Made my second batch of ginger beer the other day, and not sure if different sugars perhaps produced a little more alcohol..
For my first batch, I used 2 cups of pure cane sugar and 1 packet of dry champagne yeast from red star to yield ~1 gallon. I let the bottles sit at room temperature for a little more than a day, then I dropped them in the fridge.
For my second, I doubled the batch, but instead of 4 cups of sugar , I used 3 cups, and ~13 oz. pineapple juice (Reed's uses pineapple juice, so thought I'd give it a try). I also added the cane sugar by making a simple syrup this time to make sure it all dissolves, as well as added some lime--neither of which should have an effect on fermentation(?). I pitched the same red star yeast after letting my pot sit in the fridge for a few hours to cool.
--Edit: I used 1# of ginger/gallon yield and 1 lemon for both. Those didn't change between batches.
I bottled it all yesterday and ran out of bottles (beer's taking them all up!) so I poured the left overs into a Nalgene bottle which I took to work today to see if it's carbonated. To my surprise/satisfaction, when I opened the bottle it announced with a nice 'tssh!' that it was nice and fizzy. However, after drinking a pint's worth, I'm pretty sure this batch is...different.
As a beer-brewing, red-blooded, beard-adorned American, I can tell when I've had alcohol, and I'm 95% sure this ginger beer is a little more 'special' than my first batch. Given I just ate lunch prior to drinking it, it must have at least 2% alcohol to make me even notice anything, or even think about it. My beer brewing experience says this doesn't make much sense, but then I remembered the key difference between this batch and the prior, and one thing I learned from nutritional science in college: fructose is the simplest of sugars, and pineapple juice packs a lot of fructose. The champagne yeast is probably having a party with the stuff--and I'm actually enjoying my Monday at work.
Does that at least pass the smell test? Could champagne yeast have turned that much sugar into a noticeable alcohol content in less than 24 hours? Is there that big of a difference between cane sugar, and fructose? Or was there potentially some weird fungus growing on the ginger root that I used, explaining my general euphoria at work today?