Ye Olde Fashioned Ginger Beer

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wildschwein

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Hey Tony - a sourdough culture is very easy to make. Here's how I do it. Get yourself some organic wholemeal or wholewheat flour (you can also use rye flour). Put about 3 tablespoons of flour in a jar or old plastic container. Add about 3/4 of a cup of cold water. Mix the flour and water well. Cover the container with some loosely fitted cling film and leave it hanging around on a kitchen bench. Everyday add another teaspoon or 2 of flour to the mix. In five days you'll start to get some bubbling and a slightly sour smell. (You can cheat by adding some commercial yeast to the plant if you like: sometimes I have added the sediment from a bottle of homebrew ale just to get things started).

Pour off 1/2 of the mix and add about another 1/3 cup of water and another tablsepoon of flour. Keep feeding it with a teaspoon or 2 of flour for another few days. By this time it should be ready to use. Simply pour 1/2 of the mix into your bread recipe and top up the remaining 1/2 with a little water and some more flour: this is your culture now and everytime you need to use it you pour of half into your bread and keep and feed the other half. This is how some bakeries in Europe have been making bread for several hundred years with the same culture. Use half for the bread, keep and feed the remaining half. If you keep the culture in the fridge you don't need to feed it as often. But it will take a while wake up when you want to use it.

Just a few notes about it's properties when cooking. Generally, you are dealing with a mix of lactobacillus and some yeasts which are often wild. So your bread won't prove like it does with commercial yeasts (unless of course you threw some commercial yeast into the starter.) The bread doesn't puff up as much before you put it in the oven and proving times should be longer than with commercial yeast. Making your bread dough and leaving it to prove overnight is often worthwhile. With sourdough loaves most of the rise happens when you put it in a hot oven. Bakers call this "oven kick" as all the gases generated by the culture try to get out of the loaf but are trapped in the gluten structure. It's always a good idea to place some slits in the loaf before you cook when you're dealing with a lot of oven kick as this helps the loaf expand in the oven in a pleasing way. Good luck; this is what real bread tastes like.
 

Tony

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thanks mate

Will definatly be givving this a go

cheers
 

wambesi

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Once again wildschwein thank you very much, will be doing this very shortly as well. Was looking for a good starter. :)
Now what else is there that you do yourself?!
I'm really enjoying getting into the "brew/make it yourself" now, a lot more satisfying.
 

Cletus Spuckeler

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Nice one Wildschwein and good blog (particularly re Peter Cundall). I used to have a ginger beer plant that I made with my Nan, definately need to get back into it (never tried it with oranges, looks excellent)
 

wildschwein

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Cheers Cletus; glad you like the blog - good luck with the new plant.
 

wildschwein

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I had some mandarins in the fruit bowl that needed to be used up, So, I juiced and used them in general accordance with my ginger beer recipe. The result is a a sweet and refreshing mandarin soda with a thick mouthfeel and a very cloudy orange appearance.

For a 3.75L batch, I juiced 16 large mandarins and poured the juice several times through a sieve to remove as much pulp as possible. The juice was then combined with 400g of raw sugar, 2 heaped tablespoons of golden syrup, 3 teaspoons of dried ginger powder, 1 teaspoon of mixed spice, 1/2 a teaspoon of citric acid, and a pinch of cream of tartar (all put in a big pot and heated to 80C until the sugar was dissolved). This was then topped up with cold water (to make up about 3.6L), decanted in to clean soft drink bottles, and then some ginger beer plant (about 100-150mls) was added.

The bottles were left with the caps loosened overnight, and then sealed the next day. Within less than 8 hours the bottles were hard and carbonation had obviously occurred. I then whacked 'em them in the fridge, to get them cool prior to serving to avoid gushing.
 

dan_pilbara

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I am struggling to get my ginger beer plant started can i use 5526 wyeast Brett. Lambicus to get a culture started? Can i split the pack and freeze it as described in other posts as for liquid yeast? Or would someone be able to send me a sample?
 

wambesi

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I am struggling to get my ginger beer plant started can i use 5526 wyeast Brett. Lambicus to get a culture started? Can i split the pack and freeze it as described in other posts as for liquid yeast? Or would someone be able to send me a sample?

What did you use and how did you go around it?
I used homebrand sultanas to make mine and it went off real good.
Don't know about the liquid yeast but I'm sure wildschwein will reply soon with some advice about it though. :)
 

dan_pilbara

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Don't have access to much non store brought fruit so i tried a prune and got nothing but am trying some organic sultanas now so I'll see how they go
 

wildschwein

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Don't have access to much non store brought fruit so i tried a prune and got nothing but am trying some organic sultanas now so I'll see how they go

It should work. Add some ale yeast (not lager yeast) to the plant if you're finding it's going too slowly. It's a good way to get things started. Eventually though the lactobacillus and other yeasts should take hold.
 

bottle top

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After spotting this thread I was inspired to have a go at authentic homemade GB.

I have made a plant that I have now fed a couple of times and it seems to have a small amount of bubbling action on its surface. But I was wondering, how long after creating the GB plant until it is viable? Am I ok to have a crack now or is there some other sign of activity I should be looking for?
 

skippy

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Excellent post their Wildschwein,

have seen ginger beer made the way you explained and it tastes great.

Might do a batch when summer arrives!
 

wambesi

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After spotting this thread I was inspired to have a go at authentic homemade GB.

I have made a plant that I have now fed a couple of times and it seems to have a small amount of bubbling action on its surface. But I was wondering, how long after creating the GB plant until it is viable? Am I ok to have a crack now or is there some other sign of activity I should be looking for?

With my plant I followed wildschwein's original post, I had the sultanas (12) in the mixture for 4 days until they had fermented, then strained the liquid into another jar and then fed the plant each day for 11 days then made the beer.

It turned out really well, but I have some modifications for my next one which I just started yesterday (didn't keep the original plant going, but will be now as I found out I need a steady supply :) )

How many days have you actually fed it for? You said a couple so I gather you mean just that? 2 or 3?
All the plants I have done previously (all different recipes) have said to feed it for about 7-10 days, and I havn't done it any less than that really.

I guess as long as you have some healthy action going on you should be right, but it will not have alot of "flavour" as you have not fed it for very long, but if you are going to add more ginger when making the beer then it may be ok.
Just remember to taste it while cooking it up before adding the plant to make sure it is what you want, I didn't before using this method and most of those bottled have found themselves down the sink...none of this batch though. :D
 

bottle top

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I did the same thing with the sultanas for 4 or 5 days, and poured the liquid off a couple of days ago. So yeah, I've fed it only twice.

I think I'll do as you suggest and give it at least a couple more feeds before proceeding...
 

domonsura

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I got a plant started with some organic raisins a couple of weeks ago, but I feel I must have done something wrong, as it was fine one day(murky, looking like something was happening), and then I woke the following morning and it had 5mm of fluffy white mold on the surface. Not knowing what it was and not wanting it around any of my brewing gear/area - I chucked it.
Wildshwein, I don't suppose you (or someone else) could post a pic of a healthy happy plant so I know what I'm looking for?
 

wambesi

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Yeah that doesn't sound so good.
I wish I had taken photos of my last plant (and better yet kept it going).

After it has fermented and drained into a secondary jar and being fed, basically mine looks like trub type muck on the bottom of the jar with the liquid on top.
Depending on the make up of the ingredients it can be different colours, my last one was sort of a mix between an orange and light brown colour.

If someone doesn't beat me to it, I will post a photo of mine in a week or so once it has got back up and going.
Don't let it put you off though, get back into it. It is so satisfying having a plant based ginger beer totally done by yourself.
I actually grabbed a Bundy GB at work today with lunch and it just didn't compare to my last batch, pity there is none left!
 

wildschwein

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I got a plant started with some organic raisins a couple of weeks ago, but I feel I must have done something wrong, as it was fine one day(murky, looking like something was happening), and then I woke the following morning and it had 5mm of fluffy white mold on the surface. Not knowing what it was and not wanting it around any of my brewing gear/area - I chucked it.
Wildshwein, I don't suppose you (or someone else) could post a pic of a healthy happy plant so I know what I'm looking for?

I don't have access to a pic at the moment. But mould on top isn't right. I assume this happened after you had drained the fluid from the raisins and that you had been feeding it sugar and powdered ginger for a while. If this is the case the plant should have a slightly orange coloured fluid with a brown ginger sediment on the bottom. You should also see the odd bubble coming up from the bottom. But there should be no mould or skin on it.

It's interesting, as I have made a few and have never grown mould on the top before. But this stuff is a bit hit and miss so it can happen. Like I said above, maybe you could start with an ale (not lager) yeast strain in water in a loosely covered clean jar and feed that every day with ginger and sugar. It should be usable within a couple of days. Use half for a GB brew and top up the remaining half with more water ginger and sugar. Eventually you should get some lactobacillus and wild yeasts growing in there too. The ale yeast will eventually die off but it will get you brewing quickly and hopefully not produce any spores. Don't be worried about cheating, I actually added a bit of yeast to my plant at the beginning and all is well.

Edit: I just noticed all the new posts on this. Dan_pilbra that liquid yeast would probably be ideal. Just add to the plant and keep feeding. Bottle top; I generally think that you would need to be feeding for at least 5-7 days before it's usable. The longer you go the better it should be in terms of viability.
 

dan_pilbara

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My ginger beer plant made from a handful of saltanas seems to be going strong. It is a light brown/ orange colour with sediment on the bottom of the jar, does anyone have the jelly looking substance as shown in the pdf? could you please post pictures.

Dan
 

dan_pilbara

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Hi All,
I have had a ginger beer plant going for some time now and got some good batches out of it. Lately the plant has been getting a jelly like substance at the very top between the air and liquid, it is quite firm, slightly brown and transparent and forms a disc at the top of the jar completely covering the surface. I have been throwing the jelly thing out and continuing to feed the plant.

Does anyone have any ideas as to what this is? Is it good or bad??

Dan
 

Tyred

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From what I've read in this thread the jelly blob may be good. I haven't read all the links on page 1 but there is apparently discussion about this (assuming that's what it is).
 
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