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”

  • Vivien Czapiewski says:

    I had difficulty with inconsistent carbonation when utilising yeast, that’s why i switched to forced carbonation 😀 It comes out most suitable each individual time, so you can get the machines out of your nearby brewing shop

  • kd says:

    Reporting back from 208…

    I’m still alive and luckily juicing the whole lemon did not make it bitter. It smelled like strong lemonade when I opened the bottle, but tasted like the best ginger beer I’ve had in a long time. I shed a tear as I sipped from the last bottle. I am looking for more ginger heat from my beer though & wondered if that would come from increasing the amount of ginger or seeking out a specific type of ginger?

  • Joe says:

    First of all Great Recipe. I just made my first batch (using the siphon method) and it is delicious.
    I made one modification since I do not have a juicer, I simply blended all the ingredients (whole, peeled ginger) in the blender and strained. It worded and seemed way easier the microplaning or grating it.

    Thanks for the recipe.

  • Milea says:

    Hi! This is my first time home brewing, and I was just wondering about this batch I just made that didn’t get fizzy… at all? My bottles were larger than 16 oz. and I had to do some tricky calculating, which could have something to do with it I suppose. But I’m just wondering in general what would cause a batch of this stuff to not get fizzy? Did it still work, or did something go very wrong?

    Also, even if after 48 hours my brew is not fizzy and very separated, should I still refrigerate it?

    Thanks! Awesome recipe btw, will be trying it again soon 🙂

  • Ty says:

    I had the pleasure of visiting Clyde Common and meeting Jeffrey on my last visit to Portland. He even presented a sample of his own brew to me straight up — fantastic all around, and the drinks were a treat. The Autumn Leaves was a favorite.

    I’ve been brewing my own g-beer for several months now, and wanted to share some tips/experiences.

    1) Use the big 2 liter growlers avail from brew store. I get a quad batch in each bottle and more consistent carbonation.

    2) Use a Bottle Buddy bottle warmer wrapped around the shoulder of the 2 liter growler. It keeps the bottle toasty and the yeast working hard. Bad luck with 1 liter growlers as it seems to get them too hot.

    3) Maltose Yeast Starter — Get some light maltose from your local brew store and mix in a teaspoon of it to 1/4c of 95 degree water (let sit for 15 mins) to kick start the yeast before adding to your bottle. My brother (the microbiology/culinary student) came up with the idea.

    Using the above method I’ve had some batches finish with velvety, champagne-like carbonation in as little as 24 hours.

    For juicing my ginger, I picked up a used Champion juicer on Craigslist for $40 — 2 lbs of ginger juiced in <5 mins — need I say more?

    Lastly I did a batch a couple weeks ago substituting half the lemon juice with fresh blood orange juice. Wonderful berry-citrus notes in that bottle; best with a Moscow Mule.

    Thanks again to Jeffrey for posting this great recipe. Moscow Mule and Dark & Stormy season is upon us in Colorado.

  • Bob Q says:

    I’m going to do a taste test with this next to the one I’ve always used, which substitutes your simple Syrup for some plain old sugar and has some small bits of pear in it. That one has always been good, but it’s never really had that intense ginger taste I’m looking for. Thanks for the ideas.

  • Dominic says:

    I agree with Mr. Morgenthaler that you should just make ginger beer and then pour rum into it. that being said, if you are dead set on producing a “hard” version of ginger beer, the best way to do this would be to make and ferment a sugar mash, then replace the 10 oz warm water with your mash. You should not have to add yeast to carbonate, as there should be enough yeast cells left in the mash to get the job done.

  • Chris says:


    Have you tried making ginger beer with carbonated water instead of still water?

  • Pete says:

    I just wanted to say this article has been incredibly helpful. I’ve never been happy with the store-bought brands so decided to do something about it. I’ve tried it with the Soda Stream and the fermented method and prefer the latter. Over the last 6 batches or so I’ve made a few tweaks that I think make it as close to perfection as possible:

    – Spice up your simple syrup. I use a 1:1 ration of demerara sugar to water, about a tablespoon of dried allspice berries, half a cinnamon stick broken in half, 4-5 star anise pods, a dozen or so cloves, and about a 1/4 cup of black peppercorns. Simmer for 30 minutes, let cool slightly and strain. Makes a much more complex ginger beer in the end.

    – I find the recipe as-is to be too acidic. Just personal preference, but I cut the amount of citrus in half now.

    – I like mixing fresh lemon and lime juice (works out to be about 1 ounce each of lemon and lime juice per liter of ginger beer).

    I’m still trying to master the amount of yeast per bottle. My first couple of tries came out way too frothy– the bottles were explosive. Right now I’m using about 1/16 ts of Red Star Pasteur Champagne Yeast. If anyone has any tips on other brands or techniques to get it “just right” please post!

  • Mike says:

    I have a question about brewing with the intent of children. My kids love Cock and Bull™ Ginger beer. We would love to create one similiar as they are hard to find in our area. My main question is how do you create without the worry about alcohol? Is that the soda siphon thing? How dies this recipe compare to Cock and Bull™?

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