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.