How To Make Your Own Ginger Beer

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Ginger Beer

As far as I’m concerned, springtime is Dark and Stormy season. As the rain pummels the ground here in the Pacific Northwest, a little window of blue sky nestled between two dark clouds in the neighboring distance makes me wish I were watching the rain fall from across a dark ocean, my little Caribbean fishing boat safe and sound under that warm patch of sunlight.

I’d fill a tall glass with ice and a generous dose of Gosling’s Black Seal rum from Bermuda, then reach into a wooden crate and withdraw a chilly little bottle of homemade ginger beer. I’d sip the cloudy mixture of liquid sunshine and sweet, dark nectar while I mindlessly squeezed a fresh lime into the glass. Feet: Up.

The problem with living in Oregon when this mood strikes is the absence of little wooden shacks that sell cases of fresh ginger beer stacked on back porches. But with some readily-available ingredients, a recipe I’ve been revising for several years – and a few free minutes – I can easily transport myself to that little fishing boat on the sea.

You’re going to need a little bit of equipment to make ginger beer. It’s nothing too tricky (save for one tool) and most of it will last you a lifetime. So follow along, and remember: I promise you that this will be easy.

You have two options for carbonating your ginger beer: you can ferment it in the bottle, or you can carbonate on-the-fly with an iSi soda siphon. While the soda siphon is easier to use, for the sake of authenticity you might want your ginger beer fermented in the bottle.

If you’re going to go the iSi route, pick up a soda siphon and meet me at the next step. The rest of you, follow me.

The first thing on your list if you’re going to be brewing in the bottle is any number of 16-ounce “EZ” flip-top bottles. You can find these on the internet, at a craft store, or at any homebrewing supply place. Pick up a few to start.

Next, find some wine yeast. I use Red Star Premier Cuvee champagne yeast. It’s sturdy, it hasn’t failed me yet, and it’s inexpensive. I pay about a buck for a packet that will make five gallons of this stuff.

Okay, on to making the actual ginger beer.

The only tricky piece of equipment I’m going to suggest is a juice extractor. Pick up the Juiceman Juice Extractor if you’re just going to be making this stuff at home, or the Breville Juicer if you plan on making a lot of it. Sure, you can use a grater, but you’re going to need to fine-strain your grated ginger to avoid any chunks in the final product. For the occasional home user, a Microplaner and some cheesecloth will be fine. But when making this by the case at work, I always turn to my juice extractor. The money is worth it if you want to make a lot of this stuff.

Raw ginger

Peel and juice your ginger. I find that 1½ ounces of fresh ginger tends to work out to roughly an ounce of ginger juice.

This base recipe will make one 16-ounce bottle of ginger beer, so multiply the proportions by the number of bottles you will be using. If you’re going the siphon route, note that the canister will hold 32 ounces of ginger beer. So double the batch, duh.

1 ounce ginger juice
2 ounces fresh lemon juice, finely strained
2 ounces simple syrup
11 ounces warm water (cold if using the soda siphon)

Mix ingredients together. If using a soda siphon, pour ingredients into canister, screw on lid, charge with CO2, shake once, and refrigerate. You’re done.

If you’re using bottles, fill each bottle with 16 ounces of your mixture and add roughly 25 granules of champagne yeast. Seal the cap securely, shake well, and store for 48 hours – no more, no less – in a warm, dark place. After 48 hours have passed, refrigerate immediately to halt the process.

After your bottled ginger beer is well chilled, mix up a Dark and Stormy, sit back, and imagine you’re drifting along with me on that creaky little boat.

UPDATE: An easier and more consistent method for carbonating your ginger beer can be found here.

Cheers, friends. Have a beautiful weekend.

336 Replies to “How To Make Your Own Ginger Beer”

  • Professr says:

    Yep, it should be carbonating by now. Some advice: skip using a metal bottle. Use a washed-out 2-liter soda bottle, so you can tell when it starts carbonating more easily.

  • Daniel says:

    The Meat – yes, it should be, but you will barely see any bubbles because the pressure will be forcing them to dissolve into the ginger beer.

    Get a bottle out and stand it between you and a window or a light and let the light bounce off the surface of the top of the liquid – if you are patient you should see tiny movements as the odd bubble rises and pops.

    When you hit your 48h mark and put them in the fridge, be *very* careful when opening the first bottle as there can be quite a lot of pressure inside if it has all gone right. Just flipping off the top will result in a lot of wasted ginger beer over the worktop. Be prepared to hold the top down as you flip the spring off and gently let off the excess pressure.

    Good luck!

  • Ted says:

    If you have it in a plastic bottle, the bottle certainly should be feeling harder. I doubt you will see the actual carbonating because the bubbles are being absorbed into ther liquid.

    I leave mine out for 24-30 hours, then put it in the fridge and it actually keeps working. If the bottle feels too hard, like a solid pipe, I will bleed off a little gas then see the bubbles rise to the top.

    Also, I have be reusing the sediment in the bottom of the bottles to make another batch. No need to add any more yeast. It’s right there!

  • Didi says:

    Hi everybody!

    First of all, Jeffrey, I’d like to thank you for posting this recipe! Anyway, since the ginger beer was a total triumph, I’ve been thinking about making my own ginger ale by a similar process. If anybody had some ideas about how to change the recipe to make a traditional ginger ale, I’d be much obliged.
    I have been thinking along the lines of cutting the amount of ginger juice down, but I don’t know by how much exactly. Furthermore, I’m thinking about taking half of the sugar and make dark caramel of it, before adding the water and the rest of my sugar for the simple syrup. I am thinking, that thus I would get the traditional ginger ale colour.
    Any suggestions are more than welcome!

  • Daniel says:

    Didi – you can make your simple syrup using light (or dark) muscovado sugar to easily get the nice colour. Billingtons do an excellent light muscovado here in the UK.

  • Didi says:


    Good idea. I’ll definitely try this.

  • Burma says:

    Jeffrey, thank you for sharing your ginger beer recipe on this fantastic site! I love ginger, especially ginger beer, and am excited about the prospect of trying your recipe. I’ll definitely report back once I give it a try. (I’ll also want to try, for the very first time, a Dark & Stormy!) Thanks again so much.

  • Mike Aubrey says:

    Learned this purely on accident. I had picked up some ginger at the store for a reduced price because it was old, so I froze it when I got home.

    But it turns out that for making ginger beer, if you freeze and then thaw your ginger, you can literally squeeze the juice out of it without having to spend the money on a juicer or make a massive mess with a grater.

    And it tasted great too.

  • The Meat says:

    thanks for your help and replies

  • James B. U. says:

    Thanks for the recipe. I just made mine last night, with a few small changes.
    I used a blender to grind up the ginger, and actually had to add liquid to get it done, but I think it worked very well – I used cheesecloth, and got a good 8 oz. of juice out, which was just what I needed for 8 bottles. I only used about 12 oz. of lemon juice, since that’s all I could make, and I dumped everything into a pot with some vanilla bean and a couple of star anise, and heated it up for a while. I let it cool down a bit, to what I figured was below 120 degrees so as not to kill the yeast. Now it’s all bottled up in old Grolsch bottles, in a plastic-lined box in a warm place. Tomorrow night I’ll put it in the fridge, let it cool, and see how it did; then we’ll make some Dark and Stormies if all goes well. I’ll keep you posted.

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