I want to preface this by saying, I have never tried kombucha and up to this had never tried to make my own ACV. I've never really done any fermentation at all except for a stint of regular sourdough bread making a few years ago.
2/27/19 I started a gallon jar with several quartered apples, some sugar, a splash of ACV with the mother (store bought), and topped with water. I stirred about once a day for a week, then every other day or two after that.
3/14/19 I thought it had turned from smelling sweet to sour-vinegar. Spooned out the apples and strained most of it into some canning jars and put lids on. Stuck them in the cupboard. Quartered the last few apples into the existing 'acv', some sugar, topped with water.
Some time in late March I opened a strained jar of 'acv' and much to my surprise it bubbled up like soda! And while not smelling sweet exactly, it is not vinegar-y. Kind of sweet-n-sour with a tiny hint of alcohol (alcohol? ethanol?). What the heck...? I skim around and come across stuff about kombucha. Not really liking tea I hadn't thought much about it. But I see the fermentation process is similar to ACV except you bottle it for a second ferment (commonly, but not required, matter of personal taste I suppose). And bottling it makes it bubble like soda. So I theorized that I had accidently jarred the 'acv' too early and it hadn't gone to vinegar yet. So I'm left with two jars of... ACV-kombucha-frankenstein..?
4/15/19 Since I have plenty of this now I brew some tea, add a big glug of my 'acv', some sugar, top with water. Cloth over the top. I've left the gallon jar of 'acv' sit in the cupboard with the cloth over the top to continue to ferment. And since they've been sitting in the cupboard.
Now (5/31/19) I'm wondering how to continue with my crazy little ACV and kombucha frankenstiens...
The tea jars have formed what look like scoby on top. They are slightly different looking. The ACV jar has sediment on the bottom and will get some cloudy-something settle along the top but it has not formed anything like a scoby.
I was going to get some juice to try a second ferment with the kombucha. See if I like it.
I'm not sure what to do with the two jars of 'fizzy not-acv'.. Can I add it back to the gallon jar and let it ferment to vinegar after being lidded up like that? I've been hesitant to taste it as I'm not really sure what stage it's at. I am wanting to get better with the ACV so I can have a supply built up and be able to give it regularly to my sheep. So I would be putting out quite a bit for the amount of sheep I have. And then some for myself for cleaning etc.
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I think of it as Kombucha being on its way to vinegar. Not sure if that's technically accurate but if you ket kombucha go too long it can become as acidic as vinegar.
One safety note, if you bottle kombucha and dont let it breathe and leave it too long...it can explode. My mom in law got shards of glass stuck in her when she went to move some mason jars of kombucha that had been left too long.
For that reason. And since I am not into details generally, I use the continuous brew method for kombucha. Its very forgiving if you forget it for weeks at a time. In fact I added some sugar to my brew today because it had been neglected and was well on its way to vinegar flavor and smell.