Ginger Bug: A Guide to Homemade Fermented Sodas (2024)

What's Wrong With My Ginger Bug?

Like any wild fermentation, Ginger Bugs can be finnicky little cultures. A happy Ginger Bug is easy to spot: bubbly, has a fizzy sound, and lots of floating ginger. A sad Ginger Bug is also easy to spot: no bubbles, no sounds, sunken ginger, and the growth of undesirable molds and yeasts. There could be a variety of causes for your Ginger Bug's problems, but most of them can be easily corrected with a little troubleshooting. It also helps to keep notes about your soda making process, ingredients, and any changes to your Ginger Bug's routine to help you better identify problems. Below, I'll cover some of the most common Ginger Bug problems and potential solutions.

  • Problem: My Ginger Bug Stopped Bubbling

    This is one of the most common issues soda makers run into with their Ginger Bug. A Ginger Bug can stop bubbling for a variety of reasons. The good news is, there is a good chance that your Ginger Bug is still alive. Here are some reasons your Ginger Bug may have stopped bubbling:

    • Dead Bug: Do a test to see if your Ginger Bug is still alive.
    • Too Young: Is your Ginger Bug less than a week old? It may not be active enough to maintain bubbles between feedings.
    • Hungry: When was the last time you fed your Ginger Bug? Ginger Bugs stored at room temperature should be fed daily.
    • Too Cold or Too Hot: Cool temperatures will slow down the fermentation process (resulting in less bubbles) and hot temperatures can denature your bugs (also less bubbles).
    • Too Much Alcohol: Sometimes, your Ginger Bug solution can become overly fermented and cause your bugs to enter a dormant state. This can result from improper feedings and sudden changes to feeding proportions.

    Solution: Check the "How to Kill Your Bug" section and make sure that your Ginger Bug wasn't exposed to any life-threatening conditions. If you think that your bug is alive, give it a feeding and try moving it to a different location. Check again in 24 hours. If your bug alive but not bubbling, you can use 1 tablespoon of your old bug to jump start a new Ginger Bug that will be ready to use in a few days.

  • Problem: My Ginger Bug Has Mold

    Mold can grow on your Ginger Bug for a variety of reasons:

    • Leaving your Ginger Bug uncovered while fermenting
    • Contamination of utensils and/or ingredients
    • Very warm and humid fermenting location
    • Ginger pieces exposed to air for too long

    Solution: If the mold is black or multi-colored, it is best to play it safe and dispose of the ginger bug solution. Sanitize all of your equipment that may have been exposed to the mold. Keep your Ginger Bug covered with a clean towel while fermenting at room temperature or in an airtight container if storing in the fridge.

  • Problem: My Ginger Bug Has Yeast

    Kahm yeast forms a white film on top of your Ginger Bug or soda ferment. It can be caused by any of the following:

    • Contaminated equipment, utensils, or environment
    • Very warm and humid fermenting location
    • Ginger exposed to air for too long

    Solution: Kahm yeast is not dangerous and, technically, will not cause harm to your Ginger Bug or future sodas. You can remove the layers of visible yeast; however, the mixture will still be contaminated with yeast spores and the growth will return. In most cases, it's best to throw out the bug or soda ferment, sanitize your equipment, and start over.

Ginger Bug: A Guide to Homemade Fermented Sodas (2024)
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