Mother from GT's Ginger Kombucha

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tannnick

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I did it 3 weeks ago. I used a 3 qt olive glass jar and filled it with sweet tea from work, you know the southern sweet tea. Dumped 1/2 bottle of GTs and then bottled a few days ago. It grew a huge scoby on top. I should have bottled sooner because it got too vinegary and didnt let it sit warm in the bottle long enough to carbonate up. Maybe it used up all its energy on fermentation. I bet its like 2-3 percent. I can taste the alcohol! Ths was also like at 80F+ in the same room as my belgian beers fermenting real hot!

Next time I am going to use distilled water and some quality looseleaf tea. Also I am going to use a better sugar, even though white sugar is the best and easiest.

Good Luck!
 
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Shoki

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1 week later and I have a slight film over the surface of the tea. It is a little colder than it should be but I think it's close enough... I'll give it another week and see how it's doing.

This is the same result as the scoby I purchased so we'll see which one turns out best.

--Shoki
 

bluerdg

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I managed to get it to work. I was new to GT Dave's and the only place I could find any didn't have the 100% in stock. I did however find a variety of others that were listed as 95% raw, and the ginger was one of them. I used a standard black / green tea recipe (1 gal) and added a full bottle of the ginger Kombucha to it. Covered with a paper towel cap secured with a rubber band. Tucked it in under the counter and let it sit for about 2 weeks. Over that period, I had an opportunity to pick up a few more bottles of GT Dave's, including a bottle of the Green Tea 100% with a healthy looking glob in the bottle. I added that glob as well as the sediment and last inch or so of a couple other bottles of assorted flavors of Dave's over the 2 week period. It produced a somewhat weak (although drinkable) Kombucha as well as a thin semi-transparent scoby that I moved to a new batch along with about 2 cups of the liquid. I've had that new batch sitting for about 2 weeks now, and I've got a healthy mother that's formed. Opaque white about 6-7" diameter, solid texture. I haven't noticed any babies yet but my mother looks like a "Man o War" jellyfish with an abundance of tentacles that should be more than suitable for child formation on the next batch.
 
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Shoki

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Checked mine today and it was molded so I had to toss it.
 

tannnick

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That's a bummer. Do you put a paper towel or cheesecloth over the top? I use these chemistry lab flask sheets for air sanitation. They are blue and like a paper towel. I have had mine sitting for a couple weeks in the corner forgot about. I need to make another batch and get this lady movin' again!
 

JScott613

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Hello, all...I had started to brew my first batch of KT 11 days ago in a 2 gallon glass container. The first few days everything went quite well, but after day 2, It seems to have stopped progressing, visually speaking, though the smell had changed from a strong yeast odor to now a strong vinegar smell with only a bit of a yeasty smell, and this transition happened in just a day. No mold, just the initial bubbles with the milky substance between the "suds", which, as I'd stated already, is the initial stage, visually, but had not progressed into a scoby as yet. It is stored in a closet on a heating pad, which isn't all that hot even on its highest setting. Is it okay to still wait and see if it produces a mother?
 

tannnick

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That is all fine. From what I know. I have only done this one time, but have read a lot on it. You either need to add more sugar to get it going again or You should taste it now. Do you like it? Sweet? Sour? Pull off all put 15% and the growth and add this to a new batch. This should create a bigger mother. I used some really sweet tea (from a southern restaurant!) and it is alcoholic and vinegary and i have a 1/2" thick scoby mother off of 1 KT bottle in a 3 qt. olive jar!
 

JScott613

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If you were replying to my post, it would be difficult for me to believe that I would need to add more sugar to it so soon, seeing as I'd started it with 5 cups of sugar only 11 days ago. There is a film only 1/16" or so thick, assuming it is the scoby, I don't trust moving it at all for fear of damaging it.

I'm opting out of beginning a new batch for the time being, in fact, I just started a new batch earlier today before reading your reply, so, I am out of room and means to do so.

Do you still suggest adding more sugar to it? Does the vinegary smell generally indicate that the sugars have all been used up?

***half-hour later update here*** I had been pondering and decided it seems the right choice to add sugar, so, I'd added 1-1/4 cup.
 

tannnick

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What I suggest you do is sample the product. I do not suggest adding more sugar. I have heard that it will take a few rounds to create a really nice, big scoby after starting with a KT bottle. I used a ton of sugar, thus ending in a very vinegary product. Too vinegary. I will do it again with less sugar and not let it sit as long. 11 days is long enough to make a quality kombucha if at a good 75-80F.
 

JScott613

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As strong as this round smelled of vinegar I was very hesitant to drink it, I'd recently read someone did sip their batch and it burned their throat for a few days, lol, that's not an experience I want.

I did end up adding more sugar, (before your latest reply) 1-1/4 cup. The surface already looks more as I'd expected it to look by now, initial expectations. It has that yeasty smell again...If, in a week or so, I end up stunted again, I will change my approach and note your suggestions.

What gets me is a friend of mine does the exact process and consistently produces scobys quickly, and I operate in much more sanitary conditions!

As for the temperature range, I can't be sure, I would estimate approx. 70 degrees. That is why I let it sit for so long, assuming the temp calls for longer fermentation time. I do not use a thermometer, I feel risking contamination by often sticking a thermometer into the brew is senseless.

I store it in the dark basement where I do not disturb it. The windows in the basement are actually plywood, (long story) hopefully explaining why temp keep-up is nigh impossible and expensive in this Colorado "winter".

And I am a bit suspicious, can scobys form at the bottom or always on the surface?
 

trigger

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I grew my scoby from a bottle of comercial. I started with 1/2 cup sugar in 1/2 gal, and added 1/2 gal with 3/4 cup sugar every 2 weeks until I had 2 gallons total. In two months I had a 1" thick healthy, happy pad, but the tea underneath wasn't pleasant (pure vinegar). Since then I've been able to peel off layers for friends, and turn out a 2 gal batch every couple weeks.

I also tried with a bottle in 2 gallons, and that thing took forever to grow. I really think that the stepped feedings is the way to go. Just be gentle when you add to the brew, as the thin film likes to tear and you won't get a pretty, flat mother like in the pictures.
 

JScott613

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OK, I just finished bottling my first batch of Kombucha. It had been fermenting since the 11th of February, 1 gallon.

The scoby is very thin on one side and one side is roughly 1/4 inch thick. The reason for that is I'd add sugar and tea on one side to maintain the process.

I tasted the tea, which smelled very vinegary, and it had a very sweet feel and taste, then I swallowed it and, for a fraction of a second, felt like pins and needles, though not painful, if that makes sense. The tea is very strong and now sits at room temp with slices of peach in 16 oz. bottles, I suppose 3-5 days while I try and build carbonation.

How does this sound as a decent process? All input is greatly appreciated!
 

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When I make my kombucha tea I taste by drawing off with a straw at 7 days and about every 3d thereafter, that way I can either stop fermentation or move it to the next phase for secondary fermentation if I am going that route.
 

saramc

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In regard to scoby formation, they usually form on the top BUT I have had them form on the bottom too. Also, my dogs LOVE chewing on dried scoby, which can be done with dehydrator or low oven or the hot sun(covered with a net). Their coats are gorgeous.
 

JScott613

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Thank you.

I added 1 gallon to my starter quart yesterday and will utilize your suggestion on tasting. Already seems to be moving along nicely. I did 1 cup sugar this time around instead of 5 cups, lol.
 

mutedog

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I carbonate by removing the scoby, adding some sugar back to the kombucha and put it in bottles. Then I let the bottles sit at room temperature for a couple of days (no more than 3) and then stick them in the fridge.

Maybe this is a recipe for bottle bombs but I've never had an issue since I only let it continue fermenting for a few days before refrigeration which pretty much stops the yeast.
 

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Any thoughts about using flip top bottles for carbonation?

I guzzle this stuff (the GT brand, ginger) like water when my stomach starts acting up (H pylori - yuck) and the lactobacillus usually knocks it back so I thought I would brew my own.

What tea have you folks used? My favorite black tea is PG Tips (UK) but I'm wondering if green tea or herbal tea would be better.
 

JScott613

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From what I know, Black, Green or a mixture of both work for making Kombucha, no herbal teas due to their oils. I think the oils kill the scoby or cause mold.

I use organic green tea and had recently started a black tea brew. Have not consumed either yet.

As for the bottles, I had read quite a bit about the flip-tops and their ability to regulate the pressure carbonating has due to their rubber seals. I would like to try using them but was in a hurry to start brewing so I ended with mason jars with rubber sealed lids and the screw-tops, we'll see if they work well or not.
 

mutedog

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I've been reusing 750ml flip top bottles for all of my kombucha (maybe another reason why I've not had any bottle bombs) I buy sparkling french lemonade from World Market in these bottles and reuse them.

So far I've only brewed my Kombucha with green tea. It might be worth a try to do some herbal teas with some of your extra SCOBYs once you're a few batches in.
 

JScott613

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Ok, today I opened one of my bottles and do have light carbonation after 3 days. I tasted it and it tastes sweet but very alcoholic. Not sure I will enjoy drinking these.

So much for my signature quote, lol.
 

trigger

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JScott613 said:
Ok, today I opened one of my bottles and do have light carbonation after 3 days. I tasted it and it tastes sweet but very alcoholic. Not sure I will enjoy drinking these.

So much for my signature quote, lol.
You probably are out of balance ong some of the bacterial components in your culture. With your nextbatch let it go more to get a better balance. Eventually the scoby will hit the right balance.
 

JScott613

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No doubt you're right. I started with 5 cups of sugar for 1 gallon. When things looked as though they were not progressing I added more of this and that, here and there.

This next batch I used the remaining tea from the starter and added 1 gallon with 1 cup of sugar. Now I suppose I will wait a month before screwing with it.
 

saramc

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JScott613's comment about AVOID OILS for KT brewing is correct. There are SO SO many varieties of teas. When I first started KT brewing and wanted to branch out to different varieties I asked for help from a few of the sites that sell Kombucha mothers. I came across Nick's Natural Nook (I always find them on eBay & I saw them on etsy) & if you message them they will let you know what teas they carry are appropriate for KT. They even have variety packs that you can custom build, so you can have a minimal investment, try the tea with your scoby & then know whether that one works for the taste you are seeking or enjoy. Their teas are organic & my first variety pack included: almond blossom oolong, honeybush, assam, and green chai. They have over 25 varieties, though I don't know how many are appropriate for KT. I enjoy all 4 that I purchased & I like to use assam as a base and blend with any of the other three, or as a stand alone I think I like the almond blossom oolong the best....but that is just me.
In regard to carbonation, IMHO, (I use mason jars), I will do my primary ferment in a loosely capped jar until desired level of sweetness, if I want a secondary ferment I will then proceed with that but typically no more than 3 days with the lid tightly capped, the jar wrapped in a towel & I "burb" the jar on a daily basis. I check for appropriate level of sweetness before I bottle & if I have to I will back-sweeten and then bottle in a grolsch style container and refrigerate. When I pour a glass on ice, I get loads of fizz. I am very, very cautious when I ferment with a tightly capped lid, and even take one extra level of security and place my brew container in a cardboard box or styrofoam cooler--just depends on how many different KT's I have going. I watch for great prices on french lemonade or other items packaged in flip-tops and will use them for my KT, kefir water, ginger beer, fruit cordials(non-alcoholic & alcoholic) and wine(that will be consumed shortly rather than left to age). If I need the flip-tops in bulk I purchase from my LHBS or check prices at online container sites. I do have to say that all this home brewing/fermentation is quite addictive & it seems like the only thing I honestly don't make at home is beer(though that is on my list). I do different yogurts(CSY, greek), sourdough and am getting ready to start vinegar! Cross-contamination of cultures is my biggest fear and I always make sure to use well ventilated spaces and keep any different cultures being used at least 8 feet apart----in the past year I have not yet killed my cultures. Anyway, I do enjoy the forum!
 

BoundForBeer

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No doubt you're right. I started with 5 cups of sugar for 1 gallon. When things looked as though they were not progressing I added more of this and that, here and there.

This next batch I used the remaining tea from the starter and added 1 gallon with 1 cup of sugar. Now I suppose I will wait a month before screwing with it.
WOW 5 cups of sugar is alot. It is at least alot then how I brew it. I use about 1 1/2 cups of sugar and let it set for about 10 days. bottle it in PET bottles and let those sit out and carb for 4 days (with fruit in the bottom). then throw in the fridge and enjoy one for lunch everyday.
 

tannnick

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Alright, I haven't posted in a little while, but I have been doing a couple experiments. I have been using White Tea. I figured it would be a very mild tea. My first batch was very gross: 1/2 GTs Raw in 3 qt. Sweet Tea from my southern restaurant. It has way, way, way too much sugar in it! After about 2 weeks at 75F, it was about 1/2" thick and very vinegary. I made a new batch with the scoby and white tea with 1 cup natural cane sugar in 3 qts. After 1 week at 75F, I bottled it in mason jars. I was not happy with the taste. I let it sit for a few days and put 1 in the fridge to check carb levels. It was very sweet and no carbonation.

Now after 2 weeks, warm, it is very carbonated and very tasty. I am going to put in the fridge now.

I made a third batch with the daughter of the last and threw away the mother as she was kinda brown and discolored. The daughter was a nice bright white. This batch after 13 days at 72F is very tasty and slightly carbonated in the jar. I just noticed today a small spec of mold on top of the daughter on top of the surface. I am going to get this scoby out of the top and bottle this batch. Maybe with some fruit juices.

Has anyone drank tea with mold? I think this is brand new today or yesterday. It is one small white furry spot.
 

JScott613

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I will write more tomorrow or the next day and comment on the rest of your post...for now I will comment on the mold......I read everywhere that if any mold grows, throw it away and start anew. Personally, I would experiment and scrape that bit of mold off and wait a few days to see if any more mold develops...if not, success! I would gander the tea is safe to drink....
 

tannnick

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It was time for bottling anyway, so I pulled the scoby off the top that had the small spec of furry mold and threw it away. Then I bottled the rest and left 1/4 with the big mother on the bottom.

I think I will be ok. I added juice when bottling for the first time. It seems to have carbonated quicker with adding more sugar, do you find this to be true? I found ginger juice at Whole Foods, I am stoked, cuz that is that GTs I drink.

Has anyone ever added more that 1 1/2 cups per gallon of sugar? Would it make it more stronger alcohol? Doesn't the fermentation have to be anaerobic in order for alcohol to produce?
 

mutedog

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I add more sugar than that, it just means you'll (eventually) have a more sour kombucha. The ferment has to be anerobic for more alcohol, if my understanding is correct, the aceto bacteria can't process the alcohol into acetic acid without oxygen.
 

tannnick

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That I believe is correct, the aceto. Ok, so more sugar means more sour, takes longer? I ferment everything at about 72-74F.

How long does normal bottling take to carb? Overnight the tops on jars are very tight!
 

mutedog

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if you let it open ferment longer then it will be more sour, if you put an airlock on it then it will be more alcohol, or if you stop it sooner then it will be sweeter. I recommend tasting it as it goes and stop or alter the ferment where you like the flavor.

I bottle my kombucha in 750ml swing top bottles I let them carb for about 3 or so days and then put them in the fridge to slow/stop fermentation.
 

JScott613

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I added 5.5 cups sugar to a single gallon my first batch. Everything turned out fine, after about 1 month it was fairly vinegary, I bottled it in 16oz bottles and within a few days I had very good carbonation. I don't think the amount of sugar affects the carbonation. I let mine sit out and carbonate for 7 days.

2 days ago I pureed a pound of strawberries (very much into a sort of sorbet consistency) and bottled them. I pureed them because last time I bottled I used peaches and cut them into small pieces, it was time consuming and many people do not like the chunks, chunks also interfere with enjoying the carbonation, if you opt not to consume the chunks.
 

JScott613

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I drank another one of my 5.5 cups sugar brew, do we call kombucha "brew"?, anyway...it was pretty sweet actually. After a month, even. I taste only a bit of tart, if that makes sense, very sweet but some tartness. Am I being redundant?

Tannnick>>> I'm glad I'm not the only one who has a difficult time opening my bottles...I thought I was doing something wrong...I have to use channel-locks to open my lids...today I couldn't find them, luckily I was able to summon up my muscle-man powers!
 
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