Thursday, 24 May 2012

Home-made Ginger Beer (Gemmerbier)

This was my very first attempt at making ginger beer. I was surprised at how easy it was to make and how delicious the result was. After almost a decade in Taiwan, I think my palette has adjusted somewhat to the local likes and dislikes and I have found that I'm not that fond of anything overly sweet any more. The result of this recipe is a ginger beer that has a strong ginger flavour (think "Stoney") but isn't very sweet. If you like your ginger beer sweeter, or not as strong you are more than welcome to adjust your quantities.

Here are some other posts in the Drinks Series.

Home-made Ginger Beer
Makes about 4 litres


  • 4 litres water
  • 30 g root ginger, coarsely grated or chopped (to taste)
  • 500 ml white sugar
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 15 ml (1 Tbsp) active dry yeast


  1. Boil the water (I use a stainless steel pot) and add the sugar and ginger. Turn the heat off and allow to cool until lukewarm. (If the water is too hot, it will kill off the yeast. Just test it with your finger!) Add the lemon juice and stir.
  2. Sprinkle the yeast over the top of the water and leave for a minute or two to wake up from its slumber. Give the water a gentle stir and cover the pot for about 8 hours. It should start fizzing quite soon after you covered it.
  3. Strain the ginger pieces from the pot and use a funnel to pour the ginger beer into two 2 litre soda bottles. ( I use the plastic kind. They work quite well! Just remember to rinse the bottles with some hot water before filling them.) Leave about 5 cm or so at the top and screw the caps on tightly.
  4. Release the pressure every 8 to 12 hours by very slowly and carefully unscrewing the caps. Don't do it quickly as the beer will foam up quite quickly. Don't release the pressure at all, and wake up to explosions and a sticky kitchen at 2 o'clock in the morning.
  5. Leave the bottles for one or two days in a warm place in your kitchen, but out of the direct sunlight.
  6. Pop the ginger beer in the refrigerator to stop the fermentation.
  7. Serve icy cold in a tall glass with a sprig of mint or a slice of lemon and lots of ice.
Note:  Ginger beer will keep in the fridge for up to one week. If the ginger beer is flat (not fizzy), discard and start again.