I'm a novice fermenter who loves ginger beer, so I thought I'd try to make my own. I ordered some ginger beer plant from these guys and followed their guide: http://www.yemoos.com/gingerbeerguide.html
For my first batch I added 1/2 cup white sugar, GBP, and the juice of 4" of ginger root to a quart of water. I let it sit covered with cloth for 4 days, then I strained the liquid into two swingtop bottles and added 1 tsp. of white sugar to each bottle. I put the bottles in the fridge and "burped" them every day. After 3 days I tried the ginger beer, but it was too flat and sweet. The problem seemed obvious to me: I didn't allow enough time, and the fridge was too cold, for good fermentation.
For the second batch I added 1/4 cup white sugar, 1/4 cup light brown sugar, the GBP I separated from the 1st batch, and ginger juice to a quart of water. This time I let it sit for 7 days. I strained the liquid into 2 bottles again, but did not add extra sugar (I think I must have been scared of too much sweetness at the end). I did not put the bottles in the fridge but let them sit for 7 more days, opening them daily to release pressure (of which there didn't seem to be any).
Today I poured one of the bottles into a glass and a thick sludge came out. I tried a sip, and it did seem to have an alcohol bite to it, but this is definitely not what I had in mind.
What did I make? Is it salvageable in any way? But most importantly, how do I avoid this in the future?