Fermentation of Ginger

I can’t say I have much experience pickling, preserving or fermenting, but I was excited to try it out. I was originally thinking of making dill pickles or pickled beets because I love them both and they remind me of visiting my nana & papa and enjoying the beets and pickles they made. Although, once I saw the suggestion for ginger beer, I was intrigued and knew that’s what I wanted to try and make. I’ve tasted homemade ginger beer once a few years ago, and I enjoy drinking store bought ginger beer, especially when mixed with dark rum!


There were a few different methods for making homemade ginger beer, depending on how hardcore you were about it, how much & how often you wanted to make it & how much alcohol content you actually wanted in it. There is the quick & easy way:

1 ounce ginger juice (1.5oz fresh ginger juiced so don’t have to strain it later)
2 ounces fresh lemon juice, finely strained
3 ounces simple syrup
10 ounces warm water (cold water if using the soda siphon)

Mix ingredients together.  If using a soda siphon, pour ingredients into canister, screw on lid, charge with CO2, shake once, and refrigerate. You’re done. You can also use this recipe for fermenting your ginger beer in bottles. http://www.jeffreymorgenthaler.com/2008/how-to-make-your-own-ginger-beer/

This guy’s website is all about bartending & drink making, including how to build your own carbonation rig for the hardcore mixologists!

A longer and apparently very old fashioned method of making ginger beer is by growing your own yeast culture, called a ginger plant, that you feed with sugar & ginger for a week or so and add the juice to sugary water and let it ferment further. I didn’t come across this method until after I started making mine a different way. I’ll probably try this method out at a later date, most likely when it’s spring/summer, which is when I crave the refreshing zing of ginger beer more often.

I found a method of fermenting ginger beer in bottles that’s in the middle of the 2 ways I mentioned above. The method and recipe I used was from Tori Avey’s blog.


  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbsp grated fresh ginger


  • 1/8 tsp active dry yeast
  • Ginger syrup (above)
  • 3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 7 cups filtered water


  • Clean 2-liter plastic soda bottle, funnel 
  • Peel a chunk of the ginger with the tip of a teaspoon—the papery skin scrapes right off—and grate it, using the fine side of your grater. Place the ginger, sugar, and water in a saucepan over medium heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Turn off the heat and allow the mixture to steep for an hour. Strain the mixture (discard the ginger solids), allow to cool.IMG_3435IMG_3436
  • For the full ginger beer experience, place a funnel in the top of the bottle and pour in the filtered water. Sprinkle the yeast in, followed by the syrup, lemon juice, and water.
  • Put the lid on the bottle and shake the concoction until the yeast is dissolved. Stow it on a shady shelf or in your pantry out of dirIMG_3437ect sunlight for 2-3 days, or until fizz is achieved. At this point it is ready to drink, and must be stored in the refrigerator to prevent further fermentation.
  • Don’t forget about the bottle, or the pressure will build up so much that it may explode! (No matter the method, every recipe cautions to release the pressure every few days so it doesn’t explode.) It’s also the reason most recipes suggest making it in a plastic pop bottle vs a glass one.


 Thankfully I didn’t have any exploding ginger beer, so I consider that a success! Although the carbonation definitely built up a lot and there was a long very audible release of gas when I unscrewed the bottle a bit before putting it in the fridge.
My ginger beer turned out fairly well I think. There is a definite smell of ginger to it, but the ginger flavour is more subtle than I prefer, more akin to ginger ale or the less gingery/spicy store bought ginger beers. (Which I know there are, having tasted a few different brands to find the ones with the stronger ginger kick!) The citrus flavour of the lemon juice mingles very well with the spicy ginger flavour. There is a bit of a beer-like aftertaste that I contribute to it having a slight alcohol content (less than 3%).
If and when I make ginger beer again, I would try out a different recipe and the plant method, which apparently produces a stronger ginger flavour since you are feeding the yeast mixture sugar & ginger for a week or so.
Now I’m off to enjoy my ginger beer the proper way – with dark rum and lime juice! a.k.a Dark N Stormy 🙂

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