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Ginger beer: Wikis

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English Ginger beer

Ginger beer is a carbonated soft drink that is flavoured primarily with ginger, lemon, and sugar. It is rarely produced as an alcoholic beverage.

It originated in England in the mid-1700s and reached its peak of popularity in the early 1900s.[1] The original recipe requires only ginger, sugar, and water, to which is added a gelatinous substance called "ginger beer plant" (see below). Fermentation over a few days turns the mixture into ginger beer.

Instead of using the ginger beer plant, other forms of live cultures can produce the fermented ginger beer. Brewers or Baker's yeast can be used to do this. Other ways include a culture of lactic acid bacteria, kefir grains, or tibicos. Ginger beer is fizzy due to carbon dioxide. The alcohol content when produced by the traditional process can be high, up to 11%,[1] although it is possible to ferment ginger beer in such a way as to produce little alcohol. Ginger beer may be mixed with beer (usually a British ale of some sort) to make one type of shandy, and with Gosling's Black Seal rum to make a drink, originally from Bermuda, called a Dark 'N' Stormy. The soda version of ginger beer is the main ingredient in the Moscow Mule cocktail.

The beverage produced industrially today is often not brewed (fermented). Such ginger beer is carbonated with pressurized carbon dioxide, does not contain alcohol, and is sold as a soft drink. Ginger beer is similar to ginger ale except that it has a significantly stronger ginger taste, often being described as ginger ale with a kick to it. Its other distinctive properties include its traditional cloudy appearance, its predominantly citrus sour taste base and its spicy ginger bite.

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History

Ginger beer was first produced as an alcoholic beverage in the 1700s. It became very popular in Britain and North America. Today, it is almost always produced as a soft drink.

It was brought to the Ionian Islands by the British Army in the 19th century, and is still made by villagers in rural Corfu as a local specialty.

Today in Eastern Africa (especially in Kenya and Tanzania), ginger beer is a very popular drink. It is called tangawizi, which is the Swahili word for ginger. “Stoney Tangawizi” is a product of the Coca-Cola Company.

Ginger beer plant

Ginger beer plant (GBP) is a composite organism consisting of a fungus, the yeast Saccharomyces florentinus (formerly Saccharomyces pyriformis) and the bacterium Lactobacillus hilgardii (formerly Brevibacterium vermiforme),[2][3] which form a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast, or SCOBY. It forms a gelatinous substance that allows it to be easily transferred from one fermenting substrate to the next, much like kefir grains and tibicos.[4]

The GBP was first described by Harry Marshall Ward in 1892, from samples he received in 1887.[3][5][6] Original ginger beer is made by leaving water, sugar, ginger, and GBP to ferment. GBP may be found from several commercial sources or from yeast banks.[7] [8]

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