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Old 05-29-2009, 08:41 PM   #601
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[COLOR="DarkOrange"]What do you mean by "strong tea" is it strong in sweetness or in the brew - like I should use double the amount of tea bags?

Right now I am drinking one of my original brews and it's been sitting on the counter for a few days and it is actually getting less sweet, but it taste a little watered down - the batch that is brewing now was brewed a little stronger (more tea bags to the same amount of water) so maybe it will have stronger flavor...[/COLOR]
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Old 05-30-2009, 08:05 AM   #602
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Yeah, if you started from scratch it will take a lot longer I'd guess (did you use just the original flavored synergy?). I have a spare scoby just waiting for a home with very strong starter tea (it's a Metqa baby!). I was going to give it to my SIL but she's not banging down the door for it and I'd be happy to give it a good home.
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Old 05-30-2009, 09:40 AM   #603
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[COLOR="DarkGreen"]Metqa's babies are da bomb! They are strong! Mine started making a new baby a few days after he got here and was set up in his new brew![/COLOR]

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Old 05-30-2009, 09:52 AM   #604
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Can anyone tell me if I need to clean out the brewer from time to time? I read somewhere that the scoby sheds old cells and an accumulation can be a bad thing over time - it changes the flavor and taste. Now that we're going continuous, I'm wondering how often I need to clean our brewer.

It would be a chore - having to remove the scoby and tea - but probably necessary at some point.
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Old 05-30-2009, 10:06 AM   #605
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From the Happy herbalist site:

Quote:
Cleaning

At some point you may decide its time to clean out your brew. It may be that the the yeast are over populated, the taste is thicker, yeastier, and/or the spigot is clogged. Sometimes you can use a small tube and hold it to the spigot and remembering to open the spigot, as you blow and unblock the spigot.

The Mushroom

At some point the mushroom may just become too large or too scary ). The mushroom itself is important to a kombucha ferment as it contains more of the bacteria and serves as protection and direction for the bacteria. So up to a point, more mushroom is better. In my opinion a one to two inch thick mushroom is good. I routinely reduce anything over that amount. You can cut, slice or dice the mushroom with any instrument or even with your hands. How you do it relies on your personal choices, as the mushroom is not adversely affected with only a brief encounter. Remember that you should always have a spare mushroom and some starter tea safely stashed away in case disaster should strike.

Filtering

To clean or filter your brew. You only need a large container and some cheesecloth.

Use any large container that you normally use in your cooking. Fold some cheesecloth over several times to get the degree of filtering you need. Run a hot iron first over the cheesecloth to help with sanitation and avoid possible contamination

Using a strainer (metal or plastic) helps hold the cheesecloth in place. Using the cheesecloth, strain the ferment. Leave some ferment in the dirty container and use that liquid to clean the inside. Toss out the dirty ferment. Pour some of the filter kombucha tea back into the original container to use as a final rinse. Swirl around and toss out. Return the ferment to the container using another piece of cheesecloth to again filter the ferment. Secure the cover and you’re ready.
Hope this helps.
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Old 05-30-2009, 10:43 AM   #606
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Kam, I would think draining with the spigot would leave most of the gunk on the bottom, grab your scoby, dump, rinse, refill. From all I read the gunk is important for a fizzy brew, till it overtakes the brew. With summer coming & warmer temps in my house, the yeast are suppose to get really active and could overrun the bacteria (no clue what that means). I read it's best to have a continuous brewer >82F and I bet with my large quantity it's not as susceptible to changes. My bottles got stolen & had to be reshipped which screwed up my bottling schedule. The Yerba Mate KT seemed fine & bottled 2 gallons of that - which confuses me because I put 2 gallons fresh into what I thought was 2 gallons starter and there really wasn't much left & the scoby didn't make a baby but is HUGE. I put in gallon from the regular system. 4 days ago I put in 1 gallon in the CBS and it really had gone too far to bottle, still drinkable to me, but I bet there would be no fizz without grape juice. Since I had just bottled up 2 gallons & had 2+ gallons bottled & ready to drink, I didn't want to think about it & drained off gallon for other system.
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Old 05-30-2009, 12:10 PM   #607
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Pepperette (and Cindy), that helps a lot! I'm gathering that there's not a specific time time for cleaning the brewer, but to go by taste? As a rule of thumb, might every six months be good?

You know, the more I think about it, the more I think I thinned my scoby too soon. I am bummed, but now there's no going back, only forward! I know I've got two scobies back in the brewer, but I bet the original size was no more than an inch - which means I could have (should have ) let it go longer.

I noticed the KT in our brewer post-thinning is weaker - even though we're going continuous now and the ferment is stronger just by principle. SIGH. I'm so kicking myself right now. Just hoping my two boys grow strong and big before too long. We decided to not bottle yesterday simply b/c it seemed as if the tea was still too sweet.

But since we're continuous, I guess we shouldn't wait more than one or two days before bottling and adding fresh. Sorry.... just musing here.
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Old 05-30-2009, 09:00 PM   #608
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Kam, you can stick from your spares back in (maybe save one piece out) I'm kicking myself I grew that special scoby (with pu erh tea) and put Yerba Mate in it lol. Will switch them around soon though. No clue on cleaning, summer warmer temps will make yeast much more active, I'm guessing once year. No need in winter. Not sure what yeasty is but guess we'll find out lol. My continuous brewer won't let me do 4 days with fresh tea. 3 days seemed fine and then sour fast at 4.
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Old 06-01-2009, 11:11 AM   #609
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I'm assuming that some of you are doing low carb, tracking your weight and drinking Kombucha. I read on happyherbalists bottled KT to drink before meals to lose weight & after meals to gain weight (yikes) I was drinking all day. I don't track my weight (skeered to now for sure lol). Have you noticed KT effecting your weight, good bad or otherwise?

Although I bottled up 8 liters of Yerba Mate KT a few days ago, I noticed I only have 6 liters left of bottled KT. Dinking with making tea & another day bottling more than once a week is more than I want to do. I don't want to have YM KT as my only bottled option, especially since I didn't add ginger or sugar to the bottles. So I'm going to split up the 4 gallons of starter between 2 brewers and add 1 gallon of fresh tea to each and let it brew a few days (guessing 3) and drain & bottle 2 gallons. The Yerba Mate/Tea blend didn't create a new scoby (that was a first) but the scoby seemed to grow big & brown.

I can see where the original continuous brewer will need cleaning out before long. It hasn't effected the taste yet, but the starter is getting really brown with yeasty bits.
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Old 06-01-2009, 01:33 PM   #610
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cindy_cfids View Post
I'm assuming that some of you are doing low carb, tracking your weight and drinking Kombucha. I read on happyherbalists bottled KT to drink before meals to lose weight & after meals to gain weight (yikes) I was drinking all day. I don't track my weight (skeered to now for sure lol). Have you noticed KT effecting your weight, good bad or otherwise?
[COLOR="DarkGreen"]Well I have been drinking mine in the evening after dinner (or sometimes in place of - on very rare occassions - guess you could technically call that before a meal), but I just looked at the carb count on Synergy and it is 8carbs/serving - a bottle is 2 8oz servings. I have been drinking the whole thing! Not been losing weight - it's no wonder!! Mine are sweeter than synergy so they no doubt have more carbs. I am trying to do VLC so my carbs are not horrendously high drinking this but higher than I would like. I have come to the conclusion that I am going to have to cut down or stop for a bit, but i will still brew.

I have actually been feeling like I have been forcing myself to drink a full bottle. I get full from it easily so now I won't be so hasty to finish the bottle from now on
[/COLOR]
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Old 06-01-2009, 03:07 PM   #611
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[COLOR="DarkGreen"] the carb count on Synergy and it is 8carbs/serving - a bottle is 2 8oz servings. I have been drinking the whole thing! Not been losing weight - it's no wonder!! Mine are sweeter than synergy so they no doubt have more carbs. [/COLOR]
I'm hoping that the carb count is prefermentation. Yogurt is figured prefermentation & doctor of the GO diet measured yogurt actual carb count & says it's 75% less (but then someone else claims they disputed it because only one sugar was counted and not 2 others) I got confused. Everything I've read says the sugar is only 5% of the original amount from before & after analysis and that is fructose.
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Old 06-01-2009, 08:36 PM   #612
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I'm hoping that the carb count is prefermentation. Yogurt is figured prefermentation & doctor of the GO diet measured yogurt actual carb count & says it's 75% less (but then someone else claims they disputed it because only one sugar was counted and not 2 others) I got confused. Everything I've read says the sugar is only 5% of the original amount from before & after analysis and that is fructose.

[COLOR="Teal"]So actually the carb count on the label is like a yogurt label? So they don't take into account the fermentation?! So probably not the 8 carbs/serving?! Hallelujah! Cause I just opened one of my brews and I can't help myself and I am finishing off a bottle. It is awesome! If I do say so myself.

I bottled another batch tonight as well. I think this batch brewed about a week. It's getting quicker although my scobys are still a bit filmy. They are pretty large in diameter.

When I poured the new tea into my jar, it totally tea-logged the scoby but I am sure that it will float to the top again soon. I don't do it on purpose, but I kind of abuse my scobys, but they are pretty hearty.
[/COLOR]
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Old 06-02-2009, 04:07 PM   #613
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??s if you test the pH...

[COLOR="DarkGreen"]...what do you let it get to before bottling, and then after the bottled, 2nd ferment? I like how mine tastes, but it is not as "sharp" as GTs. Is yours really tart and vinegar-y tasting? I was just wondering if I should get the test strips or not[/COLOR]
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Old 06-02-2009, 04:16 PM   #614
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[COLOR="DarkOliveGreen"]oh my my my - couldn't handle this if it was more scientific! Test for PH? Nope. I am hit and miss. I love the taste of my kombucha - I don't think it is as sharp as synergy, but then I'm a bit impatient so I think I am drinking a little sooner than I should. The 2nd ferment that has been sitting on my counter for about a week is getting less sweet with each bottle - don't know if it will get sharper with age. Not sure how you would increase the tartness besides having it sit out a while longer....[/COLOR]
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Old 06-02-2009, 05:09 PM   #615
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Mine is pretty sharp and vinegary (at least as sharp as GT's). I just let my latest batch brew for 2 weeks and it's on it's 2nd day on the 2nd ferment with flavors. I'll probably let it ferment for another 2 days or so. I'm kind of a "by the seat of my pants" kind of brewer. Some times I brew longer or shorter (but I'll let them go at least 8 days on the first ferment).
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Old 06-02-2009, 06:40 PM   #616
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[COLOR="DarkGreen"]When I did the last batch I split the scobies and made 2 batches, so I imagine it will take the full 2 weeks or longer for a nice tasting 1st ferment. Guess I'll skip the pH test and go by taste. I must say, the blueberry one tonight was really good- and I don't like blueberries! Even though in the first big drink I swallowed the little scoby it was still good. I could do with another, but 3 in a day might be pushing it, ya think? The 16 oz. GT bottles...[/COLOR]

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Old 06-02-2009, 07:32 PM   #617
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[COLOR="DarkGreen"]When I did the last batch I split the scobies and made 2 batches, so I imagine it will take the full 2 weeks or longer for a nice tasting 1st ferment. Guess I'll skip the pH test and go by taste. I must say, the blueberry one tonight was really good- and I don't like blueberries! Even though in the first big drink I swallowed the little scoby it was still good. I could do with another, but 3 in a day might be pushing it, ya think? The 16 oz. GT bottles...[/COLOR]

.
[COLOR="SeaGreen"]I'm right behind you - I think I am going to have 2 tonight

My first few batches have had a 2nd ferment with apple juice concentrate. I like it cause it reminds me a bit of apple beer.

I bought some mango nectar tonight (water, mango puree & sugar) for my next bottling. I was thinking that I would be doing it tonight, but none of my brews are at that point yet...[/COLOR]
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Old 06-02-2009, 08:16 PM   #618
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pepperette View Post
[COLOR="DarkGreen"]...what do you let it get to before bottling, and then after the bottled, 2nd ferment? I like how mine tastes, but it is not as "sharp" as GTs. Is yours really tart and vinegar-y tasting? I was just wondering if I should get the test strips or not[/COLOR]
Since going to the continuous system, ours is generally tarter than how it used to be (doing the batch system). Before, we would fight for that last bottle... now we're six bottles deep! I think we have subconsciously holding back - we really need to get busy and start drinking more!

One thing we need to start doing is experimenting a little more with our brew. Gotta get that ginger going! Oh, and I'd love me some lemon-lime. Yummm.
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Old 06-02-2009, 09:03 PM   #619
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Originally Posted by pepperette View Post
[COLOR="DarkGreen"]...what do you let it get to before bottling, and then after the bottled, 2nd ferment? I like how mine tastes, but it is not as "sharp" as GTs. Is yours really tart and vinegar-y tasting? I was just wondering if I should get the test strips or not[/COLOR]
I got the test strips and always forget to use them or blow it off, guess I should lol. I think mainly I just can't really tell one color from the other til it's 2 off lol. I don't have GT's sigh - I let it ferment til it's pretty sour, 4 days is too long on the continuous brew system with this heat. I have been bottling at 2 days. I don't have refrig space for more than one bottle, I had a 3 week backlog that got really tart but was fizzy so I was happy and had another batch with grape juice & all grape sugar was gone at 8 days in the bottle.

Lady on another list says she doesn't bottle, but puts in almost 2 cups of sugar per gallon and it's naturally fizzy on first ferment. I don't think I would want to use that much sugar and I'm not crazy about taste fresh, it's fine but more like tea, but I adore the bottled KT.
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Old 06-04-2009, 10:12 AM   #620
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Bottled the third batch yesterday (half ginger lime, half cherry lime) and added fresh tea to the continuous brew. Today I walked by it and thought I heard something...the jar is AUDIBLY fizzing just sitting there on the shelf, like a little bubbling cauldron...until now it only did that when I rocked it once a day to keep the scoby wet!

Also the offspring is nice and thick, bigger than the mother already. I'll try splitting some off next batch.
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Old 06-04-2009, 10:51 AM   #621
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My kitchen is too warm, my KT seemed ok yesterday but tasted watery today, no new scoby in either brewer. I guess the yeasts have overwhelmed the bacteria. I bottled up 3 gallons that I added 12oz lemon juice, 32 oz cranberry juice and a cup of sugar. I've never added sugar before to my bottled KT but did it this time.

I'll turn on the fan for that part of the house. It's been getting up to 85F in bedroom in heat of day without a/c but with fan. I'm betting it's much warmer in kitchen though. Looking for a pan large enough to sit brewer in water. I'd sure hate to move brewers in bedroom lol crowded enough in here.
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Old 06-04-2009, 04:02 PM   #622
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My kitchen is too warm, my KT seemed ok yesterday but tasted watery today, no new scoby in either brewer. I guess the yeasts have overwhelmed the bacteria. I bottled up 3 gallons that I added 12oz lemon juice, 32 oz cranberry juice and a cup of sugar. I've never added sugar before to my bottled KT but did it this time.

I'll turn on the fan for that part of the house. It's been getting up to 85F in bedroom in heat of day without a/c but with fan. I'm betting it's much warmer in kitchen though. Looking for a pan large enough to sit brewer in water. I'd sure hate to move brewers in bedroom lol crowded enough in here.
This is when I'm glad I live near the ocean. It will never get to the boiling point (ha, ha, I say that and I'm sure we'll have a heat wave now).

Cindy, I've been meaning to post a big THANK YOU for emphasizing the continuous brewing system. We would NEVER have got here without your input. I had not even heard of the continuous bewing system before you talked about it. Our KT was so weak in comparison to how it is now.

It's taken a couple of weeks, but we are so jazzed about the quality that I can't imagine drinking it the way it used to be.
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Old 06-05-2009, 12:35 AM   #623
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we are so jazzed about the quality that I can't imagine drinking it the way it used to be.
I am SO happy I could help! I had heard about continuous brewing, add a lil, take a lil but it wasn't til I got the info from the happyherbalist about 30% processed in 26 hours that it made sense on how to get 3 gallons a week out of a 2 gallon tank lol.

Folks are finding 2.8 gallon glass brewers (with plastic spigots) at Bed, Bath & Beyond for $20 (the one I paid $55 for sigh) if you're looking for another brewer.
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Old 06-05-2009, 10:38 AM   #624
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I am SO happy I could help! I had heard about continuous brewing, add a lil, take a lil but it wasn't til I got the info from the happyherbalist about 30% processed in 26 hours that it made sense on how to get 3 gallons a week out of a 2 gallon tank lol.

Folks are finding 2.8 gallon glass brewers (with plastic spigots) at Bed, Bath & Beyond for $20 (the one I paid $55 for sigh) if you're looking for another brewer.
I saw that container. I wasn't very impressed with the one I saw. It was so tall and narrow, and the spigot was halfway up the jar. It would be impossible to empty without tipping the whole thing. I guess it wouldn't matter as much depending on how often you drain and fill daily, but, still seemed to tall and narrow at least for my taste and recommendation that ti should be wide for best air contact.

Just an unsolicited review. I love my expensive brewer and the gallon pickle jug for BF's grape monster!
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Old 06-05-2009, 12:05 PM   #625
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I saw that container. I wasn't very impressed with the one I saw. It was so tall and narrow, and the spigot was halfway up the jar.
We have to be referring to different ones Bed Bath & Beyond - Libbey Siberia 2.8-Gallon Dispenser
Mine is squat - 8" tall & 12"across, spigot is low.

Poster noted, "I just went into our BB&B and they don't carry the jar in our region at all. They did offer to order it from the store for me. They also took off 20% and didn't charge shipping, even though it will be shipped directly to my house! The total charge was $16." Several posters complained of breaking during shipment though. Another poster saw a 2.5gallon jar at Garden Ridge for 19.99, one with a spigot and a glass lid and has a sort of flattened octagon shape.

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Old 06-05-2009, 12:32 PM   #626
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We have to be referring to different ones Bed Bath & Beyond - Libbey Siberia 2.8-Gallon Dispenser
Mine is squat - 8" tall & 12"across, spigot is low.

Poster noted, "I just went into our BB&B and they don't carry the jar in our region at all. They did offer to order it from the store for me. They also took off 20% and didn't charge shipping, even though it will be shipped directly to my house! The total charge was $16." Several posters complained of breaking during shipment though. Another poster saw a 2.5gallon jar at Garden Ridge for 19.99, one with a spigot and a glass lid and has a sort of flattened octagon shape.
[COLOR="DarkOliveGreen"]Wow that's nice looking - looks a bit wide... but tempting... I want a spigot! I make the biggest mess when I bottle...[/COLOR]
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Old 06-05-2009, 12:37 PM   #627
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We have to be referring to different ones Bed Bath & Beyond - Libbey Siberia 2.8-Gallon Dispenser
Mine is squat - 8" tall & 12"across, spigot is low.

Poster noted, "I just went into our BB&B and they don't carry the jar in our region at all. They did offer to order it from the store for me. They also took off 20% and didn't charge shipping, even though it will be shipped directly to my house! The total charge was $16." Several posters complained of breaking during shipment though. Another poster saw a 2.5gallon jar at Garden Ridge for 19.99, one with a spigot and a glass lid and has a sort of flattened octagon shape.
Oh well That ones's CUTE! They only had one style at our store. It had rectangular sides like a hexagon shape, and it wasn't even put together well. Hmm, this one must be much larger than it looks in the photo to hold 2.8 gallons? Wow!

Well I rescind my review, that one seems quite dandy! Aww now I wish I had that one!
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Old 06-05-2009, 12:55 PM   #628
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Oh well That ones's CUTE! Hmm, this one must be much larger than it looks in the photo to hold 2.8 gallons?
It is cute, lol. When I started brewing and saw the crocks, I said nawwwww. I wanted a clear glass to SEE what was happening. (Which didn't make it any less scary lol.)

My original one, like the one in the pic, is the same diameter as my 5 gallon container (12") but with the sides coming in, you can only have the liquid below this point. I'd say about 2 gallons, but the scoby gets huge and will easily take up almost a gallon by itself within a couple of brew cycles. Even my 5 gallon brewer only holds about 3 gallons liquid with the monster scoby.
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Old 06-05-2009, 01:05 PM   #629
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Originally Posted by JoSkids View Post
[COLOR="DarkOliveGreen"] I want a spigot! I make the biggest mess when I bottle...[/COLOR]
I couldn't deal with it all without spigots and not just any spigot lol. I don't care for the sun tea jar spigots that you have to hold down. I want the flip lever spigots. Even when I drain off multiple brewers and add flavorings, I still dump it all into a container with a spigot to bottle and only the last bottle full do i have to tip to drain it all on the 5 gallon brewer. That's why I was really relieved that I purchased two 5 gallon brewers, they both get used continuously. Last batch I split up the 4 gallons starter between them and added 1+ gallon fresh to each and 3 days later had 2.5 gallons to bottle. Once a week is plenty to dink with this project for me lol.

Last edited by cindy_cfids; 06-05-2009 at 01:10 PM..
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Old 06-05-2009, 05:21 PM   #630
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I was reading on some kombucha site that said kombucha shouldn't come in contact with plastic (it can leach and contaminate the scoby and babies, forever). Is that true? I have a glass sun tea jar with the plastic spigot but I'm just worried about the plastic contaminating it. Not sure if it's even something to worry about.
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