2

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Kombucha brewers - please take a look

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created June 03, 2012 at 3:19 AM

Well, a few months ago, I tried brewing some kombucha, but haven't touched it for several months.

Basically, I started with a sweetened black and green tea mixture as has been suggested here by many. I added a bottle of GT's kombucha with a great looking mother and let it sit.

The date I set it on the counter was March 10th. With this that and the busy-ness of life, I didn't do any thing further.

Now, almost two months later, it seems to be doing well, but since I've never done this before, I really have no idea if I've brewed a great kombucha starter or the next greatest penicillin. LOL!

Those that are familiar with the brewing process, please tell me what you think! How do I go from here? Pour this batch down the drain and start again, or use the scoby to start brewing kombucha?

alt text

370887362af83a394c5ab0ce9edab04a

(55)

on June 04, 2012
at 02:59 AM

Don't let the detail of Len's site fool you--Kombucha's one of the laziest fermented foods out there. SCOBY should be pretty pliable--you might be able to snatch it out if you're handy enough with chopsticks. You might skewer it too. You can grow a whole new SCOBY from even a small piece and some leftover liquid in a few weeks.

F15e0bae42dbf0b8cfc71e62902497b4

(2036)

on June 03, 2012
at 07:05 AM

so sayith the link "SCOBY CLIMBS OUT OF POT OK the SCOBY isn't really trying to escape but sometimes it can seem that way. This is a sign that there is plenty of yeast activity. Often the SCOBY creates an air-tight seal on the mouth of the container. When this happens and the yeast produce more CO2 than can stay dissolved in the ferment, then the gas starts to push the SCOBY up and eventually lifts it out of the container. If the culture suspends itself over the liquid due to trapped gas, it's a good idea to push it down gently and remove the gas pocket so that the newly formed SCOBY

4b5be253ac1981c690689cab7e4bf06d

(3043)

on June 03, 2012
at 04:30 AM

I use a half gallon mason jar, and usually run two jars at a time. I need to upgrade to the two gallon jar :)

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32556)

on June 03, 2012
at 03:56 AM

I use a 2 gallon pickle jar. Ask around at restaurants.

9afe3447bd65687fe98edac7c5460151

(40)

on June 03, 2012
at 03:41 AM

Do you use a wide mouth gallon jar, or another size? Being new to this, I never thought about the size of the mouth of the jar. Duh! I'll pour some out and give it a try! Thanks!!

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5 Answers

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4
370887362af83a394c5ab0ce9edab04a

on June 03, 2012
at 05:08 AM

Looks like a great start! I can't see any big problems from the picture. The KT should be okay to drink, but might be a little more fizzy/beerlike than usual. It looks like the culture produced the CO_2 that it pushed the SCOBY up. At least we know the culture is strong!

Two months means that the brew is probably going to be a bit more sour than you'd expect. I use my sour brews as a vinegar substitute in salad dressings, particularly the carrot-ginger dressing (of the kind you'll find in Japanese restaurants and hibachi houses.)

The bacteria in the culture are aerobic bacteria, while the yeast part of the culture is anaerobic. Brewing good kombucha means balancing the activity of the yeast and and bacteria. It might make sense to use a jar with a wider-mouth to allow for more air exchange.

The best online guide to kombucha brewing is the one by Len Porizo:

http://users.bestweb.net/~om/kombucha_balance/

Len suggests trying out a 1:1 opening diameter to depth ratio.

F15e0bae42dbf0b8cfc71e62902497b4

(2036)

on June 03, 2012
at 07:05 AM

so sayith the link "SCOBY CLIMBS OUT OF POT OK the SCOBY isn't really trying to escape but sometimes it can seem that way. This is a sign that there is plenty of yeast activity. Often the SCOBY creates an air-tight seal on the mouth of the container. When this happens and the yeast produce more CO2 than can stay dissolved in the ferment, then the gas starts to push the SCOBY up and eventually lifts it out of the container. If the culture suspends itself over the liquid due to trapped gas, it's a good idea to push it down gently and remove the gas pocket so that the newly formed SCOBY

5
Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32556)

on June 03, 2012
at 03:29 AM

Looks great! (Assuming there is no green powdery mold that I can't see.)

Taste is the key.

Next time, don't fill the bottle up so high & it will be easier to pour off. It may be a bit too sour from brewing for so long. In the summer, I usually brew mine for 2-3 weeks. After you pour it off, you can add sugar water (simple syrup) to sweeten it, if you prefer.

Also, I use a wide-mouth jar to make it easy to remove the scoby (so you can share it, decrease its size and clean the jar.) You won't be able to use this bottle for brewing forever because you won't be able to get the scoby out! It should be fine for 6-9 months or so.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32556)

on June 03, 2012
at 03:56 AM

I use a 2 gallon pickle jar. Ask around at restaurants.

9afe3447bd65687fe98edac7c5460151

(40)

on June 03, 2012
at 03:41 AM

Do you use a wide mouth gallon jar, or another size? Being new to this, I never thought about the size of the mouth of the jar. Duh! I'll pour some out and give it a try! Thanks!!

4b5be253ac1981c690689cab7e4bf06d

(3043)

on June 03, 2012
at 04:30 AM

I use a half gallon mason jar, and usually run two jars at a time. I need to upgrade to the two gallon jar :)

3
4b5be253ac1981c690689cab7e4bf06d

(3043)

on June 03, 2012
at 04:35 AM

As long as there is no mold (it looks like bread mold, or is black or green), you are fine. You can try drinking the liquid, or using it in marinades and/or as a vinegar. Otherwise, pour most of it off, keep the scoby and the liquid, and restart the brew.

2
Fc6a9e07f6056d465573c8969d3a2ddd

(370)

on June 03, 2012
at 08:13 PM

Your SCOBY looks good, but you should probably be brewing in a wide-mouth jar. Brew time depends partly on interfacial area between the mushroom and the liquid, and with an area that small your brewing will take much longer than in a wide-mouth jar. (Using a lower liquid level in the same jar is probably not a good idea, as you won't be able to get the larger SCOBY out of the narrow neck.)

As for this batch: taste it with a straw and see how you like it. If the sweet/sour balance is about what you want, go ahead and bottle it, reserving a cup of kombucha and the SCOBY to feed the next batch. If it's sweeter than you like, let it ferment longer. If it's more sour than you like...learn to like it. (And check it early in the next brew cycle to make sure you stop it where you want it.)

0
9afe3447bd65687fe98edac7c5460151

on June 04, 2012
at 01:46 AM

Thanks everyone for the help!

Just back from an all day bike ride, so I'll will taste it tomorrow (nothing much sounds good right now after all that non-paleo bike fuel :(

I'll also look for a larger mouth jar, and find out a way to extricate the current scoby and sacrifice it's current container.

Thanks for the link to Len's site. I'll have to take some time and review it.

It's great to have a community here to ask questions - everyone in my real life, thinks my little experiments are a little crazy. :)

370887362af83a394c5ab0ce9edab04a

(55)

on June 04, 2012
at 02:59 AM

Don't let the detail of Len's site fool you--Kombucha's one of the laziest fermented foods out there. SCOBY should be pretty pliable--you might be able to snatch it out if you're handy enough with chopsticks. You might skewer it too. You can grow a whole new SCOBY from even a small piece and some leftover liquid in a few weeks.

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