Lacto-fermented Ginger Ale





Introduction: Lacto-fermented Ginger Ale

I love making homemade ginger ale because I get to control the ginger's strength. I like it strong. I've even found my personal upper-bound. From my kitchen notebook:


1:5 ratio of freshly made ginger juice to balance of other ingredients roughly following instructions at Homemade ginger ale is too much ginger. One glass made my stomach hurt.

This recipe doesn't make it quite that strong, but you can increase the ginger as much as you want. It is a different take on ginger ale, and uses lacto-bacteria found in whey to carbonate it. You can make fresh whey (and wonderful cream cheese) from yogurt by wrapping yogurt in a cheese cloth or a dish towel and letting the whey drip out over 24 hours -- How to Make Whey Instructable here.

I prefer this version over the yeast-carbonated ginger ale because the lactic acid gives it a slightly sour bite.

1 small piece of ginger about 1 cubic inch, micro-grated
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (juice from one lemon)
1/4 cup honey
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp fresh whey
1 qt. water

Mix everything thoroughly in an air-tight container, and let it sit at room temperature for 3-7 days. You may need to bleed off some CO2 depending on temperature. Refrigerate once it's fully carbonated.

In one batch, after a day at room temperature, I poured the ginger ale into a different container, because I was concerned that the old metal cap on the glass bottle shown in the images would not hold. As it turns out, the plastic cap on the new bottle actually cracked under the pressure! I have since started reusing glass bottles that held carbonated water, which are intended to hold pressure.



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    Traiditionally ginger ale is made using a scoby a bit like water kefir.

    I often cut ginger into my water kefir fermentation and it makes a really traditional tasting ginger ale. If I add sugar to the secondary ferment (in the bottle) then it's ginger beer :D

    Boo!! My jar has been out on the counter for a couple days now and I see mold growing on top, what did I do wrong?

    THANK YOU!!!! I absolutely adore Ginger Ale, but when Im craving for it its usually at weird times. IE 2am. I have everything in your recipe at home all the time, I will so have to try this.

    One question though. Not sure you have tried, or this will work, Buuuut. Have you using flavored yogurts or adding fruit juices/pieces to this recipe to give it a fruity twist? One way I love drinking GA, is slice up a few Strawberries in my glass. Is it possible if you make the whey out of say strawberry yogurt with it still have the strawberry flavor and transform your wonderful recipe into Ginger Berry Ale? (Copy write pending lol) I would love to try, but if it doesnt work I would hate to taint what seems to be a great NATURAL way of making GA, and I would never try it again, so figured I would ask first.

    Hoping to hear from you soon, if not thank you for a wonderful recipe to try, and Happy DIYing!

    This sounds great. I'll have to find a starter that fits my vegan diet, however. I have been lacto-fermenting a variety of vegetables, so I have some ideas on making a starter.


    Looks great! Gotta try this one

    I have used this to make ginger-ale. I found your recipe too strong so I cut back on the ginger.

    I tried sauerkraut whey and sure enough, no kraut flavor, last week I re-inoculated one batch with whey from pickled hot peppers I was doing. Bad decision. Hot pickled pepper ginger ale!

    My husband would love that. :D

    Some people do put capsicum (the chemical responsible for the heat in peppers) in their ginger beer.

    Would it be possible to use a champagne bottle for this?

    I read that champagne yeast creates more pressure at least than making beer does. Would that be adequate for making the ginger ale according to this recipe? I know that breaking glass or popping lids/corks is a big fear when it comes to this, so I just want to make sure.

    Does this ginger ale actually get carbonated throughout (ie fizzy) or does it just produce CO2 gas in the bottle?  I have tried to make this twice but have just gotten a nice, slightly sour ginger drink without carbonation.  The second time, which seemed more dynamic, I used warm water (just under 110 F) as that is a happy temperature for Lactobacillus.  But both times I got space under the lid and no internal carbonation :-(  Could it be that Michigan in the spring is not warm enough?  

    I had to look this one up.

    Some species of lactobacillus never do (acidophilis), other species always do, and still others will release CO2 only under certain conditions (maybe depending on oxygen levels).

    It might be that some brands of yogurt can produce a fizz, others not.