Beer / Craft Beer

February 25th, 2020

Gem­bier

Sweet. Sour. Spicy. Gembier is a Ginger Ale's more interesting, alcoholic brother. Gembier is a very affordable and accessible brew, and makes for a great introduction to homebrewing. This naturally flavoured- and naturally carbonated brew only calls for five ingredients: Ginger, Sugar, Lemon, Water, and a wee bit of patience.

A shout-out goes out to Joshua Weissman, whose 2018 video inspired this recipe.

Brew label

Ingredients*

* This recipe results in a batch of  ( 3.8 / 10 / 20 )  liters.

Fermentables

  • 500 g of Granulated Sugar
  • 100 g of Shredded Ginger

Hops & Aromatics

  • 2 Lemons

Yeast (Ginger Bug)

  • 25 g of Grated Ginger
  • 25 g of Granulated Sugar

Here's how it's done.

Preface

Brewing is a craft that revolves around on Planning and Sanitation — make sure you have all ingredients and equipment ready and sanitised: this will save you a lot of headaches later on.

However, Brewing is also about Experimentation and Enjoying Yourself. As a wise man once said: Relax. Don't worry. And have a homebrew.

The Ginger Bug — [1/4]

Ginger has natural yeasts present on its skin — we'll be cultivating this into a Ginger Bug which we later use to bless ourselves with alcohol. This process will take us two to three days. Don't worry: it's hardly any work at all.

  • Fill a mason jar with 500ml of room-temperature water, and add in 25 grams of granulated sugar.
  • Use a grater or kitchen knife to couresly grate 25 grams of ginger. Remember to leave the skin on. Add the grated ginger to the mason jar, and use a wooden or plastic spoon to stir.
  • Cover the mason jar with a cheese-cloth or a paper towel, and let the jar sit in room temperature for 24 hours.
  • The next day, add an additional 25 grams of grated ginger and 25 grams of granulated sugar. Stir to combine.
  • Keep repeating this until you see tiny bubbles appear in your liquid and it starts to smell of alcohol — this means your Ginger Bug is alive and ready for action!

The Boil — [2/4]

During The Boil we prepare the Wort for The Fermentation Phase by making sure all fermentable materials are mixed well in our liquid.

  • Grab a pot that can hold at least 5 liters, and place it on your stove. Pour 3.8 liters of water in the pot, and turn on the stove.
  • Add 500 grams of granulated sugar, and peel- and shred around 100 grams of ginger. Add these to the pot too.
  • Bring the pot up to a rolling boil, then lower the temperature. Let the liquid simmer for Five to Ten minutes. Turn off the heat afterwards.

The Fermentation — [3/4]

During The Fermentation we use our own cultivated yeast (Mr. Ginger Bug) to turn the Wort into Ginger Beer! For this to happen, two things are crucial: Sanitation and Temperature Control.

  • Make sure anything that (indirectly) touches the Wort from now on is sanitised!
  • Cool the Wort (in an ice bath, or using a Wort Cooler) until it reaches 21°C.
  • Use a Racking Cane to siphon your cooled-down Wort into your sanitised Fermentation Vessel.
  • Filter out the particles in your Ginger Bug and add it to the Fermentation Vessel.
  • Pitch your Yeast (or Yeast Starter if you are fancy 🎩).
  • Aerate (introduce oxygen) the Wort and Yeast by thoroughly shaking the Fermentation Vessel while closing the top.
  • Sanitise- and assemble your screw-stop stopper with an airlock filled with sanitiser liquid. Store the fermenter in a dark place at room temperature.
Artboard 1

Intermezzo: Keep in a dark place at room temperature for one week, until the fermentable sugars have been converted into alcohol. That's the brew day done for now! Time to relax and have a pint 🍻.

Bottling — [4/4]

Our final step in this journey. In the Bottling phase we … bottle our brew. For this step, make sure you have sanitised bottles, and a way to close them off (using bottle caps, or swing-top bottles).

  • Take off the screw-top stopper from the fermentation vessel, and siphon your (now alcoholic) ginger beer into a sanitised bottling bucket.
  • We want our brew to be properly carbonated. This can be done by adding some extra sugar (Priming). Warning: do not overprime your beer, you'll end up with dangerous bottle bombs!
  • As a rule of thumb, add ~7.90 g of sugar per liter of homebrew. For this recipe, this means we add a total of 30 grams of sugar to the bottling bucket.
  • Allow the sugar to dissolve in the bottling bucket, and siphon your brew from the bucket into your bottles.
  • Make sure the bottles are securely shut, and store them in a dark place for one to two weeks. Place them in the fridge the night before you want to enjoy them. Cheers! 🍻

Stats for Nerds

Finally, here are some statistics that brewing nerds would appreciate. Keep in mind these have been measured using homebrewing equipment, and may not be lab-accurate. If you managed to get your hands on a bottle of this brew, we would recommend you experience it using this tasting sheet!

Initial Specific Gravity (OG) 1.060
Final Specific Gravity (FG) 1.012
Alcohol By Volume (ABV) 6.2%
Bitterness (IBU) 0
Colour (SRM) 0
Clarity Clear

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