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Kombucha Report

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A couple of days ago, I transferred my kombucha batch from March 9th to my refrigerator jug and started a new batch. (I bought more green tea last week at the grocery store.) I tasted the batch I made with half green tea and half Earl Grey…it definitely has a different flavor. I’m not sure I like it, but I’m not sure I don’t…it may grow on me. I was warned by another kombucha maker online, to be careful using the Earl Grey tea, because the added “oils and flavorings” may compromise the health of the SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria/Yeast). The label on the Earl Grey tea says that it’s ingredients are just 100% tea and it seems to be doing okay, so far. That batch was started on March 12th.

Half Earl Grey/half green tea SCOBY.

Half Earl Grey/half green tea SCOBY.

Original green tea SCOBY.

Original green tea SCOBY.

Speaking of SCOBY’s, they seem quite healthy. When I transferred the batch to the refrigerator yesterday, I could not get the SCOBY out of the narrow neck and opening in the 1-gallon glass carboy. I did manage to get a little baby disk out, but the main SCOBY stayed in the carboy. So, I made the new batch of tea and added the cup of sugar. I topped with cool water to bring the temperature down from brewing, and poured into the carboy. I then topped off the carboy, below the neck, with cool water. The SCOBY floated mostly to the top and eventually leveled off. I put the baby SCOBY disk in a glass bowl with a little kombucha and covered it with plastic wrap. The SCOBY in the Earl Grey batch seems to be doing well. I do get some dark green stuff sometimes…not sure why, but from what I’ve read, it’s okay and doesn’t hurt anything. When I’m transferring SCOBY’s, I do try to rinse off some of the green, but I don’t think it’s necessary.

Some green stuff...doesn't seem to bother anything according to my research.

Some green stuff…doesn’t seem to bother anything according to my research.

This evening, I went out to a store for unrelated shopping and wound up finding a couple of one gallon glass containers with wide mouths…one with a spigot. I had bought a two gallon container with a spigot recently, but decided it was just too big. I transferred the remainder of the kombucha in the refrigerator from the cheap, plastic jug to the new glass jar without the spigot. It fits in the refrigerator door perfectly! In the new jar with the spigot, I began a new batch of green tea kombucha, using my little baby SCOBY disk.

New wide mouth jar with spigot. I like it!

New wide mouth jar with spigot. I like it!

It had already grown a thin layer to cover the surface in the bowl. It sank to the bottom, but I’m not concerned…they seem to rise, over time. If not, I will find a way to harvest some from the other green tea batch and add it to the newest batch. The reason I am using the jar with the spigot for fermentation, is so that I can draw off the “boocha”, and leave just about the right amount for starter in the bottom. The SCOBY won’t even have to be touched, unless I want to clean it up a bit, now and then.

I’ll probably reduce my batches to just enough to keep supplied over the next month, but I don’t need to have three batches going at a time! I did run out once, but just for a few days. The Earl Grey batch will not need to be replaced as I use it up (unless it really grows on me).  I think I’ll be buying another wide mouth jar with a spigot…seems like they are going to be a convenient part of my evolving set-up.

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Day 96 Bottling Pole Vault Pale Ale

Well…this was fun. After having more trub than expected, I thought I would be bottling around 4-1/2 to 4-3/4 gallons. Unfortunately, I made a silly, rookie mistake. When I set up the bottling bucket, I didn’t check to make sure the valve was closed.

siphoning to bottling bucket.

siphoning to bottling bucket.

Oh, yes. That’s right. When the liquid reached the valve, it came pouring out. And worse, I didn’t notice it immediately.

Nice color...only one problem. See that spigot? It's open. Yeah.

Nice color…only one problem. See that spigot? It’s open. Yeah.

So, because of THAT mishap, my 4-3/8 oz of corn sugar is probably going to be too much. Great. Another over-carbonated beer. Well, we’ll see in a month. My yield was 39 twelve oz bottles. (3.656 gallons). What did get bottled, looks good…sample has good color and flavor.

sample, despite the mishap, is good!

sample, despite the mishap, is good!

I think the aroma is good, but Spring allergies are preventing an accurate read on that one. Overall, I’m pleased with my first all-grain effort. The mishap at the end was the only real problem.

I still have some clean-up work to do and it’s almost 10 p.m. I guess I better get to it.

The pineapple-mango mead is still going at a steady pace. About every 5 or 6 seconds, a bubble goes off in the airlock.

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Day 94 Pole Vault Pale Ale SG Check

First, I will mention that the pineapple mead is progressing with a fairly steady airlock bubbling action.

Now, I carefully pulled a sample from the pale ale bucket, using sanitized equipment. The bottom was a little too thick with trub to flow through the spigot, so I had to siphon a sample from the top into a hydrometer sample beaker.

Hydrometer reading, Pole Vault Psale Ale.

Hydrometer reading, Pole Vault Pale Ale.

The SG reading of 1.053, after temperature correction, is right on for the recipe target! So, the FG, is likely to be right on target, giving an ABV of 5.64%.

As you can see from the photo, the color is quite nice.

Pole Vault Pale Ale, nice color.

Pole Vault Pale Ale, nice color.

The sample has an interesting flavor with an aggressive hoppiness and bittering. Seems to be a good one. I’ll rack it tomorrow, from the top, and let it settle another day before bottling.

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