Brewing Your Own Ginger Beer Recipe
Thanks to the Moscow Mule, good Ginger Beer is suddenly in demand. For good reason too. It’s delicious. Unfortunately supplies of really good ginger beer seem to be erratic at best. It is a good idea to have your own ginger beer recipe.
My favorite is Royal Jamaican. It just hits the right level of spicy ginger flavor for me. The problem is every summer it seems to run out for long periods. I used to grab a case whenever I saw one.
Flavor Beer – Flavor Notes
Ginger is one of my flavor favorites. One of the things that makes it so interesting is that it’s a shapeshifter. It is pungent, biting, thirst quenching and fiery all at once. Fresh ginger is intense and spicy. Dried ginger has a sweet, warm baking spice character.
Ginger has so many complex flavor compounds it pairs well with a lot of interesting flavors. Because of this it has found a welcoming home behind the bar.
One of ginger’s main flavor compounds is citral or lemonal. A compound that is, not surprisingly, a main component in lemon flavor. It is present in lemongrass, verbena, and other foods. In spirits you will find it in gin and other drinks flavored with lemon peel.
Gingerol is another main component of ginger’s flavor. Gingerol give ginger its heat. Capsaicin is chemically related to gingerol. It also gives ginger its shape shifting character. Gingerol is highest in fresh ginger and lower in dried ginger.
Dried ginger loses some gingerol. Instead a compound called shogoal comes into play. Shogaol is much spicier than gingerol. When you cook ginger gingerol turns into zingerone which is responsible for the sweeter ginger flavor of baked goods.
Knowing this can help you shape how you use ginger to flavor things. This ginger beer recipe uses a combination of dried and cooked ginger to get a complete range of ginger flavor.
- 2 1/2 pound of ginger root
- 4 liters of water
- 340 grams brown sugar (approx. 1 1/2 cups packed)
- 1 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 Campden tablet
- 1 1/2 tablespoons champagne yeast or ale yeast
- 1 tsp yeast nutrient
- Sanitize a 2 gallon bucket