How Not to Secondary Ferment Kombucha

I mentioned in my Continuous Brewing Kombucha post that I was trying to secondary ferment my ‘booch.  I’m sad to say I have yet to figure it out.  All of the information I’ve read makes it sound SO simple.  Just throw in some fruit (fresh or frozen) or a little juice and let it sit at room temp with a tight lid.  Check it after a few days, a week at most.  I’ve gotten nothing, nada, zilch.

 How Not To Secondary Ferment KombuchaHow Not To Secondary Ferment KombuchaHow Not To Secondary Ferment Kombucha
I’ve tried fruit juice, fruit purees, frozen fruit pieces, fresh fruit pieces, ginger, dried fruit, and straight up cane sugar.  I tried adding more and adding less of the ingredients.  I tried partially filling or completely filling the bottles.  I’ve even left a couple to sit for two weeks.

Since my secondary fermenting takes place on the counter it’s possible it’s a temperature issue still, although I’ve been home more than not so the house temperature has been much warmer than usual and I’ve yet to get even a weak fizz.  Despite never getting the carbonation it has still become my routine to pull my kombucha, add flavors, and let it further ferment on the counter.  I don’t mind plain kombucha, but the flavors are nice and is often a way to get other good for me stuff in to me.

About once a week I pull four to eight 16 oz bottles of kombucha (about a weeks worth) and add flavorings.  My favorites flavorings so far (each item flavors one 16oz bottle):

  • 5-6 slices of fresh, peeled ginger root
  • 1 TBSP of my elderberry jelly
  • 1/2 tsp dried elderberry flowers
  • 1/2 TBSP dried elderberries
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 TBSP dried hibiscus flowers

After adding the flavorings I let the bottles sit on the counter out of direct sunlight for a few days up to a week or more.  Usually I only move them to the fridge to chill right before I drink it or after I’ve opened it.

This routine works well for me, because I normally end up pulling about a gallon of tea out of my continuous brew jar.  Afterwards I add back in a gallon of the sugar-tea mixture.  So my main brew gets a week to ferment, while my bottles get time to flavor and continue to ferment as I consume them.  Then in a week I’m ready to do it all again.

I tend to make one flavor per 16 oz bottle and sometimes blend them afterwards.  It gives me more variety.  The ginger and orange are nice together as is the elderberry jelly and edlerflowers.

While on Whole30 or if I’m really missing the fizz I cut my kombucha in half with plain sparkling water or a flavored (no sugar) sparkling water like Perrier Pink Grapefruit or La Croix Coconut.

I kind of want to figure this whole process out because.. Food Science!! but the process still results in kombucha I enjoy drinking.

So, I wrote the above shortly after righting the original brewing post, but it was scheduled out a few weeks.  I have to confess that after sitting on my counter for two weeks, I had ONE BOTTLE ferment enough to carbonate.  It was a bottle of elderberry flower flavor.  No idea what made that one magically do it.  Geoff was unimpressed by my dance moves as I shouted “holy shit there are bubbles!  It fucking worked!”  I offer the following as my proof:

Secondary Fermenting Kombucha

The information on this website is for informational and educational purposes only, and in no way is any of the content on this website to be construed as medical advice or instruction. Please do your own research and seek the advise of a medical professional as appropriate.

2 Responses

  1. Jon Mccoy
    Jon Mccoy 17 January, 2015 at 12:39 pm | | Reply

    I never consistently got fizz in secondary, either. I now force-carbonate with a carbonator cap if I want fizzy kombucha – same setup makes soda or flavored sparkling water (or kegged homebrew).

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