Adventures in Ginger Beer: Getting the Bug.

August finds Mindelei and I in a new house in a new city in a new state, so it seems the perfect time to begin a new project: brewing ginger beer. 

This new adventure is inspired by a super-simple and cost-effective recipe  in Sandor Katz’s “Wild Fermentation” for a wild-fermented ginger beer.  While I’ve not made ginger beer before, I remember my dad and brother making a few batches about 30 years ago; finding this recipe brought back memories. 

Unlike other recipes that use a “ginger beer plant,”  Katz’s  recipe harvests the wild yeast in the environment to produce what Katz’s calls a “bug.” It is this basic recipe that I am using as the basis for my first adventure into brewing ginger beer.   

Where Katz’s original recipe for the bug calls for 2 teaspoons of sugar, I have substituted 5g (1/6oz) of golden raisins for 1 teaspoon of the sugar to innoculate the bug with yeast.  Given that I used city water for the process, I boiled the water for about 5 minutes then allowed it to cool to help get rid of the chlorine, other volatile nasties, and unwelcome micro-organisms.

 Ginger Beer “Bug” Recipe.

2 teaspoons of freshly grated ginger root.

1 teaspoon of sugar.

1/6 oz of golden raisins (1 heaping teaspoon)

1 cup of water, boiled for 5 minutes then cooled.

– Once the water had cooled to about body temperature, add all of the ingredients to a large glass or mason jar and cover the container with a piece of cheesecloth or paper towel. 

– Place the jar in a warm spot to start the fermentation.

– For the next few days, the bug will need to be fed 1 teaspoon each of freshly grated ginger and sugar every day or two until the fermentation process is well underway.

Check back in the next couple of days as I blog about the “bug” as it develops.

Day 2.

There were no obvious signs of fermentation when I fed the bug its dose of fresh ginger and sugar at 8:00am this morning. 

Day 4.

There are still no obvious signs of fermentation in the bug but the supernatant liquor is becoming the typical “ginger beer brown” color.

Day 7.

Still no fermentation in the bug but a quite beautiful strain of white fluffy mold has found a new home.  Oh well, I guess I’ll start again and hope for better results. 

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4 thoughts on “Adventures in Ginger Beer: Getting the Bug.

  1. yeah, i had the same issue. my recipe is quiet similar. Any idea what to use this moldy mixture for? I sure hate to waste it!!

  2. It took a week for mine to start bubbling. You can attract wild yeast easier when the weather is warmer. You need to make sure you stir your bug at least daily do mold doesn’t grow on the surface.

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