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  • Writer's pictureTwo Drifters

Two Drifters’ Ginger Beer Recipe

Skipper here...Some people have kindly asked for my recipe for Ginger Beer, so here it is :)

I must make it clear though, that I am, by no means, a professional brewer and have no idea if what I am doing is safe. But, so far, we have not fallen ill and I have not blown up the boat!

This recipe makes 2 litres of Ginger Beer and all the ingredients can be kept for months, so you will never be short of a Dark & Stormy cocktail. I am yet to work out how to make rum onboard, so suggest keeping healthy stocks available.

Ingredients & Utensils List:

- 1 x 2 litre PET bottle ie. a bottle that has contained a fizzy drink
- A funnel, fine grater, set of measures for Cups, 1/2 Cups, Tbs, TS etc..., and a fine sieve or muslin

- Root Ginger, the fresher the better. You need enough to produce at least 2 tablespoons of juice
- 1 x Lime or Lemon (Do not use concentrate as it kills the yeast. We prefer lime)
- 1 x cup of sugar (We use golden or brown, but white is OK or a mix. We also only use 2/3 cup at the moment as we are conserving supplies on Two Drifters and it makes little difference)
- 1/4 Teaspoon of Active Dried Yeast
- 1/8 Teaspoon of salt (or a generous pinch)
- Just under 2 litres of distilled water. For those on boats, watermaker water is great for this, assuming you have a decent PPM. Tap water is often too chlorinated for the yeast to thrive, so, if in doubt, use mineral water

- Other ingredients that can be used to vary the flavour. A juiced orange, grated nutmeg, chili flakes or chili diced, mashed pineapple (but watch the brew with pineapple as the yeast goes mad for it, and trust me the explosion is messy)!


- First get the yeast going by mixing a 1/4 of the sugar with 300ml of luke-warm (not hot) water and let it stand for 10 minutes or until it ha s bubbles and a bit of a frothy surface

- In the bottom of the bottle, mix the remaining sugar, juiced ginger, juiced lime, a tablespoon of ginger pulp, the salt and mineral water. Fill 1/4 of the bottle, put the lid on and give it a good shake

- Add the yeast liquid to the bottle and shake well

- Let it stand for 30 minutes and then top off the bottle with your water. Important to leave a 1 to 1.5 inch air gap at the top of the bottle

- Place somewhere warm for 12 to 24 hours. Fermentation time vary, so be sure to check every now and then. The fermentation process has finished when the bottle is pressurised to the point that it is hard to depress the plastic with your thumb

- Finally chill the Ginger Beer in the coldest part of your fridge for 24 hours. This is crucial and allows the carbon dioxide to be fully absorbed into the beer making for a nice fizz

Top Tips:

- You can extend the fermentation process by occasionally releasing the pressure from the bottle. This is useful if you think the bottle will reach optimum pressure overnight, it also allows for a longer fermentation which will make a sharper Ginger Beer and, if done for a few days, will make the Ginger Beer slightly alcoholic :)

- We are not sure you can add too much ginger juice, but start with 2 tablespoons and work up from there to suit your tastes. Adding the ginger pulp definitely increases the kick

- Never add the zest of the citrus fruit, it kills the yeast

- When pouring, do so carefully so as not to disturb the sediment at the bottom of the bottle, this contains the dead yeast and can cause a headache. Similar to that of drinking the end of a beer barrel

- Making a ginger bug. Once you have brewed your first batch it is possible to omit the need to use dried yeast again. The last part of the bottle that is not drunk can be strained off through a fine sieve and use d as your Ginger Beer starter for the next batch. This tip came from s/v Tourterelle and we find that after bottle 3 or 4 there is a marked improvement in the quality of the Ginger Beer. It loses its yeasty flavour and is less cloudy. We assume this is because the yeast surviving is well suited to the environment and therefore less is dying off. It does, however, increase the fermentation time required per bottle. If you do not get any fermentation taking place after 12 hours just add 1/8 teaspoon of yeast to the top of the bottle and shake it up, then wait 12 to 24 hours.

This is an ever-evolving process, so please send us any suggestions or ideas you have on how to improve our recipe.

But for now...

Happy Ginger Beer making!!
s/v Two Drifters

Sent from Iridium Mail & Web.

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