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Old 02-10-2012, 05:03 PM   #11
Feb 2011
suburb of Louisville, KY
Posts: 1,743
Liked 171 Times on 154 Posts

There is a culture bank in Germany that actually has the honest-to-goodness GBP, and the only 2 sources that I have discovered that have this same culture are Jim at and the people at Jim is in the UK, in US. There are several threads about GBP and concerns about fake/hybrid plants and people using bread yeast or wine yeast to create a plant that has to be continually fed but never produces the grains that a true GBP provides. Not to be confused with water kefir grains being passed off as GBP (another UK vendor). The site has a great photo showing what true GBP looks like compared to water kefir grains.

I have done a lot of work over the past few years with WKG and GBP, comparing them, side by side ferments and they are 2 distinctly different cultures that produce a ginger-beer beverage similar in taste. I have also "grown" my own "plant" using yeast + ginger & another via capturing wild yeast--those will make a ginger beer too, but they taste quite different than the GBP or ginger water kefir.

From the research I have done of kefir--of which there are 2 types(milk kefir grains, MKG, date way back and were formed by placing fresh goat's milk in a sheep bladder for carrying and over time the organisms did their thing & grain developed, the people of the Caucasus mountain area in Russia discovered this grain cultured their milk & they had a lot of health benefits (those people lived a LONG time, and not due to vodka!). It seems the MKG is loaded with probiotics, and these grains were capable or reproducing in milk. Then there is WKG, water kefir grains, which have been sourced back to a prickly pear cactus--another probiotic rich water beverage that feeds off of sugar-water & reproduces new grains so quickly you end up eating them!) Anyway, Saccharomyces florentinus (formerly Saccharomyces pyriformis) is also found in water kefir & Lactobacillus hilgardii (formerly Brevibacterium vermiforme) is found in milk kefir grains and is known to be responsible for 50% of lactate synthesis. It is probably WAY more information than you ever wanted to know.

I suspect GBP, the granular one that grows and reproduces, was formed by perhaps a storage clutch of ginger getting exposed to the right amount of humidity and the grains forming on the skin of the ginger...and humans being ever resourceful stuck the whole thing in sugar and water and VOILA! the first ginger beer, and then they noticed there were more of those little translucent grains....and there we have it GBP. Just my theory, I would fall over if I were right, but saccharomyces is nothing more than a fungus & Lb. is just about everywhere--they met.

Also, the true GBP is considered a "grain" by those who are very familiar with it; not a scoby (which is typically a disk or takes the shape of the container)...the GBP are small and individual, remind me of cream of wheat, translucent, they take on the color of the liquid they are in, very smooth edges, small and granular
Motto: quel che sara sara

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Old 03-26-2012, 12:31 PM   #12
Dec 2011
Laguna Beach, CA
Posts: 316
Liked 13 Times on 7 Posts

I purchased mine from the UK. Cost about 15 or 20$ shipped. Only took 5 days to get here and was very fresh...had no trouble making my first batch of ginger beer with it. Purchased from Jim at

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Old 05-14-2012, 03:03 AM   #13
May 2012
Kitchener, Ontario
Posts: 6

I purchased GBP from Yemoos (search on the web for them).

The GBP is similar to water kefir grains... but not identical. I've now used both. The GBP is much slower growing. I make about 5 litres of ginger beer a week using the GBP.

I've been making it stronger and stronger each time (using more and more fresh ginger juice) and the last time it had a very very strong bite. I started a fresh batch today, and I'm using about a third of a ginger root to try for a more mild batch (I do like it strong, but some of my guests find it too much for them).

The starter made from scratch is not the same thing, although it is sometimes called GBP --- it's actually a ginger beer bug. Google "water kefir" or "tibicos" and you will see something that looks similar to GBP.

GBP was pretty much non existent until the last 5 or so years when people on the yahoo groups for ginger beer managed to purchase a sample from the German Culture Bank. At first the GCB didn't want to sell it to them because they didn't want to sell it for human consumption. But then one of the list members who worked for a labratory managed to get a sample, and all the real GBP around has now come from the people on the that group sharing it among themselves, and now the British based site and Yamoos site sell small qty's of it. The amount they sell (about $20 or so) is enough to make 2 to 5 litres of drink.

Apparently this was very popular in England until the temperance movement. While there is very very little alcohol in ginger beer made from GBP, as store bought pop became more prevelant, fewer and fewer homes maintained the culture until it had pretty much died out other than the GCB.

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Old 06-16-2012, 07:04 PM   #14
Sep 2010
Lafayette, IN, Indiana
Posts: 99

Has anyone else tried mjhszig's recipe or used another recipe to grow their own? I'll be trying it soon, just curious what others have done to try and grow one.

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Old 06-27-2016, 07:09 PM   #15
Sep 2015
Posts: 2

Originally Posted by saramc View Post
Also, the true GBP is considered a "grain" by those who are very familiar with it; not a scoby (which is typically a disk or takes the shape of the container)...the GBP are small and individual, remind me of cream of wheat, translucent, they take on the color of the liquid they are in, very smooth edges, small and granular.
The GBP aficionados may make the distinction, but that's the wrong distinction to make. SCOBY is an acronym, and a true GBP is exactly that, a symbiotic colony of bacteria (Lactobacillus hilgardii) and yeast (Saccharomyces florentinus). What you're describing is the difference in structure of which GBP, like Kefir, forms grains, unlike Kombucha which forms a pellicle. The ball of slime in Kombucha is both a SCOBY and a pellicle, and the Ginger Beer Plant is both a SCOBY and a grain (or grains).

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