HELP! Two brew-fails in a row: A thick/viscous batch, then a moldy one

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

MycoDaimon

Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2019
Messages
13
Reaction score
1
1. Any idea why booch that looks and tastes good would be thick and smily/viscous? We're not drinking it as 1. we don't love the texture and 2. I'm not sure what accounts for the consistency. Might it be a surplus of bacteria? Too cold? Is it recoverable or healthy as-is?

2. Does the green mold atop this 5-gallon brew mean its demise? I'm inclined to toss it as I once skimmed-and-continued without success, but wonder what others' experience is.
IMG_7026.jpg IMG_7027.jpg

Might both these issues arise from seasonal temperature changes? I'm in USA Zone 5 and the room where these ferment is getting chillier.

Thanks for any help!
 

Transamguy77

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Apr 18, 2011
Messages
2,294
Reaction score
737
Location
Perkasie
Then it looks pretty normal, you could always rack from under or make another batch and blend them to help with the viscous feeling.
From what I remember I’ve had mold a time or 2 and as long as it was on top I never worried about it. It’s been awhile since I made kombucha.
 

IslandLizard

Progressive Brewing
Staff member
Mod
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jan 9, 2013
Messages
18,963
Reaction score
9,207
Location
Pasadena, MD
Have you been swirling the keg(s) periodically? If not, you should, to keep the top of the scoby wet. That should prevent mold growth.

When enlarged, I see the tiny specs of what looks like green mold on the bottom of the image.
Is that keg kept closed, open, or covered with a cloth/mesh fabric. AFAIK, your Kombucha needs "some" oxygen.
 
OP
OP
MycoDaimon

MycoDaimon

Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2019
Messages
13
Reaction score
1
Thanks, @IslandLizard: No, I don't swirl, but I'll start.

Also, I keep an elastic band around a cotton handkerchief that protects the otherwise open keg (keeps out little insects but lets in oxygen).

Any experience with mold like this?
 

IslandLizard

Progressive Brewing
Staff member
Mod
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jan 9, 2013
Messages
18,963
Reaction score
9,207
Location
Pasadena, MD
Any experience with mold like this?
No, not with the 1000 green specks. Had a few bigger green ones a couple times. Someone told me to just cut them out or cut the scoby in half, around the dots. Then wash the scoby in some booch and return it.

Are you bottling the batch or topping up that keg regularly? Too much headspace is not good from what I've heard. More conducive to mold formation forming in the headspace (dark, damp, and... oxygen).
 
OP
OP
MycoDaimon

MycoDaimon

Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2019
Messages
13
Reaction score
1
Are you bottling the batch or topping up that keg regularly? Too much headspace is not good from what I've heard. More conducive to mold formation forming in the headspace (dark, damp, and... oxygen).

Once the booch is ready, I transfer it to half-gallon mason jars. But I do have between 2 and 4 inches of headspace in there. Maybe that's too much? Or, like IslandLizard suggested, I should swirl to keep the scoby wet...
 

hottpeper13

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2013
Messages
1,415
Reaction score
579
Location
Mequon
You have 2 batches gone bad? At 5 gal a batch you should be repitching at least .5 gal starter ( the more acidic the better) and adding 4.5 gal of sweet tea. If you don't get the temp in the 78* - 86* it won't ferment fast enough to drop the pH into micro territory.

You don't need to reuse the scoby ,only the kombucha. You don't add a scoby when packaging and I always get a scoby in the bottle.
A smooth, tan and thick scoby is a sign of awesome fermentation,and the faster the pelical forms the tastier mine are.
Chack your pH,my finished booch is ~2.85 ( it's kinda sweet above 3.25)
 

rushpapers

Son-of-a-Booch
Joined
Jan 26, 2016
Messages
240
Reaction score
164
Throw away that pellicle, you don't need it. In fact strain all pellicle pieces from the batch. Reserve 1 gal of booch to pitch the next 5 gal batch. Make sure it's acidic.. like 3.0 pH. Pitch at a ratio of 20% starter to 80% sweet tea.

Get yourself a good pH meter and buffer solution for calibration. Milwaukee MW102 is a solid unit.

Get yourself a decent fermenter. A corny keg is not sufficient. A Sansone 20L Fusti would be a better choice.

Unless you're poor? Then, buy pH strips and a food grade bucket at Home Depot for $12 and cover it with a clean lint free tea towel secured with a bungee cord.
 
Last edited:
OP
OP
MycoDaimon

MycoDaimon

Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2019
Messages
13
Reaction score
1
Hi, @rushpapers. Not the update I'd wish to make yet, but:
  1. 4 growlers of the syrupy kombucha thinned out and now tastes fine. I'm drinking it.
  2. I finally have a fusti! Thank you much for that tip. Can't wait to brew in it this week.
Not sure if I should start in the fusti 1. with an older scoby (unassociated with syrupy-ness) or 2. just a proportion of good, locally bottled booch.
 

rushpapers

Son-of-a-Booch
Joined
Jan 26, 2016
Messages
240
Reaction score
164
K.... if you were somewhere in NYC, I'd give some.

...You can order some certified organic starter online.

Some of the comercial companies filter out all the yeast and bacteria and then they reintroduce specific probiotics before bottling. I'd suggest the sure thing which is getting a culture from someone trusted, or buying it from a reputable source.
 
OP
OP
MycoDaimon

MycoDaimon

Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2019
Messages
13
Reaction score
1
Hi, @rushpapers. Two quick, "silly questions":
  1. Is this correct?: If planning to use the fusti tap, it should be installed before the brew. (That's what I did.)
  2. While brewing, how should I assure adequate air-exchange? Loosen or remove the screw on the gasketed lid?
Thanks!
 

rushpapers

Son-of-a-Booch
Joined
Jan 26, 2016
Messages
240
Reaction score
164
1. Yes, if you're going to use the valve, you must install it before filling the tank. I added butterfly valves to mine so that I can tri-clamp a winery hose to it.

2. Don't use the top, but don't lose it either, you might need it later. Simply cover the fusti with a sheet of fiber, such as a clean dinner napkin, or tea towel, and secure with a rubber band or bungee cord. I use giant coffee filters for my fusti tanks.
 

Latest posts

Top