Our first fermented ginger beer is here

Monday, 21 December 2020

Ginger root

Traditional ginger beers were simple. Ginger root and sugar were added to water and boiled for thirty minutes. The ginger root was strained before the ginger wort was left to cool. Once cooled to room temperature, ginger bug or brewer’s yeast was added. The ginger beer was then left to ferment for days or months.

I wanted to make a traditional ginger beer because the process was simple and wholesome. But, I also wanted to give it a Roots spin.

Normally, I like to bring lots of flavours together to create something new, but this time, I wanted to do something simpler. I chose to focus on two flavours that worked well together–ginger and pear, and then any additional ingredient would help to enhance two or three flavours from those ingredients.

To do that, I developed two versions of our ginger beer side by side. One version focused on ginger’s lemon flavour. The other on ginger’s floral, woody and spicy flavours.

I added lemon, for its flavour and tartness, as well as, coriander seeds, lemon grass, and green cardamom to the lemon version. I swapped lemon for red grapefruit, for its bitterness and tropical citrus flavours, as well as cinnamon, brown cardamom, and lavender in the floral, woody and spicy version. Both versions could have been released, but I decided to combine the two.

I liked the pairing of ginger, pear and green cardamom, in the first version, which created a rich creamy lemon flavour. But, it was too lemony. In the second version, I liked the floral, bitter and smokey flavours from the ginger, red grapefruit and brown cardamom, but the floral flavours in the ginger and lavender were overpowering. So, I went back to the lemon version, and removed the coriander seeds and lemon grass. I also swapped the lemon for red grapefruit, and added brown cardamom. Overall, the omission of lemon, coriander seeds and lemon grass, alongside the smokiness from the brown cardamom, helped to tame the lemon flavour, and resulted in a more balanced drink. Lastly, I added peppermint because I liked how the cool mint flavour enhanced the creamy lemon flavour.

I chose California ale yeast, because of it is clean flavours, and because ale yeasts were used in traditional ginger beer recipes. Other ale yeasts were considered for their fruity flavours, but I decided that a cleaner yeast would be a better for our first ginger beer.

We needed a number of new production processes for our first fermented drink. Ginger beers are sweet, so we stop fermentation with pasteurisation to prevent all of the sugars being converted to alcohol. In addition, I also decided to can condition our ginger beer, which meant pasteurisation in can.

Max-q is available to buy in packs of 6, 12 and 24 from our online store now. It is also available in mixed packs of 6, 12 and 24 from our online store too. Delivery, as always, is free to Edinburgh residents, and we are delivering right up to the 24th.


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