Ive been reading numerous recipes in preparation for my first brew, and im confused between two types of recipes:

The first generally involves boiling ginger, adding sugar, champagne yeast, fermenting, backsweetening with nonfermentable sugars, priming, and bottling.

The second involves growing wild yeasts and bacteria in a semiopen container, and adding nonsanitised ingredients daily. This confuses me, as it seems like a great way to catch an infection and spoil the beer.

Is there anything I am missing? Is there a noticeable difference in taste? Is there any other benefit to the second approach?

2 Answers 2


It's about different flavor profiles. One is a cleaner ferment simpler flavor profile, the other offers more complexity.

Using the open container to catch wild microbes is definitely hit or miss. The best bet for this type of flavor profile is to get ginger bug from an established source (commercially or a fellow ginger beer brewer). A good strong bug will quickly lower the pH of the solution and limit contaminating issues.


I believe the difference has historical implications. Additionally ginger bug is said to have beneficial healthful properties that are absent in the shortcut recipe. It’s supposed to be much more probiotic.

A bug cultivates the yeasts already present on the ginger root meaning that those yeasts are attracted to ginger and will ferment the ginger itself rather than just fermenting added sugar.

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