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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    home made ginger ale

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    peeled and shredded about 60g (2oz) of fresh ginger. Put that into a small pot.
    add about 60g of sugar.
    add about cup of water and brought to a simmer for about an hour with the lid on. I wanted a very strong biting ginger ale that isn't sweet. No sirreee! I want a ginger ale to make your toe nails curl.

    Let it cool to room temperature. Added about 2TBS of lemon juice and zest of half a lemon.
    Poured the concoction into a sterilized qt bottle with a cap that can seal. Added enough water to fill most of the bottle and left about 3 inches of head room. Add 1/8tsp of bakers yeast since I didn't have real brewer's yeast culture. Capped the bottle and left it in my shower inside a plastic bucket in case it decide to turn into a geyser.

    Geyser didn't happen. Chilled and when I started to crack open it fizzed quite a bit. Oh good I thought. Good carbonation.

    Poured the elixier into my cup tasted it. And it WAS FLAT!! So what happened. The drink does have a bite. I think it needs more lemon juice the next time. Sugar content was just right.

    Has anyone made home brew root beer, or ginger ale? And if so what did I do wrong for the drink to have gone flat?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
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    You're very enterprising at least to try, smilingcat to go this far.
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    311
    Can you just bottle the syrup and mix it in with soda water?? I love your recipe for the syrup, btw, am gonna make it. Can't brew it here tho, it's so hot I'd probably have one heck of a geyser.
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    I'm the only one allowed to whine
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    I've only brewed beer, and it took weeks for the stuff to become carbonated.
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Uncanny Valley
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    No idea ...

    but here I am on the other side of the hummus thread.* Reed's Extra has 28 g fresh ginger root per 12 oz (355 ml) bottle.

    Homemade sounds delicious! but you don't have to make it if the only reason you're doing it is a stronger flavor. It is sweeter though, with 37.4g sugars per bottle.

    *At least Reed's comes in recyclable glass bottles.
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
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    Maybe the yeast was old?

    Knot, you need to keep the "fermentation" relatively short or you'll end up with alcoholic ginger ale!

    I'm going to have to try Reed's ginger ale. I love their root beer and cream soda...
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  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    San Francisco
    Posts
    62
    wow fun! I'm gonna try. I brew kombucha and like that carbonation too. My understanding of Carbonation is that something eats the sugar and releases CO2 and thats how you get it fizzy. However, I've made batches of kombucha every two weeks for a year now and sometimes it is fizzy sometimes it is not. I give it about a week to work its bubble magic once I cap the bottles. Maybe it had to do with bakers yeast and not brewers yeast? I am beginning to wonder now if it has something to do with the amounts of sugar per kombucha culture. Maybe you didnt have enough sugar to naturally make it as bubbly as you wanted? Dont have an answer, but I'll let you know how my batch turns out. Have you tried root beer?
    "I say, if your knees aren't grass-stained by the end of the day, you ought to seriously re-examine your life." - Calvin (of Calvin & Hobbes)

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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
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    MI
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    How long did you let it sit? It seems like you are supposed to let it sit for a few days for the carbonation to build.
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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    1,336
    I love the alcoholic ginger beer I was having in England. It's got a very strong ginger taste, and it's really nice as a night cap.

    I would be inclined to make the syrup and just add carbonated water, too. Actually, I'll probably just put hot water in with the syrup and have ginger tea!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Troutdale, OR
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    2,608
    The concoction did generate plenty of carbon dioxide. The problem is that it didn't dissolve into the water. So I looked up a table on carbon dioxide solubility of in water and in water with different salinity.

    I do remember that sugar solubility increases tremendously, non-linearly, with increase in temperature while salt an inorganic ionic compound increases more or less linearly with temperature. Gasses on the other hand will decrease in solubility with temperature.

    My hypothesis is that carbon dioxide bubble was compressed so small that it clinged to the ground ginger, lemon rind and didn't dissolve into the liquid.

    Next round will be to shake the bottle after refrigerating to release carbon dioxide from the ginger and help get it into the water. Also I need to look into the effect of pH of the water. dissolved carbon dioxide forms carbonic acid... Try more lemon juice to reduce pH.

    Lemon juice was used not only for flavoring but to help invert regular sugar so that the yeast would have much easier time metabolizing sugar into carbon dioxide.

    so too much chemistry for some. Try again today and wait another 24 to 48 hours.
    BTW, I modified recipes found in the internet. Alton Brown's ginger ale, and few others.

    Once I get it right, I'll try flavoring with mint from our yard, raspberry, marion berries...

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
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    Tucson, AZ
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    Mmm, chemistry. Tasty, tasty chemistry.
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  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Land of 1,000 Bicycles
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    582
    Add 1/8tsp of bakers yeast since I didn't have real brewer's yeast culture.
    It wasn't, by chance, quick-rise yeast? Sometimes the more robo-yeasts can screw up the process. Maybe try the actual brewer's yeast next time?

    I know if you swing by the LBS (in this case, Local Brewers' Supply), they will probably have the exact yeast that you need. You can also get them in smaller portions, like the bread yeast at the grocery store, rather than the big jar of $$ brewers yeast.
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  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Troutdale, OR
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    brewers yeast in health food store and in grocery store are the dead/spent yeast and will not metabolize sugar into carbon dioxide nor into alcohol. A quick way to tell is if it comes in big jars, or even in small jars, its not the one you want. The brewer's yeast has to be obtained from homebrew shops... and usually sold in small quantities like bakers yeast you can buy at grocery store. These brewers yeast would have recommendation for use as pilsner, lager, ale, stout, wine or champagne making.

    Just in case you want to try. Use regular bread yeast. 1/8tsp is all is needed. Anymore and you might end up with a drink that has yeasty taste and flavor.

    I just had a problem with fizzyness of my drink.

    If I get it right, this is so much cheaper... Husband of my mother's best friend used to make homebrew root beer years ago (40+ yrs ago). And every once in a while his 5 gallon jug would turn into a geyser inside a front hall closet. It smelled like root beer just not pretty and sticky everywhere...

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
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    One of my dad's relatives used to brew ginger ale. And yes, they'd occasionally explode. He told me once about going over and then getting roped into helping clean up...
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  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    942
    No help on the carbonation issue, but you could just call the flat ginger ale switchel, and pretend it was intentional.

    Switchel was the sports drink of colonial times, the traditional thrist quencher for haying. It's just water, ginger, cider vinegar, and sugar. Yum!

 

 

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