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Help my Kombucha is too Sour!


In the early days of making kombucha I would often let my kombucha go to long and it would lose it’s bubbliness.There was a few times, it turned so sour that it made me squint and gasp. I honestly thought I had killed my uvula. You know that little thing that hangs down the back of your throat. Now I am exaggerating, but it was pretty sour and had almost turned to vinegar.

This is the cool thing about kombucha. It will eventually turn to vinegar if you leave it out. So even if it gets too sour, save it and use it as kombucha vinegar.

What makes the fizz in kombucha, are the helpful yeasts. They will eat the sugars out of the kombucha and this is what creates the natural CO2 or fizz. When the sugar is completely consumed it starts to turn to vinegar. That is why you should not let your kombucha over ferment, because actually the health benefits are greater when it is not overly sour or sweet.

Here are a few things you can do if you kombucha is too sour.

This can be made with kombucha that is sour but not overly so. It will be sour and not sweet and maybe lost it’s bubbliness, but not overly sour like vinegar  I have often been able to save it by second fermenting.


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, 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; 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. Click here to learn how second ferment your kombucha


Kombucha Vinegar

If it is too sour and started to turn to vinegar, let it continue to culture for a total of 30 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 30 days and you have lots of vinegar for all kinds of things.


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 fast, use more starter and super sour kombucha works really fast. The more sour the starter, the faster it will culture. I have double even triple my starter and will have kombucha in 3-5 days instead of 7 to 10 days.

69 Responses to "Help my Kombucha is too Sour!"
  1. My kombucha seems to stay sweet no matter how long I let it ferment. It grows big, beautiful scobys but never gets the tart taste I’m wanting. I’ve tried moving it to a warmer spot in my house, changing the tea used and doubling the amount of starter tea. The only way to get any tartness is to do a second ferment 2 months after I start a batch. Any suggestions to help my brew? This started happening about 6 months ago.

  2. I made my kombucha 4 days after received. It has a white scum on top forming 7 days after I made it. The scoby I m assuming but has a blueish tinge on top which I think is mold. Should I throw this out & order a new one? Should I taste this one? This is first time I was so excited

  3. Hello, I am a bit thick, perhaps, like my scoby. 🙂 When I second ferment with the fruit juice, I simply leave cheesecloth or the like over the top of the bottles? -Or do I cap?

    Many thanks,

  4. I have been making Kombucha for about 3 months now taste great! I still only have 2 scoby they don’t keep multiplying like I have read they are suppose to?

  5. Hi! I have read the comments above, but still cant find an answer to WHY the kombucha is tasting vinegary. Is it fermenting too long? I`ve left it for about 10 days, and then 2 days in the bottle to make it fizzy (..it hasn`t really become fizzy..). Is 10 days too long? My house is quite warm I would say. Can I also be using too much tea, can that make it sour as well?
    Thanks! Best regards

    • Yes it is because it is fermenting too long and this is why it tastes vinegary.I would taste it and catch it before it gets vinegary and if you house is warm this can be why it is fermenting. It’s not the tea its the amount of time it ferments.

  6. hi there! So, this is my first batch of kombucha. I feel like I brewed it to the perfect place…it tasted great before I bottled it for second ferment. I used cherry juice (too much, I think) now it tastes like vinegar and won’t get bubbly. What should I do with it now? I read you shouldn’t use anything with fruit juice as a starter?

  7. My first batch (gallon) has over fermented for a total of about 6 weeks. I’m thinking of taking half for detox baths, a quarter for starting a new brew and a quarter to keep my extra scoby until I can start again. Does that sound tmright? Also, I’m concerned with my bottles… I’m planning to re-use GT bottles and caps. What is the best way to clean those bottles and caps? I’m all paranoid… Thanks in advance, Donna! I appreciate any help.

    • Yes, this sounds perfect!Just clean those bottles with soapy water kombucha is like vinegar a preservative and keeps things safe so there is no need to worry about it getting contaminate. There is too much good bacteria for pathogens to survive.

  8. i have not started a batch of kambucha yet with the starter i received about 4 days ago. the day i received it i put it in a glass jar and covered it and now day 6 i see some fuzz around the scoby you sent to me…if i can send you a picture would that help with diagnosing it? i am worried it may be bad bacteria in the jar….help!

  9. I make my kombucha in a three gallon continuous brew bucket. I draw out one gallon and replace with one gallon. Each time, I need to do it sooner and sooner. It finally got very sour so I recently emptied out and started again using only one third of the scoby. It was ready in just a few days. Last night, after about five days I drew out a second gallon and it is already too sour. I never get fizz. The PH is three almost immediately. How can I slow this down to get the pleasant taste I am seeking. Also, I have never tried the second fermentation. Can I try this with the batch that is pretty sour?

    • It won’t get bubbly if its too sour. I would remove a lot of the tea and add a lot of new tea because you have a really strong strong amount of kombucha that will convert your tea very quickly.

  10. Can you use Kombucha tea in place of Kefir whey for fermented vegetables? I did find one recipe for fermented jalapenos using Kombucha instead of whey. What are the pros & cons?

  11. This about my 5th. Batch of Kombucha and it turned cloudy by the 2nd or 3rd day. Is it still OK? I am doing continuous brew, will I have to throw everything out?

  12. If my kombacha is sour you say you can keep it for vinegar. Do you have to refrigerate it or can you keep it at room temp????

    Do you keep your kombacha brewing for 7 days and then second ferment for how many days?

    • You can leave it on the counter or cupboard.
      The second ferment can take a few days to a few weeks just depends on the temperature and how strong your brew is. Check it and often to see if it is bubbly and then it is done.

  13. My kombucha is taking too long to ferment. I am using one and a half cups of starter.
    It is taking over three weeks. But when it’s ready, it’s nice & bubbly. I have it in a tiny room with a heater at around 78 deg. Once in a while it just doesn’t ferment and just stays sweet. The scobies are thick because I can’t pry them apart. They seem to be super glued together and if I get really aggressive about getting them apart, they tear or get a hole in them.

  14. Hi Donna, I am new to the Kombucha world. I started a continuous brew and would like to slow it down. I need to get more bottles so I can share it with friends but it make take a little while. The batch that is in there now is ready to draw off. Can I put it in canning jars? I like doing the second brew but I definitely don’t want any exploding glass if the canning jars aren’t right. Is there a was to slow it down or take a break? Thanks

  15. The kombucha starter I used was a 1/4-1/2 Cup of commercially bottled kombucha that I added as the last step. It is about 10 days old, now, and seems to be slowly forming the scobey. I haven’t tasted it. Isn’t this a bit slow for the scobey to be forming? Could the “starter” I used not have been enough?

      • I’ve had great success with starting scobys with GT. I made continuous brew for over a year and then stopped. I just started again and this time I have 3-1 gallon jugs fermenting. You must use organic green tea to grow a nice scoby from the commercially made kombucha. My house is very cool so it doesn’t grow as quickly, but it tastes great! I keep testing the batches once the 1/8″ thick film has formed and then pour off when I think its tastes just right.

  16. I fermented my kombucha the second time. It was great for a few days, but after that it started to be too sour, and the bubbles went away. I used a battle that was not completely closed. Should I leave it that way and let it be a vinegar or should I try to ferment again. Should I keep it in the fridge or should I keep it in the counter-top ?
    I would really appreciate your help.
    I want to try your fermented vegetables too, but 1 new experiment at a time.
    Thank you,

  17. hi Donna, i left the previous batch of kombucha too long till it turn to vinegar and i just make a new batch 2 days ago while i use the sour kombucha as a extra starter so i expect this batch would be very fast to ferment, it seem not cause it’s not bubble but it’s still new baby scoby forming upso i wondering if this is ok or not?
    Thank you,

  18. This is my first batch ever…I followed all the directions. After 7 days in a dark corner on the kitchen counter, I tasted it – it is sweet, but with a very vinegary smell and taste. Can I still second ferment this batch and also reuse some in a new batch? I have never done this before and I do not have anyone I can ask and feel kind of stupid…

    • If the “vinegar” fermentation is allowed to continue, it will go into its second phase. That is, the vinegar culture will start to consume the vinegar that it has produced and turn it back to “water”. Unless you can titrate the vinegar to find the acid value, allow it to continue and do the time honoured taste test to find the point that you enjoy.

  19. I made a wonderful first batch of Kombucha but then, as life got crazy, I never made a 2nd batch so my scobi (now with about 5 babies) has been sitting for about 3 months (covered with cloth at room temp) in about 1 cup or so of Komb. My question is…can I still use that to make more or has it been too long and now this Komb starter liquid and scobi would be too strong/over fermented for the next batch to work?? Thanks so much for any input!!!

  20. I would love to know the source of that crock you have pictured above. The deep reddish one with cork shown to the right of the “Kombucha Vinegar” heading. It’s lovely 🙂
    Thank you.

  21. Hi Donna,
    I am trying to get my Kombucha recipe/directions sorted but I keep getting vinegar! I am first fermenting it for four or five days and it is already vinegar-ey. My second ferment is about the same length and is also pretty sour.

    I’ve tried re-starting a batch with a bottle of GT instead of my vinegary leftovers. I’ve washed the whole thing between batches. I’ve even considered washing off my scoby. (don’t worry I haven’t washed it)

    Do you think I should start completely over from scratch or order a new scoby instead?

    Or is it ok to try culturing it for less than four days? Should I try three days each?

    Thank you so much for all of your cultured help.

    • Culture it for a shorter time and use less starter tea. If its done fast than its ok. Are you using the proper amount of sugar? Is your home warm?

      • Ooh, I haven’t tried LESS starter. I’ll do that for the batch tonight. Sugar – yes 1 cup to about 3 quarts. Our home is fairly warm right now since we are mostly not using the AC yet.
        Thanks! I’ll report back in 4 – 7 days.

  22. Hi Donna,
    I have yet to make a batch of Kombucha that I like. I love GT’s brand but it is much too expensive to have all the time. I’ve made many batches of my own 2nd fermented kombucha but have yet to get a batch that I really love. It always ends up tasting like “manure” to me. Or at least what I imagine manure to taste like 🙂 I thought at first the taste I didn’t like was the black tea so I switched to white tea but even my most recent batch had that taste I didn’t care for. I think the problem might be in my second ferment bc I don’t recall having that taste when I tested it to see if it was ready to bottle and ferment again. What could I be doing wrong?

  23. Donna, I let my Kombucha brew for 4 weeks and it is vinegar, I cut one bottle with filtered water, I am not sure I have the patience to second ferment it with fruit juice, meantime I left the scoby in the jar I brewed it in with a cup of the kombucha and covered it again with the cloth and rubber band, did I do the right thing with the scoby and is it easy to second ferment?

    • You need to make sure you follow the original recipe. If it’s turned to vinegar than it won’t second ferment. I would start over with a new batch and use your extra kombucha as vinegar.

  24. My 1st batch went from the 1st few days to VINEGAR…somehow I missed the sweet spot in the middle when it was just right….sigh. But I loved someone’s suggestion to use it to rev up my compost bin. Do I need to save any of the existing batch to start my next 2 batches since I now have 2 scobys?

  25. I went away and my kombucha has been fermenting for 6-7 weeks. Is the scoby still ok to use. Can I use it with GT kombucha as a starter.

  26. Hi, I just made my first batch of kombucha using the scoby I purchased. It grew another lid which looks like the original scoby. When I brew the next batch do I use the original or the new one that grew? Help! Many thanks. Jo

  27. My kombucha is very vinegry and I was drinkng it anyway.
    I have issues with acid reflux.
    My question is : like apple cider vinegar which is alkalizing
    is kombucha vinagar alkalizing our acidefing ?
    Thank you for your respond

  28. My first batch turned out like straight vinegar and only fermented for a total of 11 days (7 initial ferment then 4 days on counter after bottling – i added some ginger at that point but don’t taste it.) I like your ideas above and will try to do a second batch using this as a starter. Do you know if it causes any issues if you do drink it when it’s tastes like this?

  29. I have been making the most yummy kombucha by second fermenting it with the addition of Spiced Apple Cider from Trader Joe’s. It seems to take a little bit longer to get bubbly than when I used just peach juice, but it was worth waiting the extra day or so!

  30. Can Kombucha Vinegar be used in a detox bath the same way you would use Apple Cider Vinegar?

  31. There is some small white furryish stuff growing on top of my 2nd ferment. is that mold? how can I stop that from happening again?

  32. Thanks for this, I have a batch right now that has been going for way too long. I have never tried making kombucha vinegar, I have always used the over-fermented batches for revving up the action in my compost bin. I’m excited to try this!

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