Ginger beer versus ginger ale

ginger beer photo

So what we’re going to be doing today is we’re actually going to be talking about the differences between ginger ale and ginger beer.

Historically, a ginger ale was mean, much like soda. Kind of like the soda that we made not too long ago where you use yeast to add the carbonation. But ginger beer, on the other hand, was fermented just like beer. Just like the name. And so that would result in a little bit less carbonation. It was traditionally a little bit less sweet and it was also traditionally alcoholic, up to 11 percent.

I think yum. That sounds delicious. Nowadays, you don’t really see that. Ginger beer is usually kept under a half a percent of alcohol because that’s what the FDA in the US requires for it to be classified as a non alcoholic beverage.

And one of the benefits of that is they can get distributed nationwide and without any restrictions on, you know, where they can sell their product. So there’s a lot of advantages for getting underneath that 0.5 percent. Now, one of the things that we’ve explained in the past was a traditional style of ginger beer. It’s not 11 percent, but it was about 4.5 percent.

So, yeah. It was really tasty and it tasted exactly like ginger beer to me. But it was alcoholic. Yep!

So, you know, if you’re mixing with it, just be careful. You may have to adjust your recipe slightly. The biggest thing that most of you that have been behind a bar have a lot of experiences between ginger beer and ginger ale. You know that nowadays ginger ale tends to be a lot sweeter, a lot mellower on the spicy notes of the ginger, whereas the ginger beer is the exact opposite, a lot drier. It has a lot more of that ginger flavor and it just makes its presence known a lot more in cocktails.

There are some out there that aren’t sweet at all. There’s a wide spectrum on the sweetness of ginger beer. There definitely can be for sure.


Ginger beer is nice for folks who don’t like things that are terribly sweet.