Introduction: Refreshing Alcoholic Ginger Beer With Orange

Picture of Refreshing Alcoholic Ginger Beer With Orange

This Ginger beer is simple to make and so refreshing on a hot summer's day. It's more than that, it's also warming on a cold winter's night. The best of both worlds.
It ends up being about 3.5% alcohol.
It's a really basic recipe that is easy to tweak. Add some Cinnamon for some spice, use malt instead of sugar for some creamy goodness, add extra herbs to suit your taste or use lemon in place of the orange. I've even added chocolate and vanilla and it was delicious! The possibilities are endless...

Step 1: Ingredients and Equipment

Picture of Ingredients and Equipment

1 kg brown sugar
200 grams fresh ginger
2 Oranges
12 liter water (total)
7 grams brewers yeast

Optional extras
Star anise

A rigid container with a typical capacity of 15L (sometimes called a carboy)
(It's good to have a few sizes. Small one for sample brews, then when you get it down make a big brews.)
A big cooking pot
Mixing spoon
Thermometer (if you want not 100% necessary)
Bottles, Caps and capper
Hose to fill bottles
Measuring cap and spoons
Hand Juicer
(You can get all this stuff from the home brew shop, or find it around the house or hardware shop.)

Step 2: The Mash

Picture of The Mash

So the first thing to do is start by grating the ginger into the cook pot. then add the zest of 2 of the oranges. add about 2 litres of water and put on the stove top to simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes. (This is where you could add extra spices like cinnamon and  clove. i would have but i forgot to buy some. )

Step 3: The Wort

Picture of The Wort

The next thing to do is sterilize the container that you are going to ferment in. I just use hot water and vinegar.  I never have any problems but you can always use any number of the different commercial sterilizers.

Now add the kilo of sugar to the ferment vessel.(carboy or whatever you are using). Strain the ginger mash into the sugar and mix till all the sugar has dissolved. Top up with water till it reaches about 12 liters. now add the juice of the 2 oranges you zested earlier on. 

Step 4: Pitching the Yeast

Picture of Pitching the Yeast

Now add the yeast. Any brewing yeast will do but I'm using safale us-05. It's a big pack of yeast so fermentation will start fast and I should be bottling in about 3 to 5 days. At this point I also add a few slices of fresh ginger to give it an extra kick.  I then put the lid on add the airlock and leave it till it stops bubbling.

Step 5: Bottling

Picture of Bottling

So now it is time to bottle , it's been fermenting for about a week. (I usually just wait till it stops bubbling.) Again I wash all my bottles in hot water and white vinegar. You can use a commercial sterilizer if you want. 
Then to each bottle a little sugar to prime. This puts the fizz into each bottle. I am using 355ml bottle so add about 2 grams to each.(about 1/2 a tsp ) I am using raw sugar because that what i have ,but use caster, honey whatever you like.
After priming each bottle fill to 30mm from top then cap. You can use any bottles you like sometimes I reuse a glass juice bottle and just twist the caps back on.
Let the bottle sit for 2 to 3 weeks minimum.  Refrigerate before drinking. Enjoy :)


gwest7 (author)2014-04-06

Made this. Great as it is. With table sugar it comes out as a light and refreshing beer. All friends loved it. Going to make batch 2 with brewing sugar.

teamwhy (author)gwest72014-04-06

Thank you for the feedback.

erdship made it! (author)2014-02-02

the bubbling took longer than expected, 10 days and still bubbling, so I just bottled it and I hope it will not explode. But the taste! ... delicious! especially the hand picked lemons with the ginger! yum! oh and the alc level is not too bad either! thanks for the receipt. this is a winner!

KlaytonH (author)2016-05-22

Made it! Let it sit in secondary for about a month. Tasted at bottling, it is really good so far. I added a bit of pale DME when I made it, bumped up my possible from about 3% to 5%. letting it carbonate now, looking forward to it.

Phiske (author)2015-02-22

getting ready to make this! I make mead regularly and have made beer from kits i buy online at midwest supply. Going to make a smaller batch maybe 2 gals. as most of my bottles are previously engaged.

Have you ever racked a batch to clarify?


juan jacoboC (author)2014-12-23

teamwhy, or anyone for that matter, how would you suggest tweaking this recipe for use with a 1 gallon batch?

juan jacoboC (author)2014-12-23

teamwhy, or anyone for that matter, how would you suggest tweaking this recipe for use with a 1 gallon batch?

danielled4 (author)2014-11-10

I halved my recipe to test it and I feel like I made a huge mistake somewhere along the line. It bubbled a little but not as much as other things I've fermented. I did add some cloves and cinnamon to it in the beginning, but that is all I taste, I can't find the ginger flavor anywhere. I've bottled it in plastic and let it sit but the bottles are still easily squished there is no increase in carbonation even though I had ample sugar, and the ABV is 2.3%. Suggestions?

jonatan.k.mathiassen (author)2014-10-27

Hey teamwhy.

after bottling, do you keep them at room temperatur, or do they need to be kept cool ?


i just keep it at room temp for the first few days and then i put in under the house in cool spot till i'm ready to drink.

lgeorge (author)2014-01-25

Hello, I've used white sugar and now after one week it stoped bubbling and it has no sweet taste. Can I add more sugar or what should I do?



dug1000 (author)lgeorge2014-10-06

Hey George. In order to get some sweetness to your ginger beer without creating bottle bombs you can use a non-fermentable sugar like lactose. I'm not sure how much to put and am currently experimenting with about 1/4 pound per gallon (or about 30 grams per liter). Just be sure to tell any of your friends who are lactose intolerant or you may create another type of bomb!

lgeorge (author)dug10002014-10-07

Hi, thanks for advice. I still have some bottles left, I'm curious about the taste.

teamwhy (author)lgeorge2014-01-25

Hi George

All the sugar has been converted to alcohol now it is ready to bottle. If you add sugar now when you bottle the bottles will explode. It's taste will change over the next few weeks. but it will not get any sweeter. It not as sweet as most commercial ginger beers. When you serve the beer add a twist of orange for a little extra sweetness.

thanks for brewing it!!

Gingerjess (author)2014-08-23

I have made this with champagne yeast and it was great. I would like to use malt like you mentioned the next time but am not sure how to do that.

dug1000 (author)Gingerjess2014-10-06

You can get dried malt extract powder at any homebrew shop or online. I would also pitch with a good ale yeast as Champagne yeast sometimes has trouble with longer chain sugars present in grain malts. Nottingham Ale yeast (a varietal, not a brand name) is a beast of a yeast and should do the trick. You should get a nice malty taste from your experiment! Great idea!

adamrandles (author)2014-02-16

I am on day 2 1/2 and I still don't have any fermentation going. I was making 5 gallons, with corn sugar and two pack of champagne yeast. I went heavy with the ginger (because i like it) and some orange, is it possible that the excessive ginger is inhibiting the yeast? Also my house is fairly cold most of the time, about 60 degrees Fahrenheit, but i have had champagne yeast work fine in these conditions before. Any sugestions?

dug1000 (author)adamrandles2014-10-06

Hi adamrandles. Did the fermentation if your ginger beer ever start brewing? Sometimes, the yeast takes a while to reproduce and get out of the growth phase. I am starting a batch tonight using champagne yeast and about twice as much ginger as the recipe and also wonder if the ginger will inhibit yeast growth. Ginger is known to inhibit mold but I don't know about yeast.

Other causes of stuck fermentation are lack of oxygen in the beginning growth phase (the first day or two), lack of yeast nutrient in your wort, and not pitching with enough cells or a weak batch of yeast. I made a yeast starter batch to ramp up my cell count and kick it off faster. I pitched one pack of Champagne yeast in 1/2 gallon of filtered water with 1/4 teaspoon of yeast nutrient and 1 cup of corn sugar. Then I shook the bottle to get it good and oxygenated.

sickdog74 (author)adamrandles2014-04-01

Yeast likes a minimum of 68 degrees. Less than that and it will likely go dormant.

teamwhy (author)adamrandles2014-02-16

I don't think it's the ginger. It most likely the cold. It should be alright champagne yeast has a wide temp range. It will just take longer.

Sometimes if I just put the yeast in and not mix it around, the yeast forms clumps and works really slowly. I then just give the keg a shake and that spreads the yeast around and it starts after that.

terriaki73 (author)2014-09-08

This is truly awesome!! I'm on my second batch by request!! Thanks for a good recipe! :)

MorbusKobold (author)2014-07-01

I tried a small badge yesterday, using half the amount of your ingredients. 6 liters of soon to be ginger beer in a 10-liter keg. I also used 4 grams of yeast instead of 7 and a whole cinnamon stick.
Was that all wrong?
When does it start bubbling?

teamwhy (author)MorbusKobold2014-07-07

hey it should start if the temperature is right. it normally take 1 day or so.. good luck

MorbusKobold (author)teamwhy2014-07-11

It's done, I bottled today! I'm soooo excited and now I have to wait for three more friggin' weeks. :-)

baldguy80 (author)2014-06-05

This looks delectable and I can't wait to try it out! I notice (in the picture) that the resultant ginger-beer is somewhat cloudy. (Or maybe I should say that it's more 'opaque' than 'transparent'.) If you age it long enough, will it become transparent? Or does the 'transparency' have anything to do with the aging process?? (I think it does with mead, but this ain't mead!)

OmniCorez made it! (author)2014-04-07

I made this about 2 months ago now. At first, it had a very strong ginger taste, but now that it have had some time to age properly, it is really tasty! Next batch I make, I will use about 1-2 kg of oranges and some clove for added taste.

Another thing I will try out is ginger, oranges and nettle for flavoring. Now that might be interesting. Why can't it be summer soooooon?

bajablue (author)2014-03-01

Sounds tasty!

The Gingham Ginger (author)2014-02-14

You're making me want to start brewing!

dnlcllns (author)2014-02-04

Is there a link to a Ginger Beer that is NON-Alcoholic - Like a carbonated or Non carbonated beverage?

JettaKnight (author)2014-02-04

More alcohol?

Ice distillation does indeed increase the
alcohol content. But, it also concentrates everything else, including
fusel alcohols and other bad / off flavors. Then carbonating in bottles
will be tricky as the yeast won't be happy in that level of alcohol.
There is also the fact that it's illegal to distill in the US.

more sugar will indeed increase the level of fermentables and increase
alcohol, but sucrose (white table sugar) will produce a cidery flavor in
large amounts. A better option would be glucose (corn sugar) which
ferments cleaner.

Less alcohol?

What you want is more of a
soda. Lower sugar content and a shorter (none?) ferment time is want you
want. There's plenty of Instructable on making root beer using the yeast for carbonation purposes only.

What if you want it sweeter?

for yeast, Safale S05 and Danstar's Nottingham are known to be produce
dry ales with a clean profile. It's not as dry champagne yeast (also an
ale yeast). Optionally yeast like Safale S04 or a low attentuating
liquid yeast could be used could retain some residual sweetness and add
some estery yeast notes.

Try adding Splenda before bottling along
with sugar. The sugar will provide food for the yeast to carbonate in
the bottles and the Splenda is non-fermentable so it will provide
sweetness. You could use lactose (milk sugar) as it's not fermentable,
but the flavor wouldn't match a ginger beer.

Alternatively, you could kill off the yeast by filtering, chemically (campden tablets) or pasteurizing.
Campden tablets are the easiest, but I've never tried them. The problem
with this approach is there will not be any carbonation in the final
product unless you have a full keg setup. (I do :-} )

colekiselchuk (author)2014-02-01

where did you buy your yeast?

teamwhy (author)colekiselchuk2014-02-02

Hey I get my yeast from a Home Brew specialty store, They have a wide range. I'm sure you will get it on line. You can use any beer yeast. All the different yeast add different flavor to your brew. I just like the flavor of safale yeast.

minimalista (author)2014-01-19

Just bottled!! let's wait 3 weeks!! :-) thank you for the recipe!!!

kraysak (author)2014-01-09

this is amazing, i never saw this beer in my country (with ginger), so.. i made it today.
thanks for the instructions

Xromos (author)2014-01-04

This looks delicious. I really want to try it out, but before I do, do you have any recommendations to make it slightly less alcoholic. Under 1%, like malta sodas?

stoobers (author)Xromos2014-01-08

Make the beer as shown, then cut it with water. When the ferment gets diluted (initially) there may not be enough sugar to kill all the contaminants in the juice. It can cause the ferment to fail and spoil.

teamwhy (author)Xromos2014-01-04

It's easy to lower the strength by adjusting the sugar at the start to 500 grams. That would bring it down to around 1%.
You could also use 500 grams of light malt in place of the sugar, that would make it nice and creamy.

Xromos (author)teamwhy2014-01-04

Thanks! Will try it out soon.

spark master (author)2014-01-08

Gottta be yeasty tasting, but many of us like it anyway. If you use invert sugar and malt you get a nicer product. I used to siphon th ewort off into another carboy add sugar to boiling water (simmer for a few minutes, ten is optimum), allow to cool a bit and stir into the siphoned mixture, one or two stirs and perfect carbonation every time, no popped bottles. First few batches were crap then it got better, then we discovered you really need to age real beer and 6-36 weeks is not enough.

But this stuff ay be quite lovely by august, use a bottom floater and brewing is done at colder temp, (lager years) Ale yeasts are top floaters, and need warmth. Both cold age nicely (or ours did).

good luck and happy brewing to all. Most homebrews smell off and taste worse, but keep trying till you get what you like, NOT tolerate.


Phiske (author)2014-01-04

Sweet! Looks awesome. I'm just getting in to homebrew and made some mead about 4 months ago. Gonna bottle tomorrow. I'm excited to try this out

stoobers (author)Phiske2014-01-08

Hi, mead is hard to get right. If you succeed (and by succeed I mean make something that won't blind a pirate) post an instructable because it is a tricky process.

Daddyqool (author)2014-01-04

How do I up the alcohol %? I'm quite used to some hard stuff you know but this looks refreshing!

teamwhy (author)Daddyqool2014-01-04

I'm not sure how to get the alcohol % up. If you add more sugar at the start (the first ferment is where the alcohol is made) you risk making it sickly sweet.

stoobers (author)teamwhy2014-01-08

Once the ferment is complete, the sugar is gone. The wash is said to be "dry" at that point. You can taste it everyday and check the specific gravity. The lower the sg, the less sugar that remains, and the less sweet/more sour it becomes. Eventually, the sg will drop below 1.000 and then the ferment is done.

trickythom (author)teamwhy2014-01-07

I made some quite similar a month ago. I added 1 Lb of sugar per gallon and I used champagne yeast. The yeast ate all of the sugar and left it dry tasting, alcohol is around 19% (38 proof).
I do enjoy hard stuff also, but I think I would stick to an ale yeast.

stoobers (author)Daddyqool2014-01-08

Hi, you can increase the alcohol by adding 2lbs of sugar per gallon of water. This will make about 1.090 (specific gravity) before the ferment. If you taste this water/sugar mix, you will be maimed by the sugar - it is very syrup-like. This will ferment to about 10% or maybe 11%, but the flavor of the wash (aka beer) may be a little off.
Another way is to go with 1 gallon of water and 1lb of sugar, then ferment - this will be a bit over 5%. You can then "crash" the alcohol up.
I crash up by freezing the beer SOLID then putting the ice in a colander in the fridge. The juice will slowly drain out, and you will be left with some very concentrated juice and a big ball of nearly-flavorless ice. You can do this process two or three times until the alcohol level gets to a bit over 20% and make a brandy that puts hair on the chest. When you sip it, you can feel the inside of your ears sweat. That is how scrumpy or apple-jack gets concentrated. You start with 1 gallon, then crash to 1/2 gallon. Then freeze. Then crash to 1 pint, etc.

snorman (author)Daddyqool2014-01-04

Up the sugar amount to change the specific gravity and potential alcohol content. A longer fermentation would help as well. You could rack off your ginger beer and do a second fermentation as well.

Gl0ckage (author)2014-01-07

Cinnamon is a yeast retardant, don't use too much.

teamwhy (author)Gl0ckage 2014-01-07

Thanks. I think always be on the light side with regards to spices. It's easy to add to much and they can over power the taste also.

I have never had a problem with adding a little. eg: 1 quill.
I also don't have the most controlled environment so can't say if the cinnamon slowed down the fermentation or not.

If you are worried about it you can add the spice post ferment in a little muslin cloth bag, taste daily and remove it when it suits your taste. then bottle.

crazy like a Fox (author)2014-01-06

Looks amazing! I can't wait to try it.

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