Ginger beer is a great drink for warmer weather. You may have found some ginger beer kits, but they can have an artificial taste and are lacking in spicy ginger bite. Our recipe below is for a classic ginger beer at around 4-5% alcohol content, but you can also make an alcohol-free version for the kids, and you can even substitute malt extract for honey or raw sugar to make a gluten free version (read our notes at the bottom of the page first!). Our recipe makes quite a spicy ginger beer and that’s how we like it, but you can reduce the amount of ginger if you prefer.
Stockpot (around 8L in volume for a 4.5L batch)
Grater or blender
Peeler or zester
Ingredients to make 4.5L
225g Raw Sugar
280g Light Dry Malt Extract (store any excess malt extract in an airtight container)
1/2 Sachet Ale Yeast
1 Pack Carbonation Drops
Optional: Small piece of a cinnamon stick or cassia bark, zest of 1 lemon.
Ingredients to make 20L
- Before you start brewing, sanitise your fermenter according to the instructions on your sanitiser, set the fermenter aside with the sanitiser solution to soak.
- Wash the ginger under cold water, then use a grater or food processor to finely grate or blend. Zest lemons if using zest.
- Add grated ginger and malt extract to your stockpot and as much water as the pot allows without exceeding the batch size (leaving room so it doesn’t boil over).
- Bring the pot to a simmer, and cook for at least 5 minutes (most people go for 10-20 to be safe). This extracts the flavour from the ginger, and kills bacteria which would spoil the batch. Optionally add the cassia bark and lemon zest to the boil.
- In the last minute or so of the boil, add the raw sugar. We add the sugar late to reduce the chance of boiling over.
- Once the boiling time is finished, cool the mix down – you can just put a lid on the pot and allow to stand for a few hours, or place the pot into a cold water bath. Remember that as the mix cools we need to avoid contamination of any kind so nothing should come into contact with the liquid once it’s stopped boiling.
- While the mixture is cooling, finish cleaning up the fermenter (pour out excess sanitiser) and anything else that’s going to contact the mixture such as a funnel or syphoning hose.
- Once the mix is below 30°C (ideally around 20°c), transfer it into your fermenter and add the yeast. Seal up the fermenter with some water in the airlock. It’s best to keep the fermenter in a cool dark place (around 18-20°c) for the duration of fermentation.
- Allow the mix to ferment for at least 5 days – this is a minimum and extra time in the fermenter won’t hurt it. You can leave it to ferment for up to 2 weeks without issue. The airlock should have stopped bubbling before bottling.
- Once the fermentation is done, it’s time to bottle up the ginger beer. Sanitise your bottles and bottling equipment as per directions on your sanitiser. Add 1 x carbonation drop per stubby sized bottle or 2 x carbonation drops per longy sized bottle. Cap the bottles and allow to stand at room temperature for 2 weeks.
Serve chilled and enjoy! You may wish to mix up a bottle of simple syrup to add a dash of sweetness to the ginger beer when serving. This is because the ginger beer is naturally very dry tasting (almost like champagne!), and adding extra sugar during bottling means more carbonation (and broken bottles) instead of more sweetness.
Extra tips and tricks
Alcohol free version
You can make an “alcohol free” version of this ginger beer (actually a very low alcohol version at less than 0.5%). Just omit the malt extract and raw sugar added to the boil. Once the mixture is cooled, add the yeast and stir and allow to sit for just 30 minutes before bottling with carbonation drops as usual.
Gluten free version
Replace the dry or liquid malt extract with other sugar sources such as honey, additional raw sugar, agave syrup, brown rice syrup etc.
Go to flavour town
We recommend using a little cinnamon and lemon zest but you can try using other spices like some crushed cardomom, coriander seed – some people even add extra heat using chillies! You can get creative but we recommend sticking to the simpler recipe for your first attempt.
If in doubt
We love helping our purchasing customers with their questions in the store, but please read our FAQ’s page and do a little research online as we’re unable to field calls and emails asking for general brewing advice. Chances are the information you need already exists online. If you send us an email asking an easily searched question or one that’s answered in our FAQ’s you will receive no reply.