Ginger Beer

This is the result of my attempt to develop a naturally-fermented old-fashioned ginger beer. While I don't know how authentic it is, it is very nice for modern tastes, like ginger soda but a little less sweet and more zip. The additional spices, though not distinguishable in themselves, are needed to round out the flavour. The ginger comes from cooked, dried, and fresh forms which supposedly each provide separate components.

This recipe calls for bottling a live culture. While refrigeration slows the fermentation, it doesn't stop it, and fermentation will speed up again if taken out of the refrigerator. In a sealed bottle, this can lead to an explosion. I use flip-top bottles that will leak gas from the seal rather than explode, though they still do hold a lot of fizz. Pastuerization in the bottle after it has carbonated is possible by heating slowly in a water bath to 160 F, but it might be risky and I haven't tried it yet.


For 8 500-mL bottles
  • 2 L water
  • 30 g fresh ginger
  • 20 g dried (not ground) ginger
  • 2 g (20) allspice berries
  • 1 g (1/4 stick) Ceylon cinnamon stick
  • 5 g (2 tsp) dried lemon zest
  • 350 g (1 3/4 cup) sugar
  • 10 g (1 tsp) molasses
  • 1650 mL water
  • 200 g ginger bug


  1. Combine first measure of water, spices, sugar, and molasses in a pot large enough to contain the entire batch.
  2. Cover and bring to a gentle simmer. Reduce heat and let simmer 30 minutes.
  3. Add the second measure of water. Replace the cover and let cool to room temperature.
  4. Filter by placing a coffee filter topped by a couple layers of paper towel in a strainer over a large bowl. Discard the solids left behind.
  5. Add the ginger bug and stir in well.
  6. Transfer to bottles. Close and let sit at room temperature 3 days to ferment.
  7. Transfer to refrigerator to slow fermentation.
  8. Allow to mature in the fridge a few more days before drinking.

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