Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Ginger Burdock Beer Explosion

Who would have thought Ginger Burdock Beer could be so dangerous?  Like any home brew carbonated drinks, it can be explode with deadly force.

Homebrew sodas like this are made with yeast.  The yeast eats up the sugar and turns it into gas (and alcohol, but not much alcohol in this case, usually less than 1%).   When the soda is brewing in it's large container, it only has a cloth over it, which allows the gas to escape.  That's also why we use airlocks when brewing wine and Cider, so that the gas produced by the yeast can escape.  If we just put a lid on it, then the gas would build up and build up and over time the pressure will be too much for the bottle to contain... KaBoom!

We want some of this gas when we make ginger beer, or sparkling apple cider, or any brewed bubbly drinks, so we place the drink in a high pressure container before the yeast has finished eating up all the sugar.   That way we get a satisfying fizz sound when we open the bottle and a light tickle of bubbles as it travels down the gob.   

But sometimes there is too much sugar (as in the case of the very sweet burdock root) or it's kept in too warm a place, and even though we use strong bottles, it can explode...usually in the middle of the night.  That's why many people like to use plastic bottles, so that they can feel how much pressure is in the bottle.

Even though I used half as much sugar for this ginger-burdock beer than I use for ginger beer, it carbonated much faster than usual.  I suspect that there are two main kinds of sugar that the yeast eats: fast sugar and slow sugar.  I think that the white sugar is a fast sugar, as the yeast uses it up in a few hours/days.  But the burdock seems to have slow sugar, that the yeast eats slowly... but not slow enough.

All but one bottle exploded last night, lucky for us no one was near by, but it was so strong that it exploded through the box and packing that we used to keep it safe.  So we thought we would have some fun and see what would happen when we opened it.  Far too dangerous to leave laying around the house, lucky for me, I have an experienced opener of highly carbonated bottles visiting.

This is my first attempted at taking and uploading a video, so please forgive the ...whatever I did wrong.

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