I currently have a handful of bubbly ferments going around the house: sauerkraut in the garage, vinegar in the kitchen, yogurt in the fridge, and, as of about ten minutes ago, ginger beer in a swing top bottle on the bar.
The liquid in the bottle was a murky gray, with a few inches of sludgy yellow minced ginger on the bottom. There were occasional bubbles meandering their way to the surface, but all in all, it didn't exactly inspire confidence in the success of this particular experiment.
Nevertheless, I had read that it should take about 48 hours to get enough of a ferment going to produce sufficient carbon dioxide to carbonate the drink, while still leaving a bit of sugar for sweetness. As it appeared to be moving along sluggishly, if at all, I kept it out in the relatively warm living room air an extra day. But after 72 hours I figured if it's going to happen at all, it already has. So, with nary a preamble to the excited crowd (Sarah and Zorro) before me, and fully expecting a dud of an opening, I popped the swing top.
It was difficult for me to gauge the apex of the geyser of yellow froth from my proximity to it, but it must have come to within inches of the ceiling. I looked down and saw a hardwood floor, shining wet and (maybe I shouldn't have left it unfiltered?) covered in ginger and foam. A messy clean-up? Absolutely. But who cares: it worked!
When it finally came time to taste it, still in my sticky socks and wet corduroys, it was a delight: dry as a bone, full of ginger punch, and - no surprise here - prickly with carbonation.