By: Brew Your Bucha Posted: May 24, 2019 in Kombucha
SCOBYs are interesting creatures and at times it seems like they have a mind of their own. As SCOBY owners who cares deeply about our little pets and the kombucha it makes, it is natural to have concerns.
Is my SCOBY dead? Is it mouldy? Why is it shaped differently?
These are all legitimate questions. Over the time we've been involved with Brew Your Bucha we have encountered just about every question you could think of. We have tried our best to answer each and every one of them so that you feel as comfortable as possible when brewing kombucha.
Today, we would like to answer another one that we hear often.
Why does my SCOBY sink?
It's a question less to do with it's physical health or brewing abilities and more to do with a genuine surprise to the brewer. If you have the expectation that all SCOBYs should float on the top of the brew, then it is certainly a surprise to see that it is floating in the middle, or even on the bottom. Ultimately, we expect the worst out of the situation and assume there are major issues.
However, there is much less to be concerned about than you would expect. The location that your SCOBY prefers to habituate is dependent on factors usually out of your control.
So, let us explain what you should look for when your SCOBY is floating irregularly, and the course of action to make sure you are still on track.
What causes my SCOBY to sink?
There are many natural causes of a sunken SCOBY, here are a few:
If your SCOBY going in to your brew is a different temperature than the brew itself, this difference can cause the SCOBY to sink.
Depending on the way that your SCOBY was grown, the density of the SCOBY can cause it sink if it has grown tightly packed. Also, if your sweet tea is light on tea or light on sugar, this may encourage the lighter liquid to rise and the heavier SCOBY to sink.
Perhaps your SCOBY has few holes in it (which is perfectly normal too) or has an abnormal shape. This shape may influence the way that your SCOBY floats and could lead to it hanging out at the bottom.
The Angle you Drop It
If you drop your SCOBY so it is facing vertically, the natural aerodynamics will force the SCOBY to the bottom. Much like a diver going head first or doing a massive belly flop, the way you drop it can dictate how it enters your brew.
Is your SCOBY still healthy?
The most important thing to remember when you see a sinking SCOBY is that it does not immediately imply a dead SCOBY. SCOBYs come in many different shapes, sizes, bacterial properties and some float in different location of your brewing vessel.
We have seen plenty of brewers with a SCOBY floating in the middle or bottom of the vessel but still produce amazing and healthy kombucha.
When you see a sunken SCOBY do not panic. Take the following steps:
- Monitor your brew to check for any signs of contamination, mold or insects
- If there is no contamination, continue with your brewing procedure and keep an eye out for any irregularities
- Take note of the location of the SCOBY and if it begins floating or sinking throughout the brew
- At the end of the brewing period taste the kombucha and make sure that it is fermenting properly
If you do not find any contamination and the kombucha has a tangy taste, this is evidence that the SCOBY is healthy and working as it should.
However, if you find that your brew has no change of flavor (it still tastes like sweet tea) then this is a sign that there is an issue with the SCOBY.
If you ever have a situation where your SCOBY is wandering from the top of your brew, don't be too concerned. Most of the time it is not cause for concern.
However, if you find yourself with a non-fermenting SCOBY then shoot us an email and let us dissect your situation. At Brew Your Bucha we are here for you and all of your brewing needs.