so i've been brewing lactic sodas for a couple weeks now. i've been using the instructions off of this site. but you can find any number of others using the same basic procedure.
for anyone not familiar with this practice, the linked site gives a pretty good overview if you can get through all the hippy dippy crap. most importantly what you end up with is a sour, fizzy soda, that is quite refreshing, can be made with nearly anything, and has the health benefits of probiotics.
the center of this recipe though is a starter, which is what i'd like to talk about specifically here. per the instructions:
Fill the mason jar to 3/4 full with filtered water (its best if you can remove the chlorine).
Add 1 Tablespoon of ginger and 2 teaspoons of sugar.
Cover with cheese cloth and allow to sit out for 24 hours.
Add 2 teaspoons of ginger and 2 teaspoons of sugar and stir well each morning for a week.
If possible stir 2 or 3 times per day.
After a week it should become slightly bubbly and pleasant smelling. At this point it is ready to be used in your soda making. If you are not going to use it all right away, you can cap it and keep it in your refrigerator until you are ready to use it.
i've been making/maintaining starter cultures like this for a little while now, and this method works like a charm. in most cases, i've got bubbling action in 3 days.
so here's what i'm curious about... these mother-gaia-earthy people don't tend to care too much for science, so i really have no idea what is going on in that jar. i do have a hypothesis however that you are not "culturing lactobacillus from the ginger root", but instead the ginger is inhibiting other organisms so that the lacto can take up residence (much like salt-brine). if this is accurate, this method would be a great way to build up lacto cultures for making berliner weisses and other things right?
I'm sure some are thinking this would add too much ginger flavor to their beer, but not so in my experience, and i'm making gallon batches with 2 cup starters, and not tasting it at all.
anyone good with brewing science have any input?
next no-boil i do, i may try inoculation with a quart of this 2 days before adding an ale yeast.