Kombucha still sweet

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Jokester

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I started it on 16th nov, so nearly 5 months ago, and used a big 6" diameter 1" thick scoby purchased from a local seller who pulled it from their fermenter in front of me.
I have a 3 gal fermenter and put 1.5lb sugar in maybe 2.75 gal of tea. It was in a 75 degree house for the first 7 weeks, then the house was set to 55 while I went to India for 7 weeks. Its likely that where this was, the temp stayed ~60 or so.
Its fermented a good bit and turned almost all the sugar into acetic acid. But there's a lingering sweetness. The scoby also has got to 3-4X its original size.
Is there a way to find out how much sugar is left, and if it makes sense to just call it done get this bottled and start the next batch.
 

haygood

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Did you use any starter?
I use a pH meter and shoot for about 3.0, also tasting as I go.
Nov? that's a long time for 3 gallons.
Seeing that it got down to 60ish, if it's anything like beer brewing, then the yeast have gone to sleep.
As long as you don't have any mold growing, you might consider adding a couple cups of starter, and rousing the fermenter, and keeping it warm.
 
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Jokester

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I'm gonna start a new batch shortly. I thought it fermented fine for 7 weeks, then seemed to stall out. Its not as sweet as it was when started. I am finding out I suck at making anything non alcoholic. I seem to nail the alcoholic ones often ending under 1.000 sometimes almost .995 but making apple vinegar, kombucha etc seem to somehow escape my grasp.
 

rushpapers

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You used entirely too much sugar. You could have used 1/3 of the amount, especially if you want to match the sugar content of store brands, which is normally 1g per 1 fl/oz.
 
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Jokester

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You used entirely too much sugar. You could have used 1/3 of the amount, especially if you want to match the sugar content of store brands, which is normally 1g per 1 fl/oz.

Oh, so 1lb for 3 gal ? I'll do that next time. The secondary issue - really I need to get this also sorted, and I am a tea expert (in my own mind) I also have way too less tea flavor. But dont worry, I will solve that. I dont use tea bags - that would be way too easy - but I also taste the paper, so I used loose leaf, and well, now I need to recaliberate that.
 
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Jokester

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I used 500 gm I misread the label I wrote on the thing - not 1.5lb like in my first post.
I should cut back to 200 or even 150 gm - per "pro home cooks" on youtube. Basically he used 1.5 cups in 2 gal. I will only put 150 in 3 gal in my next batch.
I had a question about this batch. Will this keep fermenting if I let it sit or has it stalled. It was started Nov 16th 2021. And tasted sweet 2 weeks ago.
 
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Jokester

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I have started a new batch. I only managed to get a little over 1.5 gal from the last batch, but there was over 1 gal I either lost or left in the fermenter to acidify this incoming batch.
I dont have a ph meter yet. But it didn't taste that sweet and I am yet to officially taste it. I have 1 gal I may put fruit in and treat as secondary and let it ferment a few more weeks, and 4 500 ml cam lock bottles I will wait to see if it clears, but in any case it tasted pretty dry.
Now I added 1.5+ gal of tea with 250 gm sugar (I know, I am still over sweet) in my next batch along with the 1 gal or so carry over. I'll guess this is very acidic.
Taste test tomorrow. I'll know what's going on with the previous batch. I'll remember from now on to use gallons X 100gm.
Anyway I am making sauerkraut also - which I will post in a separate post about what its doing.
 
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Jokester

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The cam lock bottles are clearing and I haven't tasted it - but well I forgot to mention in my earlier post, there was some over flow, but the fermenter was in a new plastic bag. Which ended up growing a scoby.
I didn't want to add a questionable scoby to the bigger batch, and was reluctant to throw a questionable scoby out - its only questionable, not outright bad right. So I ate it. First I ate a little, and seeing as it tasted and felt like lemon jello without any sugar - I ate the whole thing. Was pretty nice. So I actually did something right in that batch too. It fermented fine, may have stalled due to the colder house, likely restarted and likely finished out all the excess sugar.
I'm gonna taste the 1 gal - thereby also making room for the apple sauce and cinnamon I'm going to add, but let the cam locks clear.
 

rushpapers

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You're all over the place.
You need to lock down a process and address your critical control points.
 
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Jokester

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I know, but I think this kombucha fermented further - anyway the taste (later today) will let me know. I'll get it right some time LOL.
 
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Jokester

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I like it, it is now mildly sweet. Nice drink cold. Can also be garnished with cucumber or celery sticks, or lemon wedge or even mint etc etc. I would have liked more tea flavor though, I didn't realize the tea color and flavor fades as the acids build.
The next set I have now is more tea and its in less water than the near 3 gal I used for this batch.

Now does the growing scoby take some of the liquid into itself. I had the fermenter overflow in the first batch. The bag kept it all in and nothing leaked out onto the counter. And in the bottom of the bag was just pure scoby. No liquid almost. It was moist but that was about it. Obviously when it grows it has to take in the water is what I'm thinking.
 
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