Alcoholic kombucha is rapidly becoming a popular alternative to beer and wine. And why not? You get all the positives of kombucha like low-calorie content, probiotics, and deliciousness, plus it’s alcoholic. Though some of it’s positive attributes would be lost during this process, the amazing blend of flavors created during the kombucha brewing process is still very present.
Kombucha naturally contains some alcohol by nature of the fermentation process. However, this alcohol content is 2% abv or less. There are ways to increase this abv up to 14% and make it a delicious, boozy kombucha.
Before we make the kombucha alcoholic we’ll first need to make the regular kombucha. Check out this article on how to make kombucha to learn more.
If you want to flavor your kombucha you should do so BEFORE making it boozy. You can read more about that process here: flavoring your kombucha.
Kombucha beer will have a flavor profile more akin to a lambic beer or a wild fermented fruited-beer. We’ll simply add beer yeast and sugar to a secondary fermentation and let it continue to ferment. If you want to dry-hop your kombucha this is the perfect time for dry-hopping. Though this article is geared towards dry-hopping beer, the basic principles can be applied to kombucha.
Equipment Needed For Secondary Fermentation
- A vessel with a ported lid. We recommend either the 1.4 Gallon Little Big Mouth Bubbler, the 5 Gallon Big Mouth Bubbler depending on how much kombucha you’ve made.
- You’ll need an airlock to allow C02 to vent during fermentation.
** Remember, when it comes to making kombucha, wine, beer, cider, or mead your equipment needs to be clean and sanitized to prevent unwanted infections. We recommend Star San Sanitizer.
Recipe For 1 Gallon Boozy Kombucha:
1 gallon of young, fermented kombucha.
2 teaspoons of yeast. You can experiment with yeast styles to achieve various flavor profiles. We recommend starting with either a flavor neutral dry yeast like Safale US-05 or a champagne yeast like Red Star Premier Cuv if you prefer more effervescence.
1 cup of sugar. Like yeast, you can experiment with sugars. We recommend using the same sugar you used for your kombucha.
1 cup of warm water.
3/4oz - 2oz of hops for dry-hopping. This will depend on your batch size and preference for hop flavor.
Instructions for Boozy Kombucha:
Once your Kombucha has finished it’s normal fermentation as outlined here: How to Make Kombucha you can commence operation booze bomb!
To begin you’ll want to activate the yeast by combining the 2 teaspoons of yeast with the warm water and sugar to create a “slurry”. The slurry should be allowed to sit for 15-30 minutes before adding it to the kombucha. You’ll want to make sure that your SCOBY has been removed before you add the yeast slurry.
After 15-30 minutes, or when the slurry is ready, add it to your kombucha’s sanitized secondary fermenter. What’s a kombucha secondary fermenter you ask? Since we already initially fermented the kombucha, that was the primary fermentation in the primary fermenter. Now that we’re going to boost the alcohol level and re-ferment our kombucha, we’ll transfer it to a second vessel, a secondary fermenter.
Now that we’ve added our kombucha to the secondary fermenter we’ll add our yeast slurry. Close your fermenter tight and swirl your slurry and kombucha to get a nice mix. Once mixed, place your kombucha in a safe place and let it ferment for at least a week. Once your kombucha ferments to meet your preferred level of sweetness, you’re ready to either bottle or keg.
Once fermentation is complete you’re ready to transfer your kombucha to bottles or a keg. More than likely you’ll be bottling your kombucha, we recommend the swing-top bottles and transferring the kombucha with either a funnel or the spring-tip bottle filler. If you think you’ll like your kombucha tea carbonated, check out our article on how to carbonate kombucha.
Begin or continue your homebrew education with Northern Brewer University and our Homebrew Video Courses.