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Old 09-13-2012, 04:43 PM   #1
mitchell12345
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Default McGyverying bottling system for 2nd fermentation??

Hi, everyone! I finally have some success to report. I've managed to make 2 separate batches of 1st stage kombucha made from from commercial unpasteurized kombucha bought from health food store. The SCOBYs in both instances came out perfectly. The first one I lost track of so threw it out but this second SCOBY is going to make it's second real batch - this first "batch", if I can call it that, was really just to make the mother. I've been sipping on that pour-off bit by bit this last week. But I'd like to continue with production.

Though I'm discouraged by a site I read two days ago that said that beginner's luck truly does work in kombucha but that we'll eventually run into trouble (at least until we learn how to adjust as we go along <g>), I'd like to try to go ahead and attempt making second-ferment kombucha.

Trouble is I'm between work contracts and money is extremely tight. Every recipe/procedure I've looked at says you need bottling jars from a brewing store and that's a no-can-do at this time. Also, surely in the olden days not everyone had just the right type of supplies on hand to do this sort of thing - I'm thinking moonshiners, and such <lol>. Did they all really have all the right bottling apparatus on hand, esp. at first??? I'm thinking not always. But what can one do? Is there any way to do a 2nd ferment without fancy bottles from the brew-it-yourself store? Any tips for coming up with a temporary solution to this? My kombucha will be ready in another day or two and I'd like to try the next step.

Thanks in advance for any tips!

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Old 09-13-2012, 08:19 PM   #2
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I assume the fancy bottles you are talking about are ez-cap bottles. Those are helpful, especially if your goal in second fermenting is to get carbonation. However, I have also second fermented in wine bottles with screw on caps, and in glass Mason jars, and those work fine too. I screw the lid on just tight enough, and not crank down on it really hard to hopefully let some gas escape if pressure is too high. Mason jars are pretty safe, because if the pressure is too high it will just blow the lid off or wrinkle the lid a bit for the gas to escape.

It sounds like you might want to get into continuous brewing. Basically every day or few days you draw off some kombucha, and then add fresh sweet make up tea. Supposedly you really need at least a 2 gallon container to do it that way. I use ceramic water crocks with the spigot, those seem to work pretty well.

If your second ferment goal is carbonation, you may need prime your bottles, unless your kombucha is still somewhat sweet going into second ferment. Else it will likely come out flat, which, while still drinkable, pales in comparison to nice carbonation. (Then refrigerating after the second ferment, before opening the bottle, can help preserve the carbonation).

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Old 09-19-2012, 05:17 PM   #3
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Thank you. That makes sense to me. And then when I did some further searching on something unrelated to the bottles themselves and kombucha, I came across two sites that showed people using mason jars, too. And with the plastic lids no less (not the regular, 2-part metal lids). So that's what I've done. I'll taste the first 2nd ferment kombucha later today. But it's been cool so don't know if it'll be done today. If not, possibly tomorrow.

I just added some chopped-up ginger and a bit of lemon juice. And I think I added a bit of sugar since not sure ginger has all that much. Anyway, will see how it goes.

Thx.

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Old 09-19-2012, 05:30 PM   #4
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That sounds good, yes mason jars should work fine. The plastic lids I don't know if those will give way if the pressure gets too high so that'd be the only concern really if they overcarbonate. Yes ginger is excellent excellent in the second ferment. I haven't tried lemon juice. I usually also add elderberries, that is my favorite blend, with the ginger, elderberries, a bit of priming sugar, and then left at room temps for a few weeks, then refrigerated. They are super fizzy and delicious and energizing and ... mmm I think I'm going to have one right now!

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Old 09-21-2012, 07:30 PM   #5
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Thanks for everyone's help! I just knew it had to be as easy as this! Both getting the mother grown and getting 2nd ferment are as easy as pie in the end, as it should be, it's just a question of getting the steps clear in my mind and figuring things out! I'm very pleased. Of course, there will be difficulties, and the mixtures will likely go their own way after time, as one would also expect esp. without having instruments on hand to measure things and know what to do but that, too, should come easily with time even without the fancy measuring instruments I've read about about in 1 or 2 places (re pH and sugar levels and what all <g>). But I like that in another website it said to overcome that, easiest way is to just get another bottle of commercial raw, unpasteurized organic kombucha and at that to the strain, which also seems very likely to work to me. All I know is that I've had 3 glasses of my "ginger ale" kombucha in last 2 days and it's absolutely wonderful! It tastes so much like the Santa Cruz organic ginger ale only better! I know I won't be able to drink anything else like the Santa Cruz ginger ale esp. once I get really used to this "ginger ale's" unique yet still ginger-alish flavour! <g> In these very hard financial times and with employers paying us all whopping less salaries (I'm now _consistently_ earning 37% and more less now than I was up until 2 years ago and with no options but to accept that pay scale!), it's so nice to know that at least with this kombucha and my diet, that these things have both gone the opposite way now that I grow my own sprouts and now, it appears I'm making my very own kombucha!!!

And I'll still be supporting the industry, which I like. I'll be enough of a customer every once in a while to support a great new industry, that of the commercial kombucha makers, that like raw veganism are heading away from where the rest of the world is heading with its downward spiraling. This kombucha probably has too much sugar and I should not have sugar, but it's minimal and I know over time I'll get the hang of brewing it so that little if any sugar is left and I can sweeten with stevia.

Thanks once again, everyone. I'll be having another first stage kombucha batch due this weekend some time which I'll brew some more "ginger ale" from. Yum!!!

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Old 09-21-2012, 07:54 PM   #6
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Sounds good, yes brewing your own kombucha is definitely going to be cheaper than any commercial beverage, even if you use premium tea and sugar, plus you know what is in it.

I don't think pH or residual sugar measurement is really necessary. After brewing for a while you will be able to sense it anyway. If it's too acidic, you left it to primary or secondary ferment for too long. If it's still to sweet, it needs more time in secondary. If it tastes just plain nasty, bitter, still to sweet etc., usually if you leave it at room temp long enough, which might take a few months, the strange flavors will clear up. Some of my best bottles have been ones that tasted weird at first and I just left them sitting around for a few months and I couldn't believe how good they got.

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