Ye Olde Fashioned Ginger Beer

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pdilley

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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??

In short, yes it is good.

In long, Ginger beer plant (GBP) is a fungus (typically occurring in the presence of bacterial symbionts), which must contain the yeast Saccharomyces florentinus (formerly Saccharomyces pyriformis) and the bacterium Lactobacillus hilgardii (formerly Brevibacterium vermiforme). It forms a gelatinous substance that allows it to be easily transferred from one fermenting substrate to the next, much like kefir grains and tibicos.
 

notung

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Ginger beer plant (GBP) is a fungus (typically occurring in the presence of bacterial symbionts), which must contain the yeast Saccharomyces florentinus (formerly Saccharomyces pyriformis) and the bacterium Lactobacillus hilgardii (formerly Brevibacterium vermiforme). It forms a gelatinous substance that allows it to be easily transferred from one fermenting substrate to the next, much like kefir grains and tibicos.

Brewer Pete, I am interested in different types of lactobacillus fermented drinks like kombucha. Unfortunately after moving house and stopping brewing kombucha it for some time, I no longer have a mother to go off. I have read somewhere about a traditional way of brewing ginger beer using water kefir grains. If you know where somebody might find more information about this, including an exact description of what kefir grains are, I'd love to do some reading!

If I were to follow Wildschwein's directions in maintaining a ginger beer plant, I'd be facing problems in my citrus supply. In a frost-prone part of Central Vic, I'm not sure whether to bother whacking in lemons/limes (although one of the native limes - Citrus glauca, I think - could prove a goer). So I wonder could a GBP culture be maintained without the citrus?

I am very glad that this thread was dredged up anyway, as I have been hatching plans to brew a ginger gruit ale. It will be an all grain ale flavoured with ginger, lemon balm, licorice, calamus, juniper and coriander. I will look up my plans in beersmith and post the recipe for feedback later today. The recipe calls for an ale yeast.
 

pdilley

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notung,

For all your kefir interests, check out this place:
http://users.sa.chariot.net.au/~dna/Makekefir.html

Basic Water Kefir Recipe:

3 Tablespoons water kefir grains
2 Tablespoons sugar
1.5 Cups water
lemon (if you can't find an organic lemon, then take the skin off first)
A dried fig, or a tablespoon of sultanas or raisins

(Optional: add 2-4 teaspoons of fresh ginger root juice to make a refreshing ginger beer kefir. To make the ginger root
juice, pound or chop finely about 60g fresh ginger root and blend it to a mash with half a cup of water. Strain through
a cloth, squeezing out the juice. You can also use dried ginger powder. Boil 1-2 tablespoons of ginger powder with 1
cup of water and then strain through a fine cloth. Cool this liquid before adding it to your brew.)

I make this quantity of kefir (or a double batch if I have more grains) in a 1 quart (1 litre) glass preserving jar.
Whatever jar you use, please make sure you leave an inch or so at the top to accommodate the carbon dioxide gas
produced by the fermentation process and avoid explosions! As your kefir grains reproduce themselves, you will
need to adjust the ratios of ingredients for a bigger batch, or make more batches.

Method:
*Strain and rinse the grains under clean running water.
*Put them in the jar with the other ingredients, and stir until the sugar dissolves.
*Close the jar with a good firm lid, and leave it at room temperature to ferment. Stir after 24 hours, and as often as
you like.
*Brew until the raisins float to the surface and the liquid is a bit fizzy. This might take about 48 hours, but might be a
good deal faster when the weather is warm.
*Scoop the lemons and raisins off the top of the liquid.
*Now use a strainer to separate the water kefir grains from the liquid. Rinse the kefir grains thoroughly under cold
water.
*Squeeze the lemon into the liquid and put it into sealed bottles or jars. You can chill and drink the beverage now, if
you wish. Or you can leave it to ferment (secondary fermentation) for another day or so at room temperature, before
moving it to the fridge to chill for drinking. (Further fermentation will increase the alcohol content of the drink,
depending on the amount of sugar in the liquid. In any case, water kefir drinks seem to be only very mildly alcoholic
like home-made ginger beer.)

Other Tips:
*Once you have made your first batch of water kefir, you can rinse the grains and start the next batch immediately.
*If you don't want to make another batch immediately, you can store the grains in the fridge in a sugar water solution
(1Tablespoon of sugar to 1 Cup water) for up to 7 days. You can also freeze strained, rinsed water kefir grains in
plastic ziploc bags for up to 2-3 months.
*Sugar: Apparently the grains do best on less-refined, more mineral-rich sugars, though any kind of cane sugar will
do (refined white sugar, golden sugar, muscovado, rapadura).
*Water: The grains do best in hard, highly mineralised water. If you are using soft or distilled water, add teaspoon
of baking soda per 6 cups of water to keep the grains healthy.
*Fermentation time: One of the main reasons why water kefir grains become sick and stop propagating is over-
fermentation. In general, they should be brewed no longer than 2 days, though they may need 3 days in colder


I have not played with the kombucha tea colonies in a very long time. There was a fad that was running through the ?80's/early 90's? and I tried it, it was rather tangy from all the acids produced, acetic acid of course is what puts the sour in vinegar, maybe that attests to the health claims of ye olde days, kind of like how sucking on lemons/limes cured scurvy from the ascorbic acid intake. I do remember old farmers almanacs that would list a daily dose of vinegar having health promoting benefits, again not backed up with any decent studies to my knowledge.

Most of the health benefits have not been backed up with any decent studies and a few people react to the kombucha tea with slightly enlarged livers. So I have not kept it up and don't recall if I just emptied my plant down the olde gurlger.



Brewer Pete
 

chappo1970

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...80's/early 90's? and I tried it, it was rather tangy from all the acids produced, acetic acid of course is what puts the sour in vinegar, maybe that attests to the health claims of ye olde days....
Definitely the 90's I remember my wife, ney, girlfriend (soon to be wife) feeding that stuff to me day and night. Beginning of the "Detox" catch phrase era, god that stuff was vile! Remember brew that black brackish stuff up and keep the culture going and then handing a bit of the culture to friends you conned into trying the "Detox". LOL. Rediscovered it a few years later when making vinegars at home... Reminds me I really should start another red and white wine vinegar soon.

Love this thread BTW!
 

Wolfy

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Brewer Pete, I am interested in different types of lactobacillus fermented drinks like kombucha. Unfortunately after moving house and stopping brewing kombucha it for some time, I no longer have a mother to go off. I have read somewhere about a traditional way of brewing ginger beer using water kefir grains. If you know where somebody might find more information about this, including an exact description of what kefir grains are, I'd love to do some reading!

If I were to follow Wildschwein's directions in maintaining a ginger beer plant, I'd be facing problems in my citrus supply. In a frost-prone part of Central Vic, I'm not sure whether to bother whacking in lemons/limes (although one of the native limes - Citrus glauca, I think - could prove a goer). So I wonder could a GBP culture be maintained without the citrus?
The origins of the 'real' GBP plant (such as what Fermented Treasures sell, see the first post in this thread) are clouded in mystery and since it's 100's of years old no-one really knows where it came from, however there is speculation that it was derived from water kefir, and the two do appear to be related.
There are two GBP yahoo groups with information about the GBP that you may like to join, and they include recipes and other information including some Microbiology and Bacteriology pdf's to read which outline actually goes to make up the Keifr and GBP.

This is taken from the the information supplied by Fermented Treasures regarding the 'real' GBP they sell, which I belive is different to what is commonly grown at home in jars:
Composition of the Ginger- Beer Plant:

As Isolated by H. Marshall Ward,
The Organisms Comprising the Ginger- Beer Plant:

a.) Saccharomyces pyriformis
The principal yeast in Ginger- Beer Plant (GBP). It consumes oxygen & sugar and
produces alcohol and CO2. It is a weak alcohol producer (4.4% maximum abv [H.
M. Ward, 1892]).
b.) Cryptococcus qlutinis
c.) Unknown aerobian top-yeast
Produces alcohol and other by-products from oxygen & sugar (H. M. Ward, 1892)
d.) Saccharomyces cerevisiae (beeryeast)
Also known as Baker's Yeast or Brewer's Yeast, this organism has been used for
centuries as leavening for bread and as a fermenter of alcoholic beverages.
e.) 3-4 unknown yeasts of rare occurrence
f.) Bacterium vermiforme (later named Lactobacillus hilgardii)
The principal bacterium in GBP, responsible for generating lactic acid and,
ultimately, acetic acid.
g.) Mycoderma cerevisiae
This aerobian yeast prefers cool temperatures --50 to 60 F. (10-15 C)-- and
glucose for best growth. It cannot invert cane sugar or bring about its fermentation
(H. M. Ward, 1892).
h.) Bacterium Aceti (later re-classified Acetobacter aceti)
In concert with aerobian top yeast (c.) produces ether when in oxygen
environment (H. M. Ward, 1892).
A. aceti is a common contaminant in all industrial fermentation facilities and is
responsible for generating turbidity, ropiness, discoloration, and off-flavors in
beer (Kough, 1991).
i.) A spore-forming bacillus
j.) Large spore-forming bacillus
k.) 2-3 Other Schizomycetes not identified
l.) Oidium lactis
m.) Blue mould- Penicillium glaucum
n.) A brown Torala-like form, Dematium pullulans
o.) One or more species of unknown Torala

The instructions to grow and use the GBP plant and other details included in the Yahoo GBP groups dealing with the 'real' GBP do not (in general) include any citrus, but I belive that is a different thing to the cultured GBP that is talked about earlier in this thread, since the two are often confused.
 
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