Whether I’m beating the summer heat or looking for a refreshing pick-me-up, ginger beer is my go-to. It turns out that it is also very easy to make at home. In fact, you only need 3 ingredients and some time to make your very own refreshing glass of ginger beer.
Ginger beer is an easy home fermentation project. I was inspired by Brad Leone’s ginger beer recipe originally. If you’re going to try his recipe, just make sure to not use fresh ginger. All it takes to make some ginger beer is to grate your ginger, mix it with water and sugar, and then wait for the chemical reactions to happen. Done and dusted.
Don’t be afraid of using too much sugar! Sugar is a friend of fermentation. It’s food for the yeast that breaks down the ginger and creates the bubbles along with the flavor of the drink.
However, warning! Making ginger beer can be very dangerous. Ginger is one of the best ingredients for your health and fermentation as it can really get a strong reaction going with tons of bubbles and gases developing soon. Because of that, make sure to allow the gases in your fermentation escape and use fermentation grade glass. You don’t want an explosion which has happened to a friend of mine.
My ginger beer is a two-stage ferment. In the first stage, I use a regular glass coffee jar but allow the gases to freely escape from the top. Then I do a second ferment, where I re-use kombucha bottles and trap the gases in the fermentation process to create a fizzy drink.
Top Tip: Kombucha bottles that you buy from the store for your own consumption are fermentation grade equipment. So save yourself some money and help the earth by reusing them.
The recipe I provide below is for a small batch. However, you can double, triple or more the quantities if you want to make larger batches. Just make sure you have big enough and numerous enough jars and bottles are ready.
- 4 cups of water
- 100g of fresh ginger grated
- ½ cup of sugar
- Large jar, preferably glass, for the first ferment
- Fermentation grade glass bottles
- In a bowl or on a cutting board, peel and then grate the ginger.
- In the bottle or jar that you are using for your first ferment, mix the ginger, sugar, and water together so that all the sugar dissolved. Make sure to get as much of the ginger juices into the jar as you can. Leave 1.5-2 inches of headspace in your jar.
- Then cover the jar with its lid. Don’t put the lid on tight, allow it to be loose. This will help with the fermentation process while allowing gases to escape preventing an explosion.
- Set aside your ginger beer mixture in a cool dark place, like a pantry for a week. I recommend mixing every other day to ensure the fermentation process is happening. You will know that the fermentation processes has started is after the first day, you will hear crackling and popping noise coming from your ginger mixture. As it ferments, when you mix it, you’ll notice bubbles rising.
- After about 1 week, when you would notice that the fermentation process is starting to slow, pour your ginger beer mixture through a sieve to remove the ginger pieces. Don’t forget to squeeze as much of the liquid as you can out of the ginger pieces.
- Pour the mixture into your fermentation grade bottles. I am using kombucha bottles. Close the bottles but make sure to leave about 1 inch of headspace. Then leave in a cool dark place again for 1 week for the second ferment. The sugar will help fuel a second ferment which will create bubbles. By closing the lids tightly in safe bottles, you’ll trap bubbles that will create a fizzy drink in the end.
- When you’re satisfied with the amount of carbonation, place it in the fridge to stop the fermentation process and to chill your drink. You may notice that the cap of your bottle protrudes and this is from the gases building. When you pour your ginger beer, you should have a nice foam appear with your bubbly drink.