Making Kombucha Wine!

Here are some pictures from when I made the kombucha wine about a month ago to the day.  Kombucha wine=Fully fermented kombucha tea + champagne yeast + more sugar + time and dark + bottles + more time and dark.  You can even make it at home with these pictorial instructions!

Step 1:  Add your champagne yeast and sugar to your carboy.  Activate the yeast by putting it in warm water.  One package of champagne yeast (package for up to five gallons) and 1 cup sugar per gallon of kombucha.

Step 2:  Add your fully fermented kombucha tea!  Make sure your kombucha is ready but if your tea has turned to vinegar, it is too late for it.  It would be like to using rotten grapes to make wine.

Step 3:  Hide it away in a dark place for a month or more.

Step 4: Bottle and hide it away again in a place that doesn’t get direct sun.  Remember with bottling that you NEED to either use the flip-top style bottles (Pictured) or a beer bottling set up with a capper and all that.  We use the flip-tops to reduce our waste.

I normally let my kombucha wine ferment for a LONG time to get a lot of the sweetness from the added sugar out.  Remember here, we’ve got yeast feeding off of sugar and it will keep feeding until there is no sugar left.  The longest I’ve ever let the wine go was about a ten months and it was AMAZING and STILL SWEET!  This means that there was sugar left in it so you could let yours go even longer.

I usually do my fermenting times like this:

In the carboy (the 5 gallon glass container)-6 weeks

In the bottle-minimum of 3 months

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53 Comments

Filed under Nothing is growing in the jars that should be growing in the jars, Performing Science, Probiotic Porn

53 responses to “Making Kombucha Wine!

  1. T

    Aloha!

    I am super stoked to have found your tutorial blog! I have been learning to brew and ferment kombucha tea and beer at the same time, which got me thinking about eventually increasing the APV of the kombucha since it’s healthier. I will be trying your method soon. I need to get more equipment and learn more about fermenting in Hawaii’s higher temp.’s (it’s summer and pretty hot lately which is my current obstacle for both processes.)

    Questions: Any idea how strong your wine is? (I guess a hydrometer would tell pretty easily.) Do you think your kombucha wine is just as healthy as the lower alcohol content kom. teas?

    Thanks for sharing. Happy brewing!

    Mahalo,
    T

    • C

      I am in Hawaii as well, just getting ready to brew my tea into wine. I find that the fermenting time for tea is almost half with the higher temps but for my first wine I’m going to brew 1 gallon, 1st ferment for 4 weeks, 2nd for 2 months. I’m using a Maui brewing co bottle for the entire process, airlock for 1st ferment and then put the flip top on for 2nd ferment.

  2. Mary

    How fizzy is it after all that time chilling in the dark?

  3. Have you made it without adding champagne yeast? I understand this increases the alcohol content. That’s cool with me but what is it like without it?

  4. Mike

    Sounds great but assuming you put 5 cups of sugar in the Kombucha; then added another 6 1/4 cup when you add the yeast. Does the bottle overflow or even geyser when you open?

    • Tim

      I’ve actually amended my recipe above to 5 cups of sugar when it goes into the carboy. It was a too effervescent for some bottles that fermented for a long time.

      • Michael

        Tim and others: The 6 1/4 cup recipe gave me some exploding bottles. I opened I bottle last night and 2/3 geysered out; the 1/3 left in the litre bottle was good. I have 10 gallons in carboy and added only 5 cups to carboy but I must be doing something wrong.

      • I also had bottles that sat for over a year explode that’s why I’ve amended my recipe to include less sugar. If you’re still having problems with the 5 cup recipe, I’d consider your brewing temperatures and bottling process maybe.

  5. @Mike, the bottles get a little excited but no more than champagne.

  6. Kristina

    Oooooo… this is very cool! I’m only just now learning how to brew kombucha tea, but can’t wait to try this too! Just to clarify… when you add the kombucha tea, you’re not adding the mother, right? Thanks! :)

    • Tim

      Right, you’re not adding the mother. Usually a weird one will start to form if too much sediment gets into your carboy but as long as you strain it out before bottling you should be fine.

  7. Texabucha

    So what does the APV end up at after the second fermentation with the Champagne yeast???

  8. I haven’t checked it after a year yet.

  9. Just got brewers permit so web page will be up in a week. I already went down to 5 and still had explosions. I ferment in cool temperature; I just feel it is too much sugar because my 1 litre swing caps either spout over upon opening or just blow up. Thank you for your info, it may work for you but I have abandoned this aidea for awhile.

  10. No, I will try a since I have chamoagne yeast coming out my ass.

  11. Mike G.

    Great post! Do you have any advice about how to distinguish between fully fermented kombucha and vinegar? I mean, as I understand it, after the fermentation process the kombucha should comprise some vinegar — this is in part what gives it its sour taste, right? Is there a good rule of thumb for figuring out when the kombucha is TOO sour (i.e., mostly vinegar and not good for wine-making purposes)? Thanks!

  12. Mindy

    Hi,

    I love your post as I have been thinking about making Kombucha, but would like to increase the alcohol content a touch for a night cap. I love red wine, but this would be a healthier option if the alcohol is lower, although I prefer more than in a standard bottle of kombucha.

    Any tips on how to make a red wine kombucha that is not sweet? Would I just use the juice from red grapes during the first fermentation or add it to the second? Thanks for your help! – Mindy

  13. Sissy

    I make both wine and kombucha. My new batch of pear wine tastes a lot like kombucha. Is it possible that the kombucha organisms traveled into my carboy of wine?
    Sissy

  14. cooperhadaway

    good shit mate

  15. kobold

    thank you for the tutorial, very thoughtful! what was the dosage of sugar and champagne yeast?

  16. Hannah

    Thanks for this awesome tutorial. Can you explain why shouldn’t the bottles be stored on their side? I am just about to bottle mine up with champagne bottles, reusable plastic champagne corks and wire hoods. i was hoping to use my wine rack to age them, which would be storing them on their side, but don’t want to cover the room in exploding kom-booze-cha.

  17. Nathan Wiley

    I`m definitely going to give this a go. Just one question: Could you reduce the amount of added yeast and sugar in the secondary fermentation and thereby reduce the total brewing time? I`d like to start the secondary fermentation in September and harvest this Christmas. I was thinking perhaps 3 1/2 cups sugar and approx. 3/4 package of Champagne yeast. Cheers!

  18. Kate

    Have you ever used Air Locks to keep them from exploding? I want to brew, but I don’t want explosions.

  19. Dan

    I am brewing my first batch of Kombucha. I added organic blueberries to the brew. How will this affect the batch? Thanks in advance for any helpful info.

    • Dan

      This thread is old but I’m going to jump in with my 2 cents, Dan.

      If you add fruit to the first brewing of kombucha, the one with the mother scoby in it, you increase the risk of mold and the fruit will get a little icky. It won’t happen every time, but it’s more likely to happen. The safest time to add fruit for flavor is in the 2nd fermenting stage, when you put it in the bottle. When you are bottling you can add fruit for additional sugar and flavor, as well as a tiny amount of sugar if you are willing to open the bottles every day or two to release the CO2. If you can’t open the bottle regularly they may explode, that’s why KombuchaKollective recommends the airlock. It burps the bottles for you.

      I’ve had good experiences adding fruit to the 2nd stage ferment. I’ll brew a gallon, save some starter and the mother for the next batch, and bottle up the rest with some chopped fruit. Let the bottles sit somewhere room temp for a few days or weeks and then refrigerate them before you open them so they don’t explode. That’s why champagne is chilled at the store, it’s less likely to blow up. I’m not brewing this way for alcohol, just for flavor.

      Brew, bottle with fruit, enjoy.

  20. Sage

    Hi guys. I have started two small batches of K. wine and am curious if it’s common to have a scobie forming in the second stage ferment?

  21. Mindy

    This is exactly what I’m looking for! I just made my first batch of kombucha tea for the kids and poured off a gallon to turn into wine for myself. :) I just have a few questions. I promise to post my results!

    1) Do you have to use yeast during the second fermentation or could you just use sugar? Have you tested for sugar contentt?
    2) Will the sugar content decrease the longer it ferments? I prefer a very dry, sugar free if possible, wine.
    3) Do you use a whole pack of yeast for 1 gallon?

    I would really appreciate the feedback as there is very little information on this available on the web. Surprising!

    Thank you!

    Mindy

    • If you want it to turn into wine and not vinegar, you have to use an additional yeast.
      The packets are for 5 gallons so you’d use 1/5 of the packet.
      The fermentation process converts the sugar, if you want a drier wine, let it ferment longer.
      Hope that helps!

      -Tim
      Founder/Brewmaster

      • Mindy

        Great, thanks so much for the quick reply. Order the champagne yeast now! I was told by a brewer that it wasn’t a good idea to make wine out of kombucha because of the strains of bacteria and yeast. Didn’t make sense to me, since you can make wine out of almost anything. I hope it works!

  22. No offense to the brewer you talked to but he clearly has no idea what he is talking about. I’ve been making kombucha champagne for over four years with great success and never once had a batch that didn’t turn out!

  23. Mindy

    That’s great! I am sure he was only familiar with beer and wine. Kombucha wine is not very common, but I think it’s such a cool idea. Thanks for the tips!

  24. Mindy

    My kombucha is finally ready for a 2nd fermentation…wine! I have a 2.5 gallon glass carboy and my kombucha has been brewing for over 2 weeks, so it’s definitely running out of sugar (but not vinegar quite yet). I was thinking of adding some organic grape juice to make it taste more like red wine at the end of fermentation. I am using champagne yeast and want to make sure I get this right. I really appreciate your help. Sorry to keep bugging you. :)

    1) How much grape juice per gallon of kombucha? 1 cup per gallon sound right?
    2) If I use sugar instead of juice, should I add 1 cup of sugar per gallon of kombucha?

    Thank you!

  25. I don’t know about the juice ratio, never done that before. I’d see what the sugar content in the juice was & try to gauge it by that but introducing new acids and bacteria to Kombucha on a second fermentation might be a really bad idea.

  26. And yes, one cup per gallon of Kombucha.

  27. We’re in the middle of giving this a try, and we wanted to know some ways that we can increase the alcohol content at any time in the process? More sugar? More champagne yeast? More fermentation time?

  28. Benjamin

    Day four into making kombucha wine. Added four gallons into a carboy with the champagne yeast and four more cups of sugar. I have a new SCOBY that has formed on the top. Not enough kombucha in there? It is a five gallon carboy, so there is plenty of oxygen for the SCOBY to feed on… Will this batch be sour? Also, after the six week ferment, is it tasty wine at this point? Or does the second ferment give it the alcohol content we all want? I love the idea of letting one age for over a year, and plan to do so with the next batch I do.

  29. Carrie

    I’m so happy I found this site. I’ve only been making kombucha for a few weeks but have been doing kefir water for months and fruit wines for years. I can’t wait to try kombucha wine. Thanks!

  30. I must say this is awesome…I am a newbie at making bucha myself, as I just started making my own SCOBY’s from raw store bought bucha… I wanted to ask…Do you think that adding the kombucha wine to an actual champagne bottle, and reducing the head space can keep it from being a gyser, or buchabomb?

  31. oh also…since this is already fermented bucha, and not vineger, can one use a better bottle instead of glass carboy?

  32. laura

    I’m be experimenting making kombucha wine (I’m also trying to use a mother to quickly sour beer as well) but I have some questions.
    Has anyone else used any other type of yeast. There is a whole slew of beer yeast I’m itching to try out instead.
    Two. Should I pasteurize the kombucha (aka chilling of those yeast/bacteria) then pitch it in with sugar and beer yeast therefore I can more accurately guage/prevent bottle bombs.
    Also I plan on just using an airlock and letting it sit, then bottle but I still want some bubbles, so should I prime it again just a bit with corn sugar.

  33. I make my own kombucha and do a second ferment with about 1/2 organic fruit juice and 1/2 kmobucha and wait about 5 days before drinking. Excellent. I would like to make a little stronger so I’m excited I came across your page.

  34. Tiana

    I’d like to bump this to see if anyone has had any success with making kombucha wine and have any tips.

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