Rapid trip through Kombucha first fermentation

HomeBrewTalk.com - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Community.

Help Support Homebrew Talk:


Jun 29, 2020
Reaction score

I'm relatively new to brewing Kombucha and even more so to the forum.

I'm on my 10th gallon or so and have been having a great experience and have already learned a lot.

Quick story, I bought a Kombucha starter kit 18 months ago. I ended up putting it in the cabinet, moved, put it in the garage, lost it for a few months...you get the point.

So 18+ months later I open the box which has a pellicle, some started fluid and a 1 gallon jar. The pellicle was pretty small and I wouldn't say it looked too healthy but it wasn't black. It was about 12 months past the "best used by" date stamped on the package.

So being new, not having a clue and kind of approaching it with a "what the heck?" mentality I added the baggie to 1 gallon of sweet tea, roughly what I would say was 3/4 cup of starter and a silver dollar sized pellicle at best. I have a temperature controlled room and I'm pretty locked in on 74.5 - 75 degrees. I have a few batches that have taken 15-17 days to get to a good spot and I have used 1-1.5 cups of starter per gallon.

This little bag of expired starter got me to the same rough taste in 4 days to what has taken me 15-17 days with new starter liquid bought from other places (amazon, AHBS etc., not a knock on them, they worked too...).

I actually took the pellicle out of the jar to look at it (I'm a newb) and because I've seen some people recommend stirring along the way.

When I stirred my 4 day to perfection batch, it literally foamed over the jar and sent a good amount of liquid onto the counter. I was so surprised by that I decided to give it a sip and was really stunned. Every bit as sweet/sour as my 15-17 day batch with significantly more bubbles. The jar looked like a beer poured of of a keg with 3-4 inches of foam on top until it resettled.

Anyone else had a similar experience? Is creating some starter and just leaving it to ripen (or ferment for a more appropriate word?) for months or eventually a year+ on end a good way to approach this?

I just don't hear too many stories of this kind of speed and all of the jars are in the same room, same temp, same tea...all of it is the same. Only difference is my really "expired" bag of goodness.