Category Archives: Kitchen

Difference between alcoholic and non-alcoholic Ginger Beer

The difference between alcoholic and non-alcoholic is all a matter of sugar (and time).

Here are the directions from a commercial home brew pack (900g of mostly malt which is a type of sugar) makes 23 litres:

For ALCOHOLIC ginger beer:

  1. Add 4 litres of HOT water (not boiling), contents of Home Brew Pack, and 1kg of raw sugar to sterilized Fermenter, dissolving thoroughly.
  2. Add an extra 18 litres of cold water. When the temperature of the brew is 35C or less sprinkle in yeast and nutrient. Seal Fermenter.
  3.  After fermentation has ceased (after approximately 6 days at 25C, AND when hydrometer reading is between S.G 1.005 and 1.000), add 1 heaped teaspoon (7g) of sugar to each of 30 x 750ml clean and sterilized bottles. Fill, seal and store bottles for a minimum of 3 weeks.

For NON-ALCOHOLIC Ginger Beer:

  1.  Add 4 litres of HOT water (not boiling), contents of Home Brew Pack, and 150g of raw sugar to a sterilized Fermenter, dissolving thoroughly.
  2.  Add an extra 18 litres of cold water. When the temperature of Brew is below 35C, vigorously stir yeast and nutrient into brew.
  3. Seal fermenter and leave for 2-3 hours, stir brew gently and then bottle. DO NOT ADD SUGAR TO BOTTLES. Store bottles for a minimum of 3 weeks before drinking.

So, from the above we can see the only difference between the alcoholic and the non-alcoholic versions, in the ingredients, is the amount of sugar added.

This makes sense because yeast eats sugar and produces alcohol and carbon dioxide (CO2), so the more sugar you add the more alcohol you produce.
For non-alcoholic ginger beer you need to walk the fine line between enough sugar to produce enough CO2 to give the ginger beer its fizz, but not enough to make it alcoholic.

The long ferment in the alcoholic version is to allow the yeast to convert all the sugar into alcohol while allowing the CO2 to escape, then the sugar in the bottle is for the yeast to convert into CO2 to provide the fizz. While the non-alcoholic version is bottled almost immediately to trap the CO2 in the bottles for the fizz.

There are a number of recipes for non-alcoholic ginger beer on the internet and they mostly seem to say 1 cup sugar per litre of water. This is much more than the amount required in even the alcoholic version of the directions above. Which explains why my ginger beer always turns out alcoholic, even if I put it straight in the fridge, using those recipes.

For non-alcoholic ginger beer you want more like 1 cup of sugar per 20 litres of water, or better yet just add a teaspoon per litre when bottling. The same yeast is added to both versions, so you can buy a commercial starter, or use a home grown ginger beer plant for either alcoholic or non-alcoholic ginger beer.

Recipe List

Having just repacked the pantry I realise that I could feed the family out of it for at least a month.

I have tried menu planning before and it never seems to work… there are always too many leftovers, or life gets in the way, or I forget to buy an ingredient. You know the way it works.

However, I love browsing the mags and picking new recipes to try, especially when I have all the ingredients on hand. So, I have decided to write the list of recipes that I have most, if not all the ingredients, on the fridge and rub them out as I make them.

This will also give me inspiration when I’m trying to work out what’s for dinner, and cut down the food bill this month as I clean out the pantry.

On the list so far, all from the March 2011 Woolworths Good Taste magazine, which means they should also be available from

  • Butternut pumpkin pies, p27
  • Lime coconut cake, p29
  • Sausage ragu linguine, p35
  • risi e bisi (rice and peas), p38
  • Spaghetti with tuna balls, p46
  • Chickpea pilaf with haloumi, p50
  • Chicken & polenta lasagna, p67
  • Fettuccine boscaiola, p82
  • Speedy dhal, p95
  • Pea & Haloumi fritters, p106

Now to go flip through the April edition.

Fridge Notes

If you are like me then you are always forgetting things and writting yourself notes. While looking around the kitchen for a place to put a whiteboard, my eyes fell on the fridge. There it was big, white , looking a lot like a whiteboard. So, I tried it! Works perfectly with a whiteboard marker, rubs off clean. If you leave the pen on too long then you will need something like windex to clean it off with.

Apple Muffin Cake

I have a muffin mix all ready to go, just need to add the wet ingredients to it. This week I have a surplus of Apples so I made a cake using 2 apples and the muffin mix equivalent to 12 muffins.

One apple was sliced thin and placed in the bottom of the pan, I put a tablespoon of sugar and a desert spoon of ground Cinnamon under the apples – this will be an upside down cake where the sugar has caramalised and the pretty apple pattern you made on the bottom becomes the top of the cake.

The other apple I diced and added to the muffin batter. It took 50mins at 200C instead of the 20mins for muffins.

I though I have gone completely overboard with the cinnamon at the start and would need to chuck it out, or at least scrape the top off – but it almost works. Next time I think I will use 1 teaspoon instead.