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Old 12-05-2012, 06:02 PM   #1
RaccoonCityKid
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Question First time brewing, what did I do wrong?

I made my first batch of kombucha last Saturday and something doesn't seem right. Before bottling it in sterile swing top bottles, it tasted perfect, better than store bought. After bottling and refrigeration for a couple days, it had a sulfur smell and tasted awful.

I made the SCOBY from scratch using a bottle of store bought, green tea, distilled water, and table sugar. It took a while because its only 65 degrees in my room, but it grew to about 1/4 inch thick.

My Recipe:

7 organic green tea bags
3 quarts distilled water
1 cup white table sugar
approx 1/10 tea from previous batch

After brewing the tea and getting it to room temp, I added in the SCOBY, covered it with a paper towel and a rubber band, and let it ferment for a week.

Other than the pan I used to boil the water, the tea never came into contact with plastic or metal. It fermented in a gallon size glass jar.

I have another batch brewing right now, so I'd like to know what happened before another batch goes to the drain.

Also, the tea had a PH between 2.8 and 3.2.

Thanks for the help!

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Old 12-06-2012, 12:58 AM   #2
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Don't know what would cause a sulphur smell.. what do you mean by sulphur smell? Rotten eggs, rotten farts? Sulphur doesn't smell unless it's burned. Sulphur infused in water has some smell for sure.

One suggestion tho is to use about half black tea and half green tea. The longer the 'tea' ferments, the more it smells and tastes like acetic acid.. vinegar. I wouldn't use distilled water either. The bacterial like some minerals. Some 'old timers' suggest putting sanitized egg shells in the mix.

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Old 12-06-2012, 02:49 AM   #3
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Like a rotten egg smell after it was bottled. I have a hard time finding organic black tea around here. Was actually wanting to use oolong tea, but I can't find organic. Does it matter if I use organic or can I use something like bigelow or Lipton? I will try again using regular filtered water that's not sterilized. Any other tweaks to the recipe you recommend?

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Old 12-06-2012, 04:25 AM   #4
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You actually do not want to use organic. The organic tea is more prone to mold contamination. Any regular tea will work fine.

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Old 12-06-2012, 05:35 AM   #5
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I don't do organic.. and I never have a problem. However, the tea is boiled.. or close to it.. steeped at a near boiling temp.. so, mold should not be an issue. We drink organic teas with no consideration of mold.

BTW, what are you using for utensils? What is your process?

Truly is simple. When I want to be ultra conservative, I boil the sugar and water, let it cool with saran wrap over the pot. Wash out the fermenter/gallon wm jar.. rinse well and do a final rinse with white vinegar. You can rinse the utensils with the white vinegar as well. No need to toss the vinegar.. just put it back into the bottle as you aren't contaminating it with your utensils. Pour the tea mixture into the gallon jar and add the scoby.. or better yet, a good cup or more of reserved kombucha.

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Old 12-12-2012, 09:21 PM   #6
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Distillers and brewers understand the sulfur smell as a bi-product of yeast production. It's fine to drink. I've found it's related to bitter tea. Green tea takes less time to steep.

Also, organic tea is fine but I'd raise the temperatures to decrease the likelihood of mold.

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Tap: DIPA, oaked Baltic porter, XXX pale ale, dark IPA

Bottle: vanilla kombucha, oaked puh-er kombucha, blueberry kombucha,

Primary: rose hip kombucha, oaked honey and oolong kombucha, hopped kombucha brewed with green tea infused with cab. grapes

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Old 01-08-2013, 12:46 PM   #7
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If it tastes fine w/o bottling, why do it? I have mine in a glass container w/ a spigot. The top is covered with cheesecloth. I just put it in bottles when heading out the door. Not super carbonated, but still fizzy enough, at least for me.

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Old 01-09-2013, 04:28 PM   #8
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Many reasons. If you're fine with the taste off the tap, keep it that way. But if, like me, you wish to combine your KT with flavors and like the mouthfeel of added carbonation, you need to bottle.

For instance. Currently we have dozens in bottle. Rooibos and Puh-er KT with ginger, with coffee, with chocolate, some with black cherry, some with fresh fruit and ginger, one with ginger beer, some plain with honey, some with cane sugar and a few with coconut sap.

You can get that variety by adding to whatever you pour off your tap, but the quality of the tea changes dramatically with conditioning.

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Tap: DIPA, oaked Baltic porter, XXX pale ale, dark IPA

Bottle: vanilla kombucha, oaked puh-er kombucha, blueberry kombucha,

Primary: rose hip kombucha, oaked honey and oolong kombucha, hopped kombucha brewed with green tea infused with cab. grapes

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