Monthly Archives September 2008

Ginger Beer Plant

The following is basically some recipes and some notes about Ginger Beer Plant. The notes are ongoing and so newer notes will be placed at the top of the page and older ones at the bottom. Once I get it tacoed out much of the information may be deleted since it will be obsolete.

Most current base recipe (7-4-06):

2 Fingers Ginger
Zest of 1 lemon
150g Brown Sugar (7-9-06, trying 125g Brown Sugar)
1/4 teaspoon Cream of Tartar
Juice of 1 lemon
Water (no chlorine)
Ginger Beer Plant
Peel ginger and process in food processor till minced. Add zest of 1 lemon and ginger to pyrex measuring cup and top up to 1 cup of water. Microwave to boiling, remove from microwave and cover with plastic wrap to cool. Add lemon juice, brown sugar and cream of tartar together and allow to sit. When ready to combine ingredients, put cooled ginger and zest in yogurt or other fine mesh strainer and mash to get all the ginger juice possible. In quart mason jar combine all ingredients with GBP, top up with water, stir to combine, and cover loosely with mason jar lid and ring. Place on window sill for two days.

After two days put into one liter plastic bottle, squeeze all air out of bottle and cap. Allow to carbonate for two days. Place into fridge till ready to consume.


Do not bottle in crown capped beer bottles, the pressure exceeds 60 psi during carbonation.

For Ginger Beer Plant information please see:

Notes from talking with Raj and others (all may not be proven)

No sanitation is required.

The longer the minced ginger sits in water the hotter (more spicy) it will become. (note: 7/7/06, this has proven to be true)
The shorter the fermentation with the GBP the more spicy the ginger, the longer the more lactic the beverage.
The GBP creates lactic acid and CO2 unlike normal yeast which create alcohol and CO2, this is why the beverage remains low abv.
The GBP can be dried (unlike kefir grains).
Water MUST be cholorine free.
Reason for using of Cream of Tartar is not known. (note: 7/7/06, CoT is for head formation)
GBP from Raj came from lab in Germany.
Questions (that I keep wondering)

Does the GBP ferment the ginger or the sugar? – (it would appear to be the ginger since the residual sweetness as of late has been pretty high and with yeast nutrient in a simple sugar fermentation the flavor becomes very dry.)
How much Jamaica (Hibiscus) is needed to give the desired color and flavor?
How would a 100% ginger and no sugar Ginger Beer ferment, would it ferment with GBP? – (if so, one could sweeten to taste with Splenda and have a sugar free ginger beer)
Will more Cream of Tartar result in larger and longer lasting head?
Does the ginger really need to be microwaved or could it just be made to a slurry in the food processor?
Batch Notes

Upcoming trials – Hibiscus, no lemon, lime, lemon/lime, different sugars, etc…

Batch 10

No lemon or lime till bottling time. Ran out of BS so 95 g BS and balance of 125 g was table sugar.

Batch 9

Using 4 Key Limes for their zest and juice. 125 g BS and continuing the bit of water in the food processor. Removed GBP for sharing, the GBP had not grown considerably as was though. Refilled the contained given to me by Raj and only had about 1/4 of the amount of GBP as before. However, the batch fermented just fine.

Batch 8

Lime zest and lime juice instead of lemon zest and juice. Still using 125 g BS. This time added a smidge of water to the food processor after intial cut up ginger was processed which made a fairly smooth ginger slurry which was easier to squeeze against the yogurt strainer. The amount of GBP does not seem to be increasing, might be time to pull some out to share on the next batch, I was hoping it would increase more.

Batch 7

Still 125 g Brown Sugar, but added about 1/4 oz (wt) dried hibiscus to the water/ginger/zest after heating in micro. Might work out better to do less in it’s own steeping liquid. Seemed to absorb a fair amount of the liquid when rehydrating. Left it and the ginger to rest overnight (12 hours). Forgot the CoT so added at the time GBP was added.

Batch 6

125 g Brown Sugar trial. Only fermented for 1.5 days.

Batch 5

Just about enough GBP to share. The sweetness on this batch was still a bit too strong for my tastes. If later batches with 100% brown remain this sweet after cutting back the sugar, it may get cut a bit with table sugar since those batches did not seem quite as cloying. The heat from the ginger was just about right, could have been boosted a smidge, but on target for my tastes.

Batch 4

100% brown sugar, continuing the food processor and yogurt strainer routine. The head was perfect and well lasting on this batch, the CoT really seems to do the trick. The sweetness was a bit too high on this batch, will cut it back for B6 trial. Seemed fine with 50/50 cane/brown, but too sweet with 100% brown.

Batch 3

Ginger processed in food processor and allowed to sit and cool for 8-10 hours before mashing against yogurt strainer. Much easier process. Pressure measured on plastic bottle, 35 psi at one day, over 60 psi at day two. Still 1/2 table sugar and 1/2 brown sugar. As suspected, the food processor and allowing to sit caused the ginger to be very spicy and peppery. The Cream of Tartar definitely is used for head formation and causes a huge head to form. The head does not stay around for a really long time, but rises very tall and large bubbled.

Batch 2

Two fingers of ginger, no head, sugar about right, 150g – 1/2 table, 1/2 light brown. Ginger chunked and then squeezed in garlic press after microwaving. Fermented for two days and carbonated for two days. Process seems to speed up in window sill, perhaps the GBP prefers light. All air squeezed from bottle. Very spicy, though not overly so. Sugar was fine, but was told that it may have been a bit light by the wife. Wife did not like slight lactic flavor, I found it refreshing.

Batch 1

Only one finger of ginger was used and too little sugar with 1/2 sugar being table and 1/2 light brown sugar. Ginger chunked and then squeezed after microwaving. No head on ginger beer, not very spicy and low on residual sugar, slight lactic aroma. Took forever to ferment, 3 days to even begin. Started with small amount of GBP given to me by Raj at the AHA convention.