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”

  • Tim H. says:

    One more thing 😉

    2liter bottles can be very destructive if you make bottle bombs here. Enough sugar, and even a very small amount of yeast, or contamination in the bottle and you could literally blow a steel mail box to bits if the bottle lets go.

  • Dave says:

    Well, 4, 20-oz Coke bottles mixed and pitched today. The base was delicious, even unfermented. Can’t wait to taste them in a couple of days!

  • Dave says:

    First batch follow-up:
    Excellent flavor and carbonation!
    Perhaps a little too much ginger for our taste, so after drinking two bottles, I made a second, 2-bottle batch today, with 20% less ginger juice and 20% more sugar.
    5-star recipe!

  • Greg Yohn says:


    Made 2 batches already but 2nd was too dry and had alc, so made a black and tan. Mixed ginger beer with root beer!

  • Jonathan says:

    I’ve been using a bit of a different process for about 6 months, but am going to try this one now.

    Typically I’ve just been grating ginger and boiling that with sugar for 15+ minutes and then allowing that to cool down to a warm temperature before bottling and throwing a tsp of regular yeast on top (couldn’t get the red star here where I am overseas although i recently shipped some in). Result is a biting, very carbonated ginger drink that can be as strong or light as you want depending on the amount of ginger and as sweet as you want depending on the sugar content. I’m probably getting a different result with the boiling, but we’ve been very happy with it. I usually pour it into 1/2L plastic bottles (like Pepsi or something) and leave it on a warm window sill in the sun. Never had any problem with light, bottles are rock hard in 3-4 hours and I refrigerate them and they keep up to 10 days. After that the taste gets bitter.

    I get a fair amount of sediment which doesn’t really bother me, and sometimes is TOO carbonated. I have a bottle capper, a red star yeast now so I’ll try the recipe listed here and see if the difference is nice.

    Sometimes I throw half a sliced up lemon in the boil which is nice, but again I think the boiling is sometimes giving me a bitter taste.

    Have had a couple bottles not carbonate, usually it’s when I don’t let it cool down enough. Other than that, no problems. Couple sprayed bystanders when the bottles were opened too fast. =)

  • Belinda says:

    Oh yeah baby! Delicious ginger beer! I think I read almost all of the reviews and I made this last week. The end result was delicious, no explosions, carbonation and great taste so I say it was a win, win, win.

    I juiced with an electric juicer, followed the recipe exactly, and counted out every single yeast granule to make sure I had no more or less than the 25 granules of yeast. By the way 25 granules is such a small amount that it can not be measured by a teaspoon measurement no matter how small. I basically used two thin paper plates for measuring. On the first plate I dumped out some yeast from the package, way too much. I then took a knife and separated the 25 granules. Next I gently scraped off the granules onto a new clean paper plate and then folded the paper plate to tip into the mouth of the bottle funneled the granules carefully into the bottle. It really did not take that long to count out the granules but it is a pain, but no explosion was worth it!

  • Al Campassi says:

    I goy into Dark & Stormys when I bumped in Goslings on my try-every-rum quest. My everyday go-to uses Canada Dry Diet (OK! OK! But I like it.)

    Recent golf trip to Scotland led to the discovery of Crabbies Alcoholic Ginger Beer – like 4.9%. A great drink. Available in CA at Bevmo but filthy expensive.
    Came looking for a recipe for beer-brewing buddies and found your great site.

    Passing around your recipes and the site. Thanks for this. Have put Clyde Common on must-visit list.

  • Bess Storm says:

    After years of experimenting, we came up with this recipe. It is very easy and only takes an overnight to be ready. The nice thing is that it is flexible, since we like to use honey or natural sweeteners.

    Ginger Beer

    In a glass or ceramic jar, mix
    2/3 to 3/4 cup grated ginger
    juice of 1 lime
    1 cup honey
    1 quart boiling water
    mix together and let stand until lukewarm and then add
    2 teaspons yeast that has been proofed in a half cup of lukewarm water with a tablespoon of honey

    Mix and let sit at room temp for a day in glass or ceramic jar or bowl covered tightly with lid or plastic wrap.

    After a day, strain and store in frig. You can store in a plastic jar but should use glass or ceramic for the brewing.

    If you prefer, you can use brown sugar or agave syrup instead of honey. While you need to use a real sugar initially for the fermentation, we have had luck using Stevia for additional sweetening after brewing.

    You may find you may need to add more sweetener or lime juice as your taste buds dictate. Same with the ginger, play with the amount the first few times you make it until you get the flavor to your liking. We use
    more than two thirds but less than three quarters of a cup.

    Can be stored in the frig for up to a week. In theory anyway, here on our boat it is usually consumed well before that.

  • caleb K says:

    Ok, I am about to start making ginger beer on tap for my bar but I need a couple of questions answered first. Should I use yeast or not? How long should I let the ingredients sit before they will be ready?

  • Sam says:

    Caleb, If you want to talk ginger beer on tap shoot me an email. Halhuli @ gmail. I’m making it for two bars to have on draft. Ps. If you have kegs, I dont suggest using yeast!

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