I have started my first ginger bug and so far, not so good.

I followed the recipe from Wellness Mama but I'll explain what I personally did to see if I made a mistake.

I boiled a pot of water and soaked a mason jar in it. I then boiled another pot of water and put that aside to cool.

I bought some fresh organic ginger root and tried using a cheese grater. It got mushy so I sliced up the rest of what I needed. I tried to make it small chunks.

When the water was fairly cool (cozy enough for bacteria) I tossed in the ginger, granulated white sugar, and the water. I assumed boiling would get rid of the chlorine etc.

I mixed with a wooden spoon and re-attached the mason lid with a coffee filter instead of the metal top.

I kept the rest of the ginger (I bought waaaay too much) in the fridge, as I figured the bacteria would likely live.

Daily I took some out, cut it up, added 1 tablespoon of ginger and white granulated sugar.

After a few days I started keeping it behind my PS4 as it is on almost all day, and it puts off a good amount of heat.

It's been a week now and I have this: My Ginger Bug

To be honest my daughter was topping it up daily and insisted it was "all fizzy" but when I investigated it myself I found it lackluster. I might have had a thin white bubbly film around the edge... But nothing I would call fizzy.

I'm not sure what "yeasty" is supposed to smell like... But it smells fairly sweet, like a lemonade. Today there is actually a mild pungi-ness... If that's good, or even a thing?

What could I have done to get better results? Should I start over, should I keep going?

Thanks so much for the input!

1 Answer 1


If it was "fizzy" but not now that is on par with other starters, and sounds normal.

If by taste you don't have the residual sweetness from the sugars then the "bug" has grown and consumed the sugar.

If this is the case, then your starter is ready to inoculate your sodas.

  • Thanks for getting back to me. It's never been really what I would call fizzy. There is usually a very light white rim around the edge, more like a rim stain in terms of size. Stirring doesn't give the impression that it's any more carbonated. It smells very sweet, so I have to figure the sugar isn't gone. Are you saying I should sample it to see if it's sweet or not?
    – pcaston2
    Commented Sep 3, 2016 at 1:53
  • @pcaston2 well it won't carbonate much being open. By fizzy I assumed it has some foam for a time, showing yeast growth. Your bug is a starter used to add to soda or drink to get carbonation. Commented Sep 3, 2016 at 2:28
  • So it should be sealed? I've seen people advocating both ways. My understanding was the air let's the culture breathe and once it's growing well it is added to the root beer and grows for 3 days in a sealed bottle.
    – pcaston2
    Commented Sep 3, 2016 at 3:00
  • @pcaston2 once the bug has fermented you can seal it. You will know by the taste if the sugars are reduced if you tasted before/after. Its best to take gravity readings though. But if you've watched it and saw foam or bubbles and those are not there now, then your starter should be good to use. Commented Sep 3, 2016 at 3:13
  • 1
    @pcaston2 I'm sure it has "worked". The ginger bug isn't intended to be your beverage so there's no need to seal it to carbonate it. A portion of the bug is added to a larger batch of beverage to ferment it slightly to give your beverage carbonation. Commented Sep 5, 2016 at 15:35

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