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How To Make Ginger Beer At Home?

Last update: 2023-11-22

Ginger beer is a refreshing, spicy and naturally fermented drink that is easy and fun to make at home. It's a great non-alcoholic beverage option that has a delicious tangy and slightly sweet flavor. Here is a step-by-step guide to making ginger beer at home.

What You'll Need

  • Ginger beer cocktail with lemon and mint in a frozen glass
    1 cup grated ginger
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cream of tartar
  • 2 quarts boiling water
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Yeast (ale yeast, wine yeast or bread yeast)

Step 1: Make the Ginger Bug Starter

The ginger bug is what provides the fermentation for making ginger beer. It's a mix of ginger, sugar and water that activates the wild yeasts present to start the ferment.

  1. Grate a 1 inch piece of fresh ginger and mix with 1 tablespoon of sugar in a glass jar. Add 1 cup of non-chlorinated, lukewarm water and stir to dissolve the sugar.
  1. Cover the jar with a coffee filter or cheesecloth and secure it with a rubber band to allow airflow while keeping bugs out.
  1. Let the jar sit at room temperature for 24-48 hours, checking periodically that bubbles are forming on the surface. This indicates the yeasts are activated and fermentation is taking place.
  1. Feed the bug 1 teaspoon each of grated ginger and sugar dissolved in 1/2 cup water daily for 3-5 days until very bubbly and fermenty smelling. It's now ready to brew with!

Step 2: Brew the Ginger Beer

  1. Ginger Ale Cocktail with Beer, Lemon, Lime and Mint in glaass on wooden table
    In a large pot, bring the 2 quarts of water to a boil. Remove from heat.
  1. Add the grated ginger, sugar, cream of tartar and lemon juice. Stir well until the sugar fully dissolves.
  1. Let the mixture cool until just warm to the touch. Transfer to a 1 gallon glass jar or jug.
  1. Add the active ginger bug and give it a good stir.
  1. Cover the jar with a coffee filter or cheesecloth and secure with a rubber band. Let sit at room temperature out of direct sunlight for 2-3 days while the ginger beer ferments.
  1. Taste the ginger beer after 2 days - when it's as bubbly and acidic as you like, move on to bottling.

Step 3: Bottle and Carbonate

  1. Transfer the fermented ginger beer into flip-top bottles, leaving about 1 inch of headspace at the top.
  1. Let the filled bottles sit at room temperature for another 2-3 days to carbonate.
  1. Once the bottles feel rock solid when squeezed (a sign of carbonation), transfer to the refrigerator.
  1. Allow to chill for at least 12 hours before drinking for optimum flavor and fizz.
  1. Enjoy your fresh homemade ginger beer! The flavor will continue developing over the first few days in the fridge.

Tips for Making Ginger Beer

  • Glasses and bottles with homemade ginger beer, lemon and ginger
    Use fresh young ginger for maximum flavor and fermentation power. Older ginger is more fibrous.
  • Ferment time can vary based on factors like temperature and yeast vigor. Taste frequently after 2 days to get the desired tang.
  • More sugar in the initial brew makes a sweeter, higher alcohol end product. For non-alcoholic ginger beer, stick to 1 cup or less.
  • Flip-top bottles or swing-top bottles with good seals work best for bottling carbonated ginger beer.
  • Refrigeration stops fermentation. After chilling in the fridge, ginger beer will keep for up to 2 weeks.


What is the difference between ginger beer and ginger ale?

Ginger beer is brewed and naturally fermented, giving it a stronger, more pungent real ginger taste. Ginger ale is carbonated but not fermented and has a much milder ginger flavor.

Can I use a ginger beer plant instead of a ginger bug?

Yes, a ginger beer plant can be used instead of a ginger bug to ferment the ginger beer. Manage it the same way by feeding it fresh ginger and sugar regularly.

What yeast should I use for brewing ginger beer?

Brewer's yeast, wine yeast or champagne yeast are good options. Bread yeast also works in a pinch but may give less consistent results.

Is ginger beer alcoholic?

Most homemade ginger beer has trace alcohol from the natural fermentation, around 0.5-1%. It can be higher if more sugar is added in the brewing process.

How long does homemade ginger beer last?

Ginger beer will keep for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator. The flavor and carbonation start declining after that. For longer storage, pasteurize the bottles.


Making ginger beer at home is an easy and fun DIY beverage project. In just a week's time, you can have a bubbly, flavorful and refreshing drink using nothing more than ginger, sugar, yeast and water. While the initial fermentation period requires some patience, the active hands-on time is minimal. With the ginger bug starter, you'll also have the means to brew up batch after batch of tasty homemade ginger soda anytime. Give this classic fermented beverage a try!

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