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

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MycoDaimon

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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.jpgIMG_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

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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

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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.
 
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MycoDaimon

MycoDaimon

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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

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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).
 
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MycoDaimon

MycoDaimon

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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

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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)
 
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MycoDaimon

MycoDaimon

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I think the point about temp is especially essential to my success. I'll incorporate it! Thanks, @hottpeper13!
 

rushpapers

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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.
 
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