Catching carbonation, making homemade non-alcoholic ginger beer (2024)

Billions of tiny microorganisms are constantly flying through the air, a few of which are wild yeasts. While these microbes may seem useless spending their time living on other organisms and blowing around in the breeze, there are many ways people can capture and utilize these tiny lifeforms for different tasks. People use them to aid in the fermentation of food and drink.

Once these tiny yeasts become active in a solution, many tasty drinks can be created with their help, like probiotic lemonades, root beers and fermented sodas.

Many different cultures use wild yeasts to create carbonation and to ferment their products, but an easy, cost-effective treat for students to make at home is non-alcoholic ginger beer. The drink is very carbonated and creates a symphony of bubbles in one’s mouth. But in order to make ginger beer, one must first make the ginger bug.

A ginger bug is a simple mix of ginger, sugar and water fermented by wild yeasts until the substance becomes effervescent. Detailed instructions on how to start a simple ginger bug, and then how to turn that bug into a delicious drink are listed below.

Directions to make bug:


Step one:

Pour two cups of water into a sealable container (such as a jar or bowl). Then, mix in the sugar and chopped ginger. Stir thoroughly to ensure the mixture is as combined as possible.

Step two:

Next, cover the bug in a paper towel or cheesecloth, using a rubberband to tuck down the sides and to keep the piece of breathable material stable. Leave the bug out (preferably by an open window) for 24 hours. Make sure to write down when the bug was started, because it can be difficult to remember how long it has sat out.

Step three:

Unseal the bug every 24 hours and pour in two tbsp of sugar and two tbsp of chopped ginger. Then, set it back on the window sill to collect more wild yeasts. Remember, when the yeasts are active, it will be possible to see them bubbling and moving within the container.

Step four:

Repeat this process for 2-3 days, until the yeasts become active, and the mixture becomes bubbly. After using this bug for the ginger beer, it is possible to seal it and put it in the refrigerator, where it will lie dormant —and alive —for a few days. But beware, if left long enough, it will go flat because the yeasts will die.

Now that the ginger bug is finished and has been fermenting for the correct amount of time, it is time to assemble the ginger beer.

Directions to finish the beer:


  • Eight cups of filtered water

  • One and a half cups white, granulated sugar

  • One-fourths cup chopped ginger

  • Half cup premade ginger bug, strained

  • Three lemons, juiced

Step One:

Chop up roughly four inches of ginger root and set aside for later. Then, boil four cups of water in a large pot and add in the chopped ginger root and sugar. After that, reduce the pot to a simmer for roughly 10 minutes, and finally, let the pot and liquid cool. Once the liquid has reached room temperature or slightly below, strain out all chunks of ginger.

Step Two:

Stir up the existing, aged ginger bug, and be sure to fully incorporate the yeasts, sugars and ginger. Pour half a cup of strained premade bug and the lemon juice into the rest of the mixture.

Step Three:

Transfer the solution to a bottle with a cap that seals and leave at room temperature for three to six days before enjoying. Remember that, because pressure will inevitably build up within the bottle, it’s important to open it over a sink. It is possible to store this drink in the refrigerator as well, but be sure to open the bottle daily. This way, pressure can be released and the bottle won’t explode.

Step Four:

Finally, enjoy home brewed, bubbly ginger beer. Oftentimes served over ice, this drink is almost always served cold.

Warning: As in any time using wild fermentation, bacteria cultures are inevitable and most are harmless. However, by using only filtered water and keeping an eye out for bacteria turning dark colors, the dangerous spots can be avoided.

Catching carbonation, making homemade non-alcoholic ginger beer (2024)


Why is my ginger beer not carbonating? ›

On to your brew that seems low in carbonation, and that is resulting from low amounts of CO2 in the liquid. The CO2 in there making carbonation comes from the microbes (yeasts) fermenting sugars. Without enough residual sugars when bottling, there will be poor or no carbonation.

How do you carbonate ginger beer? ›

You have two options for carbonating your ginger beer: you can ferment it in the bottle, or you can carbonate on-the-fly with an iSi soda siphon. While the soda siphon is easier to use, for the sake of authenticity you might want your ginger beer fermented in the bottle.

Why is my ginger beer not bubbling? ›

If you're not seeing bubbles after a few days, it's possible your ginger bug was contaminated, had traces of chlorine, or was sterilized by harsh direct sunlight. We'd recommend starting over on your ginger bug. Can you create a starter culture for fermented drinks using fruit other than ginger?

What makes ginger beer non-alcoholic? ›

Non-alcoholic ginger beer is commonly a type of carbonated soft drink flavoured with ginger. However, some non-alcoholic ginger beers are made by brewing, followed by heating to reduce alcohol content to below 0.5% ABV, below which beverages are legally classified as "non-alcoholic" in many jurisdictions.

Why is my homebrew not holding carbonation? ›

Forgetting to add priming sugar and not getting a good seal with the bottle cap or keg lid can be another reason for lack of carbonation. The easiest solution to these problems is to dose each bottle with additional sugar.

How long should homemade ginger beer ferment? ›

Leave bottles to ferment in a warm spot for about 2 weeks. Cool before opening. When you open ginger beer, be prepared with a glass, since carbonation can be strong and force liquid rushing out of the bottle.

How much sugar to carbonate ginger beer? ›

Bottle the brew using 2 carbonation drops per 740ml-750ml bottle (that is a priming rate of 8g per litre) Sugar or dextrose may be used at the rate of 8g per litre (approximately 6g of sugar to a level metric teaspoon).

What makes ginger beer fizzy? ›

Traditional brews use fermentation to make them fizzy, not forced co2. ginger beer, traditionally made, will have about 0.5% alcohol from fermenting sugar in the bottle to make it fizzy. Traditionally 'soft' drinks will be similar, anything made before forced carbonation.

How to keep ginger beer carbonated? ›

Storage. Once the ginger beer has achieved the desired level of carbonation, store the bottles in the refrigerator. The cool temperatures of the fridge slow the fermentation process.

What's floating in my ginger beer? ›

A: The cloudy hazy appearance is caused by pure ginger in suspension. If the beverage is crystal clear look at the bottle bottom. Chances are the ginger has settled on the bottom. Definitely safe to drink.

Should I burp my ginger beer? ›

Because it is fermented in a large vessel for a few days before bottling, you seem to have more control over the fizz. Burping the bottles daily once it is bottled will help to prevent it from exploding later – something we all worry about when we are beginning to experiment with making our own ginger beer!

Do you need an airlock for ginger beer? ›

You need a brew vessel, ideally made of glass, and an airlock. An airlock lets air out of your brew (which is essential because it will be producing CO2 gas and that gas needs to escape) without letting oxygen back in.

What is the best yeast for ginger beer? ›

Yeast. Ginger ale is a light, refreshing beverage, so neutral ale yeasts that throw off minimal esters and phenols are best. There's no need to get fancy; simple dry yeasts like S-04 and US-05 are great choices, with S-04 producing a slightly fruitier version and US-05 a little cleaner.

What do you mix with ginger beer non-alcoholic? ›

Homemade honey syrup, fresh lemon juice, and ginger beer come together to deliver sweet, sour, and spicy notes with every sip. Plus, it's alcohol-free, making it a fun drink option to enjoy anytime.

Is ginger beer non-alcoholic good for you? ›

Drinking ginger beer can help reduce inflammation, promote digestion, relieve nausea, and even help in the prevention of cancer. Ginger beer is a less-sweet alternative to ginger ale, and the popularity has skyrocketed among Americans, especially millennials.

Is ginger beer supposed to be fizzy? ›

So you're wondering “is ginger beer carbonated?” Well, the answer is yes. But that yes comes in varying degrees, as with anything fermented. From the original ginger ale to the modern-day ginger beer and all the way through variations on both, carbonation is a tricky issue when it comes to this beverage.

Does ginger beer go flat? ›

After using this bug for the ginger beer, it is possible to seal it and put it in the refrigerator, where it will lie dormant — and alive — for a few days. But beware, if left long enough, it will go flat because the yeasts will die.

Why does my beer have no fizz? ›

If your homebrew beer is flat, it likely means one of three things: The beer yeast is not consuming the priming sugar due to lack of time or cold temperature, The beer yeast does not have enough sugar to convert into CO2, or. The beer bottles are not thoroughly sealed.

What makes ginger beer fizz? ›

Ginger beer's fizz-tastic chemistry

The carbon dioxide produced during fermentation or added later creates those lively bubbles. This fizzy characteristic not only enhances the drinking experience but also makes ginger beer an excellent mixer, adding a refreshing effervescence to co*cktails.

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