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”

  • Sam says:

    I’m not sure what I did wrong, but maybe someone can help me out. I used Fermentis US-05 dry ale yeast, in lieu of the recommended wine yeast, but apart from that I followed the directions to a t. The resulting stuff is great tasting, but has zero carbonation. Such a bummer. Thoughts?

  • lee budz says:

    take it to the next level!!!

    after a fun and successful time adapting and playing with these tips i must say that scince i started a GINGER BEER PLANT ill never look back, yes its alittle pain to maintain but being able to make ginger beer, scrumpy cider, fizzzy ice ts, sourdoughs well anything that needs a bit of good old CO2 at the drop of a hat, outweighs that 30s that it takes to feed everyday.plenty of tips on web or if anyi needes a push in the right direction would be glad to help

    still any ideas on wat the real difference beween ginger ale and ginger beers is???


  • gwynclan says:

    great recipe and posts. i have my own recipe i would like to share with you, a little more involved, but with anything you enjoy doing. Spending time doing it is half the fun!

    1 cup luke warmwater 1/2 packet of bakers yeast in a glass jar and cover with cheese cloth or muslin secure with a rubber band,let sit till bubbles start to form. Then feed the solution 1 tsp sugar and 1 tsp ground ginger every day for 5 days stirring every time.

    For the syrup
    I use 24 cups of water,3 1/2 cups turbinado sugar, zest of 2 limes and juice of one.2 tsp ground ginger and 3 inches of fresh ginger root cut on a micro plan. 1 jalapeno with seeds cut up.

    simmer 12 cups water and all other ingredients for 15 min. then add the other 12 cups of water and cool.

    Stir up yeast solution and pour through 2 layers of the cheese cloth into syrup mixture stir well then bottle.

    I find that after 12 hrs or so I can fridge rate and have greatly carbonated GB. you can omit the jalapeno if you like but I like the spice it adds.

    After you pour the yeast solution through the cheese cloth split it up and restart your “GB plant”. With warm water and sugar. And start the same way as before with the ground ginger and the sugar.

    Give the other half to someone else that you got hooked on yours. or have 2 for double the amount next time.

    I used to have stomach problems but drinking this 3 or 4 times a week has stopped my indigestion and some other bowl symptoms not to be gross but natural product are the way to go.
    Sorry for the long post guy’s

  • Richard says:

    Great post, I have never made beer before but this post is enough for me to give it a try!!

  • Arthur says:

    Great read!!!

    I know this is going to be blasphemous for all the purists, but I gave it a whirl with (GASP!) powdered ginger and a SodaStream drink carbonator and the result was delicious. I used your recipe as a guide but tweaked a little for convenience.

    For a 32 oz. bottle of “instant” ginger beer in under 5 mins:

    – *6 oz. simple syrup (plus more sugar, to taste)
    – 4 oz. lemon juice (I used half fresh squeezed and half bottled)
    – ~1.5 tablespoons (or more) powdered ginger
    – 20 oz COLD water (in a SodaStream compatible bottle or in Soda Siphon).

    Mix all ingredients but the water until ginger is dissolved. Add to SodaStream bottle / soda siphon of water, shake vigorously for a minute or two. Taste for sweetness and ginger potency and adjust as desired.

    Carbonate and enjoy!

    *My wife is a type I diabetic so we often substitute Splenda for the sugar. The dark and stormies remain delicious and refreshing!

  • diggy says:

    Thanks for the excellent article. I want to have a Moscow Mule party, but ginger beer is expensive and hard to come by. I’m going to try to make my own.

    I was just wondering how many days it lasts. If anyone knows, please post! Thank you!

  • ellen says:

    Hi there,

    Getting ready to make my first batch but I have a question. What will the differences be if I use champagne, lager or ale yeast instead of baker’s yeast? Also is there a way to stop carbonation?

  • James Pratt says:

    I just bought the iSi Soda Siphon on here to compare the results with the in-bottle carbonation I’ve been doing. I notice the manual is pretty emphatic about ONLY putting pure water in the siphon. I assume putting ginger beer in the siphon will reduce it’s effective life span and possibly make it more difficult to clean.

    Can anyone who has this iSi Soda Siphon have any comments on how it held up putting ginger beer in it rather than just water?

  • John Merrill says:

    I used an iSi extensively last summer. I was careful to strain everything. My iSi worked for a few weeks this Spring but clogged last week.

    I ordered another via Amazon. (I use Splenda instead of sugar so the siphon is my option.) Worth the replacement cost, I think.

  • Ted says:

    Well, Jeff, I’ve gone against all the proper procedures. For the last four months, have been using ground ginger. I don’t rinse or wash my one liter bottles. Been using bottled lemon juice. When the bottle gets down to just the sediment, I did dump it out leaving the bottle pretty ugly looking and added 1 cup simple syrup, heaping tablespoon ground ginger, teaspoon cream of tarter, two tablespoons of lemon juice and top it off with water. I say did, because I decided to recycle the sediment by adding a little more ginger and the syrup, lemon juice and water. Believe it or not, it tastes very good. Great with vodka as Moscow Mules! We go through two bottles a week!

    Still have to stop in a see you sometime.

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