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Bottling Kombucha

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  • Bottling Kombucha

    There was a great kombucha thread floating around here somewhere, and I mentioned this question, but it seems to have gotten lost in the discussion. My first batch of Kombucha is brewing now and I think I might be able to bottle in 4 or 5 days. I do not have swing top bottles. I do, however, have old commercial kombucha bottles (and their caps), old glass jars (also with lids), and empty beer and wine bottles (without tops or corks, obviously). I was hoping I'd be able to use the jars or old kombucha bottles in a pinch. But I am afraid of explosions as the kombucha carbonates. Do I need swing top bottles? If so, anyone know a good, cheap resource for them?
    I don't own a scale and don't care to!

  • #2
    I am about a week behind you. I have read about people using screw top bottles, just don't overferment the second stage. I saw flip top bottles at the Container Store and we also have a home brew supply store in the area, but I think I walk on the wild side and will be using some screwtop Sparkling Water bottles.

    Are you going to flavor it?
    Will you be continuous brewing?

    This weekend I studied about making ginger beer, which uses a similar process with a grainy SCOBY called a ginger plant. They use plastic soda bottles, leave 3" unfilled and then squeeze the air out of the bottle before sealing. When the bottle expands to normal it is done. I don't know if this is counterproductive in terms of forcing the bubbles into the brew itself, just kind of clever.
    Last edited by Adrianag; 02-15-2011, 02:08 AM.

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    • #3
      We use the old screw top bottles we saved from buying Kombucha at the store. Just don't overfill them - leave a little airspace at the top. They work great!

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      • #4
        If I run short on swing-top bottles I have some screw-top kombucha bottles that I saved from when I was buying it from the store. Those will work just fine, but be careful not to over ferment or you'll have a mess on your hands.

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        • #5
          Thanks! Anybody have a guide for not overfermenting the second stage, time-wise? It's relatively warm where I live...like 75 outside during the day, maybe 65-70 in the house. I do want it to be carbonated! I love the fizziness.
          I don't own a scale and don't care to!

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          • #6
            Our kombucha usually takes 2 - 4 days to get carbonated. You can always open a bottle and have a taste to see if it's done enough for you, if not, just screw the cap back on and try again the next day.

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            • #7
              Mine seems to be ready in 2 days.

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              • #8
                What is your guideline for when to bottle? You say 3 weeks, Food Renegade says Day 5.

                I am planning to flavor one bottle with mango. I think you mentioned only using ginger for flavoring on yours. Do you think I should puree the mango or dice it?
                Last edited by Adrianag; 02-22-2011, 09:54 AM.

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                • #9
                  As for when to bottle kombucha, again, we do it by taste test. We ladle a little out of the large jar into a glass and take a sip. If it is too sweet, we wait longer. Sometimes it takes 2-3 weeks - this seems to be the case in the winter time. When the weather is hot, it ferments a lot faster. So, 5 days to 3 weeks sounds like a fair range depending on environmental conditions.

                  As far as adding fruit, I would puree it. chunks of fruit start breaking down with the fermentation and the texture is not optimal to say the least (think rotting fruit texture). Ginger pieces hold up much better. We also use some organic juices of various flavors - like tart cherry and pomegranate!

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                  • #10
                    Thanks for the info..i'm working on my second batch. The first was so, so...I think my homegrown SCOBY was a bit premature to give it a good fermentation. The second batch seems to be acidifying nicely.

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                    • #11
                      Once you get a good SCOBY going you should have many batches of delicious kombucha. When it comes out right, there is nothing I like better to drink when I am craving something a bit sparkly and refreshing. Enjoy!

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                      • #12
                        I've been bottling any which way and keeping anything with a screw-top in the fridge. Corked bottles stay on the counter. I do keep my house freakin' cold in the winter, though, so as the weather warms up everything may need to go in the fridge.
                        "If man made it, don't eat it." ..Jack LaLanne
                        "It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are.
                        If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong." ..Richard Feynman

                        beachrat's new primal journal

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                        • #13
                          I still have some of my first batch which is a bit on the flat side. I'm thinking of mixing it with my second batch which is fermenting under a much nicer thicker SCOBY now and adding a tsp. of sugar per quart to see if I can get it to get fizzy. Thoughts?

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                          • #14
                            I'd be interested in the "tricks". I'm 4 batches in (2 at a time) and can get some good carbonation when the scoby seals the top but lose a bit when i bottle and doesn't seem to carbonate much in bottle.
                            "You can demonstrate the purpose and limits of human digestion with a simple experiment: eat a steak with some whole corn kernels, and see what comes out the other end. It won’t be the steak."
                            J. Stanton

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                            • #15
                              I like to add some frozen fruit to the flat batches and then ferment a little more...the sugars in them will feed the yeast and they, in turn, will carbonate your brew. Additionally, the fruits give awesome flavor! We like using frozen, organic fruit and we prefer berries (raspberry, blueberry, blackberry - yum). Really sugary fruits (pineapple, mango, etc) cause the brew to taste way alcoholic to me (and not in a good way, IMO).

                              for first stage fermentation, taste in a sterile way (ie no way of getting your spit, unwashed hands, etc in the brew) and then bottle when it tastes good to you...we like it a little stronger (esp if we're adding fruit when bottling), but some people like it when it tastes like apple juice to me

                              for second stage fermentation, I have swing top and screw top bottles. I like the swing top better b/c I don't worry, but they both work. Just check one after a few days at room temp and then transfer to the fridge to slow down fermentation when you like it.

                              HTH

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