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Ginger Ale

1 gallon water
1 pound white sugar (either granulated or corn will do)
1/2 oz cream of tartar
1 oz grated ginger
1 lemon
your favorite ale yeast

Boil water, stir in sugar, cream of tartar, ginger, and zest of lemon
(yellow part of peel). Cool to pitching temperature (<75F), add juice
of lemon. Transfer the whole mess to a sanitized fermentation vessel,
pitch yeast, and cap with an airlock.

Bottle after 48 hours, using strong bottles (champagne or 2l soda pop
bottles work well). Let condition at room temperature for 2-3 days,
then refrigerate.

Helpful Hints:
- You can use more ginger (up to 3-4 oz per gallon) to get spicier ginger
ale.
- The jury is still out on whether it is necessary to peel the ginger.
I peel it simply because it's easier to grate that way.
- Don't second guess the fermentation time, and don't be worried if
the air lock is still perking after 48 hrs. If you let it go past
48 hrs, you will probably end up with somewhat flat, not-very-sweet
soda.
- Please don't use regular beer bottles. Champagne bottles are much
stronger. 2l PET bottles work very well because you can squeeze them
to see how carbonated they are, and relieve pressure if you're worried.
- Make sure you store the ginger ale in the fridge. This will help
minimize any unwanted further fermentation.
- Make in small quantities and drink soon. The refrigerating will
*minimize* fermentation, not stop it, so eventually you will run the
risk of gushers or grenades.


"Sanitized fermentation vessel" simply means a glass container, like
a gallon juice jug, that has been sanitized with a dilute bleach solution.
Fill the container with a mixture of two tablespoons of bleach per gallon
of water. Let sit for 15 minutes, then drain. Rinsing with clean water
is optional, although if you do not rinse, let air dry completely before
using.

An airlock, in this case, is used to allow CO2 produced during
fermentation to escape while not letting air (and airborne bacteria) in.
There are a couple of different varieties; you may remember the S-shaped
ones from high school biology. You can pick up one of these at your
local homebrew supply shop. If there isn't such a shop in your area,
simply cover the top of the jug with some plastic wrap and tie *loosely*
with string, so that it's not completely sealed.

On yeast: again, you can get packages of dry ale yeast from your
homebrew supply shop. The fancy varieties of liquid yeast are overkill;
a 99-cent package of dry yeast (Red Star, Edme, M&F, etc.) will do just
fine. Bread yeast will probably work fine, although I've never tried it.

On bottling: sanitize the bottles before filling, just like the
fermentation vessel. If you use any auxilliary implements, like a
funnel, it wouldn't hurt to sanitize them too. You can re-use the
white plastic screw caps on the 2l PET bottles; sanitize them as well.

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