How to make Hard Kombucha
Want to know how to make Hard Kombucha? It is easier than it sounds especially with our break down of the basics to alcoholic Kombucha.
The Basics of Hard Kombucha
Kombucha contains approximately 0.5% ABV (Alcohol By Volume). The trace amounts of ethanol (alcohol) are produced by the yeast naturally during the fermentation of your kombucha.
Because most kombucha yeast strains do not create much alcohol on their own, how can you boost the quantity of alcohol in your kombucha? Replace the yeast with a different kind!
Simply adding a different strain of yeast to your kombucha, such as champagne yeast, can produce hard kombucha with a higher ABV (alcohol by volume), approximately 5%!
And, conducting many trials and experiments, I've finally reached a method for making hard kombucha that is both simple and dependable. Let's get started!
MAIN INGREDIENTS & SUPPLIES NEEDED FOR ALCOHOLIC KOMBUCHA
First and foremost, you will need some kombucha! To produce hard kombucha, you will need to remove kombucha from your kombucha batch or first fermentation. (Find out how to create kombucha in the first fermentation here.)
Adding a different strain of yeast (not the yeast found in kombucha) will help increase the alcohol level of your kombucha. The type of yeast you use will affect the final taste. The choices are as follows:
Champagne yeast gives a distinctive champagne taste to your hard kombucha.
Ale yeast gives a more balanced & neutral flavour.
Airlocks are the final piece of equipment needed to make hard kombucha. These effectively allow carbonation to exit while allowing oxygen to enter.
“But doesn't kombucha require oxygen?” That is an excellent question! The bacteria in the early fermentation of kombucha require oxygen to ferment effectively. However, after the kombucha has fermented and you're ready to drink it up, you'll want to block oxygen from reaching the bacteria in the kombucha so that the bacteria doesn't consume the alcohol you're producing!
HOW TO MAKE HARD KOMBUCHA
The technique of creating hard kombucha differs somewhat from that of conventional kombucha brewing in that we add an extra stage in the middle of the first and second fermentation. Check out below to see how the process goes!
1st fermentation: Make kombucha which takes (7 to 14 days)
2nd Fermentation: Make it alcoholic by adding yeast and sugar, then allow it to produce alcohol (7 to 14 days)
Optional 3rd fermentation: Add flavouring and close the lid to carbonate (4 to 7 days)
Isn't it simple? Let's get into the specifics!
1st Fermentation: Making Kombucha
In the first stage, you make kombucha as you normally would. Simply combined sugar and tea solution with kombucha starter liquid, and a SCOBY in a big jar and ferment for 7 to 14 days, or until the desired flavour is achieved!
2nd FERMENTATION: Give it a kick
In the second stage, we'll add a yeast, sugar, and water slurry to boost the alcohol concentration of your brew. You will require the following items:
Ingredients & Equipment
250ml of hot water
125 grams of white sugar
1 teaspoon yeast (champagne or ale yeast, see notes above)
3.5litres of kombucha (from first fermentation)
Yeast Slurry: Dissolve the 125grams of white sugar in the 250ml of hot water. Stir the boiling water and sugar together until the sugar is dissolved. Allow the sugar solution to cool to below 30 degrees Celsius before stirring in the yeast. Allow the yeast to activate by leaving it for 5 minutes.
Bottle: place your kombucha evenly into bottles or growlers (or any vessel with an opening large enough to accommodate your airlocks). Pour an equal amount of yeast slurry into each bottle of kombucha.
Airlock: Fill airlocks with water (to the specified line – you may need to read the directions for your specific airlocks). Attach an airlock to each bottle.
Ferment: Place bottles in a dark, room-temperature location and leave to ferment for 7 to 14 days. Your hard kombucha will be ready when the flavour is somewhat dry and you can taste the alcohol! If you are not proceeding to the 3rd ferment (adding flavour), seal the bottles and place them in the refrigerator to halt the fermentation process.
3rd FERMENTATION: Flavouring
You can add flavours at this stage. In traditional kombucha brewing, this is referred to as the "second fermentation." Simply add any flavours you like to your bottle and close it. Leave your bottles to stand for 4 to 7 days, or until bubbly and carbonated. Place the bottles in the refrigerator to stop the fermentation process.
HOW MUCH ALCOHOL IS IN MY HARD KOMBUCHA?
The percentage of alcohol in your finished hard kombucha will be determined by how much sugar you added during the second fermentation. Typically, 125grams of sugar yields around 4% ABV.