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”

  • TCed says:

    Jeff, your initial recipe got me started several years ago. Now I’m making a batch every 2-3 weeks with it slightly modified. The one below is for the first time maker. For following batches, I leave 1/4 inch beer in the bottles then use that for the starter for the next batch. Here it is for about five liters:

    1 gal drinking water (no chlorine)
    3 cups sugar
    1 pound ginger root
    1 lemon
    1 tablespoon crème of tarter
    1/4 package yeast(see above)
    5 one liter plastic bottles with caps

    Use only the drinking water for all operations.

    Mix sugar with 6 cups of water and heat until sugar is dissolved. Let cool.

    Scrap skin off ginger root. Cut into small pieces and place in blender with 2 cups water. Blend until smooth.

    Empty blender into 10 quart container. Add the sugar water. Rinse out blender and sugar container with additional water. All water should be used.

    Add cream of tarter, yeast and squeeze the juice from the lemon. The lemon rind can be put in the container. Stir, cover and let set overnight in a warm place (room temperature).

    Next day, strain through couple layers of cloth. Fill bottles to half inch from top or equal amount in each bottle. Squeeze air out of bottle and tighten cap.

    Leave bottles at room temperature until they feel hard. Place in fridge.

    Caution– if you leave the bottles out too long, they could possibly explode.

    Mix with vodka for a Moscow Mule or with rum for a Dark and Stormy.

    Enjoy!

  • Spencer says:

    @shane

    re: “Hey Jeff,
    My wife and I were in Seattle last week and discovered Rachel’s Ginger Beer and couldn’t believe that Portland didn’t have places like Rachel’s. ”

    Just wanted to mention there is a new brewery in Portland called Portland Ginger Brew that is making handmade, fresh, authentic ginger beer. enjoy

    PortlandGingerBrew.com

  • Amy says:

    Hi- I am about to try my first batch, and I am wondering about altitude- I live at nearly 8000 feet. Do you think I need to make any adjustments to the recipe? I generally do when baking.

  • Mary says:

    No Amy, you don’t really. I live up at 6600 feet and haven’t had any problems so far. I do make sure the ginger taste is where I want it.

    This is how I approach it: I chop my ginger (unpeeled because I’m lazy and I hate peeling ginger) in my Cuisinart then put it in a fine strainer lined with cheesecloth and squeeze the juice out. Make the syrup, then when filling the bottles I make sure I use one plastic soda bottle. This is my test bottle. I check them after 48 hours and if this bottle is hard to squeeze I know the carbonation has worked. Good luck and have fun with it!

  • jonatan says:

    Couple of notes on things I’ve discovered while experimenting:

    Ginger Juice: I take fresh ginger, peel, chop into small pieces and then place it in the blender and fill with water up to the level of the ginger and blend 20-30 seconds and strain off all solids with a fine mesh strainer and compress with a big spoon to get everything out of it. Cheese cloth would work better probably. This leaves me with a very hot “ginger juice” that is slightly watered down yes, but not much and the blender handles it wonderfully. Store in your fridge 1-2 weeks maybe, I always use mine up before. If you leave it too long it looses a bit of its fresh citrus zing.

    I mix then directly 1-2oz juice with 1oz simple syrup and a dash of lemon or lime juice and top with soda water as I have a co2 tank at home for making sparkling water.

    The same in a bottle with ~ 20 grains of champagne yeast and stored in a warm dark place does great too, leave it for about 48 hours and adjust sugar in the mix to your liking. In 48 hours the yeast will NOT eat up all your sugar, there will still be a lot of sweetness. Full sugar burn off would take maybe 14 days in a container with an air lock but then you’d have real beer. =)

    I do glass bottles and refrigerate after 48 hours. Don’t go longer. I had two explode in the closet. And this is on 20 grains of yeast, a quarter tablespoon and you’ll be at glass capacity way faster, not recommended. Actually I don’t recommend glass at all unless you watch carefully and know the risks.

    Next I’m going to experiment with the following:

    — Taking ginger juice straight to a sugar syrup so I can fill a bottle with water, drop in the syrup and some yeast grains and cap. Very fast.

    — Black pepper and red pepper experiments

    Limitless varieties =)

  • jonatan says:

    I have done the same 48 hour fermentation/yeast carbonation with apple juice and cranberry juice with great results. Moving on to an airlock system to allow for longer fermentation times and higher ABV%.

    But I do recommend the chopping small cubes of ginger and blending with water level matching ginger height. Have had great success and then no stovetop mess at all. When I have friends over I just throw shots of ginger juice and simple syrup into sparkling water for instant fresh ginger ale.

  • zac says:

    I LOVE IT

  • Charlie says:

    Notes on my attempt:
    1. Threw ginger into a food processor without trimming, pealing, ect. and wrung the resulting pulp out with cheesecloth to great sucess.
    2. Ended up boiling all the ingredients (sans yeast) to kill off any wayward bacteria and cooling it down with a wort chiller, then added yeast.

    I’m still waiting on my carbonation, but the juice and yeast mixture tastes great.

  • Jonathan says:

    RE: CHARLIE

    Your cheese cloth idea sounds great. I’ve been pressing mine through a strainer a few times to try to get the fine bits out.

    When you boiled it, how much water to ginger did you use? I try to stay away from boiling as it gives a different flavor, fresh has been nice and citrusy for me. But I love different recipes.

    I peel and blend and press which gives me a bright yellow juice and then I make a syrup with this as it keeps longer. Then into the bottles with yeast. I heat the ingredients to near boiling to make the syrup and that’s enough for me. Also since it goes into the fridge after 3 days and is drank quickly after that I don’t worry about anything growing.

    I was at 48 hours fermentation, but upped it to 72 when I got some new heavy duty flip top bottles. Superb results.

    I used a darker sugar this last batch and it turned out great, nice and rich.

    Next plan is to make it more like a beer, long fermentation process to get the abv up to ~ 5% and yea, basically make it like one would make a beer. Will probably be drier but should be good.

  • Blue Iguana says:

    2016 & this thread is still going.

    Making our first batch today, direct into glass bottles. I see most use plastic. Was bemused by the “25 granules of yeast”. I’ve watched vegans count lentils before, I just went for the teaspoon measuring approach!

    I am making notes in a google doc and will share if requested.

    G&E

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