Ginger Beer


naturally fermented Ginger Beer
natural Ginger Beer


To make your own ginger beer couldn’t be much easier. This recipe is based on the method detailed in the wonderful book, The Art of Fermentation, by Sandor Katz. It uses natural yeasts from the ginger (that’s why organic ginger is important), and produces a fizzy, effervescent beverage that is delicious. A wide variety of other ingredients can also be added, to your own tastes.

Ginger Beer Recipe

Ginger Bug: 3-5 days       Fermenting: ~1 week       Makes: 1 Gallon

Cook’s Note: This is something more like an art than a science, but once you’ve been through the process, you’ll have the hang of it.

You’ll Need:

  • Ginger Bug (see below), about a week before making the gingerbeer
  • organic ginger, about 4″
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 gallon glass jug
  • an airlock (useful), or scrap of fabric and rubber band
For the Ginger Bug:
  • 2″ organic ginger
  • 2 Tbs. sugar
  • water

Start by making up a “ginger bug”. It won’t matter how much, but I usually start with about a tablespoon of grated ginger (skin and all!). Put your grated ginger into a small jar with sugar and water (about 1 tsp and 1 Tbs, respectively). Cover with some fine cheesecloth to keep out real bugs. Continue to add a bit more grated ginger and sugar each day, until the mixture has become bubbly; it should take no more than a few days. Set aside.

For the next step, you’ll make the base for the ginger beer. Put 4 cups of water in a pot over medium high heat, and add about 4″ of thinly sliced ginger. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for around 15 minutes. Carefully strain and pour this hot mixture into a glass gallon jug. *Be careful to increase the temperature of the jug gradually, as intense temp changes can shatter glass.*

Pour in two cups of sugar, and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add enough additional water to bring the level up near the top of the jug. When the liquid is no longer hot to the touch, add about a Tablespoon of the ginger bug to the jug.

Stir periodically for a number of days, until there are tiny bubbles visible in the liquid. Once this happens, you can prepare to bottle it. If you like a tamer ginger beer, bottle quickly, but if you prefer a slightly more alcoholic version, let the mixture ferment for a few days.

As with all carbonated home brews, take care when bottling. Place your filled bottles in the fridge to slow down the fermentation. The ginger beer is best enjoyed within a couple of weeks, but it’s so easy, you can keep making more in next to no time at all, provided you keep feeding your ginger bug!


4 Comments Add yours

  1. AshLeigh says:

    About how long is the ginger bug good for? I don’t imagine it would be awesome indefinitely, even with fresh ingredients being added regularly (though i may very well be wrong).

    1. Chelsea says:

      I imagine it would be like a sourdough starter- as long as you continue to feed it, and it’s not molded, it should be good. I know I kept one for several months, but this would be interesting to put to the test… 🙂

  2. curious consumer says:

    do you need to bottle or couldn’t you just pour out a glass from your jug?

  3. JonR says:

    I make (and consume) a gallon of this a week. I use champagne yeast instead of ginger bug, ferment to completion, then prime and bottle it like beer. It makes a wonderful light, dry, fizzy concoction which is great by itself or even better when mixed over ice with Kraken dark rum (a “Dark & Stormy”).

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