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Help! My Kombucha Is Too Sour

Overly Tart Kombucha

In the early days of making kombucha, I would often let my kombucha go too long and it would lose its bubbliness. There were a few times it turned so sour that it made me squint and gasp and nobody wanted to drink it. One of the interesting things about fermenting kombucha is that it will eventually turn to vinegar if you leave it out long enough. So, even if it gets too sour, save it, bottle it, and use it as kombucha vinegar. It can stay stored in your cabinet. Just make sure it's not at all bubbly or it could explode.

What Makes the Fizz?

The fizziness in kombucha is made by the helpful yeasts. They will eat the sugars out of the kombucha and this is what creates the natural fizz and probiotics. When the sugar is completely consumed, the yeasts die and the kombucha will start to turn to vinegar. At this point, many of the probiotics are diminished. This is why you should not let your kombucha over ferment if you want the most probiotics. The health benefits are greater when it is not overly sour or overly sweet.

Naturally-Occurring Carbonation

There are lots of bacteria and yeasts in kombucha, and when they start fermenting your tea they consume the sugar in the tea and create ethanol and carbon dioxide - or what I call naturally-occurring carbonation. The good bacteria consume the ethanol and create new compounds and amino acids that give you the boost your body needs. It can help your joints and assist your liver in detoxification along with a host of other things. Check out — Why I Drink Kombucha Every Day. So does this mean kombucha has a lot of alcohol? No, and in fact, it has such a small amount that you can get the same amount of alcohol in orange juice or a pack of chewing gum. The current testing method often confuses organic acids and naturally-occurring sedimentation for ethanol. This increases the reading of the alcohol content to a higher percentage than is actually contained in the product.

Don’t Let It Get Overly Sour

Bottle your kombucha tea when it's slightly sweet. It will continue to ferment in the fridge. When it turns too sour, that means the yeasts and bacteria have run out of food and your kombucha will go flat. This is really important if you're looking for fizzy kombucha. Those microbes need the sugars to consume and make probiotics and lots of carbonation. Remember, the sugar in the tea is for those good bacteria and yeasts and not for you.

Here are A few things you can do if your kombucha is too sour

Kombucha Juices

Try Second Fermenting to Revive Your Kombucha

To revive your kombucha that is too strong, you can second ferment it with juice. The only thing different is how much juice you will use. If you double the amount of juice (and you can even add a little more than double) many times it will still work and become bubbly and delicious again. Don't worry about the sugars in the extra juice. The kombucha cultures will be so strong they will quickly eat the sugars. However, if it has gone too far this will not work at all. It will not get bubbly nor will it taste like fruity kombucha - it will taste more like juice added to vinegar. Cap it off and let it ferment for a week or so and then taste it and see how it is doing. I have even let mine ferment for three weeks when my room was cold and it worked very well.  The only difference is you will double the juice that you will use in the recipe. The rest of the instructions are the same.

Learn how to second ferment your kombucha

Kombucha vinegar

Kombucha Vinegar

If it is too sour and started to turn to vinegar, let it continue to culture for a total of thirty days and you will have kombucha vinegar. You can move it to another pot if you would like to use the vessel for more kombucha. It won't hurt it to do this, but it will form another mushroom. Bottle it after the thirty days and you will have lots of vinegar for all kinds of things. You can store this in your cabinet just like you would regular vinegar.

Get the recipe

Kombucha starter

Extra Kombucha Starter

The other thing I do with extra sour kombucha is to use it as a starter for more kombucha. If you want to make kombucha really quickly, use more starter and use super sour kombucha. The more sour the starter, the faster it will culture. I have doubled, even tripled, my starter and will have kombucha in three to five days instead of seven to ten days.

kombucha marinade

10 Ways to Use Your Over-Fermented Kombucha!

Kombucha is a wonder drink. It’s cheap and easy to make, but if you leave it fermenting too long it can be undrinkable. If your kombucha tea ever gets too strong for your taste, don’t throw it out! Here are 10 Different Ways to use your super sour kombucha!

10 Different Ways