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Subject: Kombucha Brewing Question rss

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jeff
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Backstory for those who care....

I was at a home brew beer festival last month in N.H. it was an all weekend camping, eating and drinking good time. I brought a nice simple, crisp, Pale Ale I made.

I woke up on Saturday morning in rough shape from the night before. Being able to sample, at free will, all day, from hundreds of home brewers and their local clubs will do that to a person. I personally drank WAY to much mead.

Slowly meandering around the grounds Saturday afternoon just trying my best to shake off a fog, and major headache, I came across the Conway NH brew club. They were offering Kombucha to sample. I knew of the drink but have never tried it. I figured what the hell it's mostly non-alcohol and I can't end up worse than my current situation. I tried it, the lady told me it was a strong batch and if I needed to just top it off with some water, I did not because I instantly loved it. I actually started to feel better very soon after.

I decided I needed to try to make my own. When I got back home I did my research and bought some supplies. I have a 1 gallon batch doing it's magic right now and it should be ready sometime next week. I'm going to bottle and possibly add some fruit and ferment in the bottle 4-5 days.

Question...

Does anyone brew at home? if so what is your method to keep it warm in the cold seasons? My house it too cold, it's never 78 degrees, I like it around 66.

I'm looking for a simple solution, not one that involves building complex stuff and or analyzing complex chemistry etc...(I'm looking at you Hamzy, no insult intended, you're brilliant but your style of home brewing beer is way over my head, and motivation level) I'm a K.I.S.S. kinda guy.

I currently have a two piece outdoor digital thermometer that I use to monitor the room temp. I'm thinking I could put that, the brew vessel, and a heating pad of sorts in a cooler.

My concerns are it getting too warm, leaving a heating pad plugged in all the time, having to constantly monitor and adjust it, etc..

I saw a neat system online that has a thermostat and such but it's around $130. I'll spend that if it's my best option for ease of use, quality, reliability, simplicity etc.. but if there is a simple more cost effective route that would be better.

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I like kombucha a lot but have not made my own. I did look into buying a live mushroom/yeast mother/scoby just to give it a try, but that was as far as I got.

If you are worried about temperature, why not try a fish tank heater? They typically have a settable thermostat, will keep the water at any temperature you want. The only problem may be that the lowest temperature setting is still too warm for kombucha. Worth a shot though.

I mostly prefer either plain kombucha, or kombucha with ginger. Whenever I have a kombucha with fruit or other sweet flavors, the sweetness drowns out the "native" flavor that I like.
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jeff
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Interesting thought but I think having the heating element in the liquid itself is probably a bad idea. The process as I understand it is a fairly delicate one and having direct heat in a location that the Scoby could come in contact with I'm assuming would cause major damage.
 
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If you buy the bottled ones they're like $3-$4 a piece. That $130 gets made up in a hurry!

Seriously though, I'm going to follow along. I've always been curious about this as well.
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jeff
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stormseeker75 wrote:
If you buy the bottled ones they're like $3-$4 a piece. That $130 gets made up in a hurry!

Seriously though, I'm going to follow along. I've always been curious about this as well.


I got this kit... http://www.thekombuchashop.com/shop/home-brew-starter-kit

I really liked that they put it together with all local materials. I looked into the company and I like what they offer and do and how it's an all in one kit.

I also got these... https://www.amazon.com/Chefs-Star-CASE-Bottles-CLEAR/dp/B011...

I plan on bottle fermenting to add a little fizz and experiment with flavors.

I also got this... https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01GPXGSTM/ref=oh_aui_deta...

Because it's cool.
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jeff
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This is the video that I liked that convinced me to try it. He keeps it super simple.
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Mark Hamzy
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AvidHunter wrote:
Does anyone brew at home? if so what is your method to keep it warm in the cold seasons? My house it too cold, it's never 78 degrees, I like it around 66.

I'm looking for a simple solution, not one that involves building complex stuff and or analyzing complex chemistry etc...(I'm looking at you Hamzy, no insult intended, you're brilliant but your style of home brewing beer is way over my head, and motivation level) I'm a K.I.S.S. kinda guy.


I actually started off brewing kombucha. Instead of sugar water, I mashed pilsner malt. I still added the tea to it. But I switched over to making sour beer because I prefer the smoother sour flavor of lactic acid compared to acetic acid. And you can get and ultra dry drink with highly attenuating yeasts.

Since I live in Texas, my house temperature is usually 75-80. But I would recommend buying a controller and a reptile heating belt (either this or building a custom length one here).
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Mark Hamzy
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AvidHunter wrote:
I plan on bottle fermenting to add a little fizz and experiment with flavors.


Be ultra paranoid about leaving your plastic bottles out for a long time. I had one explode in my kitchen. It was quite the mess. soblue

This is why I use thick glass bottles that are able to handle a couple of atmospheres of pressure.
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hamzy wrote:
But I would recommend buying a controller and a reptile heating belt (either this or building a custom length one here).


Those are awesome links and could come in handy. That would be a great way to line a cooler and be able to keep a constant temp.

After doing some quick math and an estimate on time etc. though I think I might just be better off buying this.

http://store.kombuchakamp.com/the-kombucha-mamma-ferment-fri...

 
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jeff
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hamzy wrote:
AvidHunter wrote:
I plan on bottle fermenting to add a little fizz and experiment with flavors.


Be ultra paranoid about leaving your plastic bottles out for a long time. I had one explode in my kitchen. It was quite the mess. soblue

This is why I use thick glass bottles that are able to handle a couple of atmospheres of pressure.


The "chef star" ones I linked above I got are super thick. I thought of that, due to once having a couple of bottle bombs from a Barley Wine I experimented with once.
 
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S Squidpigge
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I have been making kombucha for a few years now. I started with a store bought bottle of unpasteurized and added to cooled sweet tea that I brewed. I make it in half gallon jars and when ready to drink I put it in grolsch type bottles in the fridge. I start a new batch by transferring the scoby and about 1/2 a cup of the last batch to a new jar of sweet tea.
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hamzy wrote:

...custom length one here).


The more I think about it the more I'm curious and interested in trying this.

DO you have any experience with it?

Do you think if I lined a cooler with it, and kept the lid mostly on, it would it heat the cooler to 78? or is it something that would have to be wrapped around the vessel? Every thing I see online for heating purposes wraps directly around the vessel. I think I would prefer to not do that, I think I would rather have a warming box of sorts.
 
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Dennis Ku
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My wife makes kombucha all the time. Use glass containers, as someone earlier suggested. It's always warm enough in our house, so temperature hasn't been a problem. Sorry - not sure I can help.
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All I can think of with this stuff:
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Mark Hamzy
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AvidHunter wrote:
hamzy wrote:

...custom length one here).


The more I think about it the more I'm curious and interested in trying this.

DO you have any experience with it?

Do you think if I lined a cooler with it, and kept the lid mostly on, it would it heat the cooler to 78? or is it something that would have to be wrapped around the vessel? Every thing I see online for heating purposes wraps directly around the vessel. I think I would prefer to not do that, I think I would rather have a warming box of sorts.


I don't think it is considered food safe. Especially in a acidic environment.

I have wrapped it around the outside of carboys, 5 gallon wooden barrels, and even a 7 gallon stainless steel conical. It would even work with a plastic bucket. But also around the outside. You can tape the temperature probe on the outside and then insulate it with bubble wrap.

Hope that helps.
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S Squidpigge
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futhee wrote:
My wife makes kombucha all the time. Use glass containers, as someone earlier suggested. It's always warm enough in our house, so temperature hasn't been a problem. Sorry - not sure I can help.


I regulate temperatures when brewing beer, wine, and mead, but kombucha I just keep in the back of the pantry. In the winter our temperatures are usually in the mid 60's and I am still able produce good stuff it just takes longer. The scoby is still able to convert the sugars, just at a much slower rate.
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jeff
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hamzy wrote:
AvidHunter wrote:
hamzy wrote:

...custom length one here).


The more I think about it the more I'm curious and interested in trying this.

DO you have any experience with it?

Do you think if I lined a cooler with it, and kept the lid mostly on, it would it heat the cooler to 78? or is it something that would have to be wrapped around the vessel? Every thing I see online for heating purposes wraps directly around the vessel. I think I would prefer to not do that, I think I would rather have a warming box of sorts.


I don't think it is considered food safe. Especially in a acidic environment.

I have wrapped it around the outside of carboys, 5 gallon wooden barrels, and even a 7 gallon stainless steel conical. It would even work with a plastic bucket. But also around the outside. You can tape the temperature probe on the outside and then insulate it with bubble wrap.

Hope that helps.


I think I didn't explain my self well.

I'm thinking of taking a cooler, typical medium sized cheap igloo type. Attaching the heat tape to the inside surface to create a warm environment that the thermostat could then keep constant and because of the insulating properties of the cooler, more efficiently. I would then place the 1 gallon brew jar inside the cooler where the ambient temp should be around 78. I could then take the cooler cover and cut a portion of it off so that the Kombucha has air to breath.

LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL
CH P HC
CH V V P HC
CH V V P HC
CH V V HC
CH VVVVVV HC
CCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCC

C=cooler
H=heat wrap
P=thermo probe
L=Lid
V=Kombucha Vessel
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Mark Hamzy
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AvidHunter wrote:
I think I didn't explain my self well.

I'm thinking of taking a cooler, typical medium sized cheap igloo type. Attaching the heat tape to the inside surface to create a warm environment that the thermostat could then keep constant and because of the insulating properties of the cooler, more efficiently. I would then place the 1 gallon brew jar inside the cooler where the ambient temp should be around 78. I could then take the cooler cover and cut a portion of it off so that the Kombucha has air to breath.

LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL
CH P HC
CH V V P HC
CH V V P HC
CH V V HC
CH VVVVVV HC
CCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCC

C=cooler
H=heat wrap
P=thermo probe
L=Lid
V=Kombucha Vessel


Sure, that would work. I would still tape the probe to the outside of the vessel...
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jeff
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This is what I came up with. I decided to use the stuff that Hamzy linked. After I took measurements and planned it all out it ended up being a much more economical way to go.












It holds a constant 80 degrees really well which has had my brew at a perfect 78. I should be able to turn over batches quicker now and more consistently.



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