I've been attempting to use a ginger bug to make non-alcoholic ginger beer, but I manage to kill the bug each time, either while it is cultivating or after I add it to the ginger syrup.
Overview of my process:
- Put cup of distilled water in a jar or glass bowl. Add 2 teaspoons of sugar and two teaspoons of fresh ginger with peel. Add 2 teaspoons of sugar and 2 teaspoons of ginger at the same time each day, say the evening, and stirring each morning. Stirring may occur
- Once there is considerable bubbles, make the ginger tea/syrup in a stainless steel pot. Let it cool. I usually use 2 quarts of distilled water, 1 and 1/2 cup of white sugar, and a lot of chopped/grated ginger, like at least "4 inches", usually close to double that.
- Once cooled, filter into a larger stainless steel pot. Add another 2 quarts of distilled water, and then filter the active bug into the same pot. Add strained juice of two lemons.
- Stir, then immediately bottle the contents.
- No carbonation 2 weeks or even 2 months later.
My question simply is: what can actually kill the ginger bug? Some things I've read/thought about:
- Does contact with stainless steel or other metal kill it? Including the strainer, spoons, pots.
- Does using distilled water instead of filtered water affect it? Does the chlorine from tap water affect the bug?
- I've seen so many different recommendations for the type of sugar used, from white sugar to unrefined sugar to rapadura, does any of that make a difference?
- I live in a cold climate this time of year, does that matter? It seems to start OK.
- Can too much sugar kill it, in the same way that sugar often helps canned preserves avoid botulism?
- Stirring is meant to agitate a bug while cultivating it, but at some point does it hinder instead of help?
- Does the amount of water used to start the bug matter?