Unit measures 12 high x 8 x 8. Comes with cloth cover, wood spigot, sterilizing and conditioning kit and complete directions.
Brewing Capacity leaving 2 inches from the top) 288 ounces (~ 130 fl oz) produces 16-32 fluid ounces daily or 1+ gallon on a 8-14 day cycle via the Single Stage Method.
Why not any wood barrel or wood cask?. First off it must be a "hard wood". Soft woods like pine and some hard woods like redwood leaches toxic element into the ferment. Time tested American Oak barrels adds a nutty, buttery flavor and additional tannins to the ferment. The tannins will be exhausted over the years. Each year the beneficial probiotic bacteria and yeasts impregnate the wood, over time each cask develops a unique character of health and flavor. Used properly will last more than a life time. In our own tests using Silver Needle White Tea kombucha fermented in oak produced a smoother deeper flavor - very fine. It did reduce the overall gluconic acid when compared to Silver Needle White tea in a more traditional glass container. However it should be noted that overall Silver Needle White Tea fermented in a Oak Cask still produced far greater gluconic acid level than kombucha tea made with a black, green or combination of black and green tea fermented in glass. With our American White Oaks casks you can produce a fine ferment beverage rich in both taste and benefits.
Why is the barrel burnt on the inside?
We give our barrels a medium toast. Toast, or charring is burning the wood to a certain degree. This charcoal serves many purposes. Primary for our ferments, the charcoal filters kombucha's undesirable elements like methanol (toxic alcohol). It reduces the ethanol (alcohol) and acetic acid levels slightly which allows a more complete ferment of the sugar. A more mellow brew.
Each year the beneficial probiotic bacteria and yeasts impregnate the wood, over time each cask develops a unique character of health and flavor. One special kombucha yeasts, Brettanomyces, favors wood and may survive alone and abandoned for years. Used properly a cask will last more than a life time.
I have speculated that kombucha may have made its way to America by the Chinese railroad workers, and those panning for gold in the Sierra’s. They may have found a better use for those discarded beer barrels than just for storing their Chinese tea in.
Why do we place the spigot so high ?
We intended our barrels for fermenting and not simply to store or age a ferment. Which is fine. But with an active ferment, the yeast will continue to pile up sediment on the bottom. Many folks find this sediment (called lee’s) desirable. Finding sediment in your beer bottle is where a brewery deliberately does not filter their beer and its called bottle conditioned, i.e. naturally carbonated and unfiltered beer.
Yes, you can eat (or drink) the sediment. It’s just yeasts. High in nutrition, protein and vitamin B’s. Some folks say it gives them gas, some say it shows their bravery.
Some brews develop fuller more complex profiles when aged on the lees. None-the-less Sediment will continue to clog the spigot so we moved the spigot up. Besides its easier to fit a glass under.
Choices of Brewing Vessels. There has been considerable discussion regarding what to make kombucha tea in. Plastic is affordable and versatile. But many claim that the kombucha leaches toxins. (In actual testing by independent researcher Michael Roussin kombucha is safe when made in Food Grade 1 or 2). Even ceramic used for centuries has fears of lead poisoning. (use of lead in ceramic has been outlawed for about 30 years now). Glass is considered the best by “experts” yet glass may contain impurities as well that may be yet leached by an active ferment. Hard woods, like American Oak or French Oak really stand-alone. Here the actual leaching process of an active ferment is encouraged and studied.
Wild Lambric Beers. The sour and unique character of these beers originates from the metabolic activities of various yeasts, lactic acid bacteria (LAB), and acetic acid bacteria (AAB). which are fermented and matured in the same wood casks for up to three years at up to 25C (77F). Does that sound familiar! With Kombucha you don't have to wait that long !
Consider Balsamic Vinegar by many to be the “King of Vinegars”. The best Balsamic vinegar is aged between 10 and 30 years in wooden casks. Anywhere from 5-12 casks, all of different woods are used. Each wood gives a different aroma to the product. Typical woods are oak, chestnut, cherry, juniper and mulberry. The wood becomes impregnated with vinegar bacteria and helps maintain the ideal ferment. The aromas released by the barrel wood enrich the ferment.
For Kombucha Tea the intent is to produce in a very short time a balance between extreme sweetness and extreme sharpness. This is best achieved by our Continuous Brewing Method, which also produces the ultimate in health benefit potential.
The Continuous Brewing Method is simply the easiest method to ferment kombucha. Once under way just add fresh pure water, sugar and tea. See below for our specials on organic and premium teas, which have been specially selected for optimum kombucha brewing. Of course you may use this art piece as the more common single stage method but do consider the advantage of the Continuous Brewing method. The “optimum” health benefit of the nutrients are more readily available. Another advantage is that there is no need to do weekly cleaning, no need to worry about the kombucha mushroom, mold is less likely to form , Great Kombucha Tea is readily available, and there is less need to do bottling or extra storage. Simply pour off a cup of perfect Kombucha tea.
Only continuous brewing of the kombucha allows the formation of different acids that are constantly being produced and broken down through out the active ferment time. Kombucha Researcher Mike Rousin indicated that at 80o F and 7 days the ferment has the greatest variety of health benefits (vitamins, oxylic acid, etc). However, he also noted that the longer fermentation proceeds the more beneficial acids have a chance to form. Some of these acids don't even appear until 14-21 days in the process. These acids are largely responsible for the detoxifying nature of KT and are the catalysts we seek in K-Tea. Glucose content maximizes around the 8th or 9th day. This implies that gluconic acid production could not peak until after that point. Gluconic acid is the biggest single contributor to the detox effect.
A longer brewing cycle, say 20-30 days, may deplete the total sugar or reduce the caffeine content, but the taste (unless finely filtered) is pretty much undrinkable. The complete range is always present and can be maintained by bottling. Bottling or drinking the brew should be done prior to adding the fresh sugar and tea. If one person wishes a more sour tea simple draw off and allow fermenting longer in a separate uncapped bottle.
Setting up your new American Oak Barrel
Place in an area that will allow for some leakage (like in the tub)
Fill 75% with warm water. Avoid getting the outside of the barrel wet. Black spots may appear. Rinse off with vinegar and dry.
Leave for 48 hour, util any leaks stop and the wood has properly swollen.
Next, drain the barrel and flush it with clean water until water runs clear from the barrel.
Drain the solution,
rinse the barrel well .
You are now ready to fill with kombucha, Ginger Beer, Japanese Water Crystals, Water Kefir, California Bees, Tibicous or your favorite ferment.
NOTE: We guarantee our barrels against initial leakage and damage. The barrel is expected to swell and not to leak upon following the directions above. Damage after is not warranted. The TOP, has been cut open. This does not affect the integrity of the barrel, but may cause wrapping and create an uneven surface. We do not guarantee against this type of wrapping. The pieces themselves may be removed. Such removal will not violate the integrity of the barrel. The barrels may discolor, become black on the outside. This is normal. Thee is a food-grade varnish that may be used to prevent this. However we have found the majority of our clients prefer all natural and do not want any ingredients leaking into their brew. The barrel should be filled and maintained at 75-80% level.
Note 2: the interior of the barrel should ALWAYS be moist and should not be allowed to dry out. A dried out barrel will leak. If you decide not to use the barrel, fill with water, cover and set in a clean cool area. Add camden tablet (one per gallon) for storage, or add a few cups of vinegar. If possible maintain the water below a pH of 4.0.
If you decide to return your purchase - for any reason - you may do so within 90 days and as long as the product is returned in good condition we will refund your purchase price. We do not pay any shipping costs.
At this time our Kombucha Tea is the only know cure for EBS.
Additional Information see our Online Library for Kombucha FAQ, Recipes,