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Old 07-25-2014, 04:15 PM   #1
Owly055
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Default Kombucha Beer

I'm planning a kombucha beer (again). My first attempt used kombucha for strike water and was an all grain brew. A brew that had 4.5 pounds of two row, with one pound lightly toasted in the oven, and half a pound of CR60 in a 2.5 gallon brew. It was hopped with East Kent Goldings at a very low IBU (7) because of the sourness of the kombucha. My mash efficiency was horrible, due I think to the acids in the kombucha, but the beer ultimately tasted OK, though the ABV was lower than intended.

This go around, I'm planning to use 4 pounds of light or extra light DME with a 2.5 gallon brew, and a half pound of CR10 for sweetness and color. Doing it as an extract brew, I eliminate the kombucha lost to absorption, and dodge the mashing efficiency loss from using the kombucha as strike water. It's a win win situation. I will over sour the kombucha, as the sourness really wasn't very dominant. I'm debating what hops to use and how much. I'd like to keep the IBUs down around 10 due to the sourness, or perhaps not use any bittering at all and resort to dry hopping heavily for flavor and aroma.

Any suggestions as to what combinations would work will be appreciated. I'm walking into terra incognita here. I'm thinking of something like Crystal. Or perhaps a strong citrus hop like Amarillo mostly dry hopped........ sour and citrus might work.


Thoughts, Ideas?

H.W.

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Old 07-25-2014, 04:45 PM   #2
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This doesn't answer your question exactly but a local brewery makes kombucha and to combine it with beer mixes it with their saison out of the tap. It is pretty tasty that way and may be more successful then trying to make an actual beer with kombucha in it. Just food for thought good luck.

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Old 07-25-2014, 06:47 PM   #3
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I've done that, in fact I supply kombucha, 5 gallons at a whack to a local micro brewery for private non-commercial use. It goes on tap, and the owner and help drink it and mix it, and "special" customers get to enjoy it too (no charge).
I've approached kombucha beer from the kombucha side also........ making up a rich wort from DME, fermenting it partially, and then combining it at bottling time with the kombucha, at about 1/2 cup per liter. My explosion proof bottles that relieve at 30 PSI allow it to carbonate nicely without over carbonating. The real challenge is knowing when to pull the bottles out of secondary and throw them in the fridge before they get too sour. It produces a rich dark kombucha with a wonderful head, and my entirely subjective estimated ABV is about 2.5% based on taste and "buzz factor".
What I am after is a bottleable repeatable process. This method eliminates all the micro organisms except the brewing yeast because of the boil. The OG and FG are going to be predictable because there is only one process going on at that point.

H.W.

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Originally Posted by FoCobrewguy View Post
This doesn't answer your question exactly but a local brewery makes kombucha and to combine it with beer mixes it with their saison out of the tap. It is pretty tasty that way and may be more successful then trying to make an actual beer with kombucha in it. Just food for thought good luck.
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Old 07-25-2014, 06:51 PM   #4
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Have you considered using any brett?

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Old 07-26-2014, 12:20 AM   #5
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Have you considered using any brett?
No, I never considered using Brett.......What would be the advantage? I'm not sure what the flavor contribution would be. I'm assuming PH tolerance? would be the reason for using Brett, but I haven't seen evidence that this is an issue. The one negative I can see is that some of the Brett family and digest complex sugars that the Sacc family can't. If I'm using crystal in a significant quantity to buffer the sourness, this would be a liability as it would continue to work on the complex sugars in the bottle. Everything I read about Brett suggests a slower process. I'm a bit spoiled by making heavy pitches of -05 and seeing terminal gravity in about 2.5 days. I'm not eager to take on a yeast that may take weeks or months breaking down the complex sugars I want to retain.

Thus far, since I started brewing again in February 2014 after a 40 year hiatus, I have brewed 21 all grain brews, and I have been concentrating on learning what the various malts and hops do to flavor. I've brewed mostly with USA-05 because it's fast, reliable, and appears to be very neutral. I'm not really ready to dive into the yeasts beyond looking at higher or lower attenuation. I know I don't like the Belgian yeasts that generate that strong clovey flavor, and I'm not sure "horse blanket" is something I'm interested in having in my beer, though I like the smell of horses. I'm not trying to duplicate a Lambic or Flemish, just make a sour with an aceto and other kombucha acids flavor profile, which I prefer to a lacto flavor profile. I just bottled some of a lacto soured (sour mash) ale I did, and at bottling time, I was not enthused by the profile of the sourness.

H.W.
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