Natural Ginger Ale

How to make natural ginger ale a healthy and delicious treat full of probiotics and enzymes Natural Ginger Ale

It turns out that soda hasn’t always been the high fructose corn syrup and artificial flavor concoction in an aluminum can that we know today.

For hundreds of years (and probably much longer) cultures around the world have made various forms of naturally fermented “sodas” from sweetened herbal teas or fruit juice mixes. These natural fermented drinks contained beneficial enzymes and probiotics to boost health and were a far cry from the unhealthy versions we have today.

This version uses a fermented ginger culture to create a naturally fizzy soda! Ginger is and delicious herb that has been used in many cultures for its health-boosting properties. From my herb profile of ginger:

Ginger has been used in Chinese Medicine for thousands of years and is said to help:

  • Soothe digestive disturbances
  • Alleviate nausea (great in early pregnancy)
  • Reduce fever
  • Calm coughing and respiratory troubles
  • Stimulates the circulatory system
  • Helps relieve muscle aches and pain
  • Can help get rid of dandruff
  • Emerging evidence shows it helps lower cholesterol
  • Japanese research has found Ginger is effective in lowering blood pressure and cancer risk”

This natural recipe for ginger ale uses fresh ginger and a cultured ginger mixture (called a ginger bug) to create a naturally fermented and naturally fizzy ginger ale. Though this mixture can contain a small amount of alcohol if left to ferment at room temperature for weeks, we use the short brew method to create a fizzy soda without the alcohol.

Homemade ginger ale is soothing for digestive disturbances and contains probiotics and enzymes. As with any fermented product, I’d suggest starting with a small amount (4 ounce or so) and working up as all the probiotics and enzymes can cause an upset stomach in those who aren’t used to consuming fermented products. I found small amounts of this mixture helpful in early pregnancy to ward off nausea and any time one of us has an upset stomach. It also just tastes great!

This recipe makes 2 quarts of natural ginger ale, though the recipe can be adjusted up or down by using a ratio of 1/4 cup sugar per 1 quart of water and adding 1/4 cup ginger bug starter per quart of water.

4.9 from 7 reviews
Natural Ginger Ale
 
A naturally fermented old-fashioned ginger ale (also once called Ginger Beer) that contains beneficial probiotics and enzymes.
Author:
Recipe type: Cultured - Beverage
Ingredients
  • A 1-2 inch piece of fresh ginger root, minced. Adjust this to taste. I use 2 inches as I prefer a stronger ginger taste.
  • ½ cup of organic sugar or rapadura sugar. if using plain sugar, add 1 tablespoon molasses for flavor and minerals.
  • ½ cup fresh lemon or lime juice
  • ½ tsp sea salt or himalayan salt
  • 8 cups of filtered (chlorine free) water (Here is the water filter we use)
  • ½ cup homemade ginger bug (or can use ¼ cup whey for a faster recipe though the flavor won't be quite as good. Here is a tutorial for how to make whey)
Instructions
  1. Make a "wort" for your ginger ale by placing 3 cups of the water, minced ginger root, sugar (and molasses if needed), and salt in a saucepan and bringing to a boil.
  2. Simmer the mixture for about five minutes until sugar is dissolved and mixture starts to smell like ginger.
  3. Remove from heat and add additional water. This should cool it but if not, allow to cool to room temperature before moving to the next step.
  4. Add fresh lemon or lime juice and ginger bug (or whey).
  5. Transfer to a 2 quart glass mason jar with a tight fitting (air-tight) lid. Stir well and put lid on.
  6. Leave on the counter for 2-3 days until carbonated and transfer to the fridge where it will last indefinitely.
  7. Watch this step carefully. Using whey will cause it to ferment more quickly and it will take less time. It should be bubble and should "hiss" like a soda when the lid is removed. This is very temperature dependent and the mixture may need to be burped or stirred during this fermentation time on the counter.
  8. As with any traditional fermented drink, it is more of an art than a science as it depends on the strength of your culture, the temperature of your house and the sugar used. The final mixture should smell of ginger and slightly of yeast/fermentation and should be fizzy. Watch carefully that it doesn't become too carbonated as this will cause too much pressure and may result in an exploding jar!
  9. The mixture can be strained and transferred to Grolsch style bottles before putting in the fridge (we like these bottles).
  10. Strain before drinking.
  11. Enjoy!

Have you ever made a naturally fermented drink like ginger ale, kombucha or water kefir? What is your favorite? Share below!

Reader Comments

  1. Karen Hauser says

    how do you replenish the ginger bug as you use it? If it can be kept long term, it must need to be fed. Thanks for a great recipe..going to buy ginger root tomorrow!

    • Pema Sony-la says

      Here are my thoughts about the sugar in this recipe. First, the purpose of sugar in a ferment is to feed the good bacteria & allow them to proliferate. Second, there are 24 teaspoons in a half cup of sugar. Putting that into 8 cups of water means there could potentially be a max of 3 teaspoons of sugar/cup of ginger ale. (Obviously that is far less sugar tyan you’ll find in any commercial soda.) Lastly, there won’t be that much sugar in this finished product because the probiotic bacteria are going to consume a lot of the sugar as this mixture ferments.

      Honey is not a good alternative because honey has antibacterial properties that will work against the fermentation process. I don’t think that stevia is a good option to feed the good bacteria, which again is the process we are working to foster here.
      In my opinion it is best to use sucanat or rapadura as alternatives to refined sugar in fermenting foods. I hope this helps!

      • Candy South says

        Question-Where did you hear about honey killing the good bacteria? I use raw honey all of the time to make fruit mead which is just a fermented fruit drink. I learned how to make it from the book “The Art of Fermentation” by Sandor Ellix Katz. He has some awesome and interesting stories about native peoples making honey fermented drinks. So for my experience I would think that honey might really work. It would be worth experimenting with anyway. :)

        BTW-This is a great looking recipe and I am going to try it! :)

        • Russ Fae says

          I make mead on a regular basis, what you are making is a melomel(sp) the natural sugars in the fruit content is what allows the yeast to ferment it. One a culture is going strong then it can handle the honey but if you try to ferment the honey by its self without anything else to feed the bacteria you will seldom be successful in getting it to start. Hope that clears this up a bit.

        • anonymous says

          Once upon a time I did make ginger ale using 50:50 raw sugar:honey (vol:vol). It brewed very quickly (too quickly, explosively) and had an unappealing and bitter taste (it was a strongly flavoured honey). I wouldn’t reccommend it.

      • Charles Sifers says

        Honey is a perfectly acceptable substitute for “sugar”. Honey only inhibits microbial growth in it’s natural state, due to it’s hygroscopic nature which is diluted when it is added to water or fruit juice, and some honeys will ferment on their own if the bees haven’t dried it completely.
        I’ve been making award winning mead (melomels, hydromels, metheglins) for 20 years, so I have a bit of experience with this particular process.
        Honey will give a better flavor, as well.

    • says

      NOt for this… the beneficial cultures feed on the sugar and it ferments out but it is needed for the reaction and to make the carbonation. Honey could work, though some honey, especially raw, is antimicrobial and can slow down the reaction.

      • Candy South says

        Okay, interesting replies. It is all something to sit down and think about. Thank you all for responding. I just like to make sure that I get my thoughts and facts straight. :)

    • Kevin says

      I did this recently (actually I skimmed the foam off a drink I made with milk kefir whey) and it looks like there’s much more active microbial activity vs my control in which I just used the ginger and its natural yeast. But I can’t say for sure.

  2. Mr.Truth says

    I drank Ginger root tea 1 inch ginger root cheese graded into like cheese , 2 tea spoons of honey and 1 tea spoon of lemon juice for 1 month an it lowered my Blood pressure an my CHOL. over 40 points i am no longer under doctors care

  3. lyss says

    Ok, so is there a significant alcohol content in this? I’m a little leery since it’s been called “beer”. I’m all about healthy probiotics, but how do I know I’m not making an alcoholic drink?! Or would it have to ferment for much longer than just a few days to be of concern? Slight content might be ok, but I’m a bit scared of making fermented drinks, because I won’t know if I’ve made alcohol, which I don’t drink, and I most certainly would not want to give to my kids…

    • says

      My hubby brews beer at home so we have the equipment to measure alcohol content. According to the reading I took right before it went in the fridge it had no or negligible alcohol (less than an over-ripe banana). As long as it is put in the fridge when it has carbonated, the alcohol content should not increase. Most beers take 4-6 weeks of fermentation to get their alcohol content…

      • says

        So if you let it ferment for the 4-6 weeks, you can make an actual alcoholic ginger beer? If so do you need to keep burping it? I just made my first batch this morning using organic ginger, lemons and sugar. I didn’t have a glass bottle, I had to use plastic, within 4 hours the plastic was completely expanded and I had to burp it for I was afraid it would explode. Fizzed all the way up to the opening and almost came out. Should it go in the fridge already?

  4. Abby says

    A word of caution about ginger in pregnancy: my understanding is that it has abortifacient properties, and should be avoided in any significant quantities in early pregnancy, particularly if you have a history of miscarriage. It is a frequent ingredient in prenatals, too, because of its ability to sooth the stomach, but some may want to avoid it entirely!

    • Miyo says

      I just want to clarify ginger has been shown to be safe in pregnancy, and ACOG’s official statement about it says that ginger is a safe alternative option for the treatment of nausea during pregnancy, although studies have been limited (as with ALL medicinal uses of herbs!).

  5. Leah Robinson says

    Thank you for this recipe, as well as the Ginger Bug recipe! I just made 3 batches of this and it is now sitting out for the 2-3 days. If you strain into bottles after leaving on the counter for 2-3 days, will it lose it’s carbonation or will it re-carbonate in the fridge?
    Thanks again and I can’t wait to try it!

    • says

      You typically strain the ginger from the bug before placing the the secondary and just add the liquid, but you should be able to strain and have it keep its carbonation as long as it has been tightly capped the whole time.

      • Amy says

        Sorry for the reply on an old thread, I’m new here! I’ve made a couple of batches this way and I have a problem with the carbonation as well. It carbonates fine out on the counter, however when I funnel into bottle, it fizzes up and seems to lose it carbonation that way; sort of like when a soda can explodes.

        Do you know how to do this transfer into the bottles without the carbonation fizzing out during the process? I’ve tried going slower and still have the same issue. Otherwise I love this recipe, taste great but more carbo would be even better!

  6. emily says

    Since the ginger bug can be used to make other sodas, does anyone have a good recipe for creme soda, perhaps using the ginger bug?

    • Miner says

      It’s not really that bad. Once your bug is healthy, the time it takes to brew a batch is negligible and can be done while doing other necessary things in your kitchen.

    • Ashley says

      I thought it sounded like a lot of work, too, but I don’t think I actually spent more than ten minutes of actual work at any one point. It’s a fun project, and the result is delicious.

    • Jamie Campbell says

      Once the bug is going it’s about the same amount of work as making tea — basically, you ARE making tea followed by adding some culture to it. The only difference is with most tea you wouldn’t do the “simmer for a bit” part.

    • Lorraine says

      It is a lot of work. I tried something very similar. Love the idea of it, don’t like the work of it. I am not sure mine turned out all that well either.

  7. Rusket says

    I would love to make ginger ale, but alas, I do not understand the measurements. I found a converting site, but I need to know whether your cups and quarts are british or american! And tsp, does that mean teaspoon or tablespoon?

  8. Tamara says

    I’m at the point of leaving the ginger ale for 2-3 days. But it isn’t getting fizzy. I have “burped” the bottle for fear of it bursting, but there hasn’t been any gas release.
    What am I missing? Should I add more ginger bug?

    • Tamara says

      Could it be because I used sucanat as my sugar in the wort? I doubt it because it IS sugar. But…?
      Do I need to throw out my gingerale or can I save it? Add more sugar? Add more bug? Help!

      • alicia says

        I’m having the same issue too! I used organic cane sugar though. It seems to be getting slightly fizzy but you have to put your ear up to it and really listen. Mine’s been sitting for 5 days. My ginger bug is healthy so that’s not the issue. I don’t think … I did try to make strawberry “soda” and that didn’t get fizzy either. So maybe it is the bug? Anyway, I’m making a new batch as we speak and I’m trying sucanat this time.

        • Biggi Mask says

          im having the same issues… does anyone have any kind of advise?? i am lost, my ginger ale is out for three days and not even a hint of bubbles…

    • onyourmark says

      The first time I made it I had to let mine ferment out of the fridge for a full week before it got fizzy. You know how you get that sediment that settles on the bottom, I found that if I turned the bottle upside down and then right side up and kind of allowed that to mix back into the beverage once a day, the fermentation sped up a little… This is a great recipe, it just took longer for the fermentation for me. I live at the Jersey Shore and I did this in the summer so it’s warm and humid here. I didn’t have it near an air conditioning vent and I had it on the opposite side of the room from my kombucha…

    • Jamie Campbell says

      If no carbonation is happening my recommendation would be to use hotter liquid for the final step. If it’s too hot it will kill the culture and you won’t get any carbonation happening, but, if it’s near the upper end of “won’t kill the culture” then the result will instead be more powerful fermenting action. The recipe above is what most people should be following (letting the wort cool down substantially), specifically because otherwise it really does end up ale-ish (two of my batches have been way too strong due to being too impatient to wait as long as I should have). But, if you’re getting no activity at all then give higher temperatures a try. I’m not sure the exact temperatures I’ve been using but generally, if the water is hot enough to be painful for you, then it will almost definitely kill the culture. If the water is warm enough that you could comfortably bath in it for a while, then the culture should be ok (with possible risk of it being “overactive”, but if it’s not doing any carbonation for you it’s worth trying). If you could bath in it but it would be uncomfortable, then it may or may not kill the culture but probably best not to risk that much heat level.

      Another thing I should mention is you should definitely, *definitely* check in on the pressure if you’re using warmer liquid since stronger fermenting action will also mean more rapid accumulation of pressure and greater risk of the container exploding.

    • Mike W. says

      I’m in a similar situation. I used whey (as linked above) instead of the ginger bug but after 3 days there’s been NO fermentation. I’ve got the mixture sitting on my counter in a plastic 2 liter bottle at room temperature. I check the pressure on the bottle daily by squeezing it. It hasn’t increased at all.

      Could the whey have been bad? I followed the linked recipe for collecting whey from organic full fat yogurt. Is there some way to check the whey to confirm that it is good for fermenting?

      Thanks!

  9. mamaV says

    Made it. Love it. So does Jr. and the Mr.
    Do you have any suggestions for flavor variations? I would like to try something cream soda-like with vanilla.

  10. Meghan says

    I couldn’t believe how easy this was. Making the ginger bug was definitely the “hardest” part, and even that was just a matter of seconds a day to feed it. I was able to brew and bottle while doing other things, and then just left it to carbonate until it went into the fridge. Quick, easy, and delicious!

  11. SusieJ says

    Just wondering, some recipes say the first ferment should last for up to 3 days, with the lid loose, to allow the probiotics to be created. Then, you strain it and put it into sealed bottles to create carbonation for 24 hours, before transferring to fridge. Does your way still give enough time to create probiotics? I guess I’m not sure how it works — do you need the lid loose or tight for that to happen.

      • Robin says

        Really struggling to get carbonated Ginger Ale. Made a “Ginger bug” with no problem at all – nice and yeasty/bubbly. Have tried two batches to make Ginger Ale, but it does nothing :(
        I have tried raw sugar and also white castor sugar, but the lemon juice is bottled – should it be freshly squeezed maybe?. I am in a hot country with my kitchen typically at 30degC, could this be “killing” the secondary process? HELP please…..

  12. Ashley says

    Is the salt for flavor, or is it vital to the process? I liked it, but thought it tasted just a TAD too salty.

    • Meghan says

      I just had to throw mine out because I got hit with salt and lime that nearly made me sick. Not a very good first run when I feel like I’m missing a shot of tequila. I’m not sure if I will try it again or not.

      • Ashley says

        I used lemon instead of lime because I thought it seemed like it would go better with ginger, but I don’t really taste the lemon. I read a comment on another website from someone who made it without salt and it came out fine.

    • Jamie Campbell says

      I suspect that the salt is less about flavor and more about a hotter wort to better simmer the ginger (since salt has the effect of increasing the boiling temperature of water). I suspect you can try dropping the salt, it might just somewhat decrease the ginger intensity in the final flavour. I’m just guessing at that though, so you should take my thoughts with a grain of salt, no pun intended…

  13. Ashley says

    I want to verify the part about this ginger ale causing an upset stomach if you drink too much right away. I drank a tall glass the first day because it was so delicious, and a short glass the second day, and by that evening (yesterday) I was having terrible bowel problems and all day today have had bloating and gas. I don’t want to blame the ginger ale unfairly, but that’s the only thing I can think to attribute it to, and I can’t say I wasn’t warned. It tastes so good on a hot day, though!

    • mikey85 says

      Are you drinking the sludge at the bottom?

      Your hunch that it was the ginger was somewhat correct. It’s actually what the ginger harbors…wild microorganisms. The “ginger bug” is actually a method of harvesting the most important one, the wild yeast, still on the ginger (so don’t wash your ginger or you’ll kill your precious yeast.) The beauty and downside to harvesting wild strains is that it’s a crapshoot what you get. You’re also harvesting bacteria and whatever else happens to be there, so if you’re not liking your final product, source your ginger from a different location and you may get wildly different results.

      Eating too much live yeast will give you the runs. To avoid this, leave your bottles upright for a week or so when you’re finished and *then* place them in the refrigerator upright for a few more days. The cool temperature will tell your yeast it’s time to go to bed. Putting your yeast in cold conditions so should cause the yeast to stop their log phase (nom nom nom) and then flocculate (clump up and fall to the bottom…zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.) This induced hybernation causes them to conk out and fall to the bottom (scientific term.)

      Alternatively, you may reach your desired results by using less sugar, reducing the total amount of expended yeast. Using less sugar may be necessary for the strain of wild yeast you harvested. To the best of my knowledge using less yeast will have no effect on the final quantity of yeast in your solution, as they simply reproduce to fill any available space.

      Serve your beverage from a drinking glass instead of your fermentation vessel, gently pouring it to prevent your yeast cake on the bottom from being stirred up.

      Cheers!

      • Ashley says

        Thanks for the great info! I have continued drinking that same batch, in smaller quantities and less often, and haven’t had any more tummy troubles.

  14. Guest says

    I can’t help but notice that in the ingredients list it says 8 cups of water but in the recipe you only use three. is that a typo or am I missing something?

    • Jamie Campbell says

      it’s three cups for the wort, followed by adding another five after the wort simmering is done, for eight cups in total

    • Jamie Campbell says

      My approach is to add water to replenish what gets used up when I’m doing ginger ale — I suspect if you add too much water then you’ll need to increase how much sugar and ginger you feed it since more water will mean more culture and thus more nourishment to keep it happy. I suspect it’s better to start siphoning off ginger (to keep the ginger pile from getting too huge) rather than adding water.

      On the other hand, if you make lots and lots of ginger ale, then having lots of bug available could be helpful. I’m definitely considering expanding my own bug to a much larger volume with the requisite increased feeding requirements.

  15. Betsy Faircloth says

    Sorry if this is a stupid question, I tried to find the answer among the comments. I still don’t understand what to do when the bug is used, so I still haven’t started my ginger ale!

    If I use 1/2 cup of my ginger bug to start a fizzy drink, what EXACTLY do I do to replenish it? Like, how much water, sugar, ginger, etc do I add, and do I have to repeat the process of feeding it for x amount of days again?

    Thanks in advance!! I’m so anxious to start, my ginger bug was my first time making a fermented drink and I’m so happy with how it came out!

    • Jamie Campbell says

      I’ve been replenishing the consumed 1/2 cup with 1/2 cup of filtered water. I haven’t been modifying the feeding schedule to compensate and the bug has stayed happy. This will obviously weaken the culture but for me it seems to recover just fine without needing any special provisions.

      However I should note that until today I’ve also been overfeeding my bug — I’ve been giving it 1 tablespoon of both sugar and ginger per day instead of the recommended 1 teaspoon of each. I suspect it’s the same principle though — it should recover on it’s own, as long as you’re giving it a few days to recover its strength before using it for ginger ale again. As a general indicator, if it’s bubbling nicely and has that nice fermenty ginger smell, it’s probably strong enough to use again.

  16. Hafsteinn Hjartarson says

    I just made a batch of this home made ginger ale. I bottled the ginger ale 3 days ago and it has carbonated heavily. There is a lot of precipitate in my bottles (each bottle holds about 800ml) which is creating all the carbonation and I was wondering what to do with this ? should I drink the liquid and leave the precipitate or should I gently move the bottle around so that the precipitate will blend with the liquid ? Also… a new culture has started to form on top of the liquid in one of the bottles, whats up with that ? Do you think it’s ok to drink from that bottle ?

    Thanks for a great website btw… and the new root beer recipe is definitely on the to do list!!

  17. Tina Burbank says

    I made it. Flavored it with cherry juice, grape juice and blackberry juice. I love it. Im usingthe last bit of my first ginger bug and am starting a new one wednesday. Thanks a bunch!

      • Igor Maric says

        I’ve been making Ginger Ale (or Ginger drink, whatever one might want to call it) on semi-regular basis for about a year now. My recipe is pretty simple (rough measurements): 1/2 cup of freshly cheese-grated ginger juice, 1/4 cup of lemon juice, 1/4 cup of Agave nectar and 1/8 teaspoon of dry yeast. I use this to make 2L of ginger ale. Can you tell me what would be the difference between using ginger bug instead of dry yeast? Probiotics, maybe? I noticed that some of the readers had problems with carbonation, but with my recipe, the plastic 2L bottle is hard as a rock after just two days (that’s why I reduced the amount of dry yeast. Also, it tasted too carbonated). And, why do you not recommend using the Agave nectar?

        • Jamie Campbell says

          My understanding is that some cultures can’t metabolize agave, where as others can. Water kefir seems to be able to handle agave, but it doesn’t grow as quickly if you use agave. I suspect it’s for the same reason that it’s diabetic-friendly — its used deliberately for the quality of being slower to metabolize. I suspect that this means that some ferments just can’t “get a grip” on it.

  18. Alicia Bassett says

    I was wanting to juice greens, veg and fruit (beet greens, beet root, apple and lemon) and use that to make a natural soda. Is it possible to use green juices in fermented beverages, like this soda or kombucha?

  19. james says

    So after making the bug theres no mention of how much room to leave in the bottles you pour your final mixture into to prevent exploding glass. Does anyone have any data to share as far as what size container they used and how much room works best for them?

  20. Laura says

    My ginger bug is (hopefully) almost ready to use. I grated all my ginger up already (to make it easier to feed my bug), so I’m not sure how much to add to the wort. Approximately how many tablespoons is 1″ of ginger??

  21. Bethany Maltais says

    I made a healthy ginger bug and fermented my ginger ale for 3 days with no fizzy bubbles.. When I oped the lid I heard a little gas release but no bubbles. I tasted it and it tasted wonderful so I went ahead and strained and put into bottles in the fridge. Since its not really carbonated should I have let it sit out on my counter longer? Is it ok to drink now?

  22. RonS says

    Awesome! I used to make root beer in college, using a commercial flavoring. Would love to try a more natural approach to soda making. This sounds good. I would like to find root beer recipes made from actual roots, instead of a commercial flavoring. BTW, the comment about minimal alcohol content is true. The overripe banana comparison is pretty accurate. We fermented our root beer for 2 weeks, at room temperature, using about 3 gallons of water, a level tsp of yeast, 5 pounds of white sugar (could have used brown for better flavor, probably, and some root beers are made with honey), and the 4 oz bottle of flavoring/coloring. It was very popular. PS, don’t be thrown off by the name “ginger beer” as ale=beer for all intents and purposes. Both ginger ale and root beer contain insignificant amounts of alcohol (similar to dealcoholized wine or nonalcoholic beer, or even less).

  23. Deb Mac says

    My dog has cancer and I can’t get her to eat right now. I’m wondering if some kind of ginger drink might help her tummy. Not necessarily this one, but has anyone given a ginger drink to a dog before?

    • Daphne says

      Try giving her pumpkin. Just plain pumpkin in a can. Make sure it PLAIN and isn’t Pumpkin Pie mix. Yogurt is good also.

  24. Candace says

    Hello….I’m in the process of making this wonderfully yummy sounding ginger-ale for myself, my husband and boys. I’ve never done it before but I’ve sorta caught the fermenting bug and there’s no stopping me now. :) I’m making kefir, kombucha, kraut and fermented carrots and garlic right now. And now I’m on to ginger-ale. I’ve gotta say, I love it. My question is about the ginger bug. Do I strain it before using it, or does it just go in with the ginger bits and all?

  25. Devan says

    Few questions!
    1. I am currently in the process of making your ginger bug recipe…when my ginger bug is complete, do I ever have to add water to it? Or do I leave it in the fridge and JUST feed it sugar and ginger once a week? Can I cover it with a metal lid or should I always have the cloth over it?
    2. After I’m done brewing the actual drink and want to bottle it, is it OK that I run the already carbonated drink through a metal strainer? Will that kill it?
    3. How is this when using plastic? Can I brew the ginger bug or drink in a plastic container, or must it always be glass?

    Thank you!!! I’m SO excited to start this project!!!!

  26. Deborah Lighthall says

    I make coconut kefir by rotating 3 bottles of probiotic filled coconut water, keeping -them on a paper towel on the kitchen counter to grow. When the bottle is empty it gets filled with fresh coconut water and set on the counter for about 2-3 days. Since it creates a naturally carbonated drink, it’s good to untwist the caps to let the excess pressure out maybe once or twice a day. I use dark brown glass bottles and wouldn’t want them to explode! I go through 1-15 fl oz bottle in a day or day and a half. I also use it on salads as part of the dressing to give it a little fizz and tang! 8)

  27. Alejandro Robles says

    We often make pineapple ‘tepache’… a mexican name to a fermented drink made out of the pineapple peals. When eating a pineapple don’t discard the peals.. you can make tepache putting them in a jar of around 1 qtr or so (3-4 lt) with brown raw natural sugar -1 to 3 cups- (we use 1 ‘piloncillo’ which is a raw sugar rock), some cinammon wands (snap off some 2-3 wands) and and a few (3-4) cloves. You leave it for 3-5 days depending on weather for it to ferment. You’ll know is ready when bubbles or foam are present.. refrigerate and enjoy!

  28. Michael Sweet says

    So I gave this a try and rather than letting it finish in a 2qt Mason jar I went ahead and bottled it in Grolsch-style bottles and let it sit at room temperature for 4 days. Big mistake! When I opened the first bottle it blew like Mt. St. Helens. There was Ginger Ale in the next county. Wondering if I tried this again (what do they say about insanity?) but this time put the bottles directly into the fridge if things will go any better? Anyone tried this?

    • Todd Dina Johnson says

      I have heard to keep it on the counter for 24 hours and may need to ‘burp’ your bottles occasionally in that time… I have not tried this yet… but my ginger bug is about one day from being ready…
      I hope that you were able to find your answer sooner than this and that all went well…

  29. Kiersten says

    I just tried to make the ginger ale. My ginger root was nice and fizzy, but my ginger ale lacks the carbonation. My house has been a little cold, making the ginger ale ranging about 64-68F. Could that be the factor? It had mold growing on top too. :*( It is more like a ginger tea than soda. What do you recommend? Do you think it still contains health benefits? I hate wasting….

  30. Tiffany Husbands says

    I followed the recipe but I’m on day 4 and there’s still no carbonation. I did use whey instead of ginger bug. There’s no mold on it so is it safe to try it or did I really mess it up and should I just start over?

  31. Sunil says

    I am allergic to any alcohol and MUST stay away from even the smallest amounts of alcohol

    Does the home made ginger bug that you ferment for 5 days using your method, or this ginger beer soda using the above method contain any alcohol at all or is it completely alcohol free?

    How can I guarantee that the mixtures contain NO alcohol at all?

    Thanks.

    Sunil.

    • Jamie Campbell says

      My understanding of ferments is that the fermenting process *always* creates alcohol and carbon dioxide as a byproduct. People with sensitivities to even trace alcohol levels should probably steer clear of ferments unless there’s some de-alcoholing process I’m not aware of.

  32. Abby says

    Hi WellnessMama, I love your ginger ale recipe. I made my first batch and I’m on my second now. My first batch was good but then it started to smell like sulfur after carbonating and being in the fridge. Do you know why this is and how to avoid it this next time?

    • Mark says

      I gave it a shot… using the bug ginger for the ginger ale. It was OK, but rather mild on ginger flavoring… more like a lime soda actually.
      -mark

  33. Mark says

    Hi Katie et al, great recipe… great site! I’ve been making this ginger ale for about 6 months now and it continues to satisfy. I have two comments and a question. 1) I found that black strap molasses really changes the taste… and a full table spoon competes with the ginger (for my taste anyway). Now I switch between brewing with no molasses at all or adding just a small drip (maybe 1/2 a teaspoon) for color and a subtle taste. 2) after fermenting for 3 days… straining and bottling, I have been leaving the bottles out for a second fermentation. I find that this can increase the fiz factor, if that’s what you desire. Depending on where the brew is at when strained… 12-24 hours can bring the bubbles on quite nicely. And then I just put the bottles right in the fridge to stop building pressure. It has been a real winner… and even helped with a batch that had a slow gas leak over the first 3 days.
    Here’s my question… I’ve noticed that the ginger bug ginger retains its potency over a good amount of time. I have been discarding some of the old to make room for the new… and i am wondering if you have found a good use for the spicey, probiotic leftovers? I have added it to salads/dressings… and now I am wondering if it could be reused in the ginger ale itself? Can I use the old ginger bug ginger as the ginger in the ginger ale recipe?… or has it lost it’s mojo?
    Thanks for all of your efforts. Peace. -mark

    • Jamie Campbell says

      I’ve been using some ginger-bug ginger when I make ginger ale, it hasn’t caused any adverse effects for my batches. It doesn’t seem to do anything special to help them out either, but at least for my attempts it didn’t do anything bad.

  34. ben says

    my ginger bug has white stuff all over the surface of it is this mold or the ginger bug itself, also I made ginger beer with it its still fermenting for carbonation but its gathering white stuff on the top of it is that ok?

  35. Happymom says

    I looked all over the internet to see if I could accidentally “mess up” and make a bad batch. I couldn’t find anything, so would you know? I don’t want to hurt somebody. I think I did all the steps right. I’m new to this and just want to put any fears to rest. :) Thanks for sharing this recipe! I look forward to enjoying it!

  36. lynda says

    Oh my _ what memories I have of brewing ginger “beer” in england, over 60 years ago!! I remember having to “feed” it daily with a small amount of sugar. I never put lemon in the mixture,but it would probably enhance the flavor. My brewing days came to an end when one particularly “strong” batch blew up!!!!!

  37. Heather Maxwell says

    Hi there,
    I was wondering how you make the fermented fruit sodas you wrote about in your blog? I love this ginger ale a lot and the root beer but I think my kids would like the fruit soda as well. Could you please tell me how to make fermented fruit soda like the ginger ale?
    Thank you so much! I love this site!
    Heather

  38. John says

    Hi, my gingerbug is almost ready and I’m just curious as to when I take out some of the bug for the ginger ale, am I trying to get an “even” distribution of liquid to bits of ginger, or am I trying to get mostly the pieces of ginger at the bottom? Thanks!

  39. Jennifer says

    Hi Katie
    I cannot seem to find any 2 quart mason jars where I live . Can I use a 2 L plastic soda bottles instead? Also do I strain it before putting it into my final bottles or before the carbonating process?

    • Shawnessy says

      I used glass for my first batch. My second batch made more so I used a dark plastic jug and it worked well. Actually tasted better but that was because I used less salt and grated ginger.

  40. Jennifer says

    I live in Orlando=hot and humid. Not sure if this, or AC, will affect the process. Any special instructions for this type of climate? Thanks, I’m really excited to try this.

  41. Shawnessy says

    I have successfully made two batches this week after awaiting the development of my ginger bug. Not as sweet as the ginger beer I have bought at the store, but so much more satisfying knowing I made it. (Gotta try a copper cup for full flavor and chill!) THANK YOU Katie :}
    Question: I was taught never to store lemon/lime juice in a jar with any metal (the lid in this case). Does this rule apply to soda making, or did I miss something in the instructions?

  42. Melissa says

    Hi Katie,

    Thank you so much for the awesome recipe! This is my second time making it. This time I put it in a two liter growler to ferment rather than the mason jars I used last time. It has a ton of carbonation, which is great, but there’s a layer of mold on the surface. Is it safe to drink?

    Thanks so much!

  43. Karla says

    Hi! I make homemade yogurt and like to use the leftover whey in different ways. I currently have some probiotic lemonade on the counter and was thinking it would be neat to make homemade ginger ale. Just wondering… I made a batch of “ginger beer” using yeast to create the carbon dioxide; it was REALLY GOOD and I’m wondering how the whey method will compare. Is the probiotic content the only difference?

  44. Mel says

    Do you have recipes/directions for making any other healthy non/low sugar drinks at home? I am not a fan of sugar. I love drinking commercial soda, but could do without the extreme sugar, and in general trying to cut back/eliminate sugar. I am not a fan of water, so I would like to find more beverages that have flavor with low sugar amounts. Also, I am not a fan of tea. Any ideas would help, thanks!

  45. Aaron says

    I am on my second failed attempt. It is not fermenting. When I transfer it to my “ball” air tight jar do I need to set the jar on boiling water to make sure it’s airtight? Or am I not doing something else? Any help would be very appreciate

    • says

      You shouldn’t need to set it in boiling water… Is your ginger bug getting frothy and bubbly? That would be the first step to make sure as you’ll need the cultures from that for the next step to work. During that step, you’ll want to make sure it is lightly covered so it has access to the cultures in the air…

  46. Aaron says

    yes, I used full fat organic yogurt. What container should I use to make sure it is air tight. I believe that could be my problem. Thank you so much for your help on this.

  47. dana pallessen says

    I plan to use coconut flower sugar. do you think this will work as well. I do not use grass (table) sugar. can you respond to my email please?

  48. Mary Holman says

    Thank you for this recipe, I am really anxious to try it, but do have one concern. You say it is temperature dependent, what temperature is best for making it? I live on the southeastern Arizona desert and have no central heating/cooling system, we heat with wood in the winter and open up windows and doors and turn on fans in the summer. Our temps can range from the upper 20’s in the winter to 100+ in the summer so with no way to regulate a constant temperature I’m wondering if I will be able to brew this drink under these conditions. I sure hope so, I have Celiac disease and this drink could do wonders for my poor, old tired gut. lol

  49. april says

    Hi! I am addicted to this website! I am making this for the first time. On the fifth day of fermenting my ginger bug we were suddenly called away due to a death in our family. I didn’t think to put it in the fridge before I left. Today is day eight. My bug smells okay but has a white film on top. Is it ruined? Should I just start over or can I salvage it somehow. Thanks for any help!

  50. Barry says

    I thought this to be interesting when you said that making any probiotic beverage that it is more of an Art then Science and I agree with you because many different cultures have their own way of fermenting their beverages.

    I have a new technique that I discovered from 2 natural health sources. First is using EM-PRO liquid probiotic that is fermentation of black strap molasses .

    And the 2nd source of information is from my Ayurvedic Doctor from the Mangosteen Resort and Ayurveda Spa at Rawai Beach in Phuket Thailand where I live.

    Place a small piece of raw or blanched Tamarind paste in the liquid and add some Em-Pro. In addition to the above I add a bit of organic cold pressed apple cider vinegar and a bit of Himalayan Pink Sea Salt or Sole Salty Water. Some fresh squeezed lemon juice with rind. Use only a wooden spoon as metal disturbs the cultured bacteria. I let the brew sit at room temperature for one to 3 days. I do this for making raw goat milk kefir.

    Holistic Chef Barry uses different combinations with the above ingredients for water coconut kefir and other probiotic beverages . Sometimes I may place some fermented Traditional style Korean Kim- chi into a certain brew. Holistic Chef Barry ” The Good Earth Chef “

    • Louise says

      I would love to have a good kim chi recipe…I used to work at a big hotel kitchen and the nice Korean ladies would bring me some….I miss it sooooo much!

  51. B says

    Hi,

    I realized that I didn’t wait until room temperature to add the ingredients back together. The added water did cool it significantly though, to the point that is was only mildly warm to the touch. Will it be okay?

    Thanks,
    B

  52. Nick says

    Tx for the recipe I drink ginger tea often about 4″ sometimes within raw honey sometimes Straight, I recognize a health benefit from this pretty quickly especially for nauseous ness or headache sometimes for join pain. I look forward to trying your recipe and experimenting with it. I Also look forward to maybe trying to make ginger beer described above … Anyway great info.

  53. Ian says

    Hi Katie, Wellness Mama, thank you so much for all of your wisdom and knowledge. Quick question, I didn’t see it posted yet I don’t think, is it crucial to seal the big jar of ginger ale for the 2-3 days or can it be covered with a cheesecloth but will just take longer? I ask because isn’t it being air tight that causes the growth of bad bacteria? Thanks! Grace and Peace. Ian.

  54. Jess says

    Hi, my first ginger ale was good. Had to burp everyday on the counter. I didn’t strain the bug or ginger from the wort last time and it carbonated fast.

    I strained both this time with a metal strainer and I’m hoping this won’t mess it up. Am I or am I not supposed to strain the bug and/or wort before I ferment it? Or does it need the ginger/fruit pieces in it to properly ferment?

    Also, I had my bug in the frig for a week but never added water. I took it out today and let it get to room temperature. It still smelled yeasty and sweet, but wasn’t really fizzy. I still used it. Will it still work?

    I added more water, sugar and ginger after I used it and a few hours later it’s already foamy on top. I think I have a strong bug.

  55. Brian says

    Has anyone calculated what % ABV this recipe produces?

    The “Ginger Bug” is nothing more than wort that has collected wild yeasts and bacterias (good ones but still yeasts and bacterias nonetheless). Using the word “fermenting” throughout the recipe is accurate because that’s exactly what happens when yeast/bacteria meet sugars disolved in water. The bubbles you’re seeing are the CO2 being released from the fermentation process and the other by-product of that process is…. ethyl alchohol. I haven’t done the mathbut I would be willing to bet that the amount of sugar used along with the amount of water would produce an originaly gravity of… 1.030-1.035… and after fermentation, you would probably end up with about 2.5% ABV.

    Drinking two of these would be like drinking one Budweiser. No wonder it helps ease pain.

  56. Susan says

    Thank you so much for posting your drink recipes. I made the root beer last week and it turned out great. I will make more tonight. I want to make the ginger ale recipe as well. The ginger bug I made is really fizzy! I had no idea that would happen. If I made enough of the ginger bug, I would just use that for my drink! (Might get a stomach ache from it though!)

  57. jules says

    I made another batch of ginger soda using your “ginger bug”
    directions but i did not boil the water when adding the sugar-lemon-ginger and bug.
    couple days later here its nice and fizzy and just tasted it and almost perfect tasting.
    The i noticed on the fermenting lid underside there was a small spot of speckled mold.
    now the 2 days i had my ginger soda fermenting on the counter i was stirring once a day.
    If the batch tastes ok and no visible mold in the brew would this still be ok? I boil/sterilized
    my glass jars but just hand washed the plastic fermenting lids.

  58. Melissa says

    I was making this for the first time with my children and I had a “moment” of forgetfulness (doing to many tasks at once). I realized I added the whey in the first step with the ginger, water and stuff on the stove. Did I wreck it or will it still ferment. I did still add the water and the lemon juice in the final step and put it on my counter hoping it will still work.

  59. daniela says

    Great idea to ferment ginger . Can’t wait to try it :) For my fermenting drinks I use 3 tbls (for 5 liters of water) of bragg vinegar with the mother since it’s simpler and I also get a fizzy drink. In Europe, we used make elder flower and lemon drink all the time since we did not have juices on the market because of communism .So we would bring home elder flowers ( they were everywhere on the streets) and beg my mom to make us juice :)

  60. Charlotte says

    Is the lemon vital to the recipe or just for taste? I made mine the night before yesterday and I just now remembered I forgot to add the lemon juice so it’s been over 24 has almost 48 hrs.

  61. Kaiya says

    I have made a quantity of ginger bug, as an experiment, and now I would like to make a much bigger production. If I have a quart of ginger bug, how can I increase it? Do I just add extra water, ginger, and sugar, proportionately, in the same way as creating the bug in the first place? Do I have to feed it big amounts daily like I did in the beginning for a period of time?

  62. Kaiya says

    Also, I don’t have much carbonation, because my jars are not airtight, I suppose. I have no access to mason jars, is there any way to airtight seal a normal jar, I can’t find any information online, thanks.

  63. Kaiya says

    I am curious about fizz expectations. I have exploding bottles, lots of fizz, when Iopen, but drinking is fairly flat and fizz-less. Is this just what you get when carbonating naturally, or is it possible to get that really awesome internal fizzing you get in commercial sodas or closeto it? Suggestions?

  64. Kaiya says

    Maybe nobody else is reading this anymore, too bad! I am really confused about the fizz. If enough C02 has built up that I need to “burp” my bottle or risk exploding, should I just put it in the fridge? If I burp it, then leave it another day, and burp it, and leave it another day, what is the point? Don’t I lose all my fizz each time I burp? I am trying to figure out how to get the fizziest results! Thanks.

      • kaiya says

        I was about to ask that too. I thought I had tons of fizz because I could barely open the bottle, so I thought it was ready to go in the fridge. The next morning I opened it and it was totally flat : ( It seems capturing fizz is a fine art form.

  65. Charlotte says

    Seems to be as trick to it, that I havent figured out either. Ive only ever had 1 bottle really fizzy and the rest either semi fizzy and lose fizz as soon as opened or not fizzy enough, even from same batch. I dont like the taste, tastes like beer to me which I dont like so when theres no fizz I just cant drink it. Kids still like it tho.
    Im wondering if its the bottles cuz I dont know why else 1 would fizz and the rest didnt. Either way, as soon as they hit the fridge fizz8ng starts to dissappear.

    • Kaiya says

      Yes I’ve heard claims that kombucha like GT dave’s for example does not use artificial carbonation, but I can’t believe it. I just left a bottle for three days, and when I opened it, I had to do so very slowly, to stop it exploding, just letting out some gas, then resealing it, repeating this process over and over about five minutes, before I could open it without exploding everywhere. The whole bottle meantime was just infinite bubbles, it looked like it would pour out and be pure fizz and nothing else. But yet again, on pouring and drinking, I’d describe it as fizzless. : (

  66. Kaiya says

    My bug jar is getting full up to the top with ginger pieces. I am worried about taking them out they may take my bug along with them. Should I try to get the pieces from the top or the bottom?

    This issue leads me to wonder, can I continue my bug by adding fresh squeezed ginger juice instead of adding the whole pieces? It would make the process smoother but I am not sure if that will sustain the bug.

  67. Pasha says

    Hi Katie, thanks for putting this recipe online and getting us all hooked up on this fermentation frenzy :))
    Like many other enthusiasts here I have failed to achieve carbonation at the second stage of the process on my first attempt. My ginger bug was all bubbly and yeasty but after I added it to the mix and transfered to bottles it just wouldn’t carbonate no matter how long I levt it stay on the counter.
    I suspected the problem was in the contact of the brew with the metal before transferring it to bottles. As it was pointed out, the metal will disturb bacteria and I am guessing it completely stops fermentation and carbonation. On my first attempt I was using a metal pan for the wort and a metal strainer to separate the bug from the ginger pieces. I added the bug to the wort while it was in the metal pan and stirred it, which I think messed it all up.
    On my second attempt I used a piece of medical bandage as a strainer and I first transferred the cooled off wort to a glass container before adding the bug. That did the trick for me and my ale started to carbonate like crazy. I used plastic bottles so I could feel how the pressure started to build up, but it was not until I opened the bottle the next morning that I felt to be one of the happiest guys on the planet to solve this mystery and make my own natural ginger ale.
    Hope this will help some of you guys who may have this problem too, just avoid metal, it’s evil :)

  68. Kaiya says

    I want to check on how to clear out the bug of old ginger. I skimmed ginger off the top without taking liquid, but I am pretty sure my bug is much weaker or even dying now.

    I also am curious if it is possible to keep the culture going using ginger juice instead of pieces, in order to avoid having the issue of clearing out old ginger in the first place.

    Finally, do I need to change/clean the jar from time to time? The sediment in the very bottom of the jar appears to be kind of dirty and maybe going “bad”, just from the look/feel of it. Should I dump it all into a new jar from time to time?

  69. kaiya says

    Well I’ve been going only for a month or so now and i’m thinking about restarting. It’s confusing, I haven’t changed a thing, and my bug is still all bubbly as can be, but my last four batches in a row have all totally failed to carbonate even slightly. I’d love to know how to properly skim out the old ginger or renew the bug because that’s the only thing I can think of that i’ve done that might have changed things, I skimmed out all the ginger that had built up.

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