Find out how to make hard kombucha, also known as alcoholic or boozy kombucha! In this section, we will explain the “traditional” method.
Kombucha loves to produce alcohol. It is therefore easy to raise the alcohol content to 3.5% in home-brewed kombucha. Beyond this concentration, the yeast also produces a large number of components that are less appealing in taste.
Hard kombucha is not traditional, but techniques to increase the alcohol content do not require any special additives. Just drive the fermentation in the right direction!
If you are feeling lazy, the simplest way to turn your kombucha into hard kombucha would be to add rum, but that would be cheating (even though it may be a delicious cheat).
Pssst: look at our local hop kombucha recipe!
How Make An Alcoholic Kombucha
To promote the production of alcohol, it is necessary to stimulate yeast production by:
- Adding more sugar at the beginning of the process.
- Using a starter with high yeast content, which will be younger and will also have been prepared in the same conditions as the recipe below.
- Use a deep fermentation container (i.e. a tall, narrow container).
- Ferment at temperatures of 28°C and above.
Hard Kombucha Recipe (Alcoholic Kombucha)
- 9 - 18 g green tea (and/or black tea)
- 500 ml hot water (85°C or more)
- 250 g cane sugar (or dextrose)
- 2 l cold filtered water (suggestion: replace 500ml of cold water with 500ml of pineapple or kiwi juice to accelerate the alcoholic fermentation)
- 500 ml kombucha scoby (starter with high yeast content + kombucha scoby)
- Brew tea in hot water for 15 to 45 minutes. Remove tea bag of tea leaves.
- Add sugar and stir to dissolve.
- Pour the sweet tea into the fermentation container and add, in the following order, the cold filtered water, the starter and, if desired, the kombucha scoby (whole or a piece of it). Be sure to use everything in the starter jar, as yeast tends to stick to the bottom.
- Cover with a cloth and secure it around the container with the rubber band or string. Allow fermenting for 5 to 14 days at a room temperature of 28°C or higher, or until it is sufficiently acidic to taste. Fermentation at high temperature will produce a drier and less acidic kombucha.
- Set aside 500ml of the liquid and the kombucha scoby in a jar and store it in the fridge. This will be used to start the next production.
- Flavour the remaining kombucha. Hard kombuchas are often a little low in sugar, so don't hesitate to add 50ml of honey or 200ml of fruit juice.
- Filter the kombucha with a strainer or cotton cloth over the pitcher to remove particles. Stir the bottom of the fermentation container to collect all the yeast.
- Place the clean bottles in the sink. Using a funnel, fill them up to 1cm from the mouth. Close the bottles.
- Store the bottles in the warmest possible space for rapid fermentation (between 25°C and 35°C). Caution: kombuchas that are high in yeast content will quickly ferment in bottles.
- Taste. If the quantity of fizz is sufficient for you, slow down the secondary fermentation by putting the bottles in the fridge.
This kombucha can be kept cold for one to two months, as fermentation will continue because of the yeast. Kombucha will still be good to drink, but it will become too sparkling over time, even if refrigerated.
Recipe from the book “Révolution kombucha” (in French), by Sébastien Bureau and David Côté.
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Cover photo credit: Mathieu Dupuis