Grrr... Forum software ate my last attempt. Trying a second time.
I am currently trying a 2 gallon experiment using water kefir, a.k.a. tibicos. I decided to create a starter rather than pitching the tibicos directly. About about 2-3 days before starting, I added a 3 tbsp mix of dry malt / cane sugar to ~.5-.75 liters of water. I fermented that solution with a ~2/3 cup of tibicos for 2-3 days. By game day, there was a visible accumulation of yeast at the bottom of my starter jar.
For my boil I used ~1 lbs of crushed pale-ish malt specialty grains and steeped them 30 minutes (don't know why I felt compelled to use specialty grains, but it felt more karmic). Then I added 1.5 lbs of pale dry malt extract. Used a mix of Willamette and perle hops that were left over from a previous batch. .8 oz mix boiled for 45 minutes, then .4 oz of the same mix added 15 minutes before the end of the boil.
Once the wort was chilled to pitching temp (actually overshot a little, and pitched slightly on the cool side), I strained the tibicos from the starter and then dumped the starter into the wort. Agitated vigorously to aerate, then added my airlock.
Again, this is an experiment, and I have no idea how it will turn out. I'll be sure to report back!
As an aside, I made a yarrow / water kefir beer some years ago now. I pitched the tibicos directly into the chilled wort, straining them out when I racked for secondary ferment. I can't remember exactly how long fermentation went, but I seem to remember letting it go for a fairly long time. I'm not sure that was strictly necessary. At the time I thought the beer was undrinkably sour / astringent, but then again I had a neighbor who couldn't get enough. In retrospect, it had a flavor profile not unlike a belgian sour beer--I taste I had not yet acquired. I think I also went somewhat overboard with the yarrow, which almost certainly made things more astringent than most people would like. A little bit of yarrow goes a very long way. The result was a very effervescent, and very dry beer. It had a good head, with champagne-like bubbles. So, sort of like a yarrow-y cross between champagne and a belgian sour. Hoping to retain the champagne / sour qualities this time, but maybe without the yarrow variable.