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 1Β½ 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”

  • Craig, thanks for that link, I’ve solidified my determination to add cream of tartar to my next batch after reading some of that history.

    Again, great information. Thank you!

  • Everyone

    I forgot to mention that ginger loses its flavor over time, so two weeks is probably the max you’re going to get out of a bottle before it starts to just taste like old carbonated lemonade.

    More of an excuse to keep the stock updated, right?

  • Brooke says:

    Hi… Jeffrey. I love your website and was motivated this past weekend to make your ginger beer. I followed your directions, with the exception of doubling the batch and using 32 oz bottles and I forgot to strain my lemon juice. When I mixed a drink last night my beer wasn’t carbonated at all. Do you have any idea what I did wrong?

  • Brooke

    From my past failures, here’s everything that I can think of that you might have done wrong. Believe me, I’ve made every mistake on this list at some point:

    1. Your mixture was either too hot, or too cold and you killed your yeast. Actually, I don’t even know if too much cold would kill it, since I keep my yeast in a fridge. So maybe the mix was too hot.

    2. You didn’t use enough yeast. For a 32-ounce bottle, I’m going to say, right off the top of my head… 1/8 tsp should be about right?

    3. You didn’t get a good seal on the bottle. You’ve got to make sure whatever cap you’re using is on there good and tight, because you need that carbonation to stay in the bottle until it’s time to open.

    4. You didn’t store it in a warm enough, dark enough place. I heard light kills yeast, so I always cover my bottles with a black apron, I don’t know how important that is. But what I always make sure to do is keep the bottles on a warm shelf indoors for 48 hours during the fermentation process.

    That’s all I can think of right now, Brook. I hope it helps.

  • Brooke says:

    Thanks so much for the reply. I am going to try again this weekend… utilizing your helpful tips, of course. And I will let you know how it is.

  • Jac says:

    That’s “leaky” little boat… πŸ˜›

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=ELTEnNOTub4

  • Tiare says:

    This recipe looks good to me. I haven`t tried it with a soda siphon before..would like to try!

    Thanks for explaning why the shelf/fridge life of Ginger is only 2 weeks.

    Cheers!

  • Julie says:

    when i was a little girl we always had ginger beer to drink. But my grand mother always used left over ginger beer to make the next brew. Does anybody know why she did this ? i am going to try this recipe at the weekend and seee if it taste’s as good.

  • Craig says:

    Julie,

    Traditionally “Ginger beer” wasn’t just brewer’s yeast and sugar. It was from something called “Ginger beer plant” that was a bacteria/yeast mother. A big glob of goo that was fed and maintained like yogurt, sour dough starter or vinegar. If you are curious, check out this link: http://www2.parc.com/emdl/members/apte/GingerBeer.pdf Review page #11

    Ginger beer traditionally was a living thing, a transformation of a solution by organisms. It appears that it was not only tasty but good for the gut containing beneficial bacteria.

  • jack says:

    after reading the posts made by people as i was too lazy to do so before iv decided to move my “homebrew” from the direct sunlight in front of the heater to a cooler and somewhat darker area of the house

    Jack

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