I am planning to make ginger beer using whey and keep the sugar to a minimum. Are you able to advise the level of Rapadura sugar (coconut) to use so that it will be all eaten in the brewing. The aim is for a sugar free, alcohol free probiotic drink - I realise this may not be possible but would like to keep these to a minimum. Thank you,



  • What do you want to know about whey?
    – Mr_road
    Mar 12, 2018 at 9:08
  • 1
    Does it have to be fermented, or could you just carbonate your sugar free mix?
    – Philippe
    Mar 12, 2018 at 13:39

2 Answers 2


"The aim is for a sugar free, alcohol free probiotic drink"

Short answer: No *(if using natural whey, sugar, fermentation)

Natural Whey is usually about 5% sugar (lactose) while not fermentable it is stil a sugar metabolized by humans. Sour whey has less but still contains some lactos. 100% sugar free whey can be sourced but is heavily processed, and may conflict with the ideal of a natural healthy drink. (Lactase can be used to break lactose down into fermentable sugars)

Using whey as a base without processing will have sugar.

Coconut / Palm Sugar The major component of coconut sugar is sucrose (70–79%), glucose, and fructose (3–9% each).

Basically just a blend of table sugar (sucrose). Corn sugar (dextrose/glucose) and Fruit sugar (fructose).

Sucrose is molecule is 1 glucose molecule and 1 fructose molecule bound. This bond is broken in fermentation and human digestion to produce fructose and glucose for direct absorption by yeast and human cells.

In short coconut / palm sugar is nothing special. Just slightly faster to ferment and digest because a portion of it is already in monosaccaride form. It is completely fermentable, (yeast is able to convert all of the sugars mass into alcohol and cO2.)

Rapadura is unprocessed cane sugar, not coconut sugar. Sucrose is the sugar type (see above). But because it is unproccessed it does contain mineral nutrients that aids fermentation. Calcium, magnesium, iron.

It is possible Just not easy. You can make a probiotic drink that's alcohol, sugar free. Most will use fermentation to refine nutrients and make the drink carbonated, the but then you have alcohol. Alcohol can be boiled off, but you lose carbonation and denature proteins. However with the right equipment alcohol can be boiled out without heat by applying vaccum, the drink can then be force carbonated with the result of a probiotic sugar and alcohol free carbonated drink.


You will struggle to get sugar free and alcohol free unless you start with no sugar. One becomes the other. You could always do a kombucha like fermentation where the sugar becomes alcohol but is then further transformed by the SCOBY.

If you are looking at UK law then the definitions of free, low etc regarding alcohol in beer/other drinks is like this:

  • Alcohol-free beer = no more than 0.05% ABV
  • De-alcoholised beer = no more than 0.5% ABV
  • Low-alcohol beer = no more than 1.2% ABV

So... if you were aiming for <0.5% then you would want to to get a gravity of 1004/1005 and a final gravity of 1000/1001, not all fermentable sugar you add will become alcohol. Some goes into making more yeast, some is just not usable by the yeast.

If we assume the above is what you are looking for then you would want a maximum of 17g/l of sugar to give you 5 points of fermentable sugars, but 12g/l may be a safer bet given what you are aiming for.

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