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This is a recipe for making ginger beer from scratch (that is, with natural yeast), so of course we can’t guarantee that it is going to work, because the yeast needs to do its job to start the bug, or culture. We got it to work quite a few times, though, so with some patience and persistence you have good odds.
Special equipment: You can buy a special ginger grater, but unless you are going to be using it on an almost daily basis, we think it is more practical to get the affordable and multipurpose zester from Microplane.
You can find cheesecloth at most grocery stores and kitchen supply shops.
A fine-mesh strainer is a useful kitchen tool.
Use an instant-read digital thermometer for this recipe.
Look for bottling equipment at a craft-brewing supply store. You can also buy the equipment online from San Francisco Brewcraft.
4 large (22-ounce) dark glass crown-cap or bail-top bottles
4 bail tops (if using bail-top bottles)
4 new metal crown caps (if using plain bottles and caps), plus more for mistakes
1 wing bottle capper (if using plain bottles and caps)
1 small plastic water bottle (around 16 ounces)
1 small funnel
1 large funnel
1 (5-gallon) bucket
A bottle brush
A clean dishtowel
Game plan: Be sure to have your bottling equipment already in the sterilizing solution before you begin making your ginger beer.
Naturally fermented sodas like this one produce light carbonation, so there’s little risk of your bottles exploding. However this can occur, so we encourage you to store the bottles somewhere where it would be OK if that happened, such as an unused bathtub.
For the ginger beer:
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