I have fallen for housemade ginger beer at a very neat place in Charleston, SC over the weekend called The Rarebit, great cocktails.
I came home from our short vacation and decided to make some home made ginger beer with what we had in the fridge.
I boiled and steeped 8oz. of peeled and chopped fresh ginger with 4 cups of water and 3/4 cup of packed brown sugar. Once to a boil, I killed the heat and let the mixture steep for an hour. I then strained and cooled, added approximately 2 liters of cool water and pitched some dry yeast and the juice of one lime and two lemons. My recipe said to keep at room temp for 48 hours to carbonate and then refrigerate. It called for champagne yeast.
The recipes said that the beer would not keep for very long, maybe a week in the fridge. If we followed brewing sanitation procedures, why wouldn't the bottles keep indefinitely? Not taking flavor loss into consideration, what do commercial ginger beer makers do that makes their safe for the shelves? The recipe also warned of exploding bottles and over carbonation, but the recipe is fairly dry... I can't imagine them continuing to carbonate to that point.
My other question is, I saw another recipe that open fermented (air lock, saran wrap topped bottle opposed to a capped bottle) a ginger, sugar, water mixture at room temp for 24 hours, then strained and bottled. This procedure is more intruiging to me because I feel the ginger infusion is better than the "ginger simple syrup" method above. I want some of that sediment in my beer to keep it spicy and gingery.
How do you make your ginger beer?