The brewery in the corner of my kitchen seems to be taking over; in fact some might say it is becoming industrial strength. Bubbling away in various containers and bottles are assorted country wines – carrot, elderflower, honeysuckle – and more alcoholic fizzes than a pop factory.
It hasn’t taken long for me to get into my latest hobby. I’m improvising my equipment; brewing small amounts in two litre water bottles, making the first fermentation of wines in catering size mayonnaise buckets with lids, using five litre water bottles with air locks bought from Wilkinson’s for demijohns.
My latest experiment is alcoholic ginger beer brewed with cheap still water in the water bottle, so no equipment needed. The bottles are food grade plastic and sealed, so no need to sterilise them before brewing. Best of all it’s ready to drink in a week and at 4% proof isn’t a bad beer at all.
If you fancy making some, this is how to do it:
- ½ tsp brewer's yeast or a good tsp of general bakers yeast
- 225g caster sugar
- 1½-2 tbsp finely grated fresh root ginger (no need to peel)
- Juice and zest of 1 lemon
- 1 or 2 good tbsp of honey
- Empty water from bottle into a clean (sterilised with boiled water) jug.
- Add the yeast to the bottle* (see warning below).
- With a funnel, pour in the sugar.
- Mix the grated ginger with the lemon juice, honey, and a little of the water. I use a screw top container and give it a good shake to mix.
- Pour the ginger mixture through the funnel into the bottle.
- Now fill the bottle about ¾ full with water, put the cap on and shake the bottle until all the sugar is dissolved.
- Top up the bottle with the still water, leaving a 2.5cm gap at the top, to allow for production of gas (of which there will be plenty).
- Cap the bottle tightly and then place it somewhere warm or in the sunshine.
- Leave it for a day a two but keep your eyes on it. Let out the gas carefully a couple of times a day.
- After five or six days your beer should be ready.
- Place the bottle in the fridge for several hours to stop the yeast working.
- Once the beer is thoroughly chilled, pass it through a fine sieve (if you can be bothered) or pour gently to avoid the sediment.
- Drink and enjoy!
Use plastic bottles rather than glass to avoid explosions. A really active mixture can produce lots of gas if left for longer than 48 hours, so do remember to let it off regularly.