Raise your glass to trendy rooibos beer

It's easy to make in time to celebrate International Beer Day on Friday.

03 August 2023 - 13:10
By Hilary Biller
Dried rooibos tea in glass jar on wooden table.
Image: Rodger February Dried rooibos tea in glass jar on wooden table.

South Africans love their beer and when alcohol sales were banned during Covid-19 many took to making their own pineapple beer with great success. Now in time for International Beer Day on Friday, when lovers of the brew from around the globe will be raising their glasses in celebration of their favourite tipple, you can step into the kitchen and make your own beer using a uniquely South African ingredient — rooibos tea.

Just like gin, where local producers have discovered myriad diverse ingredients like spices, fruit and herbal tisanes such as rooibos to titivate the taste experience, beyond a hot cuppa rooibos can also be used to bring magic to beer, resulting in an intriguing blend reflecting the country's rich culinary heritage. 

“For modern consumers and homebrewers who enjoy unique and diverse beer flavours rooibos beer will add another flavour experience, said Adele du Toit, spokesperson for the SA Rooibos Council. “The small-batch, all-natural brewing market has experienced a surge in popularity.”

For homebrewers, give this rooibos beer recipe a try on International Beer Day.

Rooibos beer joins a long line of homebrewed beers that South Africans are loving.
Image: Supplied Rooibos beer joins a long line of homebrewed beers that South Africans are loving.


Makes 7.25 litres

Prep Time: 20 minutes, excluding fermentation time

5ml (1 tsp) sugar

500ml (2 cups) lukewarm water

1 packet 10g instant yeast

750ml (3 cups) caster sugar

15ml (1 tbsp) tartaric acid

250ml (1 cup) fresh lemon juice

20ml (4 tsp) lemon rind

3 litres strong rooibos tea

3.5 litres cold water

1. Dissolve the 5ml of sugar in 500ml (2 cups) of lukewarm water. Sprinkle the yeast over and set aside until frothy, about 10 minutes.

2. Mix remaining dry ingredients with the liquid and juice together with the activated yeast mixture and stir until well mixed.

3. Cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrapping and leave in a warm place for about 12 hours.

4. Strain the mixture through a muslin cloth and pour the beer into preferably plastic bottles with screw tops. Leave in a cool place for three days. Chill before serving.


As the beer is very fizzy ensure the bottles are opened slowly and carefully, allowing the fizz to subside before totally removing the lid. It must be stored in a cool place or the yeast will ferment too quickly and the bottles could explode.