I was always impressed at Julian, Dick, Anne and George's success at procuring ginger beer from random farmhouses on their adventures and this probably influenced my decision to get brewing. I now have lashings of the stuff in my fridge. My first attempt using dried ginger resulted in a very refreshing brew. Not really ginger beer but a zesty ginger and lemon drink with a light fizz that was perfect for sipping in the pool when the temperature hit 40 degrees yesterday. I'll definitely make it again. The second attempt has turned out closer to the original I remember from my childhood.
100g grated ginger root
1 tsp yeast
4 litres water
Put the ginger, lemon juice, slivers of lemon peel, sugar and 1 litre of water into a large pan and bring to the boil for 5 minutes. Add the remaining 3 litres of water and test the temperature. It should be around 25 degrees. Sprinkle the yeast on to the top of the liquid and leave for 5 minutes, then stir in. You can either pour this liquid into a bucket, cover with a cloth and leave for 24 hours to ferment or pour into a 5 litre bottle with an air lock on top as I did. I left mine for 48 hours and then bottled it in plastic screw top bottles. It's very important to sterilize everything that touches the liquid and use plastic bottles rather than glass as the mixture can get quite explosive. I left the bottles at room temperature (i.e. very warm) for 6 hours then put in the fridge to stop fermentation.
This second batch has quite a kick and is much more fizzy. If I'm using the hydrometer properly, the brew is about 4% proof. With the amount of ginger beer the Famous Five consumed, they must have been constantly sozzled. Does this explain why George was always such a grouch: she must have had a sore head every morning.