How to make the famous South African sorghum beer (Umqombothi)

How to make the famous South African sorghum beer (Umqombothi)

Learn how to make South Africa's favourite home-made beer, 'Umqombothi', which requires only a few ingredients. 

Brewing traditional African beer
Brewing traditional African beer/ iStock

In 2005, the Princess of Africa, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, became a house-hold name after releasing the song ‘Umqombothi’. She called it her African beer. 

READ: Yvonne Chaka Chaka on BET award: " I never ever anticipated this"

This type of beer is very common at African celebrations and gatherings. 

It is made of maize meal, wheat malt, maize malt, and water. Preparing it takes up to four days. However,  judging from how much it is loved by many, the waiting is worth it!

Here is the recipe for the much-loved traditional beer. 


2.5kg mealie meal

1 Kg Maize malt

2kg wheat malt

Warm water


- Mix the maize malt, mealie meal, and 500g wheat malt with warm water in a bowl.

- Close the bowl with a lid. Place it in a warm place overnight to allow it to ferment. (The mixture should be foamy on top after it has fermented). 

- Fill a big pot with boiling water and slowly add the fermented mixture.

- Stir and cook for 45 minutes until the mixture has thickened or looks like soft porridge. 

- Leave the pot to cool for some hours.

- Add the 1.5gram wheat malt to the cool porridge mixture and stir.

- Leave to ferment overnight in a warm temperature.

- Strain the fermented mixture and separating the coarse sorghum from the liquid.

- Leave the liquid for a couple of hours until foam forms on top.

Serve and enjoy!

READ: Homemade pineapple beer becomes the new thing!

Image courtesy of iStock/@poco_bw

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