Make Kombucha Fizzy Through a Second Fermentation and Bottling
Why Second Ferment Kombucha?
There are quite a few advantages to bottling the finished kombucha and fermenting it further.
A second fermentation period allows the flavors to meld and achieve a deeper and more complex flavor profile. Additionally, if bottled in an airtight container, the carbon dioxide produced during fermentation will remain, giving the kombucha the fizzy texture it is often known for.
Choosing Bottles for Storing Kombucha
While essentially any glass container with a lid can be used to store kombucha, to obtain the best carbonation level, it is important to bottle kombucha in truly airtight bottles.
While canning jars are wonderful for storing finished kombucha, since they are not truly airtight, carbon dioxide can leak from them and reduce the fizziness of your kombucha.
A better option is a Grolsch-style flip-top bottle, which will adequately contain the fermentation gases and keep the kombucha better carbonated.
Before using, check the bottles carefully for cracks or imperfections, which can weaken the integrity of the bottle and lead to explosions. We also recommend "burping" the bottles every day or so during the second fermentation to release excess pressure.
How Long Should You Second Ferment Kombucha?
There's no hard and fast rule for the length of a second fermentation. In general, we advise letting your bottled kombucha ferment for 2 to 14 days.
The length of time you allow your kombucha to ferment for a second time depends on your personal taste preferences, the temperature of your fermentation area, and the types of flavors you've added.
- Warmer temperatures speed up the fermentation process, so if you're fermentation area is on the warmer side you'll want to aim for a shorter second fermentation.
- Similarly, if you pair your finished kombucha with juices that have a high sugar content this provides the bacteria in your kombucha more to feed on and will speed up fermentation as well.
The best way to check if your kombucha is done with its second ferment is to taste it to test its flavor and fizziness. Tasting your kombucha every day or so is also a good way to remember to release some of the pressure built up in the bottles - this is especially important if you don't want to end up with a messy explosion!
Instructions for Bottling Kombucha for a Second Fermentation
- Remove the SCOBY from the finished kombucha.
- Add the desired flavoring and mix to combine.
- Bottle the flavored kombucha in airtight bottles leaving a few inches of head space.
- Leave the bottled kombucha to ferment for 2-14 days at room temperature.
- Once the second fermentation process is complete, strain out any solids, if desired, rebottle and store on the counter or in the refrigerator.
Storing Bottled Kombucha
We recommend storing bottled kombucha at room temperature for no longer than 14 days, as carbonation can build up. The more sugar in the flavoring, the faster the carbonation will build. It's a good idea to burp the bottles occasionally during the second fermentation to release excess pressure.
Use Caution When Opening Bottles
Creation of carbon dioxide during the secondary fermentation period means the contents of the bottle will be under pressure, and caution should be used when opening the bottle.
We recommend covering the bottle with a cloth to catch any spraying liquid and opening the bottle slowly over the sink while applying downward pressure.