Ginger Beer vs. Ginger Ale: What’s the Difference?

Ginger Beer vs. Ginger Ale

Many people like the fiery spicy kick that ginger provides. This is the primary reason why many people love to drink ginger drinks. Some prefer ginger ales, whereas others love ginger beers. However, there are some who often wonder whether ginger ale and ginger beer are the same. Is there a difference between the two? It is time to find out the answers.

When you talk about ginger ales, you automatically go back in time to when you were given some to cure stomach aches. Ginger ale was a tried and tested remedy for stomach pains back in those days. However, you also find ginger beers in the market in the modern era. This may make you think that both are similar drinks.

What Is A Ginger Beer?

The ginger beer beverage is a fizzy and spicy drink that many people love to drink. Ginger beers are made through the process of fermentation. A lot of ingredients are fermented to produce ginger beer, such as sugar, ginger, and some citrus juice. Dry yeast is also used in the process. The presence of fresh ginger, grated and smashed to a fine pulp, gives the fiery ginger taste to the beverage.

The origination of ginger beer dates back to the 18th century in England. During those times, the alcohol content of ginger beer was around 11%. This made it equal to a standard beer. However, in this modern era, things have changed a lot. Although alcoholic ginger beer is not a common sight anymore, you might still come across some that are made using the same old fermentation process.

Many use ginger beer to prepare mock-tails, whereas some use it to prepare various types of traditional drinks. Some of these include whiskey highballs, Moscow Mules, and dark and stormy. Ginger beers may either be cloudy or clear, depending upon the filtering process used. However, compared to ginger ale, ginger beers are darker in color.

What Is A Ginger Ale?

Ginger ale is a more composed or placid version of ginger beer. It lacks alcohol and tastes like a soft drink with a ginger flavor. Although many believe that ginger ale was started in Ireland, it actually gained popularity in Canada with the Canada Dry brand of ginger ales.

Most of the modern-day ginger ales are made in a dry and pale style. This makes the beverage look light-colored. It also has a more delicate flavor compared to ginger beers but a higher percentage of carbonation.

Some manufacturers ferment ginger to prepare ginger ales. These ales are made from ginger bugs and contain a small percentage of alcohol. Ginger bugs are a type of beneficial bacteria. You will find many airplanes providing ginger ales to their passengers. It is also useful in relieving stomach aches and can sometimes be used to prepare cocktails. Since it has a mild sweet taste and if you love a sweet flavor to your cocktails, you can add it to your drinks.

Is Ginger Beer Alcoholic?

Although ginger ales are absolutely alcohol-free, there might be around 0.5% alcohol by volume (ABV) alcohol in ginger beers. However, this amount is practically negligible and does not categorize ginger beers as alcoholic. If you love ginger beer and have the beverage regularly, there is very little possibility that you will get drunk.

Why Do You Brew Ginger Beer?

The term ‘brew’ has become very common these days, especially in terms of manufacturing beer. It may either be a slow brew, craft brew, or cold brew. It is definitely an essential part of the manufacturing process for beers. If you brew the key ingredients of beer for the necessary timeframe, you can extract the maximum flavor.

However, the key is to use real and organic ingredients and to brew them for the optimum amount of time. During the manufacturing of ginger beer, authentic gingers are used that help the beverage get its strong ginger flavor.

Key Differences between Ginger Beer and Ginger Ale

It is true that ginger beers and ginger ales do not taste the same. Nonetheless, you can still substitute one for the other despite their taste differences. Both beverages have some key points of difference that make them unique in their own special ways.

1.   Flavor

Ginger beer comes with a strong smell and flavor as opposed to ginger ale, which has a milder flavor and taste. If you taste any ginger ale, you will notice that it tastes more syrupy and has a mild sweet taste. This is why many people, who prefer a mildly sweet taste to their drinks, use ginger ales to prepare cocktails.

2.   Production

Fresh sugar and ginger are the prime ingredients for preparing ginger beer. These ingredients are fermented for a definite timeframe to get the most flavor from them. On the other hand, ginger ales are manufactured by fermenting whey. Some manufacturers also mix club soda or soda water with real or artificial ginger syrup to manufacture ginger ale.

3.   Brewing Storage

It is possible to store ginger ales in glass bottles during the brewing process. However, it is not so simple to brew ginger beer. The glass bottles would explode due to extreme gas pressure if the ginger beer was made to brew in them.

4.   Alcohol Presence

There is a marginal presence of alcohol of around 0.5% ABV in ginger beer. However, this does not mean that you can term it as an alcoholic drink. On the other hand, ginger ales lack alcohol content completely. It is more like a sugary syrup.


Ginger beer and ginger ale are both bubbly beverages with a noticeable gingery flavor or kick. These beverages can refresh you on their own or upon mixing with your favorite cocktail. In fact, there are several drinks that depend upon the deep ginger flavor or taste of ginger beers to tackle some of the other ingredients.

The best part about using ginger beer is that you can use it interchangeably with ginger ale. All you need to know is that ginger beer comes with a more intense flavor compared to ginger ale.

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