#24 Spicy Ginger Beer (gluten-free)


This recipe is actually suitable for anyone who is either coeliac/gluten-intolerant or fructose-intolerant.


2kg Fresh Ginger
1kg Dark Brown Sugar
150g Corn Syrup (maltodextrin)
500g Lactose (milk sugar)
500g Dextrose (glucose)
2x cinnamon sticks
10g cloves
3x lemons
½ tab Irish Moss
4g Yeast nutrient
Red Star Premier Cuvee (champagne) dry yeast pack


Chop up lemons and ginger, add to pot of water and bring to the boil. I did this over the space of a number of days, adding water when the level got too low, and keeping the pot covered when not on the stove.

Once I was satisfied that I had extracted as much of the ginger as I wanted, I strained the ginger into my boiling pot, and adding the corn syrup and dextrose, bringing to the boil once more.

Once it started boiling, I added the spices and the brown sugar. I left this boil for 1 hour. Five minutes before flame-out, I added the Irish Moss (dissolved in 1 cup water) and the Lactose. I poured this solution into the fermenter, and then topped up with water to 23 litres. I then added the yeast nutrient at this point, covered it and let it cool down a bit more.

I rehydrated the yeast in 50ml water, which was about 40°C. I pitched this yeast when the wort was about 32°C. It had finished fermenting after 7 days, which I then bulk-primed with 170g raw sugar and bottled.

  • OG 1.045
  • FG 1.010
  • ALC/VOL. ~5.2%

This is a very popular recipe of mine – the perfect ladies’ drink! Given that colder weather is here, the addition of spice should make this somewhat warming.

I found the ginger on sale, it is conventionally farmed and grown in Australia. Obviously, I want to avoid food miles… however, the time I made this with organic ginger, te taste was far better. The problem being the price… organic ginger sells for around $15/kg. If conventional stuff is only a couple of dollars less, I usually go for it, but when conventional is half the price, it makes a difference when buying kilos of the stuff.

The Dark Brown sugar is also essential. It certainly darkens the colour a bit, and also gives off an almost ‘rummy’ aroma – remembering that rum is essentially fermented from sugar cane. You could replace all of the fermentable sugars with this (ie, dextrose), but I find dex is better at fermentation, so I use this blend. Of course, if gluten isn’t an issue, try using malt!

Also, because there is no malt, GB’s tend to love a bit of a shake-up. Often in beer brewing you avoid splashing of the wort as much as possible, as introducing oxygen can sometimes affect flavour. However in this case, oxygen just gives the yeast something extra to play with. Every couple of days, give the barrel a shake.

You can also re-use the chopped ginger to make your supply of ginger paste for cooking. Just put it back into a pot with a little bit of water, mash it up using your blender/bamix until it turns into a paste, and reduce right down. Then decant it into jars (or other container) and refridgerate or freeze. Commercial ‘fresh ginger paste’ has vinegar as a preservative, but it should be ok without it so long as its in the fridge. Commercial stuff is usually 92% ginger, with the rest being water and vinegar – so I’m not sure about how much vinegar you could add if you wanted to store in a pantry. Its really amazing to see how much gingery flavour is still left after having boiled for the GB.


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5 Responses to “#24 Spicy Ginger Beer (gluten-free)”

  1. Leon Says:

    This looks good – will give it a try! It might come out pretty strong eventually, mine with champagne yeast (much quicker and dirtier) is still bubbling every 20 seconds after 3 weeks. Here’s the recipe if you like:


  2. Sue Says:

    Just a tip on the fructose friendly issue, corn syrup is actually a no-no for people with fructose malabsorption, it is full of those evil fructans!! Glucose syrup however is ok & according to the coeliac society of Australia even if it is wheat derived, there is no detectable gluten left in it after the processing required to make it.

  3. Sue Says:

    Sorry Pete, I should have looked more closely at ALL the ingredients, as glucose syrup counters the corn syrup. You can use corn syrup(or fructose loaded ingredient) and if you have glucose with it, it ‘piggy-backs’ the fructans through the digestive tract so that it can be broken down in the gut. This was told to me by a dietitian.

  4. Nick Says:

    Hi all. Sounds delicious, keen to put one down! But girlfriend is lactose intolerant, and although most will be consumed, what would be the best way to omit it? Swap for 500g more dark brown sugar maybe?

  5. Brewman101 Says:


    Lactose is a non-fermentable sugar. So if you add more brown sugar, it will just make more alcohol. You can use non-fermentable artificial or alternative sugars like http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stevia to sweeten.

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