Does Ginger Beer Have Alcohol in It? Your Need to Know

Most people know about ginger ale for an upset stomach. It has been a go to remedy in households for decades if not centuries. But what about ginger beer? You’ll find ginger beer on shelves now in local markets and groceries stores alike.

What’s the difference between ginger ale and ginger beer? And, more importantly, does ginger beer have alcohol in it? The answers to these questions can help guide us through our market shopping and through our troubled tummy remedies alike.


Before we talk about various ginger beverages, let’s discuss the root of those beverages – ginger.

Ginger is a flowering plant native to Southeast Asia, among the healthiest spices on the planet. It belongs to the same family as turmeric and cardamom, and the root, or rhizome, is the part of the plant traditionally used in cooking and herbal remedies.

Ginger can be used fresh or dried, powdered or as an oil or juice.

The flavor of ginger might take some getting used to, as it is spicy even in small quantities. You could say it is an acquired taste. But once you’re hooked, you’re hooked.

Ginger has an extensive list of healing and medicinal properties that have been thoroughly studied in laboratories by scientists. The studies continue today because of the sheer number of ways that ginger has shown to be beneficial to health.

But the ancient Greeks, Indians, and Chinese did not need scientists in labs to tell them of the root’s benefits. For thousands of years, people have taken ginger remedies to treat everything from a stomachache to a sore throat.

The primary medicinal property in ginger is gingerol, but it has been shown that dozens of other medicinal properties exist in the spice.

Health Benefits of Ginger


Ginger helps eliminate toxins from your body and your blood. It’s basically nature’s cleanser.


You can reduce inflammation, which is the cause of most pain, with a small amount of ginger root.


The classic go to remedy for tummy troubles, ginger has strong anti-nausea properties.


Yep. Ginger has even been shown in several studies to have anti-carcinogenic properties.

Ginger Tea

The easiest way to take ginger is in tea form. You can simply boil chopped up fresh ginger root in water for 20 minutes, add honey (an antibacterial in its own right), and even add some lemon, and enjoy. You’ll end up with a ginger flavored soft drink.

Ginger Ale

Ginger ale is similar to ginger beer, but it is much milder and usually significantly sweeter. It is thought be from Ireland in the 1850s. The basis of ginger ale is ginger, sugar, and carbonated water.

To make it, you would just boil ginger in water, like you’re making tea, let it cool down, and then add sugar or simply syrup, carbonated water, and ice.

Ginger Beer

Ginger beer, on the other hand, is a strong, less sweet, fermented drink that was, once upon a time, high in alcohol content.

Traditional, original ginger beer was born in England in the 1800s. Brewers would boil ginger, add sugar to the liquid, and then allow the resulting liquid to ferment, resulting in a beverage (ginger beer) with about an 11 percent alcohol content. That’s high!

Today’s ginger beer is rarely fermented, however, so you’ll note on the label that it is completely alcohol free.

That’s right. Today’s ginger beer does not have alcohol. It is merely boiled ginger water with more ginger and less sugar, which is then carbonated.

Ginger ale is typically drunk as a soda, for tummy troubles, and ginger beer is drunk as a cocktail mixer, stronger and spicier.

Make Your Own Ginger Beer

At home or in your small (or large?) brewery, you can make your own ginger beer. Decide if you want alcohol or not in your ginger beer, and how much, and you can make a few tweaks accordingly.

To make traditional ginger beer with no alcohol, simply make ginger tea, add as much or as little sugar as you like, and add as much or as little carbonated water as you like. For stronger ginger flavor, use more ginger, boil down the liquid, and add carbonated water.

If you would like a bit of alcohol and all-natural carbonation, you can add yeast to your boiled brew.

Here is a recipe for home brewed traditional ginger beer:

Boil 2 tbsp of grated fresh ginger in 7 cups of filtered water. Allow the liquid to cool and add ½ cup of sugar, 1/8 tsp active dry yeast or brewer’s yeast, and 3 tbsp lemon juice. Put this brew into an air tight bottle and shake vigorously to get the yeast going. Store in a cool dry place for 2 or 3 days. You’ll end up with all natural, fresh, ginger beer!

Serve over ice and enjoy.

To Each Their Own

Because of how little sugar exists in the above recipe, you will end up with very little alcohol in your ginger beer. You are also not fermenting for very long.

If you want a modern ginger beer with a higher alcohol content, you can always add more sugar and more yeast and allow to ferment for longer. Remember that cooling your ginger beer down will slow the fermentation process and heating it up too much will kill the yeast. So be mindful of your temperature conditions.

Ginger beer is a great way to experiment with a simple brewing process, and a wonderful way to begin making your own home remedies.

Fresh ginger beer should only be kept for about 3 weeks, before it will likely go bad. Always keep fresh ginger on hand so you can whip up your own batch of ginger beer at a moment’s notice.

And if you’ve got a tummy ache, just stick to tea. You won’t want to have to wait 3 days to cure it.


Passionate about the beer and/or wine making process? So are we! If you’re interested in finding out how you can use our technology to control fermentation and monitor your yeast, save work hours and improve the cost-efficiency of your business, drop us a line at or check out our product pages:


  1. Ann M. Bode and Zigang Dong, Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition
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