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”

  • DJ says:


    My friend and I became hooked on Gosling’s a few months ago, and were really interested in your recipe, especially considering how many people had positive results. However, we must’ve gone wrong somewhere.

    We did 4 bottles. Three 12oz glass and one 20oz plastic for pressure check-ability.

    The glass ones were soda bottles and had re-sealable threaded metal caps, and just to be sure, we placed a layer of saran wrap over the lip of the bottles before capping them.

    We covered them in towels and left them in a laundry room at a temperature between 73 and 77 degrees, laying down.

    Followed the instructions, but used turbinado sugar, and 25 granules of active dry yeast. 48 hours later, and we’ve just got some gingery, lemony water. It tastes ok, so it wasn’t a total waste, but we’d love to get this right. Any ideas?

  • Adam K says:

    Late to the party as always, I tried this out today during a slow lunch shift. Ended up cutting back on the lemon juice by more than half and using carbonated soda water from a bottle instead of carbonating my own water. Seemed to work out just fine. I used the 3 ounces SS, but made it 2:1. I found the recipe approximates Regatta Ginger Beer pretty nicely. I’m excited to try the fermentation route when I have a few extra minutes.
    All of the links pertaining to ginger beer plant, etc, are super informative. I’m always exceited to see the origin of drinks. Very rarely do they begin the way we think they do.

  • Joel says:

    Grating ginger by hand proved quite difficult, so I started using the Breville juicer recommended here. A reconditioned one off Ebay ran me about $65 including shipping. Entirely reasonable. The upgrade a juicer provides cannot be overestimated. I picked up some very good quality ginger from the local chinese market at $0.99 a pound (much better than the dessicated ~$7/pound stuff at whole foods). The juicer cut through the ginger like a hot knife through butter.

    Because I’m impatient, I tried the unfermented version first, using straight ginger ale, sugar syrup, lime juice and carbonated water. This was like a punch to the face. Way too much gingerol, but still really tasty. Using the same proportions in the ferment version, which will be ready today. I’m assuming that this will be milder, thanks to the time involved and, perhaps, modfication by the yeast enzymatic activity.

  • Adam K says:

    Has anyone else found that the ginger juice comes out remarkably green? This was a surprise, however the addition of a shot of lemon juice quickly turns the juice into proper ginger beer color.
    Was my ginger not ripe enough? Sure looked it from the outside. Or is this always the case?

  • Zane P says:

    I followed this recipe and it worked great! I used flip top bottles, and not one explosion. I was happy with the level of fizz. For my next batch I was thinking of mixing it all together in a larger container, letting it ferment, and then putting it into bottles later. This way avoiding measuring a tiny amount of yeast for each bottle. If I do it this way, how long should I leave it in the first container? And should I let it ferment again in the bottles before I refrigerate them? If so, for how long?

  • Ashley H says:

    I’m an huge fan ginger beer and I’ve been meaning to try this recipe for a few years… now and I finally did. I even used the red star champagne yeast and it worked really well. Just wanted to thank you as I sit enjoying my first batch!

  • Danny says:

    intresting to see this thread is still alive afer 4+ years 😉

  • Dominique says:

    Does anyone know about how many packs of yeast I should purchase for one batch?

    Also how did fermenting and bottling work?

  • SuzieQ says:

    Thanks for this post, I’ve copied it and will try it. I love the idea of using my old juicer that’s gathering dust, since I want to make a big batch, might as well while I’m at it.

    I have made ginger beer once before and used champagne yeast (which was suggested by my local brewing shop), worked beautifully. However, I used much less sugar and didn’t realize, until I tasted it, that the fermentation process eats up a lot of that sugar, so it turned out not sweet enough for me, but still very tasty.

    Thanks for this post. Hope everyone tries this, it’s so easy and you’ll WOW your friends!

    *as others have said, if you want to reuse plastic bottles, make sure that they are soda-bottles, that can withstand some pressure. The thin water bottles are accidents waiting to happen.

  • Tara Olivia says:

    Hey Jeffrey,

    im going to tackle making the ginger beer. dont find much of that here in the philippines. And i’m missing it.

    concern; does the yeast stop it’s action once the bottle is put in the fridge? and if yes, then perfect.

    dont like exploding bottles all that much, dont think my friends will like it either.

    cheers, T

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