Homebrewing Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for dedicated home brewers and serious enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I'm about to brew a ginger beer and was wondering if the choice of yeast is as important in a ginger beer, where the ginger dominates the flavour.

I've got the yeast-under-the-cap packet and a US-05 to choose from & wondering if the results will be much different.

Does the yeast choice make a noticable difference? Why?

share|improve this question
up vote 5 down vote accepted

If you're making Ginger Beer, you really need a Ginger Beer Plant, which is a particular kind of yeast/bacteria blend. This will help get the appropriate acidity in the finished product.

Ginger Beer Plant 101

If you're making Beer flavored with Ginger, I'd say use a yeast that's appropriate for the beer style. I used Safale S-04 (and a dead package of Wyeast 1099) for my Ginger ESB. I think the fruity esters from the yeast complemented the ginger flavors well.

share|improve this answer

This is a little different than "Ginger Beer", so I'm not sure what you are exactly making because your post does not make it completely clear. However, I have had success making a naturally fermented Ginger Soda from a recipe our of Sandor Katz's wonderful book, "Wild Fermentation" which I recommend to any beer maker as an interesting read.

Anyway, essentially the recipe starts with making what he calls a Ginger Bug. This is the "yeast" of the process. Essentially, you mix 1 cup water with 2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger and 2 teaspoons white sugar. Leave that covered with a cloth on your counter for 2 days to a week.. until it starts bubbling. Add more ginger and sugar every 1-2 days as needed.

(This recipe makes 1 gallon, so adjust accordingly.)

Now, when you go to make your soda.. bring 1 gallon water to a boil with 1.5 cups white sugar and 2-6 inches grated fresh ginger (depending on how strong you want the ginger taste to be). Let that simmer for 15-20 minutes.

As it cools, you can optionally add the juice of 1-2 lemons for another flavor. In my latest batch, I added carrot juice for more fun!

Once it cools down to 80F or so, add the strained ginger bug from above. Katz says to bottle it directly in your bottles, but I've had that be over-carbonated, so I ferment mine in a small carboy for about 10 days. Then I bottle with priming sugar to get the right level of carbonation.

Anyway, that's a naturally fermented ginger soda. Super tasty!

share|improve this answer
When you say 2-6 inches of fresh ginger, do you mean nodules from a rhizome? How wide of one do you use? Do you leave the skin on? Any idea what mass that comes out to? – baka Mar 19 '11 at 18:31
It's not such an exact science based on Katz's recipe.. however I have been weighing the ginger in my experiments. I used about 3oz of ginger per gallon in my latest batch, but I'm still working on figuring out the best ratio for my tastes. – SimonH Mar 19 '11 at 22:23
I'd really like something approaching Blenheim's Hot Ginger ale. The one where you break out coughing just from the smell. – baka Mar 19 '11 at 23:57
Then just go crazy with the ginger 5oz+ for gallon! Let us know how it goes! – SimonH Mar 20 '11 at 4:34
This is the traditional way before we understood yeast - it relies on the fact yeast tends to exist naturally on just about everything. However it is inherently unpredictable because you don't know what yeast(s) you are working with. If it works reliably, then great though! – Mr. Boy Sep 16 '15 at 8:44

Well if you threw a hefewiezen yeast in there it would be odd, so yes yeast choice matters.

share|improve this answer

I've used hefewiezen yeast in ciders (wyeast 3068) and it added a slightly fruity flavor that bakka mentioned. Don't see how the subtle contribution of the wyeast would overpower the strong ginger flavor.

share|improve this answer

I thought I read somewhere on homebrew SE that one could use standard bread yeast as a ginger plant starter. My ginger beer yeast had died, so I thought I'd give that a try ...

The results (for other people's benefit) was quite a nice Ginger Beer, but it took a long time to complete the fermentation. it was suggested in the "kit" that I got, that 7-10 days fermentation in the bottle would finish the ginger beer. But the bread yeast version has produced a lot of gas - I relieve the pressue twice weekly - and the liquid has taken a long time to ferment. I'm now in my 5th week and it is still producing gas, but finally turning alcoholic!

share|improve this answer
i thought bread yeast was intolerant of alcohol and would die off early in the generation of it. how did this turn out? – venicejeff Dec 13 '14 at 0:31
Bread yeast produces ethanol but is optimised for CO2 production to make nice fluffy bread - probably that's why you get so much gas. It's a "windy" yeast :) – Mr. Boy Sep 16 '15 at 8:45
Just an update ... I kept trying the brew, but was too sweet for a number of months (still with lots of gas), then turned nasty, perhaps got a secondary infection. Thanks for your info there @Mr-Boy – Marcus D Sep 16 '15 at 11:15

Didn't go wrong with WLP715 Champagne yeast.

This particular yeast is neutral tasting - as opposed to some estery flavours that most ale yeasts would impart to the end product.

And if you are aiming for a higher ABV, this particular strain has a high attenuation and a quite a high alcohol tolerance.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.