Ginger beer. Everyone loves ginger beer, it’s spicy, refreshing and peppery. So whilst reading The Bar Book by Jeffery Morganthaler I saw his recipe for ginger beer and thought to try my hand at it. Something happened and I failed. There wasn’t any effervescence.
So back to the drawing board, I was juicing cucumbers when it came to mind, “why hasn’t anyone made cucumber beer?” I made some and it is fantastic. Below is how I managed this little gem. Note! This is recipe for a large batch! Do your math accordingly.
First thing is first.
You will need:
12 oz. cucumber juice, 16 oz. lemon juice, 28 oz. simple syrup, 1 packet champagne yeast, and 91/4 cups. Water.
Juicing the cucumber. Now most of us won’t have a juicer, we will get to that ordeal in a moment- the first step is to rinse your cucumbers and then peel them, cut them into smaller pieces and cut off the ends. After you will pass the cucumbers through the juicer and extract all its lovely green herbal juice. Measure out 12 oz. by volume. Fine strain, Set aside and refrigerate.
Next we you’re going to juice 16 oz. lemon juice. I suggest doing this with a hand press to avoid the bitter tannins in the white pith. Fine strain the lemon juice and set aside and refrigerate.
Step three. 28 oz. simple syrup. This we will weigh. 453 grams of water and 453 grams of water (should yield 28 oz). To make the syrup is pretty simple, in a large pot add the water slowly bringing the temperature up, adding the sugar a little at a time constantly stirring until it’s completely dissolved. No need to cool after, we want this to still be warm. You’ll see why shortly. I reccomend caster sugar or superfine sugar for this, it will dissolve much faster.
Next is water. You need 9 1/4 cups of water. The water should be a bit warmer than room temperature, closer to luke warm. Measure out the water and pour into a large pot, or 5 gallon vessel. Add the lemon juice, and start stirring. While stirring add in the cucumber juice, next add the syrup and keep stirring until it’s one well mixed batch. Now for the bottling. Depending on if you’re gonna use large self sealing bottles or cap off beer bottles, you’re gonna need a funnel and some towels.
Before we start transferring liquid the most important ingredient is yeast. Champagne yeast specifically. Now I don’t have an exact measurement for the yeast but a little goes a long way. Using the tip of a pairing knife collect a small amount of yeast, enough to cover 1/4 inch tip of the blade, and steadily pour the yeast into each bottle. *important* these bottles must be dry, clean and sanitized.
Now fill your bottles one at a time. Cap them or seal them. Leave enough room for the carbon dioxide to build. Think of the space in a beer bottle. Same concept. I say about 1 1/2 in. from the lip of your respective bottles.
Now we play the waiting game. This will need to sit for 48 hours in a warm dark place. Think kitchen cabinet. The reason we want wamth is to aide in the yeast eating up all those sugars and creating co2, after all we are fermenting. Sugar + yeast + heat = alcohol. Don’t be worried the amount of alcohol produced is very very low. much much lower than a non-alcoholic beer. While we wait be sure to move the bottles, give them a gentle shake just to make sure nothing settles for too long. Once we are finished waiting the 48 hours, grab your bottles and rinse them in cold water after which you’ll place them in the refrigerator until throughly cold. This help stop the yeast from fermenting and gives you a nice cold beverage.
The last step is easy. Drink! There’s gonna be a lot of co2 built up so be careful and enjoy.
Now if you don’t have a blender this is my solution. Prep the cucumbers as recommended above and using a high powered blender purée the cucumbers. You will have a lot of pulp of course so you can either use a double layer cheese cloth and squeeze the juice using very very clean hands or with vinyl/latex gloves. Or you can press the juice through tea strainers using the back of a spoon to move the juice through the pulp. The last step would be to finish straining once last time though a fine mesh strainer to trap any remaining pulp or seeds.