It's about time I finished this blog so that if you've been hoping to try it for yourself, you have the final steps
This next step is bottling which leads to the best bit...drinking! Bottling is what gives the ginger ale it's carbonation. The last blog was all about fermentation which will have been taking place on your kitchen counter for 3-4 days. There should be bubbles rising in the liquid and the top should be nice and foamy.
Give the liquid a swirl around in the fermentation container and then decant it into bottles. I have six 750ml bottles for this and a small 500ml plastic bottle. I pour the mixture equally between these. It's best to leave plenty of space in the bottles rather than fill to the top. The picture to the right does not show this as it is from an earlier batch but I now split the mixture between all six bottles and the tester bottle and fill to two thirds full. It can get very fizzy and they can explode with the pressure or much of the ginger ale can bubble out if you're not able to release the pressure slowly.
The reason for using a small plastic bottle is to check on the carbonation of your ginger ale. When you first fill it you will be able to squeeze the bottle. As carbonation happens and the pressure builds, it will become more rigid.
Once your tester bottle is rigid that means it's nice and fizzy and ready to drink. This can take between 2 and 7 days as there are many variables that can affect this, such as the temperature of your kitchen. This is why the tester bottle is particularly useful. It saves you from having to keep opening your glass bottles.
When ready, taste your ginger ale and if you like it simply pop it in the fridge to slow fermentation and maintain the taste. If you find it a little too sweet then you may want to leave it a few more days. I'm somewhere in the middle with mine. In am a real lover of fizzy drinks so I feel a little better drinking this, it's no longer a guilty pleasure....just pleasure!
And that's it. Leave in your fridge until you are ready to drink it but you may want to release some of the pressure from the bottles from time to time if you are not drinking it soon. I should mention that the more sugar you use and the longer you leave it, the higher the alcohol content there can be so bear this in mind. I'm told that it can go as high as 5% but it will mostly be quite low. Something to think about though.
Don't forget to keep feeding your ginger bug every week: one tsp of chopped ginger and 1tsp of sugar!
I learnt most of this method from the YouTube Channel: The Fermentation Adventure so I will leave some links here...
How to start your ginger bug...
Making your ginger ale...
There's a fantastic FAQ video...
And if you are curious about the issue of alcohol in your ferment then there is a great video there for you too.
I really hope you have enjoyed this series. I would love it if you would let me know when you are in the shop if you have tried this. Thank you for reading and happy fermenting!