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WTB: Fermentation starters

Posted: Tue Oct 29, 2019 8:53 am
by Irony Man
Where can I get fermentation starters?
I want ginger beer plant, and I'm also interested in kombucha scobie and keffir grains. Are the locally-made natural yoghurts for sale still live?
Are there any shops selling brewing equipment and supplies for beer and wine-making?

Re: WTB: Fermentation starters

Posted: Tue Oct 29, 2019 9:33 am
by andy1


How to Grow Your Own Ginger Beer Plant
Updated on March 19, 2019
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Cindy Lawson more

The true Ginger Beer Plant dates back to around the 1700's and is not actually a plant at all, instead it is a living organism, best described by a man called Harry Marshall Ward as being "a composite organism consisting of a fungus, the yeast Saccharomyces florentinus (formerly Saccharomyces pyriformis) and the bacterium Lactobacillus hilgardii (formerly Brevibacterium vermiforme)". This organism forms a gelatinous cluster which moves about within its jar naturally, and used correctly can allow you to make a lifetime's supply of authentic, naturally fizzy alcoholic Ginger Beer that used to be commonplace in most UK households.

There are many recipes on the Internet for the so called 'Ginger Beer Plant', but most of these call for the use of brewers yeast, which therefore results in fermentation, but NOT an authentic Ginger Beer Plant. Traditionally at the end of each batch of Ginger Beer the 'plant' would be halved, and the second half given away to friends, family or neighbours in order for them to start their own Ginger Beer Plant, whilst the remaining half would be used to make the next batch of Ginger Beer. These days it is incredibly difficult to get hold of an authentic Ginger Beer Plant, and it is widely assumed that this is because it virtually died out during the rationing in World War II. It is not impossible however, and there are suppliers on the Internet selling the authentic plant, although you need to be sure this is what you are buying as there is no legislation governing the description of the Ginger Beer Plant. As I understand it there are some reliable links on Wikipedia which lead to authentic Ginger Beer Plant suppliers.
How to make your own Ginger Beer Plant

Using this method you will see there is no brewers yeast added to the recipe, the fermentation happens naturally within the jar once the ginger root and sugar are left together for a week or so and the 'Saccharomyces florentinus' yeast is naturally produced.

Warning: Producing a Ginger Beer Plant naturally is very difficult and it is highly possible you may not achieve success at all. In all honesty you are probably better off buying a 'ready made' Ginger Beer Plant from a source such the ones I list in the links article at the end of this hub.

Dice a tablespoon of fresh ginger root into small cubes and place this into a sterilised jam jar three quarters full of dechlorinated or mineral water.

Add two teaspoons of white sugar.

Cover the top of the jar with some muslin to allow air flow but protect from debris or insects falling into the jar.

Leave the jar in an exposed place at room temperature, e.g. a kitchen shelf.

Every day for about a week add two teaspoons of sugar and two teaspoons of fresh diced ginger root.

If after one week the mixture is frothy with a pleasant odour it is ready to use. If it is mouldy discard it and start at the beginning again.

Re: WTB: Fermentation starters

Posted: Tue Oct 29, 2019 9:39 am
by Irony Man
andy1 wrote: ↑Tue Oct 29, 2019 9:33 am How to Grow Your Own Ginger Beer Plant
Thanks andy1, but as it says it's quite difficult, and this will probably only give you a "ginger bug", containing natural yeast, but missing the bacteria that is part of a ginger beer plant.
That bacteria is sometimes in the ginger itself, but it's very hit and miss. ... beer_plant

Re: WTB: Fermentation starters

Posted: Tue Oct 29, 2019 12:10 pm
by Duncan
When we were kids we started our ginger beer plants by placing a slice of bread in jar of water and sugar. After a few days when the fermentation was working we threw out the bread and then continued it with ginger, sugar and water. Did the same when making apple cider. Remember this was in the 1950's when I was still at primary school.