Best beer bottle caps and cappers - how and what to use when bottling beer

Beer caps and cappers - how and what to use when bottling beer

Once I was bottling beer I got about 10 bottles into capping them and I remembered that I hadn’t added any sugar for carbonation.

I quickly opened the beers and added the sugar and got back to it.

But what if I had forgotten to add the sugar?

That’s a beer bottling horror story right there.

NE how, this is a nice point to talk about what kind of bottle caps you can use to put on your carefully crafted home brew.

The answer is that you can use pretty much any crown seal on your beer but you just need to remember that some crown seals are better than others. 

In my experience is best to go with a branded bottle cap rather than the cheapest you can find. I've found the cheaper ones tend to be less forgiving when using a bottle capper and they are more prone to being rendered unusable if you make a mistake. 

The ever-popular beer company, Mr Brewer has a handy pack of 144 crown metal caps for a fair price. There is actually plenty of caps to choose from on Amazon - compare the prices and options

best Beer caps and cappers

What do I use to cap beer bottles with?

You need a beer capper! Beer cappers come in two forms, being the 'hand held' wing tool and the bench capper.

The 'wing' hand held capper

red wing beer capper

The hand held capper is a popular way to cap your beer. Often called 'wing' or universal Rigamonti cappers or Red Baron, they are pretty handy and durable to use.

Sometimes they are called the 'Mad Millie' or the Emily! Mad Millie reminds us of an old girl friend but we digress...

They do have a couple of draw backs - they can sometimes be hard to separate from the capped bottle if you've applied too much pressure and if you do apply to much force, then you can break the glass bottle. This happens fairly often in my experience (as I am a very muscled man) or the bottles have been reused too much and they final succumb to the pressure (of my very manly arms)....

Overall, they are pretty good units to use. It's actually very satisfying getting a cap on a bottle properly, there's this sudden 'thump' moment when the crown bends down and forms the seal.

Most US beer bottles take a 26 mm crown cap, most others take a 29 mm cap. The "jaws" on the red capper can be pulled out and reversed to crimp size 29 caps. They can be lodged in quite tight, but they are easy to pull out with a pair of pliers.

Can get a bit tiring on the arms after a while - so you might want to consider using a:

Using a Bench Capper for capping brews

The bench capper can be very easier to use than a wing capper because it's a simple pull down lever that can be operated with one hand whilst the other hand holds the bottle in place.

It's hard to make a mistake with such a method!

It's a good idea to buy a bench capper that can accommodate different sized bottles. The Ferrari model does exactly that which can be quite handy if your bottle collection is all kinds of different shapes and sized.

The Ferrari capper has the following specifications:
  • Spring loaded
  • Caps bottles quickly, cleanly, and accurately
  • Has a magnetic bell to hold the cap in place
  • Self-adjusting spring-mounted capping mechanism
  • Easier to adjust for different size bottles

These are the characteristics you should bear in mind for any bench capper that you might be thinking of buying.

We'll leave with this final tip:

Do I need to sanitize the bottle caps before capping the bottle?

As always, before capping your beer, the bottle caps could to be sanitized before doing so. The best the best way is to soak them in sanitizing solution. That way the whole cap gets sanitized.

But, I'll tell ya the truth, I never actually do this tip, as long as the caps are clean, there should be no problem. And I don't think I ever ever had one.

You can use a Star San solution or some sodium percarbonate to kill the bugs.

Beer caps which absorb oxygen from the bottled beer are also a popular thing.

How to properly use oak wood chips for home brewing

Using oak wood chips to age and flavor beer brews

Ageing beer in oak barrels is a long-standing practice for making beer.

This is because the characteristics of the wood impart to the beer which can add to the flavor & drinkability of the beer. 

Which a reason why wine made in oak barrels tastes so good too! And something about whiskey maybe...

There's a reason why brewers seek out new ways to make beer taste better and that's because, for them, the old days of getting smashed on Budweiser are over.

They constantly want to experiment, try new ideas and just make better beers.

To meet that need, using wood while conditioning or ageing beer can impart a range of aromas to the beer, including floral, vanilla, caramel, or coconut tones.

It's kind of like how smoking fish with cherry or alder wood or bacon with a good maple wood makes the meat taste nice.

While it depends on the type of wood as to what happens, oak is generally the preferred kind of wood as it produces the desired vanilla note tones.

All that might sound like some kind of fancy wine snob speaking at a tasting session, but that vanilla thing is true!

I don't have any spare oak barrels lying around to use, so how can a small-time home brewer use wood to improve their brewing results?

That's the short of it.

You can use oak wood chips by simply adding them to the wort. 

However, it's not that simple.

There are some choices to make as to how you oak your beer and for how long and for what kind of beer. 

Let's explore the ins and outs of 'oaking' homebrew beer. 

First of all, we should consider this question:

What kind of beer suits wood chips?

You can oak any beer you like but through the experiences of many other pioneering brewers, it has been generally settled that English and some Scotch ales such as Old Ales, stouts, porters, browns, IPAs, and some bitters benefit from going through this process.

That's not a finite grouping of beers though.

Brewers have been known to successfully use oak in styles such as the darker Belgian ales, Farmhouse Ale, or even Saison.

And let's be frank, some of the current generations of craft brewers are trying all kinds of combos and methods to make their mark on the world, so backyard brewers should explore and experiment as much as they dare!

There's also the theory the higher the ABV, the better result oaking will produce

This working theory is usually in reference to beers that are being aged in wooden oak barrels. It is considered that the alcohol serves to ensure a healthy environment in which the beer ages, free of those pesky bugs that can infect and ruin a beer.

If you are going to invest time and money in a barrel, you don't want to wait six months or a year to find your beer has gone off!   

High alcohol beers are also often sweet so an oaky vanilla tone can help counter or balance that. 

oak chips in home brew

What is the best kind of wood chip to use with the wort?

Not all oak chips are created equal.

Oak usually comes in three varieties, American, Hungarian, and French.

The American oak gives the strongest oak flavor, while French oak gives subtler notes with other sweeter flavors like vanilla.

Hungarian oak is considered in the middle between these two extremes.

Their use depends on what types of beers you are making and what you’re going for with them.

One more thing about the kind of wood - charring. When oaks barrels are used for making bourbon the inside is charred as strangely this helps with aging. 

Different amounts of charring will have different effects on your beer. The more charred or burnt your wood is, the more strong the flavors and smells that are imparted into the beer. 

Should I use wood chips or cubes or spirals?

Instead of using an actual oak barrel or the staves of one, these three options are handy methods for a homebrewer to add wood flavor and aroma to ‘barrel age’ their beer. 

We prefer chips over cubes as you get more surface area exposure.

That's just good maths.

Your local homebrew store may have all three readily available on hand but Amazon will see you right too.

Using oak chips 

Wood chips are essentially shards of wood that you add to your fermenter or secondary in order to achieve the level of barrel flavor you desire. Chips offer a greater surface area that's exposed to the beer than cubes.

Wood chips are probably going to float and that means a lot of oak will be making contact with the air in the fermenter and not imparting oaky goodness into the beer.

So a handy tip is to place the chips into a clean and sterile hop bag and then weigh the bag down with something heavy and inert such as a clean glass marble or three.

Make sure the marbles are sterilized!

It's a really good idea to do this as picking stray oak chips out of your tubing or bottling wand will be a pain in the ass.

Using wood cubes for brewing flavor

Wood cubes are exactly as they sound - they are cubes of wood (approximately ¼-½”in size).

They will sink to the bottom of your fermenter, won't get stuck in your tubing and many brewers prefer to use cubes over chips because the amount of surface area to beer ratio is easier to determine on a cube than a chip.

Not that it's really a big deal.

Using spirals

Spirals are also a great way to get a high surface to beer wort ratio happening. 

If you are looking for a hassle-free clean up, then like cubes, oak spirals could be what you want to use for your beer.

They are more expensive than chips however due to the time required to manufacture them than compared to putting some oak logs through a chipper!

Do I need to sterilize my wood chips ?

All brewers fear introducing anything into their brew but there are a few things you will most definitely need to consider doing to ensure the health of your brew.

Here’s a summary of different approaches for adding bits of wood chips to the beer:

  • The 'do nothing' approach, just pitch your chips in and see what happens (kind of like dry hopping)
  • Boil the chips in water to make a tea, then add the tea to the wort (just like you would a hops tea).  You could use your propane gas burner if it's handy.
  • Soak the chips in a spirit like rum or vodka for at least a day, and add it all to the beer. The strong alcohol content in the booze will kill off any microbes present in the wood. 
  • Use a pressure cooker to cook them?
  • Sanitize wood with chemicals such as campden tablet solution (we don't recommend this method as you'd likely be transferring the solution you made (potassium metabisulfite) into your wort as the wood absorbs it. That said, campden tablets are great for removing chlorine from your beer. 

How much oak chips should I add to my wort?

The amount of chips to use is not an exact science. I've seen recommendations that range from 10-60 grams per 5 gallons.

Remember this is largely to taste - especially if you are using the tea making method.

We would, however, recommend you start light and add more as you get more experienced and learn the effect of whatever form of oak you are using. 

How long should I soak oak chips in bourbon?

You could be forgiven for wondering why the spirit of bourbon is suddenly being mentioned.

Brewers have discovered that if you are going to age beer in oak barrels, then those that have been previously used to age bourbon do a wonderful job.

The idea then is that if you soak your oak wood chips in bourbon, you're going to somewhat re-create or imitate the effect of a good old fashion barrel soak.

We'd recommend that you soak your chips in bourbon for at the very least 24 hours but we have read online that some brewers wait as long as four weeks!

As we noted above spirits in general also help kill any bugs that could be present in the wood chips so using a good bourbon will ensure you do not accidentally infect your beer

You good just drop them in some boiling water too.

You can probably do the same trick with a good sherry or any similar spirit. 


I've never done it but you could potentially skip the oak and just add bourbon to your brew directly!

You'd have to experiment a bit so maybe split your wort into a few small units, or add a small amount in the first instance and build to taste.

Making an oak tea

There are a few ways to add the oak flavor to your beer and making an 'oak tea' is an easy way.

Simply boil the oak chips and make sure they are covered in an inch of water.

Once the tea is made, add a bit of the water to your beer in the fermenter and then taste it. Continue to add the oak tea until you reach the flavor you’re looking for.

Making a tea is much faster than aging with oak, and also lets you more closely control the flavor.

The boiled tea will also be sterile but don't confuse it for some medicinal brew!

Speaking of tea - did you know you can make hops tea for brewing?

How long do I leave the wood chips in the fermenter?

Chips impart flavor pretty quickly, and usually, 7-10 days in the fermenter is about as long many brewers go before the effect on the beer becomes overpowering.

Taste tests along the way will help as it all comes down to a matter of taste! 

If you've put your chips or cubes in a bag, they'll be easy to remove with a clean pair of tongs.

Just like a good cook doesn't over-egg the pudding, the discerning home brewer should not over oak the beer. Too much oak doesn’t allow for complex flavors to emerge in your brew before an overwhelming wood flavor takes over the batch.

So, timings wise, if you know you are going to bottle your beer within the week, then add the chips seven days before you intend to bottle. You'll be seeing 'red' if you add too much!

How can I tell the difference between an oaked and unoaked beer?

Generally comparing beer that has been oaked to one that hasn’t will show subtle variations.

A beer that has been properly oaked beer will often have what can be described as having a smooth backbone and aftertaste.

If the oak has been toasted/charred just right, you might get some of those vanilla notes we mentioned above. It shouldn't taste like over BBQ-ed steak.

Can you re-use oak chips?

The question is can one re-use the wood chips? Can I just dry them out and store them until the next time?

We've read that beer makers often just leave them to sit on a paper towel to dry, then place into storage in something like a mason jar.

Make sure they are thoroughly dry though as any moisture could help microbes or mold etc thrive.

We imagine that the more you re-use chips, the qualities they possess will reduce. 

I found this totally pro tip which I'll share as found:

"I keep a 1.75 LT bottle of Jim Beam half full of bourbon and the rest with medium toast French oak chips so they are always soaking up that great flavor to add to bourbon stouts. The chips pick up a lot of the great bourbon flavor and stay sanitized due to the high alcohol."

So for that brewer, they don't really care about how long they soak their chips in bourbon!

Check the price ranges on Amazon.

Best yeast energizer for beer brewing

How to fix a stalled fermentation with Yeast Energizer

Yeast is the 'live' part of a good beer.

It's a living organism and just like your friends, you gotta treat them right.

If the yeast is going to turn your wort's sugars into alcohol, it's going to need a nice home where it feels comfortable.

If you think your yeast might need a helping hand either at the beginning of fermentation or due to a stalled fermentation then a 'yeast energizer' might just be the extra ingredient you'll need to add to your brew day shopping list.

best yeast energizer stalled fermentation

What are yeast energizers and why use them?

At its most basic description, a yeast energizer serves two purposes - they are used to stimulate or restart a stalled fermentation.

The effect they have is that they can help with more efficient fermentation which means a faster time to the completion of fermentation and also improve the chances of an improved final gravity - that is to say, increase the alcohol content of your batch. 

Yeast energizers have also been demonstrated to also help reduce fusel alcohol and hydrogen sulfide production. 

Fusel alcohols are the alcohols responsible for the 'burning sensation' and can contribute to hangovers. 

H2S will impart a sulfur smell (rotten eggs vibe) and a general bad taste. 

These two problems may be caused by when the yeast is stressed (such as by having too many sugars in the wort or the temperature is too hot

Yeast energizer also works well in meads and honey brews to help speed fermentation. It will also help cider batches to get to that dry state quicker!

Generally speaking, you'll probably only need to add an energizer if your yeast will face very high sugar worts. 

Does 'yeast energizer' affect beer taste?

There is a bit of debate amongst brewers about the effect an energizer can have on taste. It seems to be fairly negligible if there is one. 

We believe there are more overriding factors in the brewing process (such as the number of hops used and grain profile) that affect the taste, so we wouldn't factor in 'taste effect' as part of your decision making process on whether to add yeast energizer (and you don't really have a choice of your fermentation has stalled!).

What are the ingredients of yeast energizers?

Energizers are usually found to be composed of:

Is an energizer the same as yeast nutrient?

A yeast nutrient is somewhat different from an energizer. 

Yeast nutrients can be considered to be the "vitamins and minerals" to help yeast grow and ferment. 

Yeast energizer is like a catalyst to kick start a stuck fermentation back into gear.

How much yeast energizer should I add to my beer wort?

Use approx 1/4 teaspoon per gallon in beer to revive a slow or stuck fermentation.

When to add yeast energizer?

At the beginning of the brew!

If you are doing a boil, it can be added in the last 10 minutes of the boil.

If doing a malt kit in do a fermenting drum, pitch it the same time as you do the yeast. 

When you have a 'stuck fermentation'

If you are hugely confident that your fermentation hasn't completed properly (such as by having a vastly incorrect expected final gravity) then you make have a stalled fermentation. 

You can re-ignite your yeast's performance by adding the energizer. 

Before you do that, you should ensure that your drum or carboy is at a sufficient temperature to support fermentation. If you're brewing in a cold shed in winter, it's likely your yeast has gone to sleep rather than you have a stalled fermentation. 

Add one-quarter teaspoon or a half teaspoon per gallon to your wort and give it a wee stir. The instructions on the label should give good directions as to the amount to use if unsure. 

How Much Headspace to Leave When Bottling Beer?

headspace for bottles

What level of head space should I leave in the bottle neck for homebrew beer?

We found this.

For a given amount of priming sugar, the greater the headspace, the lower the carbonation." - some guy on the internet

Let's explore what they mean.

When bottling beer, leaving 1 to 1 ½ inches of headspace is quite the common standard practice.

Headspace tends to aid in preventing oxidation and exploding bottles due to unreleased C02 pressure

Conversely, too much headspace may result in off-flavors. 

So, you are looking for the Goldilocks level of headspace, something just right. 

The science of it explains how there are practical effects on your beer. 

If you are leaving more headspace than you should in your bottle, the carbon dioxide produced by fermentation will not stay in the beer solution and will instead fill up the empty space in your bottle. The result then of too much headspace is that you may open the beer and get a comforting "psssst" sound but your beer could well be unintentionally under carbonated and taste somewhat flat.

So what's the ideal level of headspace for a beer?

Try to leave between 1/2" to 1" of headspace in your bottles when bottling.

Carbon dioxide is going to be produced in bottled beer because the yeasts will be feeding on the priming sugars in the brew. Having adequate headspace allows the gas somewhere to go.

Too much head space can cause a foul beer flavor. 

Why does this happen? 

Yeast utilizes the oxygen in the bottle (meaning carbonation speeds up with bigger headspace), and any leftover oxygen results in too much air and this makes your beer taste terrible.

This is also why when bottling you should try to ensure a simple straight pour from the fermenter into the bottle - often achieved quite well 
Indeed a bottling wand will help to achieve a consistently even level of headspace, When filling, you fill it to the very top of the bottle. When you remove the wand, the space left is quite the perfect amount of headspace - depending on your bottle size of course...

Another problem with having more headspace than needed is simply that you’ll end up needing more bottles since you’re underfilling them!

If you are using recyclable beer bottles, my personal choice is just to try and leave it at a leave that looks like what would have been the original pour from the manufacturer.

If you are really worried about oxygen in your beer you can also consider using oxygen caps.

Should I forget headspace and fill the bottle to the very top?

No way. 

Beer expands when allowed to warm up. 

Expanding beer creates unimaginable pressure (surprisingly far more than overpriming) that will either break bottles or at least will cause leakage via the cap if it is not sealed quite firmly. 

The amount of expansion will depend on how stable you keep your storage temperature.

Given this and we know that beer generally benefits from an apt amount of headspace, don't overfill your beer bottles. 

Who needs craft beer?

Not this beer drinker who has written a rather terse 'letter to the editor' of the New Zealand Dominion Post where they shared their apparently absolute disdain for an over-hopped lager with pinot gris undertones and shilled for a good old crate of Lion Red:

letter to editor about craft beer

The letter reads:

All this crap about craft beer (Grain and Grape, March 21). I can't stand the weird, expensive stuff. I was given some recently and it wasn't just me that tipped it out over the rose bushes.
If you want a nice beer that hits the spot. just get yourself a dozen 4% 750ml Lion Red in a wooden crate. It works out at $2.89 a pint when you take the bottles and crate back to be recycled.
How environmentally friendly is that when you compare it with the throwaway craft beer bottles and cans?
And pubs?
Well, they should be about real conversation, not a round circle discussion about an over-hopped lager with pinot gris undertones and rays of grapefruit singing out from the bottom of the glass. or whatever the latest fad is that sets you back $15 a pint.
Neil Douglas of Carterton does make an excellent point, it makes my crypto wallet really sad when you check out the price of a craft beer in Wellington.

I had a $25 lunch burger the other day and the beer was half the value - at $12.50 for a beer just feels on the nose.

And that is why I tend to home brew!

The truth about contaminated homebrew beer

Help, I think I have ruined my beer!

It only takes one bad batch of contaminated beer for beer enthusiasts to be converted to the mantra of 'sterilization is mandatory'.

And that's the best approach you can have when brewing beer.

Keeping your equipment and preparation space clean and sanitary will keep you on course for a fine tasting brew.

Things do go wrong.

You might accidentally drop something into your batch.

Maybe your three-year-old son thought he was helping Dad out by throwing the air lock into it (yes, that actually happened).

Maybe you found a Weta at the bottom of your bottle? (true story)!

Maybe you managed to drop some bottle caps or a stirring spoon into it and then let it ferment:

beer wort with spoon
I found the missing spoon!

Or maybe some bacteria decided to live in your fermenting drum. 

Does this mean you've contaminated and ruined your batch?

The short answer is no, yes and maybe.

But the chances are that you haven't screwed things up.

If you've done diligent preparation so that everything else is clean, then the chances are that dropping the odd utensil into your batch is not going to ruin it.

On a couple of occasions, I have been pushing the airlock into the hole in the top of the fermenter lid. As I have done this, I managed to push the rubber bung through the hole and into the batch.

Quelle Horreur! 

I was left with no choice each time to grab a large metal spoon from the kitchen drawer to try and fish the bung out. I had no time to sterilize the spoon - I'd pitched the yeast already and wanted to lock that drum down tight.

Did I ruin my beer by exposing it to a rubber bung and an unsanitized spoon? I possibly could have but in the end, my brews turned out absolutely fine.

Here's my reason why this scenario worked out OK.

If you make sure that you have already produced a hospitable environment for your yeast to take charge of your brew, it's like any introduction of foreign micro-organisms will not be calamitous.

The yeast you use is beer yeast. It's been cultivated for many years to brew the best kind of beers and it knows how to do its job.

If it's just a minor contamination by way of a spoon or dropped airlock (chances are they were actually quite clean as opposed to say a Matchbox toy car) it's more than likely your yeast will win the tussle for beer fermenting supremacy.

I think it's fair to say that a small mistake is not fatal to your beer

A large mistake such as not preparing your fermenter properly (cleaning and sanitizing) would probably have dire results.

If your beer is actually contaminated (smells of rotten eggs, a taste test reveals a disgusting taste) then you may have to consider dumping your brew.

Update: Believe it or not, shortly after writing this post, I managed to find this in my fermenter. The beer was fine.

Image credit to ellai via Creative Commons Licence. We have no idea if Ellai prefers Star Warrs quotes, Star Trek or has even read the Mortal Engines book. Have you?

How to brew ginger beer

A guide to brewing alcoholic ginger beer

Despite what many recipe sites on the internet may claim, ginger ale and ginger beer are completely different drinks.

The root of it is that Ginger ale is basically fizzy water that's been flavoured with ginger. 

Ale is not brewed.

Alcoholic Ginger beer is a more 'involved' drink that is created by the fermentation of ginger spice, yeast and sugar.

Sounds like making ginger beer is a lot like making beer eh?

The most basic way to make ginger beer is pretty simple:

Ferment a mixture of water, brewer's or baker's yeast, ginger, and sugar; this is kept for a week or longer, with sugar added daily to increase the alcohol content. When ready, this concentrated mix is strained, diluted with water and lemon juice, and then bottled.

how to brew alcoholic ginger beer

How to make alcoholic ginger beer

Here's a stock standard recipe:

  • 2kg ginger
  • 1 kg brown sugar
  • 1/2 kg castor sugar
  • 2 limes
  • 1 orange
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • Use an 'ale' yeast

This DIY recipe will make 5 gallons of hard ginger beer - simply add the ingredients to your water (which is in a clean, sanitized vessel, a standard beer brewing fermenter or carboy is fine!).

You'll want to shred the ginger in a food processor and then juice your lemon and limes if you're adding them.

Feed the brew a little sugar twice a for three days to feed the brew and allow the yeast something to feed on. The more you do this, the higher the ABV your brew will be.

If you want to 'brew' your ginger beer in a more traditional beer-making sense:

You need to bring your ginger to the boil in a boiling kettle - add the ginger and sugar when the 5 gallons of water is boiling. You can put the ginger in a mesh bag if you like - this will mean fewer bits of it in your final product, making for a clear poor.

Boil your ginger wort for about 60 minutes, watching to ensure you don't get a boil over (this is less likely than with a grain boil, however).

While you're doing the boil, take the time to sanitize your carboy or fermenting drum. I like to use sodium percarbonate, it's cheap and does the job well. Many brewers will use tried and true Star San.

If you are serious about ginger beer clarity, then add some Whirfloc tablets (Irish moss) into your wort just before the end of the boil. Don't add it early or the effectiveness of the Whirlfloc will be reduced.

If you have the equipment, it's time to cool your wort using a counterflow or an immersion coil - this is good for the beer how, if you don't you can simply transfer your wort to your fermenter and let it cool naturally to room temperature.

When your wort is at a room temp, you can pitch your yeast. It is important that your ginger wort is cool as a hot boiling wort will kill the yeast, meaning fermentation will not occur.

You can then let the ginger beer ferment for at least a week. If you are keen, taking readings with a hydrometer so you can work out the final gravity and thus ABV of your ginger beer.

After that week, you can bottle but as with making beer, we'd let it sit for a bit longer to let the yeast do its thing. This increases the chances of any odd off-tastes lingering in your ginger beer.

Before you bottle, you may wish to sweeten your ginger beer. If you do not, it's quite likely that it will be extremely dry, making for a tough drinking experience.

root ginger

If you want to bottle and cap for the long term, pasteurize your ginger beer

Many a brewer has learned the hard way about over carbonation of bottled beer - gushers and exploding glass bottles. The same can happen when brewing ginger beer - so many brewers will use plastic bottles with loosely tightened tops to ensure gas release or tin foil over the top. 

But if you want to bottle and cap for a long term storage solution.

Once you've done your boil up of the ingredients, and pitched your yeast, bottle & cap and let it brew for 2-3 days.

If you let your ginger brew continue to ferment longer than that, you're probably going to get some exploding glass bottles.

So, you need to kill the fermentation process.

Bring a large pot of water to 180F, turn the heat OFF, and add your bottles to the hot bath. Make sure your water level is high enough that it will reach the top of your ginger beer level inside the bottles.

What you are doing is pasteurizing your ginger beer. Let the bottles stand in the hot water for at least 10 - 15 minutes. Remove from the bath and let cool.

Your brew is now pasteurized and 'shelf-stable', meaning you can store it without fear of exploding bottles.  

Your beer will probably have a minimum alcohol content given it fermented to only three days.

If you are really worried about exploding ginger beer, you can condition in plastic bottles, you can also use campden tablets to halt the fermentation process. This does mean your beer will be quite flat as no secondary carbonation will occur in the bottle.  

What yeasts can you use to brew ginger beer?

To make ginger beer you can use brewing yeast or baker's yeast. That said, many homebrewers tend to use the well respected 'Safale US-05', ale yeasts or champagne yeast.

How to make a ginger bug

  • Add 20 grams of grated ginger (leave the skin on) and 30 grams of granulated sugar to a mason jar. Add 300ml of water, and place a cheesecloth on the lid. Store in a place where it will not get disturbed.
  • Over the next 2-4 days (until you see yeast activity in the form of bubbles), keep adding the same amount of grated ginger and sugar. Stir with a clean item to mix up.

Fun facts about ginger beer

  • Used in cocktails like Dark 'n Stormy and the Moscow Mule
  • Brewed ginger beer originated in the Yorkshire region of the UK during the Victorian Era
  • The ginger plant is sometimes known as "bees wine"

Other interesting brews you can make are 'prison hooch', hard seltzer with a kit and of course the classic apple, brew, cider. 
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