Bottling Syrup (making some today)

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Feb 28, 2014
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I do a 5-7 day secondary fermentation in swing top (EZ Cap) bottles with a bottling syrup, and always have. My bottles are 1L swing tops, and I use a safety system so the bottles can vent. There is a photo of my system here:

Note that it retains about 30 psi for carbonation, using a # 64 rubber band. Note also that the EZ cap bottles are rated for over 100 psi burst pressure. It takes a bit of work to find that information..... or rather to "translate" it, as they rate them in volumes of CO2.

My current recipe for bottling syrup involves grated fresh ginger root, and dark dry malt extract... and water. It has a LOT of DME in it, making it a rich dark syrup. I cook up the ginger and DME and water, and in this case also a bit of crystal 60 malt together......boil it awhile, and strain... I tossed a couple of motueka pellets (hops) into the boil for interest also. It should be a really faint flavor addition...... probably not even noticable.

This syrup will have yeast (USA 05) pitched into it when it's cooled, and a lot of the malt sugar will be fermented off. After about 3 days, I'll put it in the fridge to use for a bottling syrup. The syrup will be added to kombucha at 1/4 cup per liter at bottling time, and it will be bottle "conditioned" for about 5 - 7 days with my safety relief system.

The resulting kombucha will be a dark amber color with a slightly beery flavor, and lots of carbonation. It will also have an alcohol content of probably about 2%, though this is impossible to measure with a hydrometer or refractometer due to the acetic acid production. It will produce a very pretty head when poured, and if you open a bottle without chilling it, it will foam over like champagne. It will have an aroma similar to beer due to the malt, and have a slight flavor resemblance to beer due to the malt, but the kombucha tang will be dominant. It also will have a a bit more sediment in the bottle than usual.
I've done this version before, and some people absolutely love it........ others prefer plain ginger flavor.

I've been criticized for my "unsafe" method........ that is doing a secondary fermentation in the bottle with additional sugar, but I've been doing this since the beginning, and have made well in excess of 100 gallons of kombucha within the last year, including about 20 gallons which was kegged and served by the local micro brewery. Most of what I make is bottled though. I am obsessive about doing my secondary fermentation safely.


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