How to Make Ginger Beer (Fermentation Recipe)

Making Ginger Beer is awesome and easy – although it requires a little patience (the biggest downside is it will take 1-4 weeks before it’s ready) and demands your attention at the start of the process.  The upside is the depth of flavor, natural carbonation that is something magical to have created.  Homemade ginger beer is wholly satisfying and a lot of fun to make.

How to Make Ginger Beer (Fermentation Recipe) Preserving Recipes November Ginger

Our recipe is based on the writing of Sandor Kraut though the quantities of ingredients and technique are pretty similar across the Internet as I suspect they have been for hundreds of years.

NOTE: This is an extremely active ferment – the process does not consume all of the sugar and this will continue to ferment at room temperature because of that.  Storing this at room temperature can lead to explosions, especially if stored in glass.  It’s best to store this in plastic or swing top bottles and store in fridge which will slow/ stop the fermenting.  I prefer plastic because you can squeeze the bottle to test pressure (if it’s rock hard, slowly open it over a sink to release some pressure).  This is true of almost every fermented non-alcoholic sweet beverage you’ll ever ferment.  Although the risk is real, I don’t want to scare you off this awesome treat.  Following the process above will keep it safe and is easily manageable; traditionally this was managed by storage in a cold cellar.

There are two parts to the process – the first small fermentation (called the ‘bug’) which gets things really kicking (almost like a starter for sour dough), and then a secondary fermentation with extra ingredients.

Ginger Beer Ingredients

  1. Water
  2. Ginger (a large piece about 8 inches long)
  3. 1.5 cups of sugar
  4. 2 lemons (it just isn’t the same without them)

Ginger Beer Instructions

  1. To start the bug, place 1 cup of room temperature water in a jar or bowl (I use a mason jar).  If your tap water is chlorinated, allow it to sit open to the air for an hour before proceeding (this will help eliminate the chlorine and will help the fermenting).
  2. Add 2 teaspoons of sugar and 2 teaspoons of finely chopped ginger.  Stir well.
  3. Cover loosely with cheesecloth; I use a single layer as natural yeasts will enter the jar but flies will not.  I hold it in place by screwing a band around it (just not using the lid).
  4. Store in a warm, dry place.
  5. Add ginger and sugar (the same amounts) every day, stirring after.  Repeat until your contents become fizzy (you’ll be able to hear it).  This should take a couple of days and up to a week.  Our apartment has a bit of the initial chill of winter in it so it takes its sweet time.
  6. Boil 2 liters of water with six inches of chopped ginger root (for a strong flavor, you can use less if you’d like) and 1.5 cups of sugar.
  7. Allow the mixture to cool completely and strain the contents to remove the solids.
  8. Add the juice of two lemons, and this syrup to your ginger bug.
  9. Strain the mixture to remove solids.
  10. Add water (again a good practice is to let the chlorinated water sit for a bit) to increase the contents to 4 liters (roughly a gallon)
  11. Bottle in clean bottles – you can get them from brew-your-own beer stores, reuse Grolsch pop-top bottles (there’s a full post on how to use them here) or use beer bottles if you have a capper.  We’ll share how to sterilize/clean later this week (it’s a post unto itself).  Per above, plastic is the safest if you’re worried about explosions.
  12. Store until the bottle is hard to squeeze (in the case of plastic).  It should take 2 days to a few weeks (the warmer things are, the quicker this will be as long as the temperature is under 100 degrees farenheit).  If you’re worried about pressure, open slowly over a sink to release pressure (further fermentation will make sure it stays carbonated).
  13. Once it’s complete, store in refrigerator; know that this can be a little more prone to making a mess when opening so be near a sink, with a glass!

It’s really fantastic.

If you make Ginger Beer, do you do anything differently?

Comments

  1. I will finally do it! I love ginger beer!

  2. I add a few sultanas to help the initial fermentation begon but otherwise same.
    Do not store in house of it can be avoided as bottles can explode and ruin carpets and walls – yes the voice of experience who stored them in a wine rack in the hallway.
    cheers chookie2

  3. The pressure of fermentation is also strong enough to make glass bottles explode (I have 6 stitches to prove it.) It sounded like pipe bomb went off in the kitchen. I recommend plastic or using a cork rather than the beer bottles with porcelain caps. That said, homemade ginger beer is delicious.

  4. I’ve fermented it in 2 ltr soda bottles, squishing the sides of the bottle in about 1/2 inch each side (1/4 inch for 20 oz bottles). It will become firm soon in the summer time, not sure how long the sides will fill out and become firm in the winter, or in the fridge.

  5. Do I strain it again before bottling, after adding the bug? Or do I leave all the bits of ginger that are in the bug?

    • Hi Melissa, you do indeed want to strain both (you cna do this after combining) – I’ve updated the post to make that clearer – thanks for the question!

      • Hi Joel, just wanted to say that I made it exactly the same as your recipe and it turned out perfect!! My husband and little girl loved it and I will definitely be making it again :)

  6. Thanks Joel, the bug is bubbling away and the syrup is almost boiling on the stove :)

  7. I bottled my ginger beer about 3 weeks ago and have been excitedly awaiting the results, however i just noticed 3 of the 5 bottles have what look like mold blooms floating in them. the other two bottles are fine and are getting fizzy. Could the mold be a sanitization issue? I used 1/2 liter plastic soda bottles cleaned with regular dish soap and then sanitized with Five Star. The moldy bottles are all green, while the ok bottles are clear, but that could just be coincidence… any thoughts? I want to figure it out before i start another batch!

    • Stephanie, total bummer – sorry to hear.

      I haven’t had this before but looked into it at Wildfermentation.com (it’s the Sandor Katz site we share from time to time and I love) and found this:

      http://www.wildfermentation.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=61

      Read the whole thread – but here’s what I gleaned – as it’s a forum you have to take it for what it is – the experience of others not necessarily ‘scientific fact’:

      1) It could be sanitization.
      2) It could be a yeast film (although it sounds like yours indeed is mould)
      3) Mould needs air to grow – it could be a headspace/ too much air in the bottle issue.
      4) It could be a vegetation issue – i.e. not strainer enough.

      That’s a lot of variables but all 4 sound like good places to check before starting again.

      Is any of that helpful?

      j

      • I just tried this for the first time. I bottled two weeks ago and left them in the dark at 70 degrees F. They have stuff floating in them, fairly globular looking and there is definitely mold floating. There was no pressure, so little fermenting–my bug looked good when I used it. I bottled in 1/2 liter plastic which sealed well enough that I couldn’t squeeze anything past the seal. I also make beer, so I think i got the sanitizing done right. Perhaps it was chlorination in the water I added–doesn’t bother my beer though. I’m going to try again, starting a new bug today, and just be careful and hope for better results.

        • John,

          Likely the chlorination (or chloromine). I imagine you add yeast to your beer? Because this is a wild ferment the yeast is typically in smaller supply and not as ‘tough’ as adding it. Your temperature sounds bang on and guessing the sanitation is fine (unless there was a significant amount left behind and that killed the yeast?)

          Let us know how it goes,
          :)

          Joel

          • Thanks fir the reply, Joel.
            After making this second batch, I had no activity by the next day nor the second. I’ve read that I should notice the plastic bottles getting stiffer with pressure in a day or two, which makes sense. What I did is take a quarter tsp of common yeast out of the refrigerator and put it into about a quarter cup–or so–of water warmed to 85-90F to activate it. With an eyedropper I put about a quarter tsp of solution in each 16oz bottle. I put them in a spot about 80F temp. The next day the bottles were getting stiff. This is the third day and they are very hard. I’m going to put them in the refrigerator today. I hope the yeast doesn’t create an off flavor–one reason I kept it minimal. Next time I will try bottled water first.

          • Very interesting John. Would love to know how the flavor changed, if at all. Some of our ginger beer has been lightly carbonated while others fiercely so – but I’ve never had it fail. Hoping this batch worked better!?! :)

    • Just my 2 cents, since I’ve noticed this with mine as well. When I opened the bottles, it all mixed together and tasted just fine. No mold smell and no off flavor. I believe it is a filtering issue. It is just a blob of the ginger and other spices that have collected on the bottom area, much like what happens with Kombucha’s expended yeasts and bacteria that are harmless.

  8. Stephanie says:

    Thanks, I had looked around on Sandor’s site but missed that particular post. I’m not sure what I actually have is mold since it’s floating in the liquid, not on the surface. Although I suppose it could have started on top and submerged as it grew (they’re about .5 to .75″ in diameter, tan colored and fuzzy looking). all my bottles had the same amount of headspace, and there’s definitely sediment, but it just looks like the little white yeasties.

    I guess i’ll wait and see how it turns out after it carbonates enough. I assume I will know by the taste if something is really bad. thanks for the suggestions!

    • The other possability is that air is seeping into the boddle (i.e. the lids didn’t seal) which could feed the mold. I’ve never enountered it so can’t reccomend consuming it but do reccomend doing research to see the experience of others (specifically those who would be recognized as experts or experienced with it). It may be worth posting a question in Sandor’s forum (the link in this thread) to see if anyone there has ecperienced the same; but quality of answer will be reliant on who answers it. :)

  9. I just have bottled the ginger beer. I took the liberty of burning the sugar a little bit to give it an amber brownish color that i personally like.

    However, is there any way i could have screw it up and end up killing or poisoning my friends?

    I’m really concerned about this particular topic.

    Cheers.

    • Feedmejunk,

      I unfortunately can’t make that decision for you – but I do drink it. If you google WILD FERMENTATION FORUM you’ll see a tonne of posts all claiming that you can’t hurt a fly with it. My learning is based on reading, research and experimentation and if you poured me a glass I would drink it but can’t reccomend that you do. This article explains why I can’t reccomend in greater detail; I know it’s not what you are looking for but it explains why…

      http://wellpreserved.ca/2011/09/14/the-multiple-problems-around-advice-on-preserving-tomato-sauce/

      • Joel, a little bit of an update:
        Today was the second week of storing and i gave it a try. I left it in the fridge all night and i opened carefully, it had A LOT of gas! i had to open it and close it a few time for the liquid not to be spilled…

        Apart from that, there were sediments in the bottom, but i didn’t mind.

        It tasted delicios, fresh lemony, a little mit acidic and with a strong and sweet ginger aftertaste.

        I have never had actuall ginger beer because in my countr (Argentina) doesn’t exist, so i’m really happy with the final product, but i don’t have a clue if it tastes any similar to ginger beer.

        I drank almost 2 litters so far an i’m a little tipsy, so thank you for the recipie!

  10. Stephanie says:

    So I am trying again. I started the bug a week ago, after 4 days it got very fizzy, but i wasn’t prepared to bottle that day. Now, two days later there is no fizz at all though i’ve been feeding it every day. Did I miss the window? will the yeasties perk up again, or should I just start over?

    • Stephanie,

      Sorry to hear. I’d start anew but keep your current one going to see if it turns. Mine doesn’t fizz wildly although if I give it a gently jostle I can see some bubbles.

      The most common reasons for no fermentation include not feeding (but you are), chlorinated water, soap residue in the jar or too much/ too little heat.

      Let us know what happens and what you try!

      Joel

  11. Stephanie says:

    I started a new bug while continuing to feed the one that had stopped bubbling. After a couple of days the old one just started getting moldy. But the new bug is fizzing away happily now, and I will be bottling tonight! We’ll let you know how it turns out!

    -Stephanie

  12. I’m going to start a batch of this and use the Golsch pop-top bottles, How much headspace should I leave in these in order to reduce my chance of explosion? Thanks!

    • Kelli,

      I’ll put up a post tomorrow on using Grolsch bottles – they are all good; there’s a bit of cleaning to be done first and I’ll clarify headspace then. Not trying to evade – have to go back to my notes to see and will fire the topic across the facebook group to see if there’s any advice as I’ve never personally done it (though I have drank many homebrews from friends who have)…

      J

    • Heya Kelli!

      You inspired today’s post – it’s far more than just the headspace (about an inch) but I had to look back at my notes to get that info too. Been meaning to write this one for a while, you may know the rest of it – if you haven’t used them before I’ve shared some more info on using them:

      http://wp.me/p2nOai-3vL

      Let us know how it goes!

  13. New question, I tried to find an answer to this to no avail. Is there anyway to stop the fermentation process completely. I want to not have to store it all in my fridge. What if you stored it in the fridge for a bit and then removed it for storage in the garage. If the yeast don’t die off they will continue to consume the available sugar in the brew. Ideas?

    • Alas, no real way to stop it and keep it alive – it’s part of the magic. But we have a batch that’s in bottles for several months (i.e. 6+ right now) and it’s still fine…

      Cool temperatures will help ease the fermentation.

      Having said that, if you want to keep it for a long time, my guess (not a tonne of experience) is that opening a bottle from time to time would give you an idea how much pressure is building in the others. It’s not exactly scientific but is my best guess.

      Or make more. :)

      J

  14. Hi Joel. I recently made a batch of ginger beer for the first time ever following a recipe that did not include yeast and advised storing in a draft-free place for 2 days, and keeping at room temperature for 3 more days (or longer) before serving. I’m on the 5th day or so, and have noticed the white moldy-looking spots that have gathered on top of the brew. Is this normal? Are there health concerns here that I should be aware of? Is this something that I just need to scrape off of should I just throw it all out? I’ve also noticed that other recipes advise NOT to store at room temperature because explosions can happen. So, at this point, I’m a little confused about what to do next. Can you help?

    • Hi Corey,

      I haven’t experienced this exactly so let me give it a shot and then I’ll give you a resource to get more info that will help.

      Let’s start at the bottom: When you store it at room temperature, it will continue to ferment. Fermentation will add pressure (this is part of it staying carbonated). Chilling it will slow and almost stop the fermentation (not kill the carbonation) and stabilize the pressure. Putting it in the fridge will ease the pressure.

      I haven’t run into the white spots before – when I run into something I haven’t encountered I search the Wild Fermentation forum (they are part of Sandor Katz’s site – he is the King of ferments)… http://www.wildfermentation.com/forum/ I searched white spots there and it sounds encouraging – take a peak there and let us know what you think!

      J

  15. Can this recipie be doubled or tripled? Everything is going well I just would like to make a dozen or so

    • Bob,

      I haven’t tried but it should work – if you do, let us know how it goes… :) If it doesn’t, you could make 4 bugs at once (i.e. 4 small jars) and then quadruple everything during cooking/ bottling. :) Joel

      • Hi all,

        New here, but I thought I would throw my .02 in. I am onto week 3 of fermentation now and it is really starting to taste good. I think keeping the lid on and resisting the urge to taste it everyday is the hardest part!

        Anyways, I decided to make quite a large batch using a recipe very similar to this one. About 20 litres in a large water cooler bottle. Everything seems to be going great! I just scaled up the recipe as necessary. Most of it was really just eyeballing it. Not a ton of precise measurement.

        I will update in 4 or 5 days after bottling.

        PS…. I am currently sitting around 6% alcohol content….

  16. How do you restart the bug from the solids in step 9? Just add a bit of water and then recommence step 5?

  17. Maybe do it like a beer… check it with a hydrometer twice over the course of a few days to be sure it’s done fermenting, then add corn sugar (for a 5 gallon batch of beer I believe 3/4 cup is right) and bottle. This way you know the fermentation is done first and you can get the proper fizz you’d like without the risk of explosion…

  18. hi there
    I was wondering if using an airlock on a 1 gallon glass carboy would help the “explosion” issue with glass bottles and also help eat up the fermentable sugars?

    • Marc.

      Thanks for the comment. I haven’t tried but I suspect that it would stop the explosion issue 9there would be no worry at all) but that carbonation would eventually die altogether.

      Open to learning though!
      :)

      J

  19. Is it non alcoholic? Can I use raw honey instead of sugar?

    • Keri,

      Alcohol is generally created as yeast interacts with alcohol. There is some naturally occuring yeast on the ginger root but according to what I’ve read (specifically Sandor Katz), there’s not ‘appreciable amounts of alcohol.’ If that’s a concern you can measure it with a hydrometer (I don’t have instructions for that but a brew-your-own place could provide a kit and instructions). I have never measured the alcohol firsthand.

      I don’t know about raw honey. I have tried with maple syrup and not had the success I was looking for (I came out with a mouldy mess) but I’m sure it’s possible.

      Joel

  20. Benjamin Hutterer says:

    What you will need to do, if you are using glass or plastic to store your fermenting product in the fridge, is cover the top with a stopper plug and an inexpensive single-chamber water gas tube to allow the fermentation to take place without the gas exploding everywhere. What you might want to do is be sure that your house is well ventilated as the CO2 buildup might not be healthy for you in a closed environment. My most personal recommendation for all of you is to build an outdoor fridge for your ferment, that way you won’t need concern yourself about CO2 poisoning.

  21. Benjamin Hutterer says:

    @Joel

    Alcohol is generically the byproduct of yeast converting sugar into energy with the assistance of water, not through the means of pure alcohol.

    Honey, especially raw honey, contains copious amount of sugar which can aid in further production of alcohol so long as there are enough yeast bacteria alive to complete the fermentation process. As I have completed a course on wine making, it makes sense to begin with the following base ingredients:

    -water
    -sugar (source of sugar is up to you: honey, sugar beet, or sugar cane)
    - S. cerivisiae (top-fermenting at room temperature) or S. uvarum (bottom-fermenting yeast below room temperature)

    NOTE: neither yeast are created for bottom fermentation (used for lagers and steam beer) or top fermentation (used for ales and stouts).

    To prevent mould from being produced, you have to keep in mind with the temperature that you are producing your ginger beer. You can refrigerate it and it will still ferment without going mouldy. If your refrigerator unit is set to 10˚ Celsius or lower, you can put your ferment in for up to four weeks.

    The end result, as I have read in other websites, is a cloudy mix, much like oat stout, a grey cloudy drink that tastes surprisingly good.

  22. Benjamin Hutterer says:

    Correction to my recent post: for proper food storage, refrigeration units are set to 4˚ C or lower, with the freezer units set at -8˚C. Beer is food, so it would belike you to think of it as such.

  23. Hello! Thanks for the recipe. I’ve got my own Toronto wild yeast ginger beer going and it’s wonderful! I have a question, though. There is a distinct sulphur smell to my ginger beer. It doesn’t affect the taste, but it does make the ginger beer smell a bit odd. Do you know why this is happening and how to eliminate it?

    • Hi Jonathan,

      Unfortunately I’ve never run into that. If you google Wile Fermentation Forums you’ll find the site for Sandor Katz (he’s the guru of fermenting) and they have a really amazing forum that I use when trying to debug. That could be a place to start ours has never smelled like sulphur so don’t know what would cause that… :(

      Joel

  24. Codeman says:

    hello there!

    I used to make ginger beer with my mom when I was younger, but we always did the wine yeast thing. I’d like to try this method, but I have a question: can I use a one-way gas top like I do with wine making, or will that result in a flat product? We used to do the crack the top method a bit, but since I have the tops Ok thought I’d ask.

    thanks!

    • Codeman,

      I’m afraid I haven’t used those/ not sure what they are so I’m not much help.. If you try, let us know. :)

  25. I’ve tried this recipe a couple of times now and still haven’t been able to get it to carbonate…not sure what I’m doing wrong. Any suggestions?

    • Hi Finn – sorry to hear!

      The two most common things are temperature (too hot or too cold) and water with chlorine or chloromine in it. Although I’m not a giant fan of bottled water I might try to use it for a batch to eliminate a variable…

      If you try either and it still doesn’t work, let me know and will see if we can figure this out – it’s worth the effort and shouldn’t be so tough. :(

      Joel

  26. Just finished bottling the first batch and the second batch is started. This is really easy to do and so refreshing! Any idea how this would work if one added other ingredients to the bug (say, lemon grass) or by adding some fruit, spices, herbs or other flavourings to the mixture that gets boiled. Rhubarb ginger beer would be pretty fine.

    • Hi Anna!

      Thank you for the feedback – always great to hear! It would work exactly as you described (adding it to the boil); we have done a few experiments and will be publishing a few seasonal variations this summer – but go ahead and experiment I think you’ll love it. Let us know your favorite combos too! :)

      • Hi Joel,

        So, I went ahead and made a rhubarb ginger beer and it’s pretty tasty! At first you taste all the flavours together with ginger at the front, than comes a really fresh clear rhubarb taste, and finally the heat from the ginger. I used about 320g of rhubarb and the same of ginger. I didn’t change the amount of sugar. I boiled it a bit longer (5 min) so that the rhubarb would soften up a bit more. It’s really active. I bottled it about 6 hours ago leaving 3 inches of head space, then squeezing the air out, and the bottles are already expanded and firm to touch. I didn’t have to (im)patiently wait to start drinking it :D

        I noticed a huge difference in bug activity between the first and second batch . During the first batch we were going through a heat wave (exterior temps mid30s and higher, interior mid to high 20s) and the bug was really sluggish. I was feeding it for one week before I saw activity, and that activity wasn’t much (but I was getting impatient).The second bug started off the same way but as soon as the temperature outside dropped below 30 bug activity picked up and went crazy.

        Wild blueberry season will soon be here, so I’m thinking blueberry ginger beer is going to be the next experiment.

        This is definitely better than ‘real’ in-a-can ginger beer. It isn’t as sweet and the flavours are much brighter and fresher.

        • I so agree about it being better Anna!

          Your temperature is a good note – things will really struggle when it’s over 30 (I assume we mean Celsius?).

          I’m going to set aside a strawberry batch this week; really looking forward to the results! Your rhubarb experiment sounds great – glad it worked well!

          We’re going to publish a piece on fermenting temperatures mid-July (still doing some research and photography); hoping that will help!

          Love the idea of ‘virtually jamming’ ideas on ginger beer back and forth! :)

          j

          • Yup, it’s Celsius. Strawberry sounds delicious! Maybe I’ll try that too :) The heat wave is over and there are lots of strawberries in the garden…

            Fermenting temperatures would be a very helpful and practical topic to address, so I will look forward to that. I got started on fermenting last year with hot sauce, and I’m planning to try even more things this year. Any and all info and tips are appreciated.

            Likewise on the ‘virtual idea jamming.’ :) There’s a whole season of fresh local fruit ahead… Endless possibilities!

            A.

          • Smiles Anna!

            We’ve had the most fun fermenting hot sauces; it’s a bit of a passion. I have a few really long fermented hot sauces on the go (i.e. almost a year); have no idea how they are doing but excited to try them; just have to decide when… :) J

  27. hi, i am right now making my first batch of ginger beer. I am worried about the intoxication. how do i know that the formation is okay? is there any probability for it to get spoiled while fermenting?

  28. Thanks for the recipe, Joel. I decided to make it a project with my 8-year-old son. He was very excited about it and he did a great job feeding the bug daily and then helped bottle it two days ago.

    Today, the plastic bottles were rock-hard, so we decided to open one of them and taste it. The carbonation was perfect (even more than commercial soda). And it’s delicious! Unfortunately, the boy was not a fan. You see, he’s not a fan of alcohol, doesn’t even want to take sips of beer or wine. My hydrometer says it’s 4% alc/vol. No wonder he hated it. :(

    Anyway, my son might be very disappointed, but my wife and I are happy; we now have 4L of delicious alcoholic ginger beer all to ourselves, made with love through child-labour. Way to go, Joel! :)

    But seriously, is 4% alcohol normal? The only thing we did different from your instructions was use bottled natural spring water and 6 Tbsp of lemon juice concentrate (equivalent of 2 medium lemons). Or perhaps the wild yeast in Montreal is very different than Toronto!?!

    I will definitely be making it again, I just don’t think my son will help me next time. ;)

    Cheers!

  29. hi, I was wondering can the bug in this recipe be used to start a ginger beer plant? or are they completely different creatures?

  30. still a never fail recipe! love it. Been experimenting with other yeasts too but best results are (kid friendly- normal recipe as above.) (grown ups – wild ferment starter in one bowl then a second starter in another bowl with 1/4tsp champagne yeast, usual process over two days starting ferment, then combine both with water/sugar/ginger liquid in carboy/bucket with lid, a few days of magical ferment and then strain and bottle (brewers carbonation drops optional) and refrigerate. Yumm. wild ferment makes all the difference.

  31. Just finished a Honey & Date cider. ginger starter as above but half ginger and use honey instead of sugar each time and add two dried dates each time as well- this took 4days.
    4liters water/ 1&a1/4 cup honey, 350grms dried dates, juice of large lemon – simmer till dates are soft, quick whizz with stick blender/mixer to liquify everything, let cool to room temp, add ferment starter, strain and bottle and last usual steps before refrigeration.
    Mine’s in fridge now will taste late tonight…….

  32. Hi wondering if you can help me I did the “bug” but it isn’t very fizzy. How fizzy should it be? All I can see is little bubbles occasionally rising up. Thanks

    • Hi Angela, mine typically gets fizzier than that (especially when stirred)… some are fizzier than others (as it’s grabbing wild yeast present in the air).

      The most common causes of ‘lack of fizz’ are water quality (i.e. it contains chlorine or chloromine), temperature (ideally it is between mid-high sixties and mid-high seventies) and under-maintaining.

      Having said that, I’ve made ginger beer that had only the slightest fizz and it was still delectable (unlike the flat version of the commercial stuff).

      Let us know how it goes! I hope this helped? :) J

  33. I’ve made this 5 times over the last year and each time I comes out very dry. Is there some way of making it sweeter?

    • I do not think so: the sugar that went in was consumed by the wild yeasties resulting in the (super) carbonation and slight amount of alcohol. The best bet would be to make a simple syrup and dose that into a glass before decanting?

  34. With regard to the comments about odd things happening while the ginger beer is aging: sanitizing is so so important. I use the standard home brewer / wine maker protocol: I use a jet bottle washer to saturate the inside, followed by a vigorous scrubbing with a bottle brush, followed by a hot hot water bath of Potassium Metabisulfite. And then optionally another water bath. Invert bottles and let dry thoroughly. And when you finally get a good batch going, the first thing you do after opening one of these, is to fill the empty bottle right to the top with water to keep any sediment hydrated and easily removed from the bottle. That will cure any future contamination problems for ever, and make the next prep time so much easier and less stressful.

  35. After bottling, my fermentation seems to have stopped. I bottled 3-4 days ago, but I don’t see any carbonation at all. I opened one of my smaller, plastic bottles just to test, and there wasn’t even a whisper of air.

    My ginger bug was at a pretty healthy “bubble” when I added the syrup. Do I just need to wait longer, or is it likely that the bug has died somehow?

    Thanks for the post, btw. Fun recipe to try. I hope I can get mine to turn out.

    • Hi Tuesdaynight!

      The ferment in the bottle, much like soda, won’t really bubble. Pressure will hold that back (thus the need for plastic bottles or a bottle that has a swing top)… Sometimes the carbonation is subtle but should still be there when poured… :) Let us know how it goes
      :)

      Joel

      • Hey Joel,

        Thanks for the reply! To clarify a bit, I think that’s my “problem” – after 4 days the bottles still don’t have any pressure. I can easily squeeze them. Do I just need to wait longer? Or is it possible the in-bottle fermentation has prematurely stopped? Or both :)

      • Just needed a little patience :P! Bottles are fully pressurized now! Adding a little warmth (placed them in a warmer room) seems to have helped as well. I haven’t opened them yet – waiting for some friends to enjoy the first batch.

        As a side note, my plastic bottles are really pressurized now, but my glass (swing-top) bottles are not. When the pressure increased in the plastic bottles, I tested one swing-top to make sure the pressure wasn’t building up to great, and the glass bottle had no pressure at all. Maybe surface to air ratio?

        • I think you’ll find they all will gain pressure with time. :) Even when we drink half a bottle and put the other half in the fridge, it doesn’t go flat as it’s a living ferment. The trickier thing is making sure there’s not too much pressure (i.e. storing in plastic and then a cool environment)! :) Let us know what you think when you taste it! :) j

          • Tested out my first (and second… and third) glass last night – delicious! I could go for a bit more fizz, and I would actually prefer an even stronger ginger flavor (I went with the full 6 inches of chopped ginger), but the base taste is perfect. Going to experiment with different sugars and acids for the next rounds.

            My plastic bottles seem to have done better than my swing-tops, and I like being able to squeeze the plastic to test, but it’s a shame because the swing-tops are so nice.

          • Great to hear!

            You could add a TINY bit of champagne yeast but the pressure might get out of control (and the booze content would increase)… Some batches collect more airborne yeast than others so I find some are more carbonated than others.

            I’ve also been tempted to add candied ginger…just because. :)

          • You were right – a little more patience yielded a lot more fizz. It was perfect! Can’t wait to make and drink more :)!

  36. Made a few batches now. Really enjoying it.

    Does anyone know if it’s possible to add other “ingredients” to the bug? Like mint or pear or things like that? I suppose you could always flavor the “syrup”, but I wondered if there was any benefit of flavoring the bug itself.

  37. crabby mom of 8 says:

    Is it normal for there to be a thin whitish layer covering the top of the bug after a few days?

    • Hello!

      notunheard of; it’s likely the start of mold, which is common in fermenting. Should be able to skim off if you catch early.

      But it could also happen if fermenting didn’t start (i.e. it’s ginger sugar water) in which case you may get no fermenting at all and, after a few more days will find the white layer becoming more persistent. When I get this I start a second batch “in case” that one doesn’t work..

      J

      • crabby mom of 8 says:

        Wheeee! So I’m stubborn, and decided to proceed with the second step, just in case what I was seeing was just yeast. Two days the liquid sat in my bottles (I had made a double batch)…and then POP!! The bottles are rock hard! And the brew is FIZ-ZY!! How long do I let it fizz before the sugar added is converted? I’m trying to get away from sugar and would like the fermentation process to work it’s way through the sugar added in the second ferment. Thanks!

  38. Yep! Works better than expected. Here’s another take on the same process.

    http://www.betterdoneyourself.com/2014/05/29/homemade-ginger-beer/

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