Ginger Ale

Theron Spornhauer Colón (left) and Kevin Wohlmut (right), aka The Beer Fairies, gave a presentation at the 2015 San Diego Fermentation Festival about making your own homemade sodas! Here is the recipe from their workshop.

theron-kevintheron-handout

Ginger Ale
Author: 
Prep time: 
Fermentation time: 
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Yield: 2 quarts
 
Ingredients
  • 4 ounces raw ginger (or about a 4-inch sprig)
  • 4 ounces candied (crystallized) ginger
  • 1 cup sugar, preferably organic
  • 1½ Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
  • ¼ tsp active dry yeast (measure carefully!) or half a vial of liquid brewing yeast (preferably Champagne brewing yeast)
  • About 2 quarts / 2 Liters high-quality filtered water (or, drop a small amount of Vitamin C into tap water and let sit for an hour to get rid of chlorine/ chloramines)
Instructions
Sterilize all your equipment
  1. Including spoons, & soda bottles, swing-tops or Mason jars etc. that you will put your ginger ale into. Your kettle will be sterilized by boiling.
  2. For everything else, use a commercial sterilizer, or soak things 1 hour in a solution of 1 Tbsp. bleach to 5 gallons water.
  3. Rinse after the bleach, if desired, but make sure you're using boiled/sterile water for the rinse.
Make Soda
  1. Juice the ginger in a juicer if possible. If not, freeze it, then grate it with a fine cheese grater. Let it return to room temperature, and save all juices. Skin-on is OK.
  2. Boil half the water in a saucepot, then remove from heat. Stir in sugar until completely dissolved. Place candied ginger in a nylon bag or cheesecloth along with the red pepper flakes and the grated ginger, or pour your ginger juice into the hot water if you've juiced it. Add lemon juice. Let the bag steep like tea – minimum 15 minutes, to overnight. If steeping more than 15 minutes, make sure the lid stays closed.
  3. Other suggested additions: Herbs, such as ginseng. Touch of honey. Lime juice instead of, (or along with, the) lemon juice. Freeze-dried fruit such as blueberries (raw or jellied fruit doesn't work well).
  4. Add high-quality ice water and let the mixture cool (or if cold, re-heat) until it hits 75-80°F
  5. Squeeze the cloth bag to get all ginger juice out. Remove bag from pot.
  6. Add ("pitch") the yeast to the pot.
  7. Pour into bottles or jars using a sterilized funnel. Seal all bottles or jars tightly. Store in a warm (75-80°F)dark place.
  8. Wait 48 hours but not a lot longer. Test a bottle carefully in the sink (have cleaning rags handy!) If you hear a good "pop" upon opening, it's ready!
  9. Store in refrigerator.