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For the first time, I'm fermenting ginger ale using my 7-day enriched ginger culture and a large batch of sweetened ginger tea using 50/50 brown sugar and muscovado sugar. Before combining the tea and culture, I first filtered the warm tea throug a very fine strainer (i.e., it can also be used to strain whey from curdled cheese).

After a day a layer of brown silt, about 2cm, has formed at the bottom. Any idea what causes this?

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  • 1
    What yeast are you introducing to the product? Have you tested the alcohol content?
    – Cos Callis
    Jun 25 '18 at 13:15
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    It’s the wild yeast from the enriched ginger culture AKA “Ginger bug”. So I’m guessing it’s a diversity of yeasys that grow alongside ginger.
    – wearashirt
    Jun 25 '18 at 14:45
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That silty precipitate is just a thing that happens when fermenting - it's the yeasts dying off and settling out of the solution. I've seen it with mead, yeast-based soda recipes, and other fermented drinks (like fermented lemonade etc) - your ginger ale would be yeast based soda, by the way, if you drink while fairly young and carbonated, like with a day or two of fermentation (you can have longer storage if not actively fermenting, ie in the fridge where yeasts are nearly dormant or having killed the yeasties off somehow) while it will likely grow increasingly alcoholic if you leave it an extended amount of time.

This precipitate isn't a problem, it might be off-putting to see or taste (if you get a whole mouthful) but it isn't harmful and I at least will often drink it because I don't care enough to avoid it, but if you don't like it you can rack the beverage - that is, let it sit still to settle, and gently pour or siphon from the (clearer) top, and stop pouring when just the settled, cloudy yeasty dregs are left. If you're fermenting for an extended period of time (ie, alcohol) these may be racked several times while aging to keep the yeast from building up and possibly introducing off flavors - though its usually a few months between racking, so I wouldn't expect off flavors to develop quickly.

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