Water kefir grows a scoby?

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Water kefir grows a scoby?

Postby Rutabagagirl on Mon Apr 16, 2012 2:34 pm

I am brewing water kefir using organic sugar and molasses. In addition to the grains, sometimes it makes what looks like a small kombucha scoby. Oftentimes it will form a scoby after bottling, much like kombucha does. But there is no kombucha in the house right now, so cross-contamination is a non-issue. Is this normal for water kefir?
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Re: Water kefir grows a scoby?

Postby mitchdb on Wed May 09, 2012 2:54 pm

Sure, could be. Lots of acetobacters are in the air and could form colonies with natural wild yeasts or yeasts from your kefir grains.

Kombucha is much like other vinegar mothers; it floats and contains acetobacters (and other bacteria) and yeast. (side note: claims on the net that no vinegars/MOV contain gluconic acid (or gluconic acid bacterias) are completely false -- there are several peer-reviewed studies documenting the amount of gluconic acid (and gluconacetobacters) in vinegar/mothers; traditional balsamic vinegar (TBV) mothers are particularly rich in them and it is considered a marker of quality TBV).

Some water kefir grains contain acetobactor strains and some don't. See http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22000549 for an analysis of some water kefir colonies.

I tend to remove any stringy growths at the top of my water kefir ferment before refeeding so don't let them get a hold. But if your new mothers look healthy -- feel free to try making straight vinegars or kombucha-style drinks with them.
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Re: Water kefir grows a scoby?

Postby Rutabagagirl on Tue May 22, 2012 12:32 pm

Thanks :) We have kombucha now, but keep it on the opposite end of the shelf from the water kefir so they don't interbreed. I just remove any obvious slime when straining the grains. Currently we have a gallon of water kefir brewing and I let it ferment for four days (we like it sour :) ) Kefir and kombucha are different, but both yummy.
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