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Why isn't my ginger bug carbonating my beverages properly?

 
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I am perplexed. I created a healthy ginger bug and have been trying to carbonate beverages with it.  Sometimes I let liquid ferment in jars for a few days before I bottle. Sometimes I bottle right away.

I have made ginger beer twice. I do get fermentation activity. There are bubbles. I'm also using a plastic tester bottle with all my "sodas". The tester bottle always feels like it has so much pressure, but when I open it, there is just a small pop, and even though the liquid has lots of bubbles, it is effectively flat. Everything I have tried to make fills the tester bottle with pressure, but barely pops when I open them and are flat.

Can someone tell me why I'm getting fermentation but not building up carbonation. I'm using 16-ounce swing top bottles for beer making and fermentation that I purchased on Amazon. I use 16.7-ounce plastic sprite and dr pepper bottles for my tester bottles.

I have tried making rootbeer, peach juice, cran-raspberry, apple, lemon, and other ginger bug sodas. I believe all of them have good sugar content. The tester bottles in all of them filled up with high pressure (so I thought). I have fermented as little as 3 days and as much as 14 days. I've been experimenting with going longer on the high pressure of the tester bottle. I do notice that when I go longer, the resulting drinks are not very sweet; another sign the ginger bug is working.
 
pollinator
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Check the seals on all bottles for leaks and replace all caps used on the bottles. Use some soap and water to check the seals. After that try a test bottle. Check this link out on carbonation:  https://byo.com/resource/carbonation-priming-chart/
 
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Assuming that your bug is alive and well, my guess is that the plastic bottle is the culprit. The plastic bottle expands like a balloon, suggesting that the gasses are outside the liquid and in the atmosphere of the plastic bubble. Rather than holding the gas the liquid, the expanding (and leaking) plastic is allowing the gas to escape. The more bubbles (fermentation in the container), the more robust your bottle needs to be (like champagne bottle is much more robust than beer bottle). You may likely have the results that you're looking for if you bottle your ginger beer in glass (no flex). Use a swing top bottle as your tester and let us know what happens.
 
Brian Varbel
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Amy Gardener wrote:Assuming that your bug is alive and well, my guess is that the plastic bottle is the culprit. The plastic bottle expands like a balloon, suggesting that the gasses are outside the liquid and in the atmosphere of the plastic bubble. Rather than holding the gas the liquid, the expanding (and leaking) plastic is allowing the gas to escape. The more bubbles (fermentation in the container), the more robust your bottle needs to be (like champagne bottle is much more robust than beer bottle). You may likely have the results that you're looking for if you bottle your ginger beer in glass (no flex). Use a swing top bottle as your tester and let us know what happens.



I am wondering about my plastic bottles as well, but I also use glass swing top bottles designed for fermentation. I just bought them on Amazon, and now I suspect the grommets aren't sealing properly. I have some other bottles I have successfully used to carbonate tepache and kombucha all the time, so I'm going to try and see if there is a fault in these new bottles I just purchased - I didn't think there was anything wrong with the bottles because they are new. Thank you for your feedback.
 
Brian Varbel
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T Blankinship wrote:Check the seals on all bottles for leaks and replace all caps used on the bottles. Use some soap and water to check the seals. After that try a test bottle. Check this link out on carbonation:  https://byo.com/resource/carbonation-priming-chart/



I just ordered some new grommets or gaskets on amazon to replace the ones that came on my swing top bottles. I think it may be possible that even though they are brand new, there is a failure somewhere in the seal. After many days of carbonating, and showing signs of lots of bubbles in the liquid, all I hear is a small pop when I open the bottle. For some reason, they aren't allowing pressure to build up. Hopefully, the new grommets fix the problem. Thanks for your help.
 
Brian Varbel
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I changed the gaskets on all of my new glass bottles. I tested one with an apple juice ferment. In just 2 days I had some really nice carbonation on my tongue...It was awesome. I'm cautiously optimistic, but I think the mystery is solved. Somehow the gaskets on the bottles I just purchased were not sealing properly. Thank you guys for your input.
 
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