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Old 03-28-2011, 04:00 PM   #1
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Default 5 gallon batches for noob?

Hi Folks,
Long time homebrewer and Bucha drinker.

SWMBO works at Whole Foods and the newest store has Bucha on tap. My kegerator holds 9 kegs so I got to thinking.... How do I go about creating my own keg full of kombucha?

I really like the GT grape version of it but other flavors would be interesting to try. In one youtube video I saw a women mentioned the commercial versions are brewed 30 days then watered down to not be too vinegary.

While my knowledge of homebrewing is pretty good, my Kombucha knowledge comes from 20 minutes of youtubing. What I want is 5 gallons of kombucha on tap. I guess I could put less in a 5 gallon keg if needed.

Is it possible to make 5 gallon batches or should i make 5- 1 gallon batches?

I have never tried plain Kombucha, really prefer the fruit juiced ones. I was thinking of fermenting my batch extra days, like 2 weeks to make it stronger then cutting it with fruit juice at the time of serving to make a normal tasting strength batch for breakfast. Also this will allow multiple options of flavors over the course of the batch.

I would appreciate any comments or suggestions on my plan.

Thanks

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Old 03-29-2011, 12:01 AM   #2
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You can brew it in an HDPE bucket just like a beer brewing bucket. Make sure to use a nice size culture grown up from a gallon batch and keep it warm for quick fermentation.

I used to work at a kombucha brewery and we would brew small batches like this for extra acidifier.

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Old 03-29-2011, 12:03 AM   #3
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whats kombucha like? i keep seein posts about it, but i have never heard about it untill recently. some kind of fermented tea right?

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I would make a yeast starter, and pitch it into your mailbox.
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Old 03-29-2011, 05:22 PM   #4
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whats kombucha like? i keep seein posts about it, but i have never heard about it untill recently. some kind of fermented tea right?
Its like a vile carbonated vinegary drink first time you take a sip. If you manage to finish the bottle you'll be hooked. The yeast that creates it is a live organism, like a yeast pancake. Talk of pro-biotics and health benefits go along with it.

I like it in liew of caffeine in the morning. I think its the shivers and shakes form my bodies reaction to drinking vinegar that helps wake me up.
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Old 03-29-2011, 05:25 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by RJSkypala View Post
You can brew it in an HDPE bucket just like a beer brewing bucket. Make sure to use a nice size culture grown up from a gallon batch and keep it warm for quick fermentation.

I used to work at a kombucha brewery and we would brew small batches like this for extra acidifier.
Thanks RJ,

Do they use HDPE in the kombucha breweries? From my little research I see use glass or it will leach stuff from the vinegar.

How warm should it be?
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Old 03-29-2011, 05:56 PM   #6
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oh... sounds... good? actually you make it sound god awful. i think i'll have to try a 1 gallon batch, just to see what its like.

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I'm getting ingredients in the mail today, and I can't even taste my beer yet. What should I do?
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I would make a yeast starter, and pitch it into your mailbox.
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Old 03-30-2011, 06:26 PM   #7
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oh... sounds... good? actually you make it sound god awful. i think i'll have to try a 1 gallon batch, just to see what its like.
I think before you go through the effort go buy a bottle of it. Whole Foods carries it if you are near one, as should most health food stores. I am still learning about the production process but I believe the store bought ones are made a little stronger then mixed with fruit juice to add sweetness and cut the vinegar.
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Old 04-01-2011, 01:14 PM   #8
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Do they use HDPE in the kombucha breweries? From my little research I see use glass or it will leach stuff from the vinegar.
I'm not sure I'd trust a plastic bucket (though they sell vinegar in plastic jugs). Getting the SCOBY out of a carboy would be a PITA though. I got a 2 gallon glass cookie jar from walmart for like 10 bucks or something. I use that for my kombucha and brew about a gallon and a half at a time.

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How warm should it be?
It's cold in my house (under 60F) in the winter, I just put the jar near a heat vent and put a blanket over it. It takes quite a bit longer for the kombucha to finish fermenting but it still works.
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Old 04-07-2011, 07:28 PM   #9
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Default It works

I scaled-up my kombucha production from a gallon jar to a 5-gallon bucket because I needed a few gallons for a bartending competition (kombucha is a great cocktail mixer).

It works well, but I would say it takes about twice as long as the gallon to reach the same level of tartness. An added advantage comes from using the fermenter bucket with a built in spigot, so you can drain off most of your product without disturbing the mother too much and still leave a half gallon in the bucket as a starter for the next batch.

I found that unlike making vinegar from wine, the kombucha is heavier than the sweet tea, so lift out the mother with tongs and stir before you drain it.

Cheers,
Quinn

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Old 04-09-2011, 02:13 AM   #10
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I would suggest saying away from plastic, and going with glass or glazed ceramic. If you want 5gal, make half that much, just make it super strong. I make mine with and OG of 1.092 or higher. It takes a long time, but with the high acid that it will reach you can mix it with lots of fruit juice, or more tea. Also the high acid will kill dangerous bacteria in it.

For the vessel; something cylindrical is best. This way you can get the "mother" out. I've use 1/2 gal mason jars with success.

I would also suggest not using a "mother" and just adding about 5 to 10% of a live komucha from the store. I've had trouble with mothers, they are mostly a mass of dead cells.

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