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”

  • Brian says:

    Thanks for the recipe!

    I fell in love with ginger beer while in London–specifically the ‘Old Jamaica’ brand–and haven’t found a satisfactory replacement in the United States.

    I just made my second batch of this on Sunday. Like my previous attempt, I ended up with it being way too carbonated. So much, in fact, that when I popped the bottle a lot of the beverage fizzed out. I know it wasn’t from me shaking the bottle or anything like that.

    Is this a case of using too much yeast? I’m bottling them in old, clean, beer bottles and capping them myself. I followed your directions to the letter, though I used less lemon and more sugar the second time.

    Thanks again!


  • Shelagh says:

    When I was a kid growing up in Mexico of British parents, my grandmother came to live with us for a little while. She made Ginger beer for us. So now many years after I have been wanting to make some. Thanks for your recipe. I have a question what is “simple syrup” can I buy this made or do I have to make it ?

  • Shelagh says:

    I have been looking for a recipe for Ginger Beer. When I was a kid in Mexico my Grandmother came to live with us and she made ginger beer when she and my Mom made bread, I remember it was always wonderful. So now many years later plan to try to make my own. Thanks for the recipe.

  • leebudz says:

    3rd batch just drunk and very pleased, went with some added extras, vanilla-lovely smooth evened out that burn and added amazing scent, gran marsala-spot on real interestin depth and flavors comi at u,allspice-not to much but didnit grind cinnamon-plesant but still lack alttile, i also use agave syrup instead of sugar and also cut down on lemon,top tips and lotsa fun here

    any ways… wats is the clear differences between ginger ale and ginger beer, also any good rootbeer tips, im 0-3 at mo and cryin for root beer here in denmark cheers

  • Doug says:

    i got a couple of pound of ginger at the supermarket for $0.99 because it was getting old. I took about a pound trimmed & scalded it then sliced it across grain, then added water and threw it into the blender. This went into the brewing bucket, followed by 15L of hot water, a dash of vanilla, half a cup of lime juice and 3lb sugar. Once it cooled to blood temperature, I pitched the yeast (half a pack of red-star bread yeast as I didn’t have any brewing yeast), and 12 hours later it had started bubbling happily. The smell is wonderful. I’ll leave it for 3 days in the bucket, then put into primed bottles, and already I’m impatient to taste it!
    Will update you on how it tastes next week.

    • Ah. I’m sorry for that last comment Doug. I hadn’t seen your earlier post and didn’t realize that you weren’t using this recipe at all, but one that you’d come up with yourself consisting of old ginger, fifteen liters of water, vanilla, lime juice and bread yeast. So, yeah, that will probably end up tasting like hell. Have you tried using the recipe at the very, very top of this page? I think it might work.


  • Doug says:

    Okay, I was disappointed with the first sip, in fact it didn’t have a great taste in the front of the mouth, being like dish-water!
    After several “tastes” with different additives, I had a brainstorm. To each bottle I poured from the barrel (a bucket with a spigot is so much better than siphon tubes!) I added half a “straw” of Crystal-lite Green Tea. This added a slight tea flavor and a sweetness that wouldn’t ferment out! Other things I tried include Angostura bitters, orange peel, allspice, thyme and cloves.
    Next time I’ll boil half of the ginger to extract flavor as well as heat, and throw in a couple of green tea bags, and a couple of extra-strong mints.
    This spicy ginger drink, by the way, masks the taste of vodka completely!

    • I wish I knew of a way to respond to that last comment without sounding like a horrible douchebag, but it might not be possible – so just a warning there. If you need to add Crystal Lite or breath mints to make your ginger beer more palatable and cover up all that vodka flavor, then by all means, go right ahead. I’m just honored to be able to provide a base recipe that you can use, Doug.

      But do be warned that boiling your ginger won’t extract more flavor and heat, there is no substitute for fresh-pressed raw ginger juice.


  • Josh says:

    Thanks very much for this recipe Jeff, It was my dads birthday yesterday and I just managed to get a good few bottles of this brewed in time, It was delicious.

    Thanks very much for sharing this fantastic recipe with us!

  • Daniil says:

    Well, tried Jeff’s recipe using ISI siphon – very nice, but this method requires overnight infusion of ginger, lime juice and other stuff – lacks depth if prepared just after mixing.

  • Bob I says:

    Can you please tell me why is my ginger beer so explosive to get out the bottle but flat when I taste it?

    Thank Bob

  • Professr says:

    Is the ginger beer chilled well before you open it? CO2 does not stay soluble at room temperature, so if your beer is warm, all the carbonation will come out when you open/pour it. Keep it nice and cold after the yeast’s stopped working, and you’ll be pleased with the result!

    I recently bought some champagne yeast from a brewing store, so I’m going to try making a new batch of the ginger with it.

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