Making alcoholic Kombucha

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by HawaiiJud, Aug 27, 2019.

  1. HawaiiJud

    HawaiiJud New Member

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    I could use some help.
    I have a beer brewing background but this was new territory.
    A friend gave me 5 gallons of kombucha unflavored but chilled. he sells a flavored version locally.
    We are attempting to make hard Kombucha.
    we did the math based on Brix and 75% attenuation and added appropriate sugar approx 5lbs boiled in water to sanitize and added to Kombucha,
    We added rehydrated 2 packets of red star Premier Blanc Champagne yeast.
    Controlled temp to 66 Degrees and added yeast
    Stirred sugar Kombucha in fermentor and capped.
    OG, 1.062 reading
    it has been 5 days an it bubbles about once every 10 seconds, certainly not raging by any means.

    Thoughts on fermentation, or did I miss something.
    Should I have boiled or simmered kombucha to kill any yeast/bacteria prior to adding sugar water. or just add sugar to simmering kombucha?
    thank you in advance.
     
  2. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Doesn't Kombucha use a specific starter? I don't think it's made with champagne yeast. Did you aerate/oxygenate? The saccaromyces needs oxygen to get started. Also, tea will be lacking in specific nutrients yeast need. I would definitely sanitize/pasteurize anything I was using for a controlled fermentation. Here are my thoughts:
    - you should have used a kombucha starter
    - if you are using saccaromyces, you should have added oxygen
    - you should have sanitized the kombucha "wort" before pitching yeast into it.
     
  3. HawaiiJud

    HawaiiJud New Member

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    So the
    if your talking about the Scoby used for kombucha yes the kombucha i used was ready to serve and complete. I was just doing the 2nd fermentation.
    I did aerate the kombucha when added to the fermentor.
    I did not sanitize by boiling the kombucha. Do you think this would affect yeast not fermenting or just cause off flavor?
     
  4. Mark Farrall

    Mark Farrall Well-Known Member

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    Do you know the pH after your primary with the scoby? Not sure how the wine yeast will cope, probably fine, but just looking for options. Also as nosy mentions there's not much in a standard kombucha batch apart from sucrose, so maybe the wine yeast isn't coping with only sucrose to process.

    Personally I'd do it the other way, primary with the neutral yeast to get the alcohol and then secondary with the scoby for flavour. And maybe mix up the primary liquid with some sugars that the neutral yeast is used to processing. Though I've no idea if the scobys are able to work in the higher alcohol. The ones we've used have been hard to kill so I'm guessing they'll cope.
     
  5. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    Tea and sugar are two components I used to use making kombutcha that stuff get acidic the longer you leave it as you probably know. I used to flavour with different fruits a couple days I to fermentation then package wait a day or two and then put in fridge until consumption.

    I'm guessing as above you'd need to build up that scoby to handle a bigger batch and yep that wine yeast will need some nutrients to fire.

    Good luck make sure you post results sounds interesting.
     
  6. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    No, you should not have boiled after using the scoby. Didn't pick that up in the original post.
     
  7. HawaiiJud

    HawaiiJud New Member

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    I’m assuming I needed more yeast nutrients along with a yeast starter, I should have used corn sugar instead of table sugar. Going to try again
     
  8. Frankenbrewer

    Frankenbrewer Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like it is easier to just add your liquor of choice in a glass over ice.
     
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  9. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Isn't it easier, too, to just pop open a can of craft beer?
     
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  10. oliver

    oliver Well-Known Member

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    I used to work commercially in a Kombucha "brewery." With all the bacteria flying around in Kombucha, lactobacillus, acetobacter, pedicoccus, probably some Brett, it can be hard for souring bacteria and saccharomyces to coexist. The souring agents sometimes have trouble in the presence of too much alcohol, and the saccharomyces (and in some cases the Brett as well) can sometimes have trouble in a too tart environment like Kombucha, which to be real kombucha in my opinion should honestly be as close to pH 3 as possible, no higher, sometimes a touch lower. Although we never brewed alcoholic Kombucha or made any attempt to do so, I'd imagine these should be some of the pitfalls in this process.

    My shot in the dark recommendation is to get a batch of Kombucha that has only soured to maybe 3.7 or 3.5 at the lowest, and then proceed with what you did. Pasteurize some dextrose monohydrate, cool it down, add it to the batch, and then overpitch champagne yeast to ensure some good fermentation. Fermaid K probably wouldn't hurt either.
     

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