The organic ginger bug starter produces a very fizzy, traditional sweetshop style ginger beer that is low in alcohol and full of flavour.
Ginger bug is a colony of Saccharomyces florentinus and Lactobacillus hilgardii. The result of a spontaneous fermentation that occurs when ginger, sugar, and water are left to their own devices. The mixture captures wild yeasts and beneficial bacteria naturally from the surrounding environment. The fermented mixture can then be used to add a bacteria boost to homemade ginger beer; using a traditional method centuries old.
Our starter culture comes from our own, very active colony of Ginger Bug. Our Ginger Bug starter culture allows you to get your own colony up and running much faster than starting from scratch. We dehydrate our Ginger bug; you simply add water, sugar and ginger to the starter culture and fermentation begins within hours.
You feed the Ginger Bug sugar and water daily for 7 days. After that time, you drain the liquid off to make Ginger Beer with and repeat the process again. The Ginger Beer produced has a low alcohol content (typically less than 2% A.B.V.) which can be made more alcoholic by increasing the amount of sugar fed during the fermentation stage.
GBP is like Water Kefir in that it is a gelatinous symbiotic colony of microorganisms, in this case a SCOBY of Lactobacillus and Saccharomyces. However, they are different sub species to the ones found in Ginger Bug and are similar to those found in actual beer production. The main difference is in taste between the two ginger beers produced. GBP has a more tart flavour to it when compared to Ginger Bug, which produces a much sweeter tasting traditional ginger beer. We generally find GBP also seems to be a little more alcoholic in comparison to Ginger Bug.
Recommended activation date for culture:
1 year from the date of shipping. Best stored in the freezer if the product can not be activated on arrival.
Please note that we do not send printed copies of instructions with your purchase. If you would like to have a printed version, you can open a printable PDF by clicking here.
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
Ginger Bug and metal
You will often hear that you should not use metal utensils while making Ginger Bug. Although this holds some truth, it has been greatly exaggerated! Ginger Bug gets very acidic, if left in contact with metals for long periods of time, in theory it could degrade and rust the metal. That metal would then end up in the Ginger Bug and eventually in you. However, using a stainless steel strainer/sieve or spoon while making Ginger Bug will not cause any problems. The contact time between the metal utensils and Ginger Bug will always be very short. Never leave anything metal in contact with Ginger Bug for long periods of time.
You need something to keep your Ginger Bug in. We recommend using something glass. Glass is much easier to clean and keep sterile. Plastic tends to degrade over time and is prone to scratches which can harbor unwanted bacteria. Plastic also carries a risk of chemical contamination from the materials contained inside of it such as BPA. A glass Kilner style jam jar is perfect to use.
Strainer / Paper Filter
Your also need a fine strainer (the type used with tea) and a stirring spoon. For a sludge free Ginger Beer, we recommend that you strain the mixture through a paper filter, the type used for coffee is perfect.
You also need something to cover your jar with. We recommend paper kitchen towels as they are easy to discard and replace. You can also use a muslin cloth or similar if you wish. Rubber bands also come in handy to secure the cover to the jar.
A large pan (must hold 4 litres)
A large stock pot works well.
A lemon squeezer
To get the most juice of out fresh lemons, warm them in the microwave for 30 seconds and kneed them gently on a worktop. Then cut in half and squeeze the juice out.
You also need some bottles to store your Ginger Beer in. We recommend using plastic bottles. Ginger Beer gets VERY fizzy. Make sure you use BPA free plastic.
It is useful to get a plastic funnel to help pour the liquid into the bottles.
Glass/plastic measuring Jug
It is also useful to have something to decant your strained mixture into. Glass or plastic measuring jugs are perfect.
You only need 4 ingredients to make Ginger Beer, Ginger, water, fresh lemons and sugar. Dried ginger powder works best.
Boil 300ml of water. Allow it to cool and add to your jar. Add four teaspoons of sugar (20g) and one teaspoon (5g) of ginger powder and stir well. Place your Ginger Bug into the jar, stir gently and cover the jar. Leave it for 24 hours at room temperature (21 degrees celsius). You should notice the mixture will start to bubble and show signs of life within a few days.
Each day, for the next 7 days, you will need to feed the Ginger Bug two teaspoons of sugar (10g) and one teaspoon (5g) of ginger powder. Stir the mixture well each time you add the sugar and ginger.
You will need:
Bottling the Ginger Beer
It is now time to bottle your brew. If you want to increase the alcohol content, you can also add more sugar at this stage.
Using your plastic funnel, pour the mixture into your bottles, and seal them. Place the bottles at room temperature for 2-4 days. Check the bottles each day. Once they become firm, they are ready.
It is important if using glass bottles to check and burp (release some of the gas build up) daily to minimise the risk of explosions.
The Ginger Beer is now ready to drink. Place your bottles in the fridge to cool. Be very careful when opening the bottles. Ginger Bug produces an extremely fizzy beverage that is prone to exploding out the bottle.
Take the Ginger Bug sediment that was strained out previously and divide it in half. Take one half and place it back into the original jar you used to ferment the Ginger Bug in. Add 4 teaspoons of sugar (20g) and one teaspoon of powdered ginger (5g). Boil 300 ml of water and allow it to cool back to room temperature (21 degrees celsius). Once cooled, add it to the jar and stir well. Repeat the process again feeding your Ginger Bug for 7 days.
Traditionally, Ginger Bug was always split and shared with friends. If you do not wish to do this, you can dry it out by pasting a thin layer onto tin foil of filter paper and leaving it to dry fully (around 4 days). Store the dried Ginger Bug is a sealed container for up to 6 months.
Sometimes it can take a little longer for your Ginger Bug to start fermenting. Factors such as cooler temperatures can often come into play in this scenario. We advise that you put your Ginger Bug in the warmest place you can find. Continue to see the daily feeding regime through for the full 7 days and continue this for up to 10 days if required. If at this stage, you still see no sign of life (bubbles), please get in touch with us!