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I'm about to brew a ginger beer and was wondering if the choice of yeast is as important in a ginger beer, where the ginger dominates the flavour.

I've got the yeast-under-the-cap packet and a US-05 to choose from & wondering if the results will be much different.

Does the yeast choice make a noticable difference? Why?

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4 Answers 4

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If you're making Ginger Beer, you really need a Ginger Beer Plant, which is a particular kind of yeast/bacteria blend. This will help get the appropriate acidity in the finished product.

Ginger Beer Plant 101

If you're making Beer flavored with Ginger, I'd say use a yeast that's appropriate for the beer style. I used Safale S-04 (and a dead package of Wyeast 1099) for my Ginger ESB. I think the fruity esters from the yeast complemented the ginger flavors well.

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Well if you threw a hefewiezen yeast in there it would be odd, so yes yeast choice matters.

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This is a little different than "Ginger Beer", so I'm not sure what you are exactly making because your post does not make it completely clear. However, I have had success making a naturally fermented Ginger Soda from a recipe our of Sandor Katz's wonderful book, "Wild Fermentation" which I recommend to any beer maker as an interesting read.

Anyway, essentially the recipe starts with making what he calls a Ginger Bug. This is the "yeast" of the process. Essentially, you mix 1 cup water with 2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger and 2 teaspoons white sugar. Leave that covered with a cloth on your counter for 2 days to a week.. until it starts bubbling. Add more ginger and sugar every 1-2 days as needed.

(This recipe makes 1 gallon, so adjust accordingly.)

Now, when you go to make your soda.. bring 1 gallon water to a boil with 1.5 cups white sugar and 2-6 inches grated fresh ginger (depending on how strong you want the ginger taste to be). Let that simmer for 15-20 minutes.

As it cools, you can optionally add the juice of 1-2 lemons for another flavor. In my latest batch, I added carrot juice for more fun!

Once it cools down to 80F or so, add the strained ginger bug from above. Katz says to bottle it directly in your bottles, but I've had that be over-carbonated, so I ferment mine in a small carboy for about 10 days. Then I bottle with priming sugar to get the right level of carbonation.

Anyway, that's a naturally fermented ginger soda. Super tasty!

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When you say 2-6 inches of fresh ginger, do you mean nodules from a rhizome? How wide of one do you use? Do you leave the skin on? Any idea what mass that comes out to? –  baka Mar 19 '11 at 18:31
    
It's not such an exact science based on Katz's recipe.. however I have been weighing the ginger in my experiments. I used about 3oz of ginger per gallon in my latest batch, but I'm still working on figuring out the best ratio for my tastes. –  SimonH Mar 19 '11 at 22:23
    
I'd really like something approaching Blenheim's Hot Ginger ale. The one where you break out coughing just from the smell. –  baka Mar 19 '11 at 23:57
    
Then just go crazy with the ginger 5oz+ for gallon! Let us know how it goes! –  SimonH Mar 20 '11 at 4:34
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I've used hefewiezen yeast in ciders (wyeast 3068) and it added a slightly fruity flavor that bakka mentioned. Don't see how the subtle contribution of the wyeast would overpower the strong ginger flavor.

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