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Ginger Beer Plant

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: $19.95
Item Number: GBP
Our Ginger Beer Plant is a bacteria ferment as opposed to the common yeast ferment. Yeast itself, add flavor and character to a ferment. Bacteria far less so. A bacteria ferment will rely more on the character of what it is you are fermenting. In this case Ginger. A bacteria ferment will produce less alcohol, and carbonation, but more beneficial acids, especially lactic acid.  Originally Ginger Beer was simply Fresh Ginger Root allowed to ferment. Fresh ginger added to water will ferment naturally by the LAB that is present in the air. However it is just as likely to become contaminated by mold and other airborne pathogens. By using a plant and some already fermented beer, plus sugar we are giving our Ginger Beer a stronger head start. 

Ginger Beer Plant  

 Water Crystals 

Jun 

 Kombucha

LAB. Lactic Acid Producing Bacteria. This  beneficial bacteria produces Lactic Acid, acetic acid, carbonation, and alcohol. Very similar to Kombucha Tea. Kombucha is a   AAB, (Acid Acid producing bacteria.  (Acetobactero)  LAB does not produce the beneficial Gluconic Acid that Kombucha does.  Also Kombucha produces less than 1/2 of 1% alcohol while LAB produces from 1/2 to 3 % alcohol.  LAB ferments in 1-3 days Kombucha 7-14 days. Water Crystals , Tibicos, et al, and JUN (fermented tea and honey) are all LAB ferments. Similar to but different than Kombucha Tea (fermented Tea and sugar) a AAB ferment.  

 

OXYGEN

LAB  Ferment with  or without oxygen. May use an AIRLOCK to increase carbonation. which also increases the alcohol percentage. Kombucha needs fresh air.

ALCOHOL  Depends upon how much sugar is used.  A Yeast Ferment (Beer or wine) converts equal amount of sugar to alcohol. Typical 5% sugar will produce up to 5% alcohol. A LAB ferment converts the sugar to greater amounts of lactic acid and less alcohol. 
In Kombucha the Acetobactero convert most of the alcohol (created by the yeasts) to Acetic and Glunconic acid. 
SUGAR    Both LAB and AAB may utilizes any of the common sugar available. See our Library for more details on the benefits of each.  Consider using Piloncillo Sugar - the favorite sugar for ferments for Ginger Beer. 

 

 

To Make Real Ginger Beer from our plant.
you'll need  
Glass Container We recommend BELL or MASON jars. they come in a variety of sizes and have great sealable caps.  You may also consider using an AIRLOCK   see our  larger brewing containers 
Lid, airlock or cloth Tight fitting cap,  lids or airlocks are optional.  You may simply cover the container with cloth, or paper towel or a coffee filter and secure with a rubber band.  Tight fitting will seal off the oxygen and produce more carbonation and alcohol. And you have to be careful of exploding glass bottles (if you use glass) 
Water  anything from well water to tap to ozonated. Water affects  the taste, quality and health of both you and the ferment.
Sugar There are about 50 types of sugars that may be used in fermenting.  Besides sugar there are Honey and Syrups that may be used. 
Ginger After all it is called Ginger Beer.  Use FRESH GINGER or sliced dried ginger Died Ginger is hotter and less sweet that fresh ginger, and less sugar content.
Ginger Beer Plant  This is a species of Lactobacillius that produces Lactic Acid (primarily), some acetic acid, carbonation, and alcohol.  Used to make Ginger Beer in 1-3 days. Another plant may be produced by allowing the ferment to continue for up to 30 days (or until a nice new plant is produced) We recommend you do this just in case the original plant stops working, and you can give away extra plants to friends. 
   
Ginger Beer Recipe
  recipe per liter / quart. To make larger batches simply keep the ratio the same
Water  28-32 ounces Boil the water. Reduce heat so that the water may dissolve the sugar
Add: 1/3 cup Sugar:  120-180 grams.  add the sugar . Typically 5-10% solution. 
Add: Lemon juice or Cream of Tater 1/4 teaspoon.  optional but suggested. 1 gram / 1/4 tsp of Cream of tarter, or tsp of lemon juice. May add more lemon to taste. Careful that the pH does not go below 3. Optimal pH to start off with is 5. Lemon juice will bring it down to just under 4 which is OK just a bit longer to ferment. 
Add: Ginger   We recommend, Fresh Ginger . The more you use the stronger the taste. Use at least a tablespoon. Adjust to your taste.    If you add directly to the water and ferment you will have pieces to spit out later. Use a t-bag or you can first extract the ginger in a separate pot. Boil the water and add the ginger (either grated or sliced or dried) Continue to seep, the longer the greater the extraction of nutrients) Avoid boiling as it is damaging to the ginger. Seep for at least 20 minutes. then strain and add the juice to the water and sugar.

You may also add herbs and spices  adding  flavor, and health.

Shake well thoroughly mix the ingredients, adding oxygen to the liquid.
Add the Ginger Beer Plant Be sure the water and Ginger Beer Plant are at the same temperature. Add the plant and some of the beer (liquid) from the previous brewing. 
cover Use a paper towel, cloth or coffee filter secured with a rubber band. This will keep out bugs and fruit flies that may stop by. Use an Air Lock or tight fitting lid to increase carbonation (and alcohol)
Ferment 1-3 days at 25-30C (77-86F)
May be ready in just a few hours. When you no longer see any bubbles or the it slows to a trickle the ferment is finished. The longer the time the less sugar and the less sweet will be your Ginger Beer. And if you use an airlock or a tight fitting cap the greater the carbonation and the greater the alcohol production.  Leaving a loose fitting lid allows the gasses to escape, and less alcohol produced  An airlock - or a balloon fitted and secured over the mouth of the fermenting container is safe and can be monitored. A tight fitting lid w may explode, possibly breaking glass, and is especially dangerous when small children are present. 
Remove the Ginger Beer Plant Remove the Ginger Beer Plant and reserve some of the beer (liquid) to start another batch. If you want to save for later leave Ginger Beer Plant with enough liquid to completely cover the plant then some. Place in a suitable size jar with a tight fitting lid and refrigerate until next time. 
Strain  & Enjoy Filter Beer or not. 
   
Notes:  
Time and  Temperature effects the ferment, LAB will ferment from 60F to the high 80's. The warmer the faster the ferment, and the sooner its ready. When you see a steady stream of bubbles its fermenting. When it slows to a trickle or stops it is time to bottle. If you leave the container open you may not notice the bubbles. If you like it sweet, harvest it earlier. You may also increase the amount of sugar you use. Our basic recipe is 1/3 cup per quart. You can go up to 1/2 or even 1 cup. Too much sugar may create what is referred to as as "stuck ferment" . If that happens, add some water, shake well and set in a warm place to see if it restarts. If its too sour. The longer the ferment the more sour and the greater build up of beneficial Lactic and Acetic acids. You may decide to go for Ginger Beer Vinegar. Filter and bottle, leaving a large amount of air space in the bottle or container. Use a cloth or paper filter, secure with tape or a rubber band, to keep out critters.  Keep in a warm place 74-85 F ideal. This will not be a true vinegar, as the acetic acid levels is unlikely to go above 2-3%. As a ballpark figure, this may take several months. 
Bottling A second ferment
Ginger Beer is a quick ferment and ready to drink as soon as you are. But patience is good, and brewing can be a art. 

Carbonation & Flavors 

to increase the carbonation Bottle the beer.  Allow to stand at room temperature (74F+)  for 1-3 days.  Carbonation drops may be added for  head retention,  and mouth feel. 

If you wish add additional flavors, There are many herbs & spices that may ferment on its own, like FRESH GINGER, Cayenne, Elderberries, berries and fruits. or may be combined with other sugars for both taste and health benefits Please refer to our  medicinal herbs or spices (like turmanic) or Stevia to sweeten without adding additional sugars Yes, these could have been added at the beginning. But then your Ginger Beer Plant will be impregnated with your additives and no longer pure. Not really a problem - unless you want to now try other flavors or species. For example cayenne. Everything after that it still taste like cayenne.  That's why we recommend adding your flavors later. Or using a spare GBP. 

Food grade plastic bottles -will have the number 2 inside a triangle on the bottom, The main reason is safety. Plastic has the advantage of telling how much pressure is in the bottle (by feeling the firmness). We recommend using the size bottle that you typical will consume at one time. Once opened Ginger Beer will so flat. 

Fill each bottle about an 1/4 inch from the top and screw on the plastic lid firmly. Leaving an airspace will allow some of the CO2 to collect there instead of re-dissolving back into the ferment. If you ferment is leaning towards the sour side then fill the bottles all the way to the top and squeeze the bottle while putting on the cap to remove all the air. Plastic bottles are safe and you can see and feel the pressure 

Keep glass bottles in a bucket in case one of them explodes. Use an airlock or a small balloon. Place the balloon over the neck of the bottle, secure with a piece of tape. Sort of neat to watch the balloon inflate If you allow enough time the balloon will deflate and be pulled back inside the bottle as the gases become re-absorbed. 

   
Once Bottled   

After your Beer is finished fermenting you may filter (or not) and bottle to save for later.  Flip Top Bottles are popular and reusable. 

Just before you refrigerate you may want to preserve it for a longer shelf life. The Ginger Beer will be fine for awhile but how long is uncertain. 

A typical choice for beer and wine home brewers are Potassium sorbate or potassium metabisulfite.  This prevent further fermentation.   Chemicals may cause headache in some people. Another choice is  to be sure  the pH is below 4.0 (1-3.9) as measured with a pH meter is recommended by the Pickle Bill (Minnesota's Dept of Ag for safe food) The pH must be below 4.0 at the final stage of bottling, when you will be storing the bottles for later use. 

Filtering: The cloudy or hazy beverage  may taste fine, but it does not look finished and many a friend will balk at taking a glass offered.  This is why virtually all commercial beverages  are filtered. A brilliantly clear beverage is more appealing than a cloudy or hazy one. Sterile filtration is the ultimate act of clarifying , leaving it sparkling clear, and pleasing to look at and virtually incapable of re-fermenting. Filtration removes yeast, bacteria, and  debris also makes it more stable because yeast or bacteria that could feed off residual sugar have been removed. As a result, the amount of SO2 and other chemical preservatives can be reduced. Most of these techniques are not used in home ferments but are discussed in greater detail in our section on Advanced Fermentation. Sadly the greater degree of filtering the greater reduction in taste. 

To Filter or Rack  
Filtering is simply pouring the beer through a filter like cheesecloth.  capturing the sediment in the filter. This also adds back oxygen to the Beer and may re-start another round of fermenting. 

Racking is siphoning off the Beer from one container into another without disturbing the sediment of the original container. This leaves behind the sediment, and since it is done slow, less oxygen is added back and less chance of re-fermenting occurs. Offers greater clarity to your Beer. 

 
What happens in the refrigerator.  
Cold Stabilization Smoothes out and mellows out the taste. Chills out the Ginger Beer as it were.  Portion of the tartaric acid  will precipitate out as crystals. and other sediment may fall to the bottom.  This of course depends upon the degree of filtering or racking that has been done. 
   
WATER  should be as fresh and pure as possible. The water is heated or boiled in order to extract as much flavor from the ginger as possible and to dissolve the sugar. The hotter the water and the longer the time the greater will be the extraction. However the greater and longer the water boils the less oxygen there is in the water for the ferment. Distilled water which I recommend, has much of the oxygen removed and therefore should be energenized in a blender or whisked. Add the juice of the lemon, citrus acid, and cream of tarter  as soon as the water is below 37C / 100F.  Do Not Add the GBP at this Time. Wait until the water, sugar and ginger are at the same room temperature.
Hydrometer By measuring the sugar content with a hydrometer before and after these stages once calculates the alcohol content. Since the ferment is very short and limited Ginger Beer is generally very low at less than 1/2 of 1%. A hydrometer is a useful tool for greater precision brewing. 
pH meter Another instrument for greater precision and safety if bottling for extended periods of time. 

                      

Quality of ingredients as well as what ingredients are used are of course primary in any ferments be it major commercial  endeavors or the simplest home brewer. Two critical factors: Time and Temperatures are sometimes the most perplexing to the  home brewer. While really good Ginger-Beer is really simply to make and a rewarding family activity, attention to more and more detail can lead to award-winning ferments and acclaims of astonishments from friends and neighbors. For a greater depth of understanding refer to our Ginger-Beer Plant Research section and Advanced Fermentation.

 A pleasant tasting carbonated drink may be made from ginger, yeasts and sugar. A simple recipe is described on page 136-139 of Sandor Ellix Katz book Wild Fermentation.

Additional Information

See research on Ginger-Beer Plant and other Fermented Beverages

 

        

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