Ginger bug problems

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Ginger bug problems

Postby MrKefir on Sun Jun 17, 2018 6:56 pm

Hi! I’m new here and I’m so happy I’ve found this forum :)

I started experimenting with ginger bugs but somehow it seems to be more difficult to control than other fermented process. I can easily start them and within a few days they become bubbly with a slight yeasty smell. But after four or five days they turn flat, loosing every bubble. I kept feeding them but nothing. I’ve followed every rule: fed them daily, mix them a couple of times a day, used filtered water, plastic utensils, etc but nothing.

I’ve tried five times with no success. I read it could be over feeding so I started a new ginger bug with the same quantities of ginger and water but only half of sugar but it didn’t work either.

Does anyone have an idea of what might be happening? Thanks in advance!
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Re: Ginger bug problems

Postby Christopher Weeks on Mon Jun 18, 2018 7:29 am

I have also never been able to keep them living for use from batch to batch. I have good luck getting one going -- almost always between four and eight days from starting, it's all frothy with yeast, and if I make soda right then, it works like a charm. But if I try to keep it alive until soda-making fits my schedule, or try to use half and just keep the culture alive like I do with sourdough, then it just dies every single time. I don't know why and I know other people have better luck with it.

(It doesn't really seem like it should be that hard!)
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Re: Ginger bug problems

Postby Tibor on Mon Jun 18, 2018 3:23 pm

I found it difficult as well and a lot of work. I found it a lot easier with good results by using water kefer grains to make ginger brew.I would brew up a very strong ginger tea and add it in the second stage of water kefer fermentation -as I would add Apple juice (check my recipe in the recipe section) or any juice . Made great ginger soda that way.
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Re: Ginger bug problems

Postby RobertN on Thu Jul 05, 2018 3:27 am

I had this problem with my ginger bug as well. I tasted and found out that I added too much sugar to it. On some point, high sugar concentration inhibits microbial growth (caused by high osmotic pressure). Same principle for sirup or marmalade.
What I did was to dilute the liquid. Then I was waiting a bit longer ( week or so) until the ginger bug again started bubbling. At first there was a strong yeast growth (and smell), but after a couple of days more it started to smell sour. I tasted again and it was sour. So LAB's are present :)
Now it is bubbly and quite good ginger bug. So keep patience and taste if it becomes sour.

Robert
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Re: Ginger bug problems

Postby MrKefir on Sat Jul 14, 2018 6:43 pm

Hi guys,

thanks for your replies! Awesome help! I figured out at one point that it was a matter of over feeding and I’m still experimenting with no success. I will add water as you say Robert with the hope that bubbles will start developing again.
Do you think the size of the batch might affect? I’ve been experimenting with small batches (1-2 cups of water) and proportional ingredients instead of 4 cups as many recipes Point.
Cheers!
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Re: Ginger bug problems

Postby audaciouspiglet on Mon Jul 30, 2018 8:21 pm

It's great to have some explanation about a bit of science. I feel that way I can troubleshoot better. I am struggling with ginger bugs too and am here just to see if I can find out more about the basic principles. Unfortunately my background in microbiology is not great. My question: isn't a ginger bug going to act similarly to sourdough in that you need to feed it proportional to the amount that is in there already? If not, why not?
The moment I had that concept for sourdough, I was up and running, (the absolute necessity of dividing your sourdough). So why are all the recipes for ginger bug just to keep filling it up with same amount every day? Maybe if so many people are having problems, the recipes aren't good. If the science is that the microbes multiply a lot, and need food, you can't just keep on feeding them the same amount as when there was only 1 tablespoon...can you? I don't want to blindly follow a recipe. My very first experience was that this process is not very well contained by recipes as we are dealing with living things that are influenced by a lot of factors, and that anyways, some recipes out there are erroneous!!

The sugar content stopping fermentation is a great clue. Thanks for that. I am trying to experiment with that idea. I have a feeling the source of ginger could also be an issue. Maybe even organic ones, if they have traveled a great distance, simply are a bit feeble in yeast?? (I had a fabulous foamy bug in 3 days, but on the 4th it fell flat, similar story to many people... not worth repeating really).
Also - since I am really new - what would be a recommended book that might answer some more in depth questions?
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Re: Ginger bug problems

Postby Christopher Weeks on Tue Jul 31, 2018 9:57 am

I have no book recommendations. I suspect this is simply not a well-studied practice. Your idea of dividing the bug like we do with sourdough starters is a great one. Give that a go and get back to us! :-)
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Re: Ginger bug problems

Postby audaciouspiglet on Sat Aug 11, 2018 1:01 am

Dividing it like sourdough seems to work - lol!
I have not been very scientific and not at all exact about my measuring, but started adding less sugar, maybe a teaspoon for 1 tablespoon of ginger.
Amazingly I have managed to keep mine going (or revive it) for about 3 weeks now, and through 3 batches. First two only a little fizz, now one with lots of fizz (and sulphur).
Probably the real answer involves the sugar content as several people have been discussing, and just now I saw a post by stormy about refractometers to measure sugar
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