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  • The Sixth Brew: Summery Infusions - Strawberry Lemonade + Spicy Ginger Brew

    Ok, so yeah, it is still spring. Still May. We still have a solid month and half for summer to arrive. But I might as well start practicing my summery 'booch infusions now, don't ya think?

    This batch was made from my newer scoby (affectionately referred to as Velma, as I am keeping a Scooby Doo-themed naming process for my SCOBY progeny). The batch brewed for 8 solid days in warm (likely 76-78F) cozy temperatures in our loft. I brewed this this batch with slightly less tea, although it still had great flavor and fizz factor right out of the gallon jar. 

    I think you know my process by now...if not, read any of the previous 5 posts I have done! The only different aspect of this brew was that I did not check pH with the litmus strips, but rather relied on my taste buds to declare the batch ready. I do need to pick up some more strips, but haven't gotten around to it...yet. 

    But at any rate, happy brewin' and boochin'!

    SCOBY: Newer Growth ("Velma")// Brew Date: April 25, 2016 // 

    Tea: a combination of Rishi Tea CompanyRuby Oolong a total of 3 level TB tea, brewed for 8 minutes, and also decided to steep room temperature filtered water with the tea leaves and use this for the fill water

    Sugar: 1 cup Organic Evaporated Cane Juice, purchased from Trader Joe's

    Water: PUR filtered water from our faucet

    Days Brewed: 8 days

    Temperature Notes: The average temperature, I would guess, for both gallon brewing jars would have been near to 78F. 

    Starter Tea Notes: I used 2 cups of starter liquid from the previous batches, using the top-most kombucha from the gallon batches (used 1 cup from each gallon batch previously brewed)

    Second Fermentation: I bottled into the same liter flip-top bottles, using a funnel, with all the tools I used cleaned in warm vinegar water. I got about 2 and 1/2 liters total, filling the bottles almost up to the top of the bottles, leaving very little headspace. I reserved 2 cups of the top-most kombucha with the SCOBY for the SCOBY hotel, and placed Velma in the hotel jar along with Scooby, as I decided to take a break from brewing since I was completely out of tea at this point. Both SCOBYs were in the hotel for about 1 week total before I strated to brew again (the seventh batches...more on those next week!). I let the bottles sit and infuse for 5 days before straining them as I did my two last infusions (with my funnel and nutmilk bag). This longer infusion process really got more flavors out, and produced a more acidic flavor, but I didn't really notice a higher fizz factor (but it was there and pleasantly gentle, nonetheless).

    pH at Bottling: Not 100% sure, but I'd guess probably 3.0

    Bottling Recipes: for this batch, I wanted to get summery! I used some inpsiration from the Big Book of Kombucha, and then also mish-mashed my love of ginger with spicy to make a spicy ginger infusion. Both flavors were spot-on, and in my opinion, are perfect for some fun mock/cocktails that I will share below. 

    Strawberry Lemonade // 1 liter // 

    • 4 TB strawberries, cut into small pieces (I used frozen berries)
    • 3 tsp lemon juice
    • 1/4 tsp lemon zest

    Lemonade season=Arnold Palmer season. I mixed equal parts lemonade with iced tea (got some of this black iced tea from Rishi, and brewed it up in the sun! Very tasty!), and a squeeze of fresh lemon. Super refreshing. This type of drink will for sure be on regular rotation in the hotter months for us!

    Spicy Ginger-Cayenne // 1 liter //

    • 3 tsp finely grated (used my microplane) organic ginger, skin and all
    • 1/8 tsp or small pinch powdered cayenne 

    As I enjoyed this brew, I thought it would make an AWESOME stand-in for a spicy ginger beer in the classic dark and stormy cocktail. I hope to try this out with my next batch...so stay tuned for this!

    Something about watching the color get sucked out of the strawberries was really satisfying....Aaaaand this Arnold Palmer-like number....was so, so good. I urge you to try it! You'll thank me in the dog days of summer!!