Ginger Bug and Ginger Beer


Making a ginger bug is not that different from making a sourdough starter. You simply grate the ginger and allow the naturally occuring yeasts and bacteria to grow, then use the starter ‘bug’ to make your drinks.

Making a Ginger Bug

Makes 500ml Jar


1-2 Ginger roots

100 g granulated sugar

450 ml water


Glass jar



Day 1

1. Cut about 5cm of ginger off and grate or chop finely. Place in jar. 

2. Add 2 tbsp of sugar.

3. Add 450ml of water. Stir.

4. Cover and leave in a warm place.

Day 2-5 

(note: depending on temperature, it may take up to eight days of adding sugar and ginger to create the desired culture):

1. Add another 5cm worth of grated ginger and 2 tbsp of sugar.


You can tell if the culture is active if there are bubbles forming around the top of the mixture, it “fizzes” when stirred and it takes on a sweet and mildly yeasty smell. It will also become somewhat cloudy and opaque. If mold appears on the top, scrape it off if it can be removed.  If the mixture hasn’t taken on these characteristics by the 7-8th day, you need to discard it and start again.

Store unused bug in the refrigerator, feeding every few days until ready to use. 


Use Your Ginger Bug to Make Ginger Beer 

Makes 4 ltrs of Ginger Bee


10 cm grated or chopped fresh ginger root

375 g of sugar

Juice of 2 lemons

4 ltrs of water


Large Pot

Large jar, fermenting bucket or crock


Flip top or plastic screw on top bottles


1. Simmer grated ginger and 2 ltrs of water for 30 minutes.

2. Strain out ginger and add sugar and lemon juice to the hot ginger wort.

3. Add the additional 2 ltrs of cold water.

4. Add the strained ginger bug, retaining a few tablespoons to keep the starter going.  Don’t forget to re-feed it.

5. Ferment in a crock, jar or bucket for about 24 hours (I use a demijohn).

6. Bottle.  Store in fridge after 1-2 days.


For smaller batches, I skip the bucket ferment and just bottle straight away, leaving on the counter for a day or two longer.

Kat GoldinComment