I have set up a 1 gallon brew using brewers yeast. I have also made my own bug starter and also purchased one.

After 4 days my own starter is going well and smells very strongly of yeast.

The purchased one however shows no sign of bubbling but has developed a strong sour/yeast smell plus something else which may be alcohol. I am not sure what is going on.

My gut feeling is to go with the purchased one as it has the required yeast and bacteria. My own starter i do not know what bacteria are present but i will try a small brew. I saw the post about the ginger bug smell but am really not sure if it is working.

The brewing yeast one is good but i cannot give it to the kids, currently it is 5.2% ABV , i was wondering if i could dilute it 1:1 then let the bug do its work if i can get it going.

I had it on the kitchen window though and i see elsewhere that light is a bad idea for this.

EDIT, as suggested.

Third batch was a winner. Recipes out there seem to be vague. So i have decided to weigh. 10 to 25 g of shredded ginger per litre. 25g is particularly fiery though but suits my taste. 1/2 lemon per litre, if making ginger lemonade it is best to leave a head space when bottling and add extra lemon later.

If all the lemon goes in at the start i end up with something that just tastes sour not lemony. The teaspoon of bug i started with was not enough, although i have managed to grow it now. It is much slower to develop than brewing yeast. For the mother i used boiled yeast and a little nutrient. I also added a crushed multivitamin tablet which does appear to have improved the starter culture significantly.I do not use these when brewing though.

  • What sort of bug starter was purchased? What did it physically look like? Ginger beer bug is a SCOBY that looks like small grains of opaque mush. It can be bought dried and rehydrated but after hydration it looks like small white grains. Anything else is probably not a SCOBY and is more likely a (wild) yeast. When the SCOBY is active it bubbles vigorously. Jan 11 '18 at 15:35
  • It was supplied live looking like bits of white jelly. It looks similar to water retaining gel that pot plant growers use. It has doubled its mass overnight but still no gas is being given off.Smell has changed somewhat also
    – beerbug
    Jan 11 '18 at 15:50
  • OK - it probably is the SCOBY. Hydrating it and allowing it to settle in for a few days is probably a good idea. During storage it shrivelled and dried to a large degree. Like this, the cell walls can be in a vulnerable state and the yeast/lacto grains need to be allowed to hydrate, swell and return to full metabolic activity over a period of time (eg a day or two at least). This can be done in dilute sugar and brew nutrient solution (aqueous). When the grains are fully regenerated add to the full ginger/sugar brew and make sure it is not too cold, eg. something above 16C is recommended. Jan 12 '18 at 13:09
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    A teaspoon full is not a lot. A tablespoon full is a better starting amount. My advice would be to try to grow the initial spoon full to something more massive. With sugar ginger and changes of water you should have enough in 3-4 weeks. The bug needs oxygen to grow,so foam the water when adding it. Longer time taken to grow if colder that (say) 18C.. Jan 13 '18 at 16:52
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    @beerbug: would you like to condense all these comments and your experience into an answer for this, would be good to get a consice answer to the problem you were having.
    – Mr_road
    Mar 22 '18 at 11:02

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