Home made ginger beer is awesome, and not hard to do at all. It takes a few hours to prepare all the ingredients, then several days fermentation, then another hour or two for bottling. Usually I make about 8 or 9 1L bottles of ginger beer in a batch, and I like to make it less sweet than the commercial stuff. It is slightly alcoholic (1-2% approximately) and has a really nice gingery bite the goes well with pizza, spicy food or just about anything else! I use a recipe adapted from the Ye Olde Ginger Beer Recipe. It is as follows:
- 4 lemons
- 900g sugar
- 9L of water (enough to fill a demi-john)
- 1 packet / 2 teaspoons of Ale yeast (you can use bread yeast if you’re desperate)
- 200g fresh root ginger
- 4 heaped tea spoons of tartaric acid (Cream of Tartar)
- A large pot that can boil four litres of water
- A jug
- A glass
- A coarse cheese grater
- A wooden spoon
- 10L carboy (10L water container does nicely) washed & sterilized with bleach
- A bubble seal for the carboy
- A lemon juicer
- A lemon zester / fine grater
- A fine sieve
- 9 X 1.25 litre soft drink bottles, empty, washed & sterilized with bleach
1. Fill pot with water and put on to boil
2. While the water is coming to the boil…
- scrape the zest from one of the lemons
- grate the ginger on the coarse cheese grater
- add the sugar to the ginger and lemon zest in a bowl
- cut the lemons in half and squeeze the juice into the jug
- add the tartaric acid to the lemon juice
- put the yeast into some warm water with a little sugar in a glass
3. When the water has boiled ….
add the sugar, ginger and lemon zest to the water, turn off the heat and
- allow the water to cool to roughly blood heat, stirring occasionally
- add the lemon juice and tartaric acid to the water
- add the yeast mixture
4. Use the jug to pour the mixture into the carboy and top up to 9L with boiled water (cooled to blood temperature)
5. Seal the demijohn with the bubble seal (I use salt in the water to sterilize the seal)
6. Stand the demijohn in a warm place for 48 hrs or for several days in a cool place
7. After 48 hrs pour the mixture through the sieve into the jug and fill the bottles leaving an air gap for the pressure to build up in (1L into each bottle). Screw the caps tightly onto the bottles
8. Leave the bottles at room temperature for 24 hrs (to generate the C02 fizz)
9. Put the bottles in the fridge for 2-3 days to allow the yeast to settle
10. Drink and enjoy 🙂
If you ferment the mixture in the carboy for longer before bottling, it will be less sweet and more alcoholic.
You rock. I love ginger beer. I’m a homebrewer myself, but have never tried anything but beer beer. I might have a crack at this though.
I’m just having a crack at this ginger beer of yours. I only had 2 lemons and a lime, so have improvised with those. Its just been poured into the demijohns and is sitting in the kitchen. I’ll take it up to the loft later as its warmer up there. Cant wait to try it, I made this a couple of times when I was a teenager. I didn’t have great success then (but it wasn’t bad), and am hoping now that I’m older and wiser I’ll have done a better job.
One question, what is the tartric acid for? I dont remember adding that last time.
The tartaric acid will lower the pH and give your ginger beer more bite and tartness. It a component in the flavour of wine too. I haven’t tried it but you might want to add more tartaric acid if you have less lemon/lime juice.
Good luck for your batch!
Whole project sounds great – especially for hot summer afternoons in the garden.
What is tartaric acid or cream of tartar? Never heard of it before and never seen it on sale at Sainsburys etc? Our problem then as we live in the Düsseldprf area of Rheinland is to actually find it in the shops here!
Hi Stuart, usually you buy it as ‘cream of tartar’. It comes in a little paper box or plastic jar and is a white powder. Probably you could buy it online and get it delivered?
me and my mates got pissed on a 25l can of this ginger bear.
looks good but I have a question…
any ideas on increasing the sweetness? I must admit to having a serious sweet tooth when it comes to my drinks. *chuckles* according to my husband my concoctions will “hit ya like a velvet coated hammer.” and “taste like juice going down, but you’ll wake up feeling like you got hit by a freight train”
I am not a beer brewer myself, I am more of a mead gal… (heavy, still and sweet) though I’ve had a couple batches where I used champane yeast because my alcohol content gets so high, the stuff that was supposed to kill it off didn’t work so well – so it started popping tops a few months later. (can you say ikky sticky!) So I really don’t want to start guessing on how much sugar to add.
I’ve made mead a few times too – quite a fun and tasty thing to brew 🙂
For the ginger beer, I usually keep it in the fridge in plastic soft drink bottles. The cold + more flexible bottles would let you keep it for a while with more sugar. You could add the sugar at the end before bottling to ensure sweetness. I’ve also seen some sugars at the brewing shop that taste sweet but yeast doesn’t touch, that you could add. They might do the trick.
Hello, this sounds good & I’m looking forward to trying my first ever home brewed ginger beer. One question: how long does it keep for? Does it have to be kept refrigerated or will it blow up if not?
Hey Phoebe, best to keep it in the fridge. Otherwise, any left over sugar will turn into alcohol and it will not be sweet at all. Plastic bottles probably won’t explode but best not to find out 🙂 Keeps for quite a while in the fridge in plastic bottles, I don’t think I’ve had any for more than a couple of months though! You can monitor plastic bottles by pressing on them and seeing how firm they are.