With an alcohol content less than 0.5 %v/v Kombucha is typically a non-alcoholic beverage. An accurate determination of the Kombucha alcohol content is therefore essential.
In recent years Kombucha has grown in popularity and has become a real trendy wellness drink. More people are drinking Kombucha today than ever before. Numerous healthful properties are attributed to Kombucha. It is said that even the samurai knew and relied on Kombucha to gain strength and power.
A true magic juice made from mushrooms - or what is Kombucha?
Kombucha is a fermented drink made from tea, sugar and a culture called SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast). The yeast and bacteria in this culture work hand-in-hand to ferment the tea and sugar, producing alcohol, acid, and carbon dioxide. The yeast consumes the sugar and turns it into alcohol and carbon dioxide. The bacteria consume the alcohol and produce acetic acid and other organic acids.
During fermentation, the specific gravity (SG) of Kombucha decreases, indicating that the added sugars are converted to alcohol. This is due to the fact that ethanol has a lower density than water. So as the amount of ethanol increases, the specific gravity decreases.
How much alcohol does Kombucha actually contain?
A typical homemade Kombucha has an alcohol content between 0.5 %v/v and 2.5 %v/v, where the alcohol content can vary depending on temperature, type of sugar used and fermentation time. If you want to sell Kombucha, you have to consider that it can only be sold as a non-alcoholic drink if the alcohol content is below your country specific alcohol limits.
What is Hard Kombucha?
Hard Kombucha is a Kombucha with a higher alcohol content. After the first fermentation process, additional sugar and yeast can be added to start another fermentation and convert the sugar into more alcohol. For Hard Kombucha, the alcohol content typically varies between 3 %v/v and 7 %v/v. However, Kombucha with an even higher alcohol content can also be found on the market.
Can you determine the alcohol content in Kombucha by density measurement?
Kombucha consists of alcohol, extract (sugar, acids, etc.) and water. Since these ingredients have different influences on the density values, it is not possible to measure the alcohol content with the density measurement alone. It is however possible to measure the decrease in sugar content by density measurements during fermentation.
Our solution: EasyDens & SmartRef for ABV measurement in Kombucha - a combination of density & refractive index measurement
The Brew Meister app allows a combined measurement with EasyDens (density) and SmartRef (refractive index), solving the multi-component dilemma. The alcohol content of Kombucha can thus be measured directly and determined with an accuracy of 0.5 %v/v. Temperature compensation and all necessary calculations are automatically done by the Brew Meister app.
With just a few steps to your results
- Connect EasyDens and SmartRef to the Brew Meister mobile app.
- Ensure that both devices are clean and adjusted.
- Fill a syringe with your degassed Kombucha.
- First fill the SmartRef with your sample and as a second step fill the EasyDens (keep the syringe connected to EasyDens during the measurement).
- Navigate to the section “Measure” and select "Measure ABV".
- Select "Kombucha" and start your measurement.
- Receive your alcohol content within a few seconds.
All in one
+ EasyDens can be used for tracking your Kombucha fermentation by measuring the specific gravity and displaying the fermentation process graphically.
+ The EasyDens & SmartRef combo gives precise results for the alcohol content in your finished Kombucha.
EasyDens & SmartRef - for even more fun with your Kombucha production!