For the past three years I I have experienced some excellent success and some epic failures with my kombucha batches. Every time I try to run a post mortem to figure out what went wrong and what went right to make my DIY home brewed booch either pitchable, drinkable, or in the best case shareable. Here is a project that I am calling my “SCOBY Palace” for controlling one of the most critical variables: temperature.
If your temperature is to low, you will stall and suffer from all sorts of infestations you don’t want. The SCOBY will not form a strong fabric and create enough acids to protect you from mold. Your yeast will ferment at the top of the vessel and form the wrong pellicle, and generally you will just have a festering jar of sweet tea.
If your temperature is too high the yeast will not produce the food that is needed for your SCOBY, and you will kill all the acetobactor by essentially pasteurizing your once vibrant culture.
What I needed was a temperature controlled rack where I could run tests on different tea blends, sugar levels, and SCOBY/starters.
Here is what I came up with:
The total cost for this system was about $150 and it allows me to run about 12-18 batches of 1-2 gallons each. Up to 30 gallons of kombucha going at once.
Here is how I did it:
Plug in Thermostat
Radiant Heat Mat
1" Foam board
Wire Rolling Rack
First, cut the foam to create a box around the wire rack. Use Heavy Duct tape on the seams.
Second, put on the front like a door.
Note the doubled wire shelf levels at the bottom. The lower one is for holding your heat mat.
Third, Mount the cooling fan in the top and heating pad at the bottom.
Fourth, Attach thermostat and plug in the heating pad and cooling fan.
Place the thermostat at the top of the SCOBY Palace by cutting a small hole in the foam board and inserting it.
Fifth step, set the temperature to somewhere around 77F/25C and load up your batches!