Monday, August 29, 2011

Putting Up Booch For The Winter

Summer is prime Kombucha brewing time. I like to brew my booch in the 70 to 80 degree range. But once the cooler weather arrives I'll need to add some type of heat source. I will probably order up one of the nifty heat mats from Hannah Crum's Kombucha Kamp. Then I'll be able to keep my continuous brewer going over the winter. In the meantime I am taking full advantage of our current heat wave and brewing up mass quantities of Kombucha to bottle. Here is Big Bertha, my giant booch brewer. She can hold at least 5 gallons. Maybe 6? I haven't really measured. You can't judge her size by the picture. Think "carboy" but with a wide mouth. The SCOBY in there is ginormous.

And here she is after bottling up 2 gallons worth.
It looks like I hardly made a dent.

I am using this fermentor as a type of continuous brew. I leave a goodly amount of booch behind, add more sweet tea, and it ferments very fast.

Here are the bottles from this week's bottling session. I am using sparkling cider and champagne bottles. I expect the kombucha to become highly carbonated and it would be possible to explode an ordinary wine bottle. You can see that the sparkling cider bottles take regular crown caps, the same used to bottle beer. But the champagne bottle openings are too wide for crown caps. You need to use the plastic stoppers topped with a wire cage (to keep your stoppers from popping out).

Close-up of the champagne stoppers.

For ease of bottling I used an easy siphon, siphoning hose and a racking cane. I didn't use my bottling wand because I feared it would become plugged with bits of yeast and SCOBY. To stop the flow I simply crimped the hose. The above booch is unflavored. I like to flavor my kombucha using fresh fruit but because this booch will be stored long term I didn't want nasty bits of fruit in there. How to flavor and yet not have fruit in the bottles for months? I posed this question on the KombuchaKommunity forums and got a wonderful suggestion. Instead of 2 ferments, why not 3? One initially, a second "on the fruit" for about a week, then a third "in the bottle". I will be trying this with the blueberries I picked yesterday.


pedro said...

Hard to leave a comment here :) third time around....

As i was saying, I heard that it is possible to cap champagne bottles with 29 mm crown caps. (not all champagne bottles allow for that, but some do). Have you tried?

crazihippichic said...

The sparkling cider bottles, shown above ARE champagne bottles (champagne and sparkling cider both require bottling in the thicker glass). And yes, you can see that the crown caps worked perfectly. Hope that helps.

Sorry that you find it difficult to post here but this is what Blogger provides. I find it easiest to use the Name/URL option for posting. Seems to go through on the first attempt.