I never was a soda drinker, thanks to not having been raised with it (nor processed foods). A soda was a once in a while treat but was never part of the grocery list. But I did like ginger ale. Many years later and an increasing awareness of food and health, I discovered an English product called Ginger Beer. OMG! Sadly, the little shop where I live couldn’t keep it in stock…so it really was first come first serve. And it was seasonal. Only available in summer.
Then I discovered making my own kefir water (which you can read about here). I used to flavour it with dates – really delicious. Then one day while making ginger tea, I thought why not make ginger flavoured kefir water.
I did and the result was delicious. It proved to be very convenient because I often made ginger tea for us, but especially for my husband suffering from intestinal problems – which the water kefir helped immensely with, by the way.
A Real Discovery
When I first ‘got into’ making water kefir, I didn’t realize that a second fermentation was really optimal and that flavouring it was usually done with the second round. The second fermentation allows the ‘good guys’ to proliferate even more – which produces the carbonation.
My ginger ‘beer’ is made with the fresh ginger slices right into the sweetened first fermentation. The second fermentation for the ginger beer is really to give it a chance to develop its natural carbonation more.
And it really works. In fact, my husband bought 4 bottles of beer with the traditional wire stopper to insure the carbonation did not leak out – which it may even with a tightly lidded jar. With great sacrifice on the part of my husband, within a few days the beer was gone and I had the perfect bottles. 😉
How I Make Ginger ‘Beer’
I start off making it just as described in this article Easy Probiotics – Water Kefir . However, first I very thinly slice fresh ginger until I have about 60 g. (roughly 2 grams) and I boil them in a small pan with a lid with enough water to cover by about the width of a finger. Simmer for about 15-20 minutes, let cool and add to the water kefir and sugar.
The amount of fresh ginger is really just personal taste. I like mine strong and weigh it for the sake of consistency of flavour.
Top up with bottled water, lid, turn upside down a few times and the next day release the build up of carbonation by slightly opening the lid and re-closing.
Once it is to my liking (may take another 24 hours or more depending on room temperature), I strain out the kefir and fish out the ginger slices. I find they still have a good enough flavour to boil a second time for a tea or for in cooking (rinse them off first).
Add another few spoons of sugar, stir to dissolve and pour into your clean stopper bottles. I let it ferment another 24 hours, popping open the stopper and immediately re-closing once a day.
In all, the process takes 3-4 days. 48 hours for the first fermentation and another 24-48 hours or more for the second. I usually have one bottle on the counter for us to drink on an empty stomach during the day and the second bottle from that batch in a kitchen cabinet set in front of a fresher batch I made for the next day. In the meantime, another liter is in the first fermentation state on the kitchen counter. Sounds complicated but isn’t really. One batch (bottled, second fermentation) is resting already 48 hours, one batch of bottled is resting (24 hrs) and a fresh batch with the ginger is on the first fermentation on my kitchen counter.
It is a schedule that just worked out that way for the two of us. So, essentially I am making a new batch every second day or so.
It is so quickly done and easy and so very beneficial. I am happy, husband happy – no more intestinal cramps/pain and we both feel GOOD!
For your convenience, below is a list of the beneficial bacteria strains and beneficial yeasts in water kefir, no matter how you flavour it. You will find at the bottom a link to an excellent video on making ginger ‘beer’ kefir which I discovered after I started making mine.
Want to know the secret to the ultimate ginger beer kefir? Use coconut water to top up your first fermentation (after you boiled the ginger in a little bottled water as above). Tastes divine! The little kefir critters go absolutely crazy mad with all the added minerals and vitamin goodness.
You may find that the next day, the kefir grains for the first fermentation have…quadrupled!
Related Article: Easy Home Probiotic – Water Kefir
Suggested Video: Water Kefir Ginger Tonic