| Beer Bread
|| Kettle Mashing
|| Non-Alcoholic Beer
|| Mill Thruput
|| Crush Quality
|| Yeast Culturing
Mix and let ferment in warm place for several hours or overnight.
Add 1 tsp salt and knead in or mix flour, one cup at a time, until the dough will not stick to the fingers. This will take about 5 additional cups, the amount depending on the water content of the grain. Then continue to knead or mix until a silky texture that does not stick to fingers is achieved.
Let the dough rise (covered) in a warm place for at least an hour or till it doubles in volume. Then form into loaves and let rise again. When doubled in volume, bake at 375 for 25 min.
I roll the dough into bars about 2" in diameter and about 10" long and just lay them on a baking sheet. If you bake full size loaves in bread pans, the baking time would probably be longer.
You can improve on the texture of the bread if you have a Corona or other flour mill. Dry the spent grain and grind it up with the flour mill. One cup dry and three cups water works out for the above recipe.
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Mashing and sparging in picnic coolers and plastic buckets of one form or another have become so universal that the method I am going to discuss might seem like something new. However, it is more or less the way beer had been made since time immemorial. EASYMASHING has some advantages and some disadvantages over the now "traditional" plastic bucket method and until one understands both approaches, a commitment to one or the other can lead to a good deal of unnecessary frustration.
Easy Mashing is simply using a kettle with an appropriate screening device and spigot to "cook" the mash in and once the mashing is complete, the same kettle becomes the lauter tun. After sparging in the lauter tun, the kettle is used for boiling and if it has a close fitting cover, can be used as the primary fermenter.
The most fundamental advantage of the approach is the ease with which the transition from extract to all grain can be made. The only new requirement is a straining device in the kettle already used for boiling extract beer. The investment required to "give it a try" is quite minimal and if you decide you don't like the program, you end up with a great brew kettle that sports a spigot that won't get clogged up with hops and specialty grains.
The other advantages are a bit more technical and I will point them out when we get to them.
The key to the system is the screening device and the spigot for the kettle. The first one I made was to be used in conjunction with an overlaying false bottom. The false bottom was a stainless steel plate the size of the kettle bottom with a zillion holes laboriously punched into it. It created no end of problems on the very first batch. Mash got under it and scorching was just about impossible to control. So in disgust, I pulled it out, continued the mash and assumed a disaster was at hand.
Much to my incredulous delight, when I opened the spigot, the wort ran clear after less than a cup of turbid runoff. I have since made over 50 batches using only the screen device and get very consistent and respectable extract yields.
We will begin the discussion, by describing the screening device and spigot that is installed in the brew kettle. The first one I made was made from galvanized pipe fittings and window screen, installed in a 32 qt enameled canning kettle.
The current version is all brass, copper and stainless installed on two stainless kettles, a ten gallon for mashing and fermenting and a sixteen gallon for boiling. Having two kettles allows one to be prepared for the next operation while the other is doing its thing.
Fig. 1 shows an exploded view of the spigot and strainer. The strainer is simply a 2 x 6 inch piece of screen, rolled into a six inch tube and clamped to the copper tube. The last half inch is bent over itself to seal it off. The copper tube has a double bend in it to allow it to be rotated so that the end is right on the bottom leaving almost no wort behind. It is easily removed for cleaning.
The spigot passes through a clearance hole drilled in the kettle and is retained by the female connector and a washer to take up the treads and make a tight fit.
All the parts are available at a good hardware store. For those not inclined to hunt down the parts, a complete kit is available from the author.
Once the spigot/strainer device is installed in the brew kettle, you are ready for the plunge. If you are shopping for a kettle, my only advice is the bigger the better. I consider the 32 qt canner about the minimum for a 5 gal batch.
The following procedure is intended only as a starting point that I know works well enough to assure a successful, first, all-grain experience. I do not want to get into endless discussions about the pros and cons of the procedure at this time nor do I even claim that I brew beer this way. There are an infinite number of variations that could be fodder for future articles, but the object of this one is to introduce the approach and brew a simple batch of all grain beer.MASHING
The first step is to dump 8 lbs of crushed pale malt into the kettle. Don't forget the screen! Add 3 gallons of warm tap water and mix thoroughly.
Apply heat and raise temp to 155F. Stir frequently to avoid caramelizing and to distribute the heat. Hold this temp for 30 minutes by adding heat and stirring as necessary.
After 30 mins at 155F, crank up the heat and continue stirring until 175F is reached. This step is known as "mashout" and is difficult or impossible to do with the plastic bucket approach. It is my opinion that it eliminates one source of a common problem with first all grain batches known as a "set mash."
Hold this temp for 10 minutes, then turn off the heat and let it rest while heating water to a boil on another burner. Use a pan that holds at least two quarts of water.SPARGING
The level of wort in the kettle should be about an inch above the grain when it settles. Lay a small bowl on top of the grain to distribute the sparging water and minimize the disturbance of the grain.
Open the spigot just a trickle and run the wort into a cup until it runs clear. Pour the turbid runoff back into the kettle. With this setup, it will run clear after a few ounces. Again, as comparison, it sometimes takes gallons with the other system and this must be recycled back into the mash till it does run clear.
The object of sparging is to extract as much sugar from the grain as possible. The longer it takes, the more efficient the extraction. Adjust the outflow so that it takes at least 10 mins to fill a gallon jug. Pour the boiling water into the bowl as available or necessary to keep about an inch of water over the grain. The availability of boiling water will probably be the limiting factor on sparge rate.
Most brewers will tell you that the sparge water should not exceed 170F but if you use boiling water in this system, the average temp will be far below 170F and you will be lucky to keep it above 150F. You can fiddle on your next batch. Trust my on the first.
The first runoff should be about 1.080 and you quit when it gets below 1.010. The total blend will produce 6 to 7 gallons at about 1.035 which, after boiling will yield 5 to 6 gals at 1.040. Collect the wort in gallon jugs or five gallon plastic buckets (can't get away from them).BOILING THE WORT
When the wort is collected, dump the spent grain on the compost pile and rinse out the kettle. I always save a few pounds in freezer containers for beer bread. The seven gallons of wort will barely fit into the kettle for the boil so it is best to bring a smaller portion to a boil initially to avoid boilover. After evaporating some and getting the boil under control, the rest can be added. A minimal one hour boil will evaporate about a gallon so you can play with the volumes in various ways. You can increase the gravity by more boiling or boil less and have more beer.
Add half of your hops as soon as boiling begins. Save one fourth for the end and the remainder at regular intervals during the boil. If you need a suggestion, try 1 oz of Chinook for your first batch.CHILLING AND FERMENTING
After the boil, the wort is cooled, either overnight or with a wort chiller if you have one. I draw it off, after chilling, a gallon at a time so that I can shake it vigorously and "glug" it into the primary to oxygenate it prior to pitching yeast.
If you hold the chilled wort in a carboy or gallon jugs, you can clean out the kettle and use it again as the primary fermenter if the lid fits well. Just boil a cup of water in it with the lid on for about 5 minutes to sterilize it.
The kettle seems to be universally available for about $35 and the rest of the stuff can be had for under $20, making it a pretty inexpensive system.
So, that's what EASY MASHING is all about. For those afraid to try all grain, I can simply say that the quality of my beer made a quantum leap forward and it was like falling off a log with the EASYMASHER. I do not doubt that some people can make good beer with extracts but I can now honestly say, I don't think I ever did. All grain brewing takes a bit more time and effort but the satisfaction is immense and dollar-a-gallon beer is also no small part of the compensation.
Here is the list of parts required:
All it takes is a 3/8" hole in your kettle, near the bottom. If you run a 1/8" pipe tap into the hole, you can screw on the air cock and it will not leak. However, as most kettles are too thin to provide enough threads for a safe and permanent fit, I modify the fittings by rethreading the aircock and connector with STRAIGHT pipe threads. This allows the connector to be screwed on to the aircock in such a way that you achieve a snug fit by compression instead of relying on the tapered pipe threads.
Aside from the ss screen, you can find this stuff at a good hardware store. I used window screen for months and see nothing wrong with it. Kitchen strainers are a good source for ss screen. ~ [Return to Application Notes menu]
Every time I mention NA beer, people give me funny looks and ask questions like, "why would anyone want to do that to homebrew?"
For those of us who perceive a need to limit alcohol consumption but enjoy making and drinking homebrew, it is a great solution. I have been experimenting with making NA homebrew and have come up with a process that works, is simple and most "experts" can't identify what is missing.
The basic process makes a one gallon batch for the skeptical but can be scaled up to any size.
When you have your next batch ready to bottle, syphon off one gallon before priming. Put this in a kettle with (2)tablespoons of sugar and bring the temp up to 170 F with the lid off, hold it there for 15 min. Let it cool, uncovered until the temp gets below 150 F. Then cover it and cool it to room temp as quickly as possible. You can put it in a sink with running water.
When room temp, add 1/8 tsp yeast. I used EDME yeast but I presume that any yeast will do. However, all bets are off if you use Red Star. Let it sit for a while to dissolve and disperse, then stir well with a sanitized spoon.
Pour the brew into your favorite bottles and cap. It is a good idea to include at least one plastic bottle to monitor carbonation. When the plastic bottle is hard, refrigerate them all. This usually takes no more than a few days at room temp.
If you are set up for kegging, it is even easier. Just heat up 5 gallons as above, keg it when cool and force carbonate it.
You can also experiment with adding hops during the heating step. I don't particularly like the results but I am not a hops freak.
What does it taste like? You'll have to try it yourself to find out. However, I would say that it has a slight hint of a "cooked" taste. This taste can be totally masked by the addition of a pound of roasted barley in an all grain beer or whatever you do to make an extract beer taste like stout.
This beer improves dramatically with age. If you can refrigerate it for a month or two before drinking, all of the off flavors will go away and you will be hard pressed to believe it is what it is.
Jean Hunter at Cornell has tested a sample on a gas chromatograph and says it contains around 1.3% alcohol. This can not legally be called NA but it solves my problem completely. It is below the threshold that makes most people continue drinking all night.
More recently I have done some additional experimenting and think I learned the secret to very low alcohol. It is not some exotic yeast or process, it is simply diluting the beer with water.
After "cooking", I simply add an equal volume of water (previously boiled) and keg as usual. The result is an NA that is still amazingly good compared to the industrial stuff (NA or otherwise) and half the calories and alcohol compared to just de-alcoholizing the beer. Any off flavors from cooking will also be reduced in half. If you don't like 50:50, use what ever suits you.
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The use of the word "quality" is subjective and has no quantifiable meaning in this application. What one MEASURES is the statistical distribution of the grist size, viz., the percentage of the grist that passes through an industry standardized set of sieves. There are published examples of grist analysis that are considered typical of what a large commercial brewery should look for but there is no such thing as a single standard of quality that is ideal for every system. Unless you run malt through a flour mill or coffee grinder, there is no way one can look at the grist and determine it's "quality". The proof of the pudding is the extract YOU get in YOUR system and not some perceived idea of "crush quality".
Furthermore, it is impossible to over-crush malt in a JSP MALTMILL. This is particularly true of the pre-adjusted mill and virtually true on the adjustable mill because the spacing is fixed at one end to the same value as the pre-adjusted mill. The mill may be adjusted to produce a finer grist than might be ideal for a particular system but it will NEVER be finer than the so-called "textbook crush".
The issue of "husk damage" is also a common subject of concern among the pundits but a lack of understanding of the problem has produced much unnecessary concern. The husk provides the material for the filter bed that clears the wort but the wort does not travel through a husk, it goes around it and it is the edges that snatch and retain the particles filtered. Up to a point, the smaller the particles are, the more efficient will be the filtering. We get into trouble when the mill pulverizes husk into particles so small that they can not be distinguished from the starch particles. No modern multiple roller mill is capable of doing this so it is really a non-issue unless we are dealing with mills designed for another purpose or with a single roller.
There are reasons why grist analysis is important to megabrewers and it is based on the bottom line of the P & L statement. What is best for the megabrewer is not necessarily best or even good for the homebrewer. One can achieve the textbook type grist analysis with an adjustable MALTMILL or something that looks very little like it with the "pre-adjusted" MM but I defy anyone to prove that the beer they make is in any way measurably different. Fact is, the fixed mill grist is more forgiving and easier to mash, lauter and extract than the finer crush that the other can achieve.
One final point on adjustable mills is worth putting on the table. It is frequently suggested that the one sided adjustability of the MM is a limitation when in fact, this is actually the key to the so called "text book crush".
If you look at the oft published drawing of a six roller mill, you will note that the roller spacings are about .050", .030" and .012" from top to bottom. It just so happens that, when an adjustable MM is set to near contact at the adjustable end, one gets those same numbers at the fixed end, center and adjustable end respectively. The end result is that the random distribution of grain across the length of the rollers provides about the same grist distribution as a six roll mill.
This situation is enhanced as the roller length is increased and probably could not be reproduced in a mill with shorter rollers. I also doubt that short rollers could be operated at such a skew without binding and/or damage to the bearings.
I repeat my challenge to anyone to prove that they get better beer using any mill out there than from a fixed MM. Not surprisingly, I hear from people who have had mills for years who call to ask what the knob on the side is for or who know what it is for but have never adjusted the mill since receiving it.HOWEVER, to silence the skeptics, we do offer a mill, (Model AA) adjustable at both ends, for a nominal additional cost but few of them are willing to put their money where their mouth is.
Jack Schmidling Productions, Inc. ~ [Return to Application Notes menu]
The objective of culturing yeast is to isolate a single cell from a beer or culture that has the characteristics desired and encourage this cell to reproduce enough offspring to start a new batch of beer.
This is easier said than done but with reasonable care, luck and modest investment, can be accomplished by the serious home brewer.GENERAL PROGRAM
The general program is to dilute the original culture and spread it over the surface of a growth medium in a petri dish so that individual cells are far enough apart to allow them to grow into visible colonies without touching each other.
A sample from one of these typical colonies is transferred to a test tube containing a growth medium. When this colony is actively growing, it is considered a pure culture and can be refrigerated for later use or started by covering with beer wort. When this starter is actively fermenting, it is poured into a larger amount of wort which, when active, is pitched into the beer.BASIC ASSUMPTIONS
The procedure makes a number of assumptions which are correct often enough to allow it to work well enough to satisfy most requirements.
The first assumption is that one can select the desired strain by looking at colonies on a petri dish. This is more or less true because the overwhelming majority will be the same, i.e. the dominant strain. Bacteria, molds and many wild yeasts are obvious and recognizable to the naked eye.
The second assumption is that, while still very small, all round colonies are the progeny of single cells.
The third assumption is that all such colonies, at least in the center are mono clonal or at least mono-cultures and otherwise sterile.
To do the job right, one would have to study the original diluted culture under high magnification and do a presort at that level. This is revealing and fun. It also gives an indication of any bacterial contamination in the culture but the rub is marking individual cells and finding them later when they grow into colonies. This is done using a calibrated X-Y stage on the microscope and making careful notes. Fortunately, however, I do not believe that it is really necessary for the home brewer, although a must for the lab selling selected strains.DETAILS
There are many growth media available for the purpose and no doubt someone can recommend a source or recipe for the ideal but for my experiments, I mixed two packets (16 gr) of Knox gelatin with one cup of 1.020 wort. After heating and dissolving, this is poured into petri dishes and test tubes and sterilized in a pressure cooker for 15 min at 15 lb.
It should be noted that a pressure cooker is the preferred method of sterilization but for our purposes, one could probably get by with steaming in any pot with a lid and a half inch of water. Set the dishes or slants in or on a cup or some other support to keep them out of the water.
The petri dishes are turned upside down after solidifying and cultured this way to prevent water of condensation from falling on the medium. The test tubes are cooled on a slant to allow the water to settle on the bottom when vertical. They are also stuffed with cotton before going into the pc. You can also use tubes with plastic screwcaps and avoid the cotton.
It should be noted that gelatin melts around 75 F so its use in summer is precarious. The better alternative to gelatin is agar. This is available at oriental food stores in stick form. Half a stick (about 4 inches) in a cup of wort will get you through the hottest weather.ISOLATING CELLS
The first step is to inoculate the petri dish with as diluted a mixture as possible. The books are full of procedures for doing this but I find the simplest is just as good. Take a copper wire or thin glass rod and heat several inches in a flame to sterilize. Dip this, when cool, into a working beer or yeast culture. If starting with dry yeast, dissolve one granule of yeast in a test tube with about one inch of sterile water. Gently drag the inoculated wire across the gelatin in the petri dish, trying not to break the surface. Next, draw the wire across this line at several points, to further dilute the sample. Turn the dish over onto the cover and "incubate" at room temp for several days. Do this on several dishes just for insurance and as controls.PURE CULTURE
The next step is to visually inspect the surface of the petri dish under low magnification (hand lens or naked eye will do) to pick out a "typical" colony that appears to have come from a single cell. All colonies should be rejected that are any shape other than perfectly round and differ in any way from the majority.
Flame your wire again and after cooling, remove a small sample from the center of the selected colony and poke this into the surface of the medium in a "slant" test tube. You can do this to several slants, with the same sample, to assure all slants are the same or flame the wire and take a new sample from a different colony. You can make as many slants as you will need for several months and throw away the petri culture.
You now "incubate" the slants until 25% or more of the surface is covered with the pure colony and then refrigerate them till needed.STARTING
When needed for use, cover the slant with sterile wort and pitch when ready, i.e fermenting. For best results, this starter should be used to pitch about a pint of wort, a day or so before brew day.
This process can be used on anything from a packet of Red Star to a bottle of your favorite beer and will produce a pure culture. There is no guarantee however, that the strain will remain the same for ever because of natural mutation. As it is my experience that the most common and objectionable contaminants of dry yeast are bacteria and mold, this process will guarantee at least, to eliminate these most serious problems.SIMPLIFIED PROCEDURE
An even simpler process can be used if one is not interested in isolating single cells and has confidence that the starting culture is pure.
This procedure skips the petri dish part and assumes one is starting with a packet of liquid yeast or a culture slant obtained from a reliable source.
After preparing the agar/wort medium and a convenient number of slant culture tubes, they are simply inoculated directly from the culture.
Using the sterile procedure outlined above, just dip into the packet of liquid yeast with the transfer wire and poke this into the agar in the sterile slants. One dip is enough to inoculate several tubes. You can use the rest of the yeast in the packet to start the next batch but the slants can be saved for a year or more.
If you use a purchased culture slant, the same procedure applies. Poke the wire into the yeast culture and then poke this into the slants. Save the original for future iterations. If you started with a liquid yeast packet, save the last slant to start a new group.
Using this simple approach, one can go several years without spending a penny on yeast and possibly forever once you get into the "yeast swapping" mode. I have yet to buy any yeast since I stopped using dry.
While this is not necessarily music to the ears of yeast suppliers, it is good news to the homebrewer. That $'s for yeast in the bill of materials becomes zero to the yeast culturer. Yeast suppliers (like extract suppliers) will no doubt always be with us and in the case of yeast, we need them to maintain pure strains when ours go south. ~ [Return to Application Notes menu]
Aug 14, 1993
There has been a great deal of enthusiastic reporting on the use of aquarium air pumps to aerate wort prior to pitching yeast and many rather preposterous claims of shortened time to the onset of fermentation resulting from the use of same. As the author's experience on one batch did not support any such claims, a controlled experiment was designed to determine the validity of said claims.
The experiment described herein compares the air pump aerator with several other less exotic methods along with an un-aerated control batch.
The wort used was withheld from a batch of Pilsner style beer with a gravity of 1.050. It was re-boiled several days after the original batch was pitched so that it could be pitched with controlled amounts of kraeusen from the new batch. The re-boiling was to re-established an anaerobic environment along with re-sterilizing the wort.
Prior to pitching, the wort was divided into (4) 500 ml samples in sterile, one quart mason jars and aerated in various ways as follows:
The wort was cooled to a temperature of 70F before being aerated. All four samples were pitched with 50 ml of working kraeusen. This active wort was taken as a single sample and thoroughly mixed prior to dividing into 4 individual portions to assure a homogeneous and identical yeast in each test.
The yeast used was Pilsener Urquel recultured from a slant obtained from Paul Farnsworth. (*2)
After pitching, the four test batches were placed in a refrigerator at 40F and checked every four hours for signs of incipient fermentation.
No sign of fermentation was detected until the 72 hr check. At this time, a small island of bubbles was just visible in the center of all four samples.
To accelerate the conclusion of the experiment, the samples were removed from the refrigerator and allowed to rise to room temperature (75 F). They were monitored until the entire surface of the fermenters were covered with foam. This occurred about 9 hours later on all four samples.
To take the experiment one step further, a similar but abbreviated experiment was conducted with ale yeast.
Two 500 ml samples of a similar wort were treated as follows:
Both samples were pitched with 0.4 grams of granulated EDME ale yeast, poured directly on top of the wort.
They were maintained at a temperature 75 F and monitored regularly until the onset of fermentation. This occurred at 4.5 hrs in both samples. The tops of both fermenters were covered with foam at 10 hrs total elapsed time.
The experiment seems to confirm the author's previous experience and points to the conclusion that the method of aeration used has no correlation with or effect on the time to onset of fermentation. Contrary to frequently stated anecdotal experience, the un-aerated control samples started fermenting as soon and with the same vigor as the variously aerated samples. This was true both in the case of cold temperature lager yeast and room temperature ale yeast.
This experiment was not intended to test any other aspects of the brewing process that may be affected by wort aeration. Much has been written on the subject and the present author's intent was only to study the effects of aeration on the onset of fermentation.
*1 Dave Miller on Hung Fermentations, Brewing Techniques, May/June 1993
*2 Dr Paul Farnsworth, Scientific Service, San Antonio, TX
The usual lag time for the lager yeast is from 8 to 24 hrs when pitched at "normal" rates. It was underpitched for the experiment in order to increase the time resolution by extending the overall lag time.
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Your EASYMASHER kit consists of three components:
The male thread of the spigot passes through a clearance hole in the brew kettle. The female end of the connector screws on to the spigot to provide a permanent, leak free installation. The captive compression fitting on the strainer assembly is used to install the strainer prior to use and to remove it for cleaning after use.
The first step in installation is to spot a hole near the bottom of the kettle prior to drilling. If the center of the hole is 1 1/4" above the bottom , the strainer can rest on the bottom. It should be pointed out that the distance off the bottom is not critical and there are some good reasons to keep the screen an inch or two above the bottom. After the EM is installed, the distance from the bottom can be varied by rotating the screen assembly before tightening the compression fitting. The hole must also be a minimum of 3/8" above the top of the radius where the bottom meets the side. In the case of converted kegs, this will determine the minimum space above the bottom. Mark this spot and drill a 1/8" pilot hole at this point.
Drill this hole out with a 3/8" drill. If the kettle is steel or stainless, be sure to use cutting oil, WD40 or water on the drill. It sometimes helps to drill part way through from the outside and then finish drilling through from the outside and then finish drilling through from the inside. If necessary, use a very large drill or a countersink to deburr the hole.
Insert the threaded end of the spigot into the hole and screw on the female connector. Hold the hex on the spigot with a 9/16" open end wrench, with the bibb pointing down and tighten the connector from the inside with another 9/16" wrench. Make it as tight as reasonably possible without stripping the threads. A leakproof fit will be achieved without the need for a washer but a fiber washer is provided to take up the shoulder for thin walled kettles.
When ready for use, loosely screw on the strainer assembly, then rotate it untill the strainer is in the desired position and tighten. After use, remove the strainer assembly for cleaning.
That's all that's to it. The only trick is to develop a pattern of stirring that jumps your spoon over the strainer. Reverse directions occasionally and "feel" the strainer once in awhile with the spoon to make sure that mash is not building up along it. If you have any questions, please let us know.
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Since moving to the country, I have found my self in the position of being able to "buy" a bushel of corn for a pint or two of beer. At that price, it seemed prudent to find a way to work it into the brewery program.
After many experiments to determine the most convenient process, I developed the following routine.
First of all, the hard corn must be cracked but as there are no husks to worry about preserving, anything that grinds, crushes or pulverizes it will do. In fact, corn meal from the super market is just about ideal for city dwellers to experiment with. My advice to MM owners is to open the spacing as wide as possible for the first pass and run it through a second time at the nominal spacing.
Corn has lots of starch but no enzymes to convert it into sugar so we rely on the fact that the base malt has enough overkill to do the job. In order to prepare the corn for mashing is should be boiled first to "gelatinize" the starch but scorching is a serious problem which is handily dealt with in the below procedure.
The following recipe is for a ten gallon batch and can be scaled for smaller or larger batch sizes. It is a basis from which to start and the variations on the theme are infinite.
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The following is extracted from our video "BREW IT AT HOME". For the complete details and graphics, check out a copy at your library or order a copy for yourself
I recommend that you do not alter the recipe on the first batch. On subsequent batches you can alter the amount of ginger, sugar and vanilla to suit your own taste.
Slice the ginger into thin sections and add them to two cups of boiling water. Simmer this on very low heat for 20 minutes. While this is simmering, boil the gallon of water and two cups of sugar for one minute and set aside. Pour the ginger and liquid into a blender and blend on high for about one minute. Pour this blend into the sugar water, through a strainer. With a soup ladle, pour a few cups of the hot brew through the remaining pulp to extract a bit more of the ginger flavor. Cool to room temperature. When cool, add vanilla, yeast and stir until disolved. Let sit for about 30 minutes. Then bottle and age.
The simplest, safest and least expensive method of bottling is to use one-litre plastic soft drink bottles with screw caps. These can be sterilized by rinsing in a mixture of household bleach and water and then rinsed with clean water.
After filling, the bottles should be set aside at room temperature for about 48 hours, or until hard (check by squeezing). Then refrigerate to finish the aging process.
Leaving the bottles at room temperature too long will cause overcarbonation. Using glass rather than plastic bottles can cause shattered bottles. Another nice feature of the plastic bottles is that they can be re-carbonated if only partially consumed. Just let it sit out over night with the cap on and refrigerate it when hard.
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