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making ginger beer


What is Ginger Beer / Ginger Ale?

Ginger Beer is a non-alcoholic beverage brewed from a ginger starter (Ginger Bug) and ginger tea. It is characterized by its sharp, fizzy, and refreshing taste due to the addition of ginger.

Ginger Ale from the supermarket?

The well-known Ginger Ale labels typically contain flavored sugar syrup that is carbonated with CO2 and has generally not undergone fermentation. As a result, these commercial products often contain more sugar, artificial carbonation, usually citric acid instead of lemon juice, and lack natural ginger.

Authentic Ginger Beer has a much stronger ginger flavor, is less sweet, and contains probiotic cultures due to fermentation.

What cultures do I need for Ginger Beer? What is a Ginger Bug?

A Ginger Bug is the culture added to make Ginger Beer. Ginger provides an excellent environment for natural yeasts. Therefore, it is crucial to use organic ginger exclusively for making Ginger Beer, as it naturally introduces fermentation. The natural yeasts in the ginger initiate the fermentation process almost independently.

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How do I get a Ginger Bug?

The easiest way is to make it yourself! Simply grate 50g of ginger, add 2 tablespoons of sugar, and pour 150ml of water over it. Stir well and place it in a tightly sealed jar. Within 3 days at the latest, you should see bubbles in the jar, and when you open the lid, gas should escape. Once this happens, your Ginger Bug is "ready for a mission."


  • Equipment

  • 5L swing-top jar 7x 0.5L bottles with swing-top/twist-off closure Plastic sieve

  • Bug Ingredients

  • 50g ginger, roughly grated 50g sugar 150g water

  • Syrup Ingredients

  • 240g water 240g sugar 80g ginger, roughly grated

  • Main Mixture

  • 3 liters water Bug Cooled ginger syrup Juice of 2 lemons

  • Setting up Ginger Bug (3-5 days before the main mixture) Mix all ingredients and let the mixture sit in a well-sealed container for 3-5 days. Bubbles should have formed in the jar, and gas will escape when you open the lid. The bug is now active.

  • Brewing Syrup (1 day before the main mixture) Create a syrup from the specified ingredients and let it steep overnight. A very spicy syrup should be ready for you in the morning.

  • Main Mixture Combine all ingredients. Note - none of the liquids should exceed 40 degrees Celsius. Pour the mixture into a well-sealed jar, preferably a swing-top jar.

  • Harvesting After about 5-10 days, your drink should have significantly lost sugar. Instead, carbonation will have formed in the jar. If your drink tastes slightly sweeter than the desired end product, it's time to harvest. Remove all ginger pieces using a sieve. Adjust the taste of your ginger beer with lemon if needed, and transfer it to bottles.

  • Ginger beer loves lemon!!

  • Let the Ginger Beer continue to ferment at room temperature for about 2 more days. Bubbles should rise in the bottle with gentle movement. Now, your drink is ready and should be refrigerated.

Tips & Tricks

Which glass is ideal for bottling?

Use only high-quality glass bottles or plastic bottles (PET). The carbonation that develops, especially when more sugar is used, can lead to strong carbonation that may cause the glass to explode. Always refrigerate the drink before consumption. Treat your Ginger Beer like champagne and only shake it if you want to christen a ship.

My Ginger Bug is not active?

With the amount of ginger and sugar specified in the recipe, your bug should develop sufficient carbonation and activity. If this is not the case, check the following:

  • Use unpeeled, organic ginger.

  • The Ginger Bug has never been exposed to a temperature above 40 degrees.

  • Sufficient sugar has been added.

If you have followed these rules, success should be on the way.

My finished Ginger Beer is not fizzy?

For carbonation to develop in your Ginger Beer, the following conditions are necessary:

  • Ginger Beer has been bottled in a tightly sealed glass (gas should not escape).

  • There is sufficient sugar present (the drink tastes sweet).

  • It has never been exposed to a temperature above 40 degrees.

Have some patience with your Ginger Beer. Let it sit at room temperature for a few days. Open the closure slightly every day; once you hear a hiss, you are close to the goal. It doesn't make sense, as with vegetable ferments, to "burp" the bottles - release the gas. While new gas may form, it will be at the expense of the quality of your drink. Therefore, opening a bottle is only to determine if your Ginger Beer is ready.

My Ginger Beer tastes yeasty?

Unfortunately, a very common problem that arises as a byproduct of successful fermentation.

Two tips:

  • Sufficient use of lemon juice masks the yeasty taste.

  • Filtering: when bottling Ginger Beer, first remove all solid parts of the ginger; then let your mixture sit in the refrigerator overnight. The next day, carefully pour your Ginger Beer into bottles. The yeasts collect at the bottom of the vessel - the less of it that enters the bottle, the less yeasty your Ginger Beer. That is, never use the sediment at the bottom in your bottling.

Do I need to add yeast for the fermentation to succeed?

Only if you have problems with your complexion (at least that used to be said, eat yeast) or enjoy sucking on a yeast cube. Otherwise, I advise against it. I don't like the yeasty taste, and there are sufficient yeasts on good organic ginger.

My Ginger Beer tastes bland!

Four possible causes:

  • Too little ginger.

  • Too little sugar.

  • Too little lemon juice.

  • Ginger Beer is too old.

Should finished Ginger Beer be refrigerated?

Like all ferments, once Ginger Beer reaches a satisfactory state, it goes into the refrigerator. On one hand, because chilled Ginger Beer tastes much better than room temperature, but primarily to minimize fermentation.

I don't want to use so much sugar!

Many people try to limit their sugar intake, and so do we, which is why we drink fermented beverages.

During fermentation, natural yeasts consume the sugar we add and transform it into flavor and carbonation. That is, for fermentation to succeed, there ALWAYS needs to be sugar, just like in sauerkraut. There is no fermentation without sugar, BUT fermentation always reduces the sugar content.

Our Ginger Beer recipe starts with an initial sugar content of 8 degrees Brix, meaning 8g of sugar per 100ml of water. At the end of fermentation, the product typically has 4-5 degrees Brix, meaning 4-5g of sugar per 100ml of water. That is half of a Coca-Cola and a third of a fruit juice.

Does Ginger Beer contain alcohol?

The name Ginger Beer or Ginger Ale suggests alcohol. In reality, it is a non-alcoholic beverage that can develop up to 1.5% alcohol through fermentation.

It's called Ginger Beer because it was used for a long time as an alcoholic beverage, as seen here. Today, Ginger Beer always refers to the non-alcoholic variant.

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