HARD KOMBUCHA, the Boochcraft way!
For World (HARD) Kombucha Day, we want to talk about the way we do things at Boochcraft in order to bring that alcohol level up to our happy hour approved 7%.
It’s all about the Boozy side of Boochcraft here. While we delight in the idealism of producing hard kombucha with organic, fresh-pressed ingredients – juicing fruit in-house is a feat, that we find, brings us our edge.
We gave you the step-by-step playbook on how to brew your own booch in our DIY High Alcohol Kombucha Recipe. This time we met with Kyle, our Lead Research and Development Scientist to give you our Bill Nye version on just how we are able to get our booch to that boozy, bubbly 7% ABV! So crack a can, because we’re about to dig into the chemistry of our favorite liquid:
Our SCOBY Is the star of the team during the primary brew process. The SCOBY is added to freshly brewed sweet tea and starts the journey by adding our microbes into the kombucha.
The primary process is all about balance: It starts with the yeast fermenting the sugar and producing ethanol. Then, the bacteria kick in and turn the ethanol into acetic acid. There are alo strains of lactic acid bacteria that can produce some lactic acid from the sugar in the sweet tea.
Yeast produce Ethanol
Bacteria take ethanol and add an oxygen molecule. The result? That vinegary bite kombucha is known for:
Basic reaction here: the oxidation of ethanol (literally just adding oxygen to ethanol, which occurs by enzymes the bacteria have):
We use high-quality ingredients from the start to give our kombucha the necessary nutrients and to make sure our Boochcraft fans get the best possible product. We start off with incredible certified organic and high-elevation black tea from China and then add certified organic fair trade sugar cane.
The fun part is these can be adjusted, so if you have a different type of tea or sugar (i.e. honey, brown sugar, etc. BUT be sure to use an actual sugar source, do not use stevia or sugar alcohols, these are non-fermentable and your kombucha will not grow) you prefer, give it a try!
(Note: if you intend to reuse your base it is recommended to keep some of your mother in the original tea you grew it with to keep the balance and make sure it is happy)
Normal homebrew kombucha generally ranges between 0.25% to as high as 3% ABV, so how do we get those extra percentage points to 7%?
Primary growth is all about balance: we need to avoid giving the yeast or bacteria the upper hand, and rather, let them ferment together. But in the secondary fermentation, we throw off that delicate balance in favor of the yeast.
How do we do this? We add our own special yeast to the brew, some more sugar, have the ferment mimic that of beer/cider/wine, and let it rip! By adding yeast to the brew we are tipping the fermentation scales to favor the yeast so they can produce the desired alcohol to get to 7%.
If we just let our kombucha do its thing and not add yeast, the bacteria would inevitably turn the alcohol produced into acetic acid and we would end up with a product that tastes like vinegar, aka Kombucha Vinegar (yeah… no thanks). By adding the yeast, we ensure we get to that magical Happy Hour 7%, and by controlling the process, we can set the desired level of acidity from the primary ferment and make sure we get to the 7% ABV we love.
(Did we lose you here?)
4. HARD KOMBUCHA
And there you have it! Our organic, fresh-pressed Hard Kombucha is packaged and ready to serve.
See, HARD kombucha really isn’t that hard. It just takes a little science and some finesse.
Explore our flavors, and give it a try!