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”

  • Mark says:


    No need to do any boiling before bottling. The recipe I posted was the same as that used by the gentleman in London. Regarding alcohol content, he said that it’s equivalent to non-alcoholic beer, which is about 0.5%, extremely low. Now if you wanted to make it ‘hard’, I guess more yeast or brewer’s yeast or champagne yeast, but then there’s the issue of safety, since after the bottle becomes rigid, it’s ready for the fridge. Maybe someone else on here can address the question of raising the alcohol level.

  • Ted says:

    I’ve raised the percent by taking the “hard” bottle out of the frig, loosen the cap to bleed off some pressure, retighten the cap, then leave it out for a few hours and as it starts getting hard again, put it back in the frig. Repeat the process several times. The cold doesn’t kill the yeast, and it will keep on working as it cools.

  • Mark says:

    Cool! I know that a longer fermentation will increase the alcohol but didn’t know how to do it. Still learning. Thanks Ted.

  • DG says:

    For those of you trying to
    alcohol-ize your ginger beer, you seem to be making it a lot harder then it needs to be. All you need to do is put your liquids into a carboy/plastic jug with an air lock on it. The air lock will allow the pressure of the CO2 to be released from the ginger syrup and will stop anything bad from entering the bottle. Any time you have a tight seal on it, you can run into a bit of trouble.

    If you want it to have more alcohol, you need to add more sugar, not yeast. The yeast will multiply very quickly. To best be able to measure your alcohol possibility, I suggest getting a hydrometer. That will be able to help you out.

  • Ted says:

    Has anyone tried using turbo yeast? A high alcohol & temperature tolerant dual function yeast complete with needed nutrients. Yields 23 liters, produces 14% Alcohol in 24 hours, or 20% in 5 days.

  • Here’s a thought, take or leave it as you all will: This ginger beer recipe might taste really gross if you try to turn it into an alcoholic beverage.

    While I haven’t personally discovered what a bottle of fermented lemon juice and five day-old ginger tastes like, I’m going to assume it’s not the most awesome tongue-pleaser in the world.

    So do yourselves a favor: make a bottle of nice, fresh, non-alcoholic ginger beer and spike it with a healthy dose of rich, dark rum. Your tastebuds, head, and stomach will thank you.


  • Ross says:


    Thanks for the recipe! You inspired me to give it a go, though I departed from your instructions relatively significantly. I omitted the lemon entirely; I also add vanilla. Most importantly, I avoid white sugar — instead, I use a combination of honey, brown sugar, and molasses. The product is almost the color of amber ale, with a richer flavor.

    At the recommendation of my (Seattle) local home-brew shop, I use Nottingham Ale Yeast. The argument for it is: champagne yeast survives at a higher pressure and stays active at a cooler temperature than ale yeast, making bottle explosions more likely. Perhaps not a huge issue — but ale yeast is also very cheap.

    Thanks for blogging — I look forward to reading more!

  • DG says:

    While, yes, non alcoholic ginger beer is fantastic, and as a home brewer of alcoholic ginger beer, I have to say it is quite tastey, up to about 15ish%, depending on the recipe. Anything after that, is ridiculously harsh and definately not worth drinking. Nothing beats a cold ginger brew on a hot summer day, either plain and mixed with rum, or hard and lonesome.

  • Gina Valentino says:

    Sometimes I forget how cool you are, and then I forget about your website. Thanks for the occasional reminder. I love fun projects like this. Can’t wait to try it!

  • Ted says:

    Thanks to your inspiration, been making a 2-liter bottle twice a week. Used just plain Fleishamann’s yeast and four key limes for each batch plus adding in a teaspoon of Tarter. The bottle gets very hard long before 24 hours so bleed off some pressure and place it in fridg. Excellent flavor. Gotta get my copper mugs from home to make it taste just right. Believe me, a Muscow Mule made with vodka, ginger beer and lime tastes much better in a copper cup. Go to your local thrift store and find a copper cup!

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