Water kefir?

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Obsidian

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Does anyone have experience with this stuff? I'm trying it and none of the FB groups are being helpful. I'm about ready to chuck everything out the window.
Please, tell me how to know its ready for second ferment?

Mine fermented for 3 day and just looks like gross water with a strange odor. I don't know if this is normal or not.

I see video of the first ferment bubbling, the grains are bouncing around like a lava lamp. Mine have not done this, should they?

I thought this would be easier and quicker then kombucha😒
 

AliOop

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Can't be of any help... tried a few batches of water kefir some years ago, and all of them turned out gross. They looked and smelled like moldy water.

I had no problem making delicious 'booch, but it got to be too much work since my SCOBYs grew outrageously fast, and I got tired of constant bottle cleaning, rotating, etc.

Good luck, hopefully someone here will have some good tips for you.
 

Obsidian

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Yeah, thats kinda what mine looks and smells like. I added blue berries for the second ferment, hopefully they are magic and makes this stuff drinkable.

I can make bootch ok, still can't get it quite as fruity as I like but its pretty good. I had to grow a new scoby from scratch, its finally big enough I can start a batch tomorrow.

I also started a batch of tapache tonight. It's amazing but I have a high failure rate with it. I found a really nice ripe organic pineapple, cross my fingers it doesn't go bad.
 

Misschief

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Yeah, thats kinda what mine looks and smells like. I added blue berries for the second ferment, hopefully they are magic and makes this stuff drinkable.

I can make bootch ok, still can't get it quite as fruity as I like but its pretty good. I had to grow a new scoby from scratch, its finally big enough I can start a batch tomorrow.

I also started a batch of tapache tonight. It's amazing but I have a high failure rate with it. I found a really nice ripe organic pineapple, cross my fingers it doesn't go bad.
I used to make it; my grandkids love it! They're not around anymore so I don't make it; I still have some dehydrated grains in the fridge, though. It's been a couple of years since I made it. If I remember correctly, you shouldn't need to let it sit for more than 24-48 hours before straining it for the second ferment. The second ferment will require watching and burping so it doesn't get tooooooo fizzy. I've had a few volcanos from wk that went a little longer.

If you're getting a strong odor, you've let it sit too long before straining. It should smell slightly yeasty but not unpleasant.

By the way, it isn't the scoby that makes the kombucha, according to my reading. It's the starter liquid that helps to create the scoby. The scoby just lets you know that the liquid is active.

Want to try something else? My daughter has had great success with a ginger bug.
 

Obsidian

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Thanks @Misschief guess I'll just trust the process as the kefir is getting bubbly. Hope the funky smell isn't how the finished product will taste.

I tried ginger bug before, it didn't ferment at all, just sat and did nothing. Tried it twice with ginger from different sources and different sugar.

I think booch would make with either/or the starter/scoby, using both just gives it a better chance.
I had a scoby hotel in my fridge for over a year without tending it. It died and was pretty icky, thats why I had to start from scratch.
I wish it was easier to store for long periods.
 

Misschief

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Thanks @Misschief guess I'll just trust the process as the kefir is getting bubbly. Hope the funky smell isn't how the finished product will taste.

I tried ginger bug before, it didn't ferment at all, just sat and did nothing. Tried it twice with ginger from different sources and different sugar.

I think booch would make with either/or the starter/scoby, using both just gives it a better chance.
I had a scoby hotel in my fridge for over a year without tending it. It died and was pretty icky, thats why I had to start from scratch.
I wish it was easier to store for long periods.
My daughter's ginger bug was so active that the first time she opened her first bottle of apple ginger bug, it sprayed her ceiling. She wasn't expecting that. lol
 

beckster51

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Thanks @Misschief guess I'll just trust the process as the kefir is getting bubbly. Hope the funky smell isn't how the finished product will taste.

I tried ginger bug before, it didn't ferment at all, just sat and did nothing. Tried it twice with ginger from different sources and different sugar.

I think booch would make with either/or the starter/scoby, using both just gives it a better chance.
I had a scoby hotel in my fridge for over a year without tending it. It died and was pretty icky, thats why I had to start from scratch.
I wish it was easier to store for long periods.
I made water kefir for quite a while for my DIL. I thought it was the most vile thing I had ever made. I ended up using excess kefir in things that masked the smell and taste. When she didn't want it anymore, I stopped. The only ferments that I enjoy are fermented veggies, yogurt, and yogurt cheese. I think I would love a ginger bug, but I am not interested in trying to bottle anything. Good luck!
 

Obsidian

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I made water kefir for quite a while for my DIL. I thought it was the most vile thing I had ever made. I ended up using excess kefir in things that masked the smell and taste. When she didn't want it anymore, I stopped. The only ferments that I enjoy are fermented veggies, yogurt, and yogurt cheese. I think I would love a ginger bug, but I am not interested in trying to bottle anything. Good luck!
Look into tapache. It doesn't need to be bottled, just strained and transfered to a pitcher for storage in the fridge
 

Megan

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Just chiming in that I've also tried to make water kefir and it did NOT go well...I wanted to love it because I spend far to much on the storebought stuff, but was also scared I was going to poison myself by how awful it turned out.
 

ResolvableOwl

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Water kefir fan here! But I have to say, not all water kefir is created equal, and I have stopped my water kefir cult after I realised that my grains somehow didn't want to multiply… reading from others who get 10–50% of growth per round, but mine didn't grow at all or even lost weight over time. So many variety between water kefir makers … they are finicky when it comes to tap water, sugar, room temperature, illumination, material of the fermenting jar … it's a while until one finds out (I didn't satisfactorily within a few months).

First fermentation just 5% sugar (light brown cane sugar) + a few drops lime juice, and oet it sit for one day at RT. I didn't think about a “when” for straining off the grains, it was just what the guy from whom I had the grains told me. Waiting for longer added nothing except impatience. On the contrary, I find water kefir a quite stressful ferment.
For 2F I took whatever I had around … apple and cherry juice are great, as is ginger tea. I used flip-top bottles to earn some carbonation. 2 days at RT, then into the fridge.
 

Obsidian

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Water kefir fan here! But I have to say, not all water kefir is created equal, and I have stopped my water kefir cult after I realised that my grains somehow didn't want to multiply… reading from others who get 10–50% of growth per round, but mine didn't grow at all or even lost weight over time. So many variety between water kefir makers … they are finicky when it comes to tap water, sugar, room temperature, illumination, material of the fermenting jar … it's a while until one finds out (I didn't satisfactorily within a few months).

First fermentation just 5% sugar (light brown cane sugar) + a few drops lime juice, and oet it sit for one day at RT. I didn't think about a “when” for straining off the grains, it was just what the guy from whom I had the grains told me. Waiting for longer added nothing except impatience. On the contrary, I find water kefir a quite stressful ferment.
For 2F I took whatever I had around … apple and cherry juice are great, as is ginger tea. I used flip-top bottles to earn some carbonation. 2 days at RT, then into the fridge.
I got my grains dehydrated online, they had great reviews. I followed the instructions to rehydrate, taking about two weeks to do so.

I guess mine are multiplying, I never measured them after they first plumped up. I did with the ferment I started yesterday, measured out 4 Tbs, put the rest in sugar water in the fridge.

Using bottled spring water, organic cane sugar a touch a pink salt for minerals.
Glass jar, covered with a coffee filter sitting on the kitchen counter.

I burped my bottles today and they are getting fizzy. Tasted one, not too bad but they have a odd flavor I might not like.
Added some fresh smashed cherries. Plan on fermenting today, will refrigerate tonight.

If I end up not liking this, I'll sell the grains locally.

Booch might take longer but it seems easier, maybe it's just because its familiar
 

ResolvableOwl

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Pure water kefir (just fed with slightly acidified sugar water) indeed has a weird taste to it, a bit metallic or like blood, or soapy, difficult to describe, but not very strong. Carbonation and tasty 2F additions easily mask this.

I have tried kombucha once, didn't like it (or, frankly, the scoby seemed to not like me), it just tasted like funky vinegar. If I want vinegar, then I make it deliberately (though that's nothing for the impatient).
I second the other suggestions here to give ginger bug or tepache a try (if you're into ginger or pineapples).
 

Obsidian

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The second ferment is done and the bottles are chilling, I'll strain some over ice later.
I did taste it again, it had a almost oily chemically taste. I'll try again with different flavors.

Took me awhile to get kombucha figured out. I really like sour things so I let mine turn way too vinegary and it was hard on my stomach.
Once I figured out when to start f2, it went well.

I have a lot of issues keeping a healthy scoby. I don't want to brew booch constantly so I try to store it, always dies.
 

Obsidian

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Ok, I see what you mean by the iron taste. Its very weak and mostly covered by the berry flavors.
The oily taste is gone which is good but its pretty underwhelming, lost all its fizz once chilled.
 

Misschief

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I got my grains dehydrated online, they had great reviews. I followed the instructions to rehydrate, taking about two weeks to do so.
I have some dehydrated grains in my fridge from when I was making wk. I tried it again last summer and noticed that I wasn't getting the same results as when I was using freshly purchased local wk grains. That could have something to do with your results.

Perhaps I'll try it again, just to see what kind of results I get this year.
 

Obsidian

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I have some dehydrated grains in my fridge from when I was making wk. I tried it again last summer and noticed that I wasn't getting the same results as when I was using freshly purchased local wk grains. That could have something to do with your results.

Perhaps I'll try it again, just to see what kind of results I get this year.
Apparently I was just impatient. Took the bottles out of the fridge last night to ferment more, burped them and promptly had smashed fruit flying around.
 

JoyfulSudz

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@Obsidian I love tepache but have not tried making my own. I drank lots of it when I was living in Mexico (for 13 years!) but have not seen it since back in the U.S. I learned about if after my doctor in Mexico prescribed it to me for an unhappy belly. It's healthy and delicious! Would you share your recipe?
 

Obsidian

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@Obsidian I love tepache but have not tried making my own. I drank lots of it when I was living in Mexico (for 13 years!) but have not seen it since back in the U.S. I learned about if after my doctor in Mexico prescribed it to me for an unhappy belly. It's healthy and delicious! Would you share your recipe?
I don't really have a recipe, I just google and pick a high rated one. Mine isn't doing good this time, two days with warm temps and no fermentation. It will probably go bad, I just don't have the touch.
 
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