Author Topic: Kambucha anyone?  (Read 1963 times)

Offline pinnah

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Kambucha anyone?
« on: November 08, 2013, 06:38:12 AM »
Are there still any kambucha brewers here?
 \Cap started a thread once, but seems he is off cooking.

My first batch reminds me of sweet vinegar.  I might let it sit a while more.
Thinking about blending some raspberries and was looking for some tips.


Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Kambucha anyone?
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2013, 08:39:30 AM »
haven't made it, like it though. satisfies in a way very similar to beer.
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Offline breweite

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Re: Kambucha anyone?
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2013, 08:54:39 AM »
My wife and I do kombucha. We've done it from purchasing a SCOBY, as well as a starter from a bottle of store bought kombucha.  It's a fun hobby and actually a good way to experiment.. "I wonder what it is like to drink _______________" 

Local brewery here in Austin did a kombucha beer:
http://jesterkingbrewery.com/beers/#beers_261

Unfortunately I never got around to tasting it, not sure if it's seasonal, or one time collaboration.. I don't know, but I'll be there this weekend for the AHA rally to find out!!

Cheers from Austin, Tejas!

Offline duncan

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Re: Kambucha anyone?
« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2013, 08:59:29 AM »
I love kombucha and want to try to make it, but haven't yet. Whenever I gear up to do it I end up thinking, "eh, I'll just make a small batch of beer instead."  ;D

I spoke with a guy in Brooklyn recently who owns a kombucha brewery and has been making kombucha-inspired ales and wines. Basically, instead of a SCOBY he uses and ale yeast and adds some malt to up the alcohol. Interesting concept... Could be a fun experiment.

Offline breweite

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Re: Kambucha anyone?
« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2013, 09:00:18 AM »
Whoops!  My .02 on tips for kombucha:  It's very easy to tweak, if you don't like it throw in something new.  Add more sugar, give it more time, steep some hibiscus flowers, whatever you want. The results will come very quickly, especially if you're doing 1-2G batches. Much easier to balance flavors than beer in my opinion.

And save your SCOBY, one SCOBY will last you're entire life and you can pass them along to friends with every new batch.. and of course clean/sanitize like homebrew.

Cheers from Austin, Tejas!

Offline pinnah

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Re: Kambucha anyone?
« Reply #5 on: November 09, 2013, 08:48:06 AM »
Thanks.  I made a new batch last night.  Looking forward to experimenting.
 It all seems very loosy-goosy, which I think I might enjoy.

So do you always re-use the mother and not the baby? 
My mother sat for about 6 months and looks a little ragged.  The baby is nice thick and new.
Thinking about just making the baby into the new mother and tossing the old?

Offline el_capitan

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Re: Kambucha anyone?
« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2013, 07:29:23 PM »
I think your new growth is A-ok to use.  I brewed kombucha for about a year (but that was 5 years ago).  I found that it was really all about timing.  If you let it sit a long time, you'll essentially have really strong vinegar.  I was able to get the timing down to where it was still somewhat sweet, very spritzy, and I think a bit boozy. 

I poured myself a glass and took it on the road, and about halfway through I realized there might be a bit of alcohol in it after all...  :o  Oops. 

I've been thinking about getting started again, but I also remember that there seems to be some disagreement as to the actual health benefits of kombucha. 

Another fun ferment is kefir.  My wife kept me going with a goat kefir smoothie every morning for about a year.  Good stuff.  This summer we really refined our vegetable ferments and have turned out some excellent kimchi and sauerkraut.  Love that kimchi!  The key for us was finally devising a method to exclude oxygen. 

We bought some 5L Fido Jars and had the lids drilled at a glass shop.  They're excellent.  We've made kraut for a few years, and it's been good but not great.  Now it's perfect- no oxidation at all.  Nice and crisp, sour, and still bright green (not brown and funky like it can get when it's oxidized). 



Happy Fermenting, Pinnah! 
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Offline kylekohlmorgen

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Re: Kambucha anyone?
« Reply #7 on: December 05, 2013, 07:48:11 AM »
Mary Izett had a great presentation on 'alternative' fermentations at this year's NHC, including kombucha. Take a look, and use her as a reference!
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Offline EHall

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Re: Kambucha anyone?
« Reply #8 on: December 05, 2013, 11:02:27 AM »
Phoenix, AZ

Offline hubie

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Re: Kambucha anyone?
« Reply #9 on: December 07, 2013, 11:23:21 AM »
We bought some 5L Fido Jars and had the lids drilled at a glass shop.  They're excellent.  We've made kraut for a few years, and it's been good but not great.  Now it's perfect- no oxidation at all.  Nice and crisp, sour, and still bright green (not brown and funky like it can get when it's oxidized). 

What is the purpose of drilling a hole in the lid?

Offline el_capitan

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Re: Kambucha anyone?
« Reply #10 on: December 08, 2013, 09:30:29 PM »
We had the lids drilled to fit a #9 stopper and airlock.  We've tried a lot of other things in the past (drilling canning jar lids, etc.) but nothing has been truly airtight yet until we went with these bail-top Fido jars. 

The ferments have been excellent, now that oxygen is excluded. 
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Offline hubie

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Re: Kambucha anyone?
« Reply #11 on: December 09, 2013, 11:06:39 AM »
We had the lids drilled to fit a #9 stopper and airlock.  We've tried a lot of other things in the past (drilling canning jar lids, etc.) but nothing has been truly airtight yet until we went with these bail-top Fido jars. 

The ferments have been excellent, now that oxygen is excluded.

I assume you still weigh down the cabbage so that it is below the liquid line?  I've never thought about it in terms of using a container with an airlock.  The kraut crocs look very nice, but are pretty expensive.  I suppose I could also use one of the 2-gallon food-grade buckets I have with lid and airlock (assuming I don't want to use it for wine/mead anymore).

Offline el_capitan

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Re: Kambucha anyone?
« Reply #12 on: December 09, 2013, 09:59:24 PM »
Yes, we still weight down the cabbage to keep it below the liquid line.  We keep a couple nice, whole leaves intact and use those over the top like a sheet.  Then on top of that we put a glass lid from a different jar that fits inside. 

Lots of monkeying around, but we've gotten an all-glass system down.  My wife is very leery of plastic, and I can see her point.  I use plastic fermenters for my beer, but I think some of these food ferments are even lower pH than beer.  I could be wrong on that.  Either way, we're fermenting food for the health benefits, so it makes sense to eliminate any questionable factors. 

I'll see if I can get a snapshot of our setup here to post. 
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Offline pinnah

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Re: Kambucha anyone?
« Reply #13 on: December 11, 2013, 07:43:53 AM »
Cool.  Thanks for the info.

el_cap, I guess you don't cook your turkey in a plastic bag?   :o

I am on my third batch of kambucha.  Starting to figure it out.  need to take notes and start a folder.
I bottled some in some old amber Grolsch swing tops I had with a few cranberries.  Waiting to see how long it takes to fizz up.

Did you ever bottle any?

Offline el_capitan

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Re: Kambucha anyone?
« Reply #14 on: December 12, 2013, 10:43:00 PM »
I used to bottle in plastic bottles, because I was leery about unpredictable carbonation.  I did eventually crank out a couple batches that were delicious and carbed up nicely.  Took a lot of fine-tuning though, and I never really took notes of what I was doing. 

Hey, once you figure out the perfect method, you can show us the light.

But that reminds me of one of my earliest brewing experiences - making root beer with my 7th grade science class.  We bottled in plastic bottles and checked it every day.  It really wasn't carbing much in my cold cabinets, so we kind of ignored it for about a week.  When I checked, the bottles were rock hard and bulging.  I moved those to a fridge ASAP.  When we drank them, most of the kids turned up their noses at the yeasty, fairly nasty stuff.  One kid kept chugging it (probably because I told the kids there was a tiny bit of alcohol in the bottles, like fresh-squeezed orange juice).  He ended up overdoing it and barfing in the sink.  It was disgustingly hilarious.  I felt so bad for the kid, cleaning up his own hot dog chunks while I laughed at him.   ;D  Ahhh, memories. 
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