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:

    No problem using yeast in a keg. I use 5 gallon ball locks and the ginger beer will carbonate nicely just like in a smaller vessel. Your fist pour will likely have some sediment unless you keep it stirred (a shake of the keg occasionally).

    As a point of information, for me the shelf life has been much longer than 2 weeks.

  • Tyson says:

    I was wondering if anyone could tell me what the purpose of the lemon is? Just to weaken the ginger taste or is it to help it last longer or something?

    I’ve been experimenting with the ginger/lemon ratio a lot. I’ve settled around 2.5oz ginger, 1 oz lemon, but I’m tempted to lower it to .5 or even none. I love gingery ginger beer, but wanted to see if there was a purpose to the lemon 🙂


  • Siggy says:

    Lemon juice, or citric acid in mass production, is an important flavor component in a lot of drinks, especially carbonated ones. But besides that it can influence the color of the ginger. Young ginger will get a pinkish color when put in an acidic solution, not that it matters much in the case of ginger beer.

  • Seth says:

    Hey guys I am currently using iSi soda siphons with 11oz. of mixture and 16 oz. of water for a total of 27 oz. of fluid in the siphon. I am using one charger and shaking once before placing the ginger beer in the fridge. When I go to use G.B. in a cocktail it is super foamy almost EVERY time. What am I doing wrong? Is the extra 5 oz. I’m not using affecting the consistency?

    • Seth – Make sure your Soda Siphon is well chilled before using it. Then, shake it well after charging it. Next, turn it upside down and SLOWLY discharge the gas by pressing the lever. When the canister is de-gassed, slowly open it up and pour out perfectly carbonated, non-foamy ginger beer. The nozzle is what’s giving you all that foam.

  • Steph K says:

    On my second batch of ginger beer. The first was almost perfect but my simple syrup ratio was off so it wasn’t quite sweet enough. Today I’ve made a quad batch and used bottled ginger juice from The Ginger People (I don’t have a good way of pressing my own at this point, and this seems quite viable, save for the price). I am using Red Star Cote des Blancs yeast. Worked great in my last batch!

    Heading down to Portland in March and we’re planning a visit to Clyde Common so I can try the real deal. 🙂

  • John says:

    Jeff – I really appreciate you publishing this recipe and procedure. It has got me started in brewing my own. I have to say, though, that my result was really different than what I was going for. Originally, I was craving a Reed’s Ginger Beer and didn’t want to put out the money for it. My result, at least, was closer to, very sweet, fizzy ginger lemonade. And – although it wasn’t at all what I was originally going for, and although I wouldn’t have imagined that ginger would be good in lemonade – it really is a delicious combination. But, in case someone else in the future might wonder, it’s not remotely similar to a Reed’s Ginger Beer (not that you ever said that it would be…). In retrospect, that makes sense too. It mentions right on the Reed’s bottle that cane sugar, pineapple juice, honey, lemon, lime, and ‘spices’ are involved. Next time I think I’ll head that direction (wonder which spices though?). Thanks again for getting me started!

  • bob says:

    i’ve done this recipe a few time. add some extra sugar, pop on an airlock and let ferment for a week or two. makes a great (and pretty strong) alcoholic ginger beer. put in a plastic soda bottle and let it self carbonate, or force carb it. it’s pretty great.

  • Lee Stone says:

    Came here for the ginger beer recipe. Liked it. Also enjoyed the writing.



  • Pres Roberts says:

    Just tasted our inaugural batch! It has a real nice ginger flavor, however, about 1/2″ inch of sentiment (not sure if that is normal?) It also has a light “blush” pink appearance. I followed instructions to the T using 25 grains of Red Star Champagne Yeast (purchased at local brew shoppe)but when opened, only had a minor “pfff” and there is very little fizz… Any comments? Thank you and thank you Jeffrey for sharing! Any good news on Ginger futures?

  • Lana says:

    Mine was very pink, Pres Roberts. I think adding lemon juice to ginger before mixing it with the rest of the ingredients pickled it, which makes it turn pink.

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