Thursday, July 31, 2008
Near Beer Ale
Sodee pop, 'tis not! In my 27 years of practicing Home Economics 101 there is little I've not tried. The family has endured being my laboratory 'rats' having tasted and tried countless tricks of the trade. There have been more successes than failures ... but I do have to add one more item to the round file: Homemade ginger ale. Travel back in time (a few weeks ago) with me. I started searching the www for root beer recipes. On a trip to Pennsylvania one year, we bought a jug of Amish root beer from a farm stand. It was delicious. So in my 'planet saving efforts' to buy local, I decided to give a shot at making my own brew. The first try was a miserable failure. A recipe I tried (called Amish root beer ... and btw readily available via google), included a teaspoon of yeast and setting the liquid in a jug out in the sun for 4-5 hours ... then storing it in a cool place for 4-5 days. Much anticipation grew ... and, and and (drum roll .......) the 'brew' smelled like rotten eggs, bleck! Back to the drawing board. I decided to follow the directions for beginners that came with my root beer extract. It called for only 1/8 tsp. of yeast and no hot sun. This resulted in a very fine root beer without the yeasty aftertaste... and we're waiting for our second batch to be finished by tomorrow.
On to the near beer: Years ago I read the Little House on the Prairie books ... and in one of them they made some type of ginger ale. So I searched once again on the www and began a single 2-litre bottle. The mix of yeast and ginger is much quicker to ferment than the root beer ... this bottle required only two days (again, I used less yeast than in the recipe). Warnings of not using a glass bottle were given and heeded ... (ka-boom ;) ... Last night I popped the bottle top and gave it a good sniff before trying it. I was shocked ... but there was definitely a near beer smell to it ... so I gave it try. Pouring it into my glass produced much froth ... and an even more near beer scent. This is not exactly what I had in mind for ginger ale. It was neither good ginger ale ... nor good beer, but I can now add lab scientist to my resume.