Featured

Heavy Plant

Walk past a "Heavy Plant" warning and wonder vaguely if the trees thought it was for them; if whoever put it up had enough imag...

Monday, August 21, 2006

The Great Ginger Beer Experiment: Drinking


Hubble bubble beery trouble

You might be wondering what happened to the Ginger Beer. Before I interupted myself with Holidays and expensive toys I opened the cupboard it was brewing in to see how it was going. To my surprise there was no broken glass and sticky residue all up the walls but 13 well behaved bottles of nicely cleared liquid. Could it be that I have finally after all these years succeeded in making drinkable Ginger beer? To the Fridge!

Putting on a blast jacket and carefully handling one of the bottles in case the pressure inside had reached explosive levels I chilled one of the bottles over night. With the beer I ordinarily brew this can often mess the flavour up a bit and make the beer go cloudy but with Ginger beer this doesn't matter.

24 Hours later I put the helmet and blast jacket back on and gently remove the bottle from the fridge. With a feeling of some trepidation I undid the lid and found myself slightly disappointed that instead of a sharp explosion and a fountain of Ginger beer, I have the proper hiss of a well carbonated drink. Pouring it into the specially bought jug the first thing that I noticed was the fantastic smell. All the lemon, ginger and vanilla aromas has been preserved and it still has the cough-syrup smell. The colour is about right and it is cloudy – because I put some of the funk from the bottom of the barrel in each bottle there are little tiny pieces of ginger floating in the beer. This puts a certain person off the drink itself but it is actually not much worse than traditionally made lemonade and is perfectly tolerable.

The taste is unbelievably gingery, and slightly acidic from the lemons which also feature in the taste. The vanilla isn’t hugely noticeable but has definitely made the drink a lot smoother. It isn’t very sweet, it’s not quite sharp but it certainly isn’t super sweet. I can’t taste the alcohol but it’s in there somewhere as the sugar that made it really sticky when the mixture was put in the fermenter is totally gone. It’s actually a very palatable drink and would be fantastic on a hot afternoon. I just have to wait a month or so until we start getting those again!

I have now satisfied myself that it is actually possible to make decent Ginger Beer though there are a few things I would do differently. Perhaps next time I will put the ginger in a muslin bag before I start boiling the mixture – that would keep the bits out. I also think I used one lemon too many and would definitely consider putting a bit more vanilla in too. It remains to be seen whether I can abstain from guzzling the whole lot before the hot weather returns, especially as I now need the bottles to make real beer!