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”

  • Thomas says:

    Thanks for the recipe!

    I added a little honey and some pineapple juice and those things really added to it.

  • morgan says:

    I havnt had english style since my grandfather made it when I was a kid, I begged for the recipe but was made to copy it out of a book by hand and never finished the monumental task. he used to put it in sherry bottles and it sat in a cabinet for months never knowing the inside of a fridge, by the time i got a bottle it had a not insignificant kick which i at ten or so didnt understand but one day as i was sacheting down the street with my sherry bottle my dad grabbed it and took a sniff then asked me if i would please not get pie eyed in public until i was 16 or so. very much looking forward to trying your recipe. i will try quince it is superior to lemon in every way- the dark and stormys that attacked me in Bermuda were Jamaican style, you must have been futher south

  • Kristine says:

    I made it with extra ginger (about half more), and am thoroughly enjoying it. I’ve never made homemade soda before, so this was quite a new experience for me; I’d love to try some new combinations (maybe blueberry soda?).

    Thanks for the great recipe!

    By the way, have you found any great spice/fruit combinations to add during the recipe? (Would cloves be a good idea?)

  • kd says:

    Thank you for this recipe! I’m in the midst of brewing some ginger beer. I didn’t deviate too far from the original recipe. I did pop the lemon into my Juicelady and used the regular yeast I had on hand. I’m looking forward to the results, although my husband says I should try it first and wait a day so that the children at least have one parent. Maybe I won’t share. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

  • Michael says:

    Just gave this a try and the results were mixed. I used some recommended tweaks — 1/2 oz less lemon, 1/2 oz more syrup and less than 1/8 tsp yeast. The results were explosive, even though temperatures were in the 60’s for the fermentation. I was cleaning ginger beer off my ceiling, walls and nearly every surface of the kitchen.

    What I’m wondering about is the ginger beer didn’t have the creaminess of Bunderburg. Instead, it had a bit of an almost chlorine-like aftertaste. (I used unchlorinated, bottled water so that wasn’t the cause.) A couple cloves in one bottle really helped balance that flavor, but are there any suggestions for getting that creaminess? I had vanilla extract in some bottles but that didn’t seem to help.

    Thanks for the recipe and write-up. I’m excited to keep experimenting with it!

  • kd – Just a warning that juicing a whole lemon, peel and all, will result in a very bitter drink.

    Michael – Try following the recipe sometime and let us know how those results work out for you!

  • Steven says:

    Hi Jeff.

    Congrats on Bartender of the Year in Portland Monthly! I read the article the same week I saw this post. I’m brewing my ginger beer tonight and will let you know how it comes out. I’m a typical Portlander so I’m also into homebrew. Maybe later I’ll try a larger batch and attempt a longer ferment with an airlock, like some of the peeps on here wanted to try.

    When I have time I’ll come by Clyde and say hello! Thanks and keep up the great work mate.

    -Steven (in Tigard)

  • Sea Dog says:


    I did a 1 gallon batch, about a year ago, that I fermented for a week with an air lock. I did not like the results, it was very dry and tasted more like bad wine. Since then I have made multiple 5 gallon batches and force carbonated them skipping the yeast altogether. If you do try and ferment it out I would recommend trying a small batch first.

    Sea Dog

    • Hey guys. Yeah, fermenting it longer with an airlock is going to give you alcohol – and likely a funky taste. Fermenting for 48 hours in glass bottles as per the recipe will produce gas, but no alcohol or juice spoilage.

  • Sea Dog says:

    To All,

    I have made about 20 gallons over the past two years. Some things I have learned: Buy your ginger root at a farmers market. $20 gets me a grocery bag full of ginger. Use a spoon to peel your ginger. Force carbonation is the only reliable way. Yeast is living and unpredictable. Clean everything your ginger beer will come in contact with.

    I use a Juice Man Jr. to juice on low. This invokes a lot for cleaning of the filter basket every 2-3 roots. I also save my pulp and what I scrape off the filter basket, put it in a stainless steel pot and simmer it in water. I then strain it and run the pulp through the juicer again. Be careful, there are reasons Juice Man does not recommend this. The second run juice in not as clear or strong but still has good flavor. The second run pulp I use to make pancakes.

    Since I brew beer, I already owned a stainless steel stock pot, wort chiller. Cornelius Kegs and CO2 system. Craigs list is a good place to get used equipment. Other wise do some hunting and you should be able to find a keg for less then $10. I have also used “The Carbonater” ( with a 2 liter soda bottle. I use this when bringing ginger beer to parties. This you can do without a keg, but you will still need a CO2 tank, regulator and Ball Lock Gas Disconnect.

    If you a going to store your ginger beer, clean everything with BLC Beer Line Cleaner. Warm your ingredients to at least 140 F or boil it. When you add your ingredients, the temperature and how long you hold that temp all affect clarity smell and flavor. Add Potassium Sorbate (this will kill yeast) to our finished product. Once you bottle or keg your ginger beer keep it refrigerated. I have the tail end of a 5 gallon batch in my fridge that I brewed in November, still tastes great.

    Hope this is helpful,

    Sea Dog

  • oversea says:

    Thanks for this simple and tasty recipe here Jeffrey! Made it about ten times now and i absolutely fell in love with it. Ginger Beer is hard to get here in germany so i am very thankful !
    Many of Your ideas are a true inspiration to me.

    Greetings from germany

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