Homebrew Ginger Beer | Steve & John

Homebrew Ginger Beer | Steve & John

- in Ginger Beer

Brewing your own ginger beer is easier than you think!

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Video Rating: / 5


  1. Cool but how would I raise the alcohol content to maybe 7 or 8 percent? That's more like it. How do you even get drunk on 2%?

  2. I found this video so wrong, I like all smart ass telling them wot wrong, but y don't they make some videos themselves and us the right way, I like to give it a go.

  3. Wait…. They just broke about 5 rules in brewing and still came up with a drinkable brew? River Cottage continues to be fascinating.

  4. For those who are curious, here's the brewing math I was able to deduce from this video (re: I'm a former homebrewer and one of my degrees is in mathematics):

    > No measure was given for the honey, so I ignore it below, and just assume maximum attenuation for the sugar used.
    > 1 cup of sugar per 2L bottle is roughly 1/2 lb per 1/2 gal, and since sugar yeilds 46 points of specific gravity per pound used per gallon, the original specific gravity (OG) will be roughly 1.046 (roughly 11 brix). That's ignoring the honey.
    > Bordeaux Wine yeast is alcohol tolerant to a little over 14% AbV, and if you give it free rein will drive that ginger beer completely bone dry in a little over a week (final gravity of approx 1.000 – 0.992), which yeilds a potential delta gravity of up to 54 pts (0.054).
    > Alcohol by weight is (OG – FG) x 105 = 0.054 x 105 = 5.67% AbW.
    > Alcohol by volume is AbW x 1.25 = 5.67 x 1.25 = 7.62% potential AbV (ignoring honey), which is right in the ballpark of a strong ale or a strong farmhouse style cider (if you were making one), albeit BONE DRY (zero residual sweetness).
    > They make a show at the end of the video of using a hydrometer to check the progress on day 2, but without having taken an original gravity reading, the change in gravity and the resulting alcohol is impossible to compute, so they must have based that figure on an earlier batch that they'd properly measured the OG for, and simply bluffed for the camera.

     Now, here's the amusing part … you only need 1 oz of priming sugar per gallon (an addition of 3 pts of SG) to naturally carbonate a fully fermented product, and these guys appear to be fully sealing the caps right at the start of primary fermentation, which will yeild 16x the amount of carbonation of a normal bottle of beer if you let them go … can you say "BOOOOM" ? I knew you could. That means they'll have to drink ALL of it up once it reaches full carbonation as soon as day 1 or 2 (still under 1-2% alcohol BTW), otherwise they'll overpressurize and start exploding around day 3-4 (depending on the warmth of the shed). Even if drunk in timely fashion, the result will be cloudy, murky, yeasty, and gassy, with some sulphur notes from having used wine instead of ale yeast. Not the best technique.

    A better way would have been to use a smaller amount of a tastier sugar (ex: cane turbinado), ferment it dry with a clean neutral ale yeast, then filter it, chaptize it with a little residual sweetness to taste, then stabilize it with a little potassium sorbate to prevent renewed fermentation, and force carbonate it in a soda keg, and the result would be a perfectly clean, good tasting, stable, unhurried and properly carbonated end result, without all the mess and guesswork, and no shotgun to your head regarding when you have to drink it all by.

  5. I love nearly everything about the River Cottage, but as a former award winning homebrewer (beer, mead and cider) I feel obliged to point out that this video documents a somewhat amateurish version that's a bit of a disservice to the gourmet-minded subscribers out there who'd like to learn how to make it properly. There are so many things wrong in the video that I barely know where to start … inept sanitation technique, sloppy processing of the ginger and lemon (I recommend juicing then filtering the result before putting it in the bottle, for better presentation and mouth feel), guestimated sweetness (uh, no hydrometer ?), wrong sugar and technique (cane sugar tastes better, and making simple syrup works better), wrong yeast (ale yeast produces less SO2, attenuates less, and also will leave some residual sweetness when it reaches its alcohol tolerance … and a starter is easy and highly recommended). As for the amount of sugar, the bottles were already overpressurizing after 2 days (I'm guessing there were just under 1% alcohol by then) … if the caps are fully tightened they'll explode like bombs starting around day 4. Heck, those guys couldnt even open the bottles properly without spraying themselves.

    I love their enthusiasm, and love to hang out in real life with such people, but a complete redo of the video is recommended. I'd also suggest 2 versions – one for beginners, and a second one for advanced people who're willing to take the easy plunge into force carbonation using soda kegs … and get gourmet results worthy of this site.

  6. what kind of yeast they use?

  7. I love River Cottage but this video was a rather large miss when it comes to basic brewing. For one, the hydrometer only works if you know the specific gravity before AND after the fermentation is done, you can't just stick it in at the end and say 'it says 2%' and call it a day. As well it misses a lot when it comes to the absolute basics like avoiding infections/wild yeast in your brew. For example they made the point of using a sanitizing solution (looked like Star-San; which is a great product) and that is a good start but when they mixed things up using a wooden spoon (wood does not sanitize well, or at all really) rather than a sanitized metal or plastic spoon they likely just mucked things up for themselves. Then they go and fill up the bottles at an outdoor tap, now I can't speak to their tap but I know mine would not be clean enough for brewing, not without giving it a good scrub and a hit of the sanitizer at the least of it(which maybe they did off screen, no idea). As well, good that they want to tuck into it early but after 2 days that'd likely be pretty disgusting with loads of yeast still in suspension, lots of very young alcohol and lots of the ginger pulp floating about, if they waited a couple weeks then decanted it carefully it'd taste much better and the ferment would most definitly be done. If people want to get into brewing(or rather beer brewing) check out John Palmer's stuff, very approachable and he covers a lot of the basics that were unfortunately missing here.

  8. Michael Thompson

    The oils in the lemon zest were evidently discarded, which is unfortunate. Microplane the zest and extract those oils with high-proof neutral spirits, and add that after the carbonation is complete.

  9. This seems like a recipe for bottle bombs. They should let it ferment in something with an airlock or just an open vessel. Once the fermentation is complete add a little bit of sugar just for carbonation when they bottle it.

  10. to increase alcohol content do you just need to add more yeast and sugar or will it develop over time?

  11. How long can you store it for? And do you need to do anything to stop the fermenting process?

  12. How did they let the CO2 escape?

  13. Would the alcohol content increase further with time?

  14. More from john!

  15. they didn't seem overly thrilled with it, you'd have to drink a craploads before you felt anything, not the healthiest option to get drunk lol

  16. Hi guys! I hate ginger. Can you suggest a mdoification with tea and lemon instead? I have lemon grass too in my garden.

  17. You need to know the before and after density to work out the alcohol content, you don't use dunk it in at the end and guess. Also 2% and 4% proof is NOT anything like a lager, most lagers are 4-6% by volume so around 8-12 proof roughly….

  18. Turtytreeandaturd

    If you waiting longer at the maturing process, would the alcohol be stronger? ……hiccup?

  19. Stuart “Hoggyafc” Harris

    How did he work out the alcohol?

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