Kombucha Mother Health

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Quinazo

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Hello
I've been making kombucha for about 2 years. Last January had a problem with all of my mothers. For some reason my kombucha stopped making big thick mothers. Instead my mothers were paper thin and the kombucha was very sweet even after 20 days of brewing. I went ahead and bought some new mothers and did a test and the new mothers took off and was making big fat mothers and strong kombucha within 10 or 14 days. So went ahead and threw out all of my old mothers that weren't producing correctly.

Well now I fear that it's happening again and I can't figure out why.

The first time around I suspected that the mothers went bad because I started using star san to clean my vessels. But then I stopped using starsan completely so now that is ruled out.

I am using alkaline water could that be it? I also moved all of my operation to a new closet with lots of blankets. (Before it was in the kitchen up in a cabinet) It's been a little cold for the last few weeks but nothing less than 50 degrees.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I bought some new mothers from amazon.com and they are in the mail.

I also uploaded some pics
 
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Quinazo

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I have not. I dont know what RO is. Any advice?
 

jurgenph

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I have not. I dont know what RO is. Any advice?
RO is water filtered through a reverse osmosis filtration system.

i've been using RO for quite some time now, and i don't even transfer my mother scoby to a new batch, i just poor off some of my current batch into the new one, and within a day or two, the new scoby starts growing.


J.
 

Yooper

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I have not. I dont know what RO is. Any advice?
It's reverse osmosis water- pure water from those big "water machines" at the store, or via a home RO machine.

I use tap water for my kombucha, mostly because I forget to prepare water in advance.

I wonder if your fermentation temperature is just too cool- I have mine currently on a heat mat to keep it up above 72 degrees. I live in a cool climate, and rarely get room temperature above 72 degrees. Optimum temperature for the SCOBY is something like 70-85 degrees.
 
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Quinazo

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Thank you Yooper this really helping me out. I wonder if I've been using too little starter kombucha. My kombucha has been on the sweet side. Maybe my brew been too weak and my acid level has been too low to fight off any bugs that are coming into contact. That coupled with the high pH of the alkaline water I've been using is maybe the problem. I haven't been paying attention to my pH level at the beginning of the brew.
 

Yooper

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Thank you Yooper this really helping me out. I wonder if I've been using too little starter kombucha. My kombucha has been on the sweet side. Maybe my brew been too weak and my acid level has been too low to fight off any bugs that are coming into contact. That coupled with the high pH of the alkaline water I've been using is maybe the problem. I haven't been paying attention to my pH level at the beginning of the brew.
I use probably more starter tea than I actually need, but it does ensure a quicker fermentation. You don't really need a large cellulose mat, as the SCOBY is the bacteria and wild yeast in solution, but if you look at the SCOBY, you can see dangling pieces of yeast as well. I'd get a stick on thermometer (for a fish tank- they are cheap at wal-mart) to make sure you keep it at least at 72 degrees. The warmer temperature encourages your SCOBY to get moving, as to discourage microbes. If your pH is too high, you can add some distilled vinegar to bring it down so that mold doesn't take hold.
 
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Quinazo

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I am gonna try adding vinegar and checking the ph. And with the next batch I'm gonna start using distilled or osmosis water. I will get back, thank you so much!
 

Morden2004

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Thank you Yooper this really helping me out. I wonder if I've been using too little starter kombucha. My kombucha has been on the sweet side. Maybe my brew been too weak and my acid level has been too low to fight off any bugs that are coming into contact. That coupled with the high pH of the alkaline water I've been using is maybe the problem. I haven't been paying attention to my pH level at the beginning of the brew.
Not enough heat! I brew at 78-80F in a 25 liter fermenter. Make sure your pH is 5 or lower. It should take no more than 5 days at 78F to get to a take-off point (Booch is still slightly sweet).

I usually keep 2 liters of raw booch with the scobys in it and store them at < 58F in my wine room until needed.

I've had no problems with this procedure.

Also, you can take SG readings to determine the end-point but I found that taste was far better. However, a SG of < 140 is a good indicator that the booch is running low on sugar.

And, I use tap water, organic black tea, regular white sugar and flavor with lemon juice and ginger juice after I draw off the 20 or so liters to bottling.

YMMV of course.

Paul
 

KombuchaJim

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I was given a nice thick scoby from a brewer leaving the state. My other scobies are slowly thickening. I originally started with a scoby from a small mason jar and used them in a larger container. The two are very thin and do appear to thicken and one is getting thicker with every batch.

I am curious what you find out as you go forward. The thicker scoby appears so much healthier. I will use more starter next time and see how that goes.

Average temp: 74 degrees
6 tea bags of Black Tea with 1 cup sugar per gallon batch
2 cups starter per 1 gallon.

Jim
 
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