Looking for a sparkling probiotic beverage that’s easy to make at home? Try homemade ginger beer! It’s sweet, spicy and refreshing; perfect for a hot sunny afternoon. Made with real ginger, it’s also good for soothing an upset stomach.
Ginger beer or ginger ale?
Want to know the difference between ginger beer and ginger ale?
Ginger ale is a ginger flavoured soda pop that has not been fermented. My bet is that it’s a modern, shelf-stable version of the more traditional ginger beer.
Ginger beer is made using the ginger bug, a free-range culture that is made from sugar and ginger. It’s easy to catch the ginger bug at home, which is why it’s easy to brew your own traditional ginger beer!
Ginger beer facts
Like all yeast fermented beverages (eg. kombucha,) homemade ginger beer has certain features:
- It needs to be fed sucrose. So it needs sugar rather than alternative sweeteners like honey, agave or maple syrup. I like to use panela sugar for a nice dark brown ginger beer. You could also use white sugar or coconut palm sugar.
- Yeast converts sugar into carbon dioxide and alcohol. So fermented ginger beer may get up to 0.5% alcohol; however, traditional ginger beer is not an alcoholic beverage.
- This recipe is for ginger beer, but you could use your ginger bug to make cranberry ginger ale or other flavours of homemade soda.
Homemade Ginger Beer
Traditional ginger beer is easy to make at home. It is made with the ginger bug, which is a naturally forming yeast culture fed on ginger and sugar. Homemade ginger beer is refreshingly probiotic, spicy and delicious! It will also help soothe an upset stomach and alleviate nausea.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Total Time: 10 minutes
- Yield: 4 cups 1x
- Category: Beverages
- Method: Fermented
- Cuisine: British
- Diet: Gluten Free
- 3 1/2 cups water (chlorine-free)
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 4 to 6 tbsp sugar (see notes for options)
- 1/4 cup ginger bug starter
- 1 to 4 tbsp finely grated ginger (see notes)
- Mix all the ingredients in a 1 quart glass jar. Stir until the sugar has dissolved.
- Cover with a piece of cloth or coffee filter held in place with a rubber band or metal ring. Place somewhere warm and dark to ferment for 3 days and give it a good stir each day. Ginger bug needs exposure to air for fermentation so don’t ferment in a sealed jar.
- After 3 days you should have bubbles forming at the top of the jar. Strain the mixture and bottle it in a bottle that can handle the carbonation. See notes for more details.
- Allow the ginger beer to ferment for a further 3 to 5 days to build up the carbonation.
- Once it’s fizzy, store the ginger beer in the refrigerator and consume within four weeks.
- It’s important to monitor the carbonation. Either use plastic pop bottles or swing-top bottles (affiliate link) that can handle the pressure of carbonation.
- Check the carbonation by popping open the swing-top bottles every few days or squeezing a plastic bottle.
- The more ginger you use, the more flavour you will have in your ginger beer. Also, the beer will ferment quicker with more ginger. It’s really a matter of personal preference whether you want to use 1 tbsp or 4 tbsp of ginger. If you aren’t certain, then use 2 tbsp, which is still quite mild. Likewise, the amount of sugar is optional. Using 4 tbsp will result in a less sweet ginger beer. For a typical ginger beer use the full 6 tbsp.
- For a hot and spicy ginger beer, add a slice of hot pepper to the ferment, then remove it out when bottling. It will really give your beverage a bite!
Keywords: probiotic, ginger ale, ginger beer, stomach soothing, anti-nausea, morning sickness, motion sickness, travel sickness, spring, summer, fall