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I'm doing some experiments with ginger beer (this is a alcoholic beer, not a soda). I'm use brown sugar as the sugar source for now, but may experiment with other sugars including malt as I go along.

I'm just using a nottingham dry brewers yeast to start, but I'd like to experiment with some different yeasts and see what tastes good. Any ideas of what kind of yeast would be good? I was thinking to try something belgian to get some fruitiness in there? but I'm wondering if anyone out there has some ideas on yeast that might be interesting and why!

I'll report back on how it goes.

  • possible duplicate of Does yeast choice matter as much in ginger beer? – brewchez Jun 13 '11 at 12:27
  • Voted to close as the yeast question and traditional ginger beer has been discussed already. – brewchez Jun 13 '11 at 12:28
  • I disagree.. I don't think that question is about the same kind of ginger beer? I did see that question before I asked this.. it certainly is not answered or asked well if it is a duplicate. – SimonH Jun 13 '11 at 15:23
  • I have had some ginger beer made with a common champagne yeast that was different, but good. – adamziegler Jun 13 '11 at 16:45
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Youngs Super Wine yeast is superb (I don't work for them by the way). The taste is amazing, but you have to be careful to "proof" bottles after bottling. Check after 12-24 hours. They will explode if left for 2 days or so. (Read online about exploding Ikea flip top lids in ginger beer making).

Also if bought in 60g compound, refrigerate after first use. If you leave in cool cupboard it will die. You can get up to 10 years out of the compound if refrigerated. Use a heaped teaspoon (7g) and make a "ginger beer plant" for 2 weeks with it. Or if you have a plant that is weeks or years old, just feed it for 1 week before adding the water, sugar, ginger and lemons (I'm using the Avoca recipe, and Irish recipes although we don't have a history of good cooking are out of this world!!!).

The result is halfway between the fiery ginger beer and incredibly fiery ginger beer that Marks & Spencer (English food shop) used to produce. If you have never tasted these then you don't know what I'm talking about. But M&S are dumb and have now started making a sugar free ginger beer that is disgusting and full of dangerous chemicals for children, so don't even taste their sugar free version to get an idea of what it might taste like. The taste is similar to Old Jamaican Ginger Beer except stronger and better and gives you a warm feeling in your belly! (I kid you not)

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    I just made a ginger bug 2 days ago. My yeast was dead so I grated about 3 inchs (7cm) length of ginger and threw it into the dead plant with sugar. I did the same the next day. The ginger plant came back to life and its bubbling really well now. Might avoid even using yeast in the future. – Eamonn Kenny Nov 24 '17 at 10:36
  • I was curious about your claim of “dangerous chemicals” so I checked the ingredients. Contrary to your claim, there are no dangerous chemicals in there, all ingredients are safe as used here (vastly below the maximum recommended daily dose). – Konrad Rudolph May 30 '18 at 15:31
  • @KonradRudolph Refined sugar is obviously dangerous in high doses and not a good thing to be consumed on a regular basis, I would not darken the door of M&S ever again, simply because of the aspartame and saccharine and the discussing taste of anything that doesn't contain real sugar. We are now so immune to the taste that we don't find this stuff horrible. But go off it for 1 year and then taste it and you will see how toxic it tastes. Obviously you can use Kefir grain instead of artificial sweeteners. I don't believe myself that they are safe and time and better research will prove this... – Eamonn Kenny May 31 '18 at 15:40
  • @KonradRudolph sorry it contains sucralose. Great stuff. m-s.gr/en/product/ginger-beer-sugar-free – Eamonn Kenny May 31 '18 at 15:44
  • Oh I’m totally with you regarding the taste. But the safety of sucralose is quite well established, to the point that there’s no reason to believe “better research” is necessary. – Konrad Rudolph May 31 '18 at 15:56
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I made a Ginger ESB using Wyeast 1968 that turned out quite tasty. It's got some nice fruity esters and flocculates quite nicely.

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I used Champagne yeast. Nice and fizzy.

  • What is your sugar source? – SimonH Jun 15 '11 at 17:58
  • Plain supermarket sugar. In future im intending to use honey and sugar – Tom Squires Jul 13 '11 at 17:30
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    how did you keep it from coming out really dry with champagne yeast? or was it just a dry ginger beer? – pjreddie Dec 10 '11 at 17:34
  • It was fairly dry. I will probably use some lactose to sweeten it up next time – Tom Squires Dec 10 '11 at 17:54
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As kids, we used to grow a ginger beer "plant" up from Ginger & Sugar and a few Sultanas. Every couple of days we would add a bit more sugar-water to it. There were no real measurements, but I know for sure we did not add any yeast other than what was on the skin of the dried fruit. (Obviously if it grows a chunky black pellicle, you don't use it.)

Many recipes for ginger-beer plants on the internet include adding a teaspoon of bread-making yeast, I really think this makes the whole production of the "plant" pointless, as you can just put the yeast directly into the ginger sugar-water (~wort).

Generally wild yeasts (i.e.: from sultana skins) are reported to ferment with Saison like characteristics. Of course there would be some bacteria in there too - brewing as 10-year old kids, there probably was not any real sanitation practices, sure we used a clean glass, and maybe washed our hands beforehand.

However the alcohol tolerance with wild yeast is unpredictable. Typically bread yeast finishes out at approximately 14% AbV (or at least it does so in meads). Whereas wine yeasts, particularly champagne will stop at higher levels. Fermenting at higher temperatures will also produce many more esters (flavours) from the same yeast strain.

I think one of the best methods to make soft-drink (soda) ginger beer is to use PET bottles. Twice a day squeeze the bottles. Once they have become hard (with CO2 pressure), put them in the refrigerator. It gives you an idea when they are good to drink, and reduces the amount of alcohol to the minimum needed to achieve carbonation. Note: this only slows the fermentation, it does not stop it. Or if you're going for high-alcohol, just release the pressure and re-cap.

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If I am going for a sweet Ginger Beer then I use a low attenuating Ale yeast such as S04, for a drier Ginger Ale I tend to use a wine yeast, and allow it a few days longer to ferment out more of the sugars. I have used Baking yeast, baking yeast is not a good plan, but as a student I had no other to hand and it made something roughly drinkable.

Would love to hear your feed back on using a Belgium yeast if you are using some belgium then try to keep the brewing temp high for the first few days to boost the ester profile.

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