involved, hence ‘kettling’ of malt extract with bittering hops (Hallertau - fairly low alpha acid level, so not strongly bitter).
    With the amount of fermentables used (a good kilo over typical levels), figure on 6-6.5% alcohol for this
    Tasting notes: A real favourite - really worked well. Hallertau not overly bitter but consistent in its bitterness level, rounded off by excess malt and honey - maybe a little too rounded in the end, as it ended up a little like the overly malted pilsners (Tettnanger/Pacific Pilsner) brewed in 2003 - nowhere near as discordant though. Would have been interesting to try this brew again perhaps with a drying enzyme to mop up some of the excess sweetness.

  3. yum yum yum my fav! been dreaming about doing a brew soon- perfect time of year for it. good luck!

  4. "Homebrewing's no different to any other form of cooking, you can be as imprecise as you like. All you have to be careful about is sterility of the hardware to stop shit going manky."

    No. Not true. Not at all.

    You can be as sterile as you like... but if you're making banana beer, ALL fucking bets are off, baby. Banana beer is wrongness in a bottle, and when it escapes, the world weeps.

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