Saturday, September 22, 2012

Komblucha: Fermented tea with blueberries added

My first contribution to the New Holland Line-up, and something few other breweries have ever considered to dabble in. I've been growing this Kombucha culture for the last three years. I received it the summer going into my Junior year of college. I raised it entirely organic. And finally, what better place to amp up production than New Holland's Brewpub! We began with hot water and sugar mixed in the whirlpool. Fermented with yeast, then innoculated with the scoby in addition to local blueberries. Only made 100 gallons, so get it while it lasts!
Thanks to Brad (our distiller) for the blueberries.

Appearance: Interestingly, it looks quite reminiscent of the cider we have on tap right now. An opaque pale hue with an even pink color. No sedimentation or "floaties" within, which surprises me because I filled the kegs with gravity and I KNOW some Scoby got in there. Nevertheless it looks very clean. No head or carbonation is present.
Aroma: Slight funk is present, but more of a tart fruit characteristic. Makes me think of raspberries, apples and blueberries. Other than that, I think I get a slight wheat note permeating from the glass.
Taste: Up front, a slight bite from the carbonation encourages the acidic tartness that is prominent in the flavor. Unlike traditional Kombucha, I don't get much of the acetic notes I was expecting, but more of an effervescent berry tartness as well as brief undertones of funk. Again, a wheat flavor is present, but located more in the second half. Finally, my favorite part was the contribution derived from the hops. With the cascade and summit that were infused, they provide a flavor that nears the taste of grapefruit rind, a perfect balance to the initial fruity tartness.
Mouthfeel: Like I said earlier, effervescent, but not carbonated. I tried to make it as naturally and alive as possible, so the spritz you get in the front of the tongue is the stored CO2 that is held from the build-up under the Kombucha mother. Light and refreshing, but with a smoother texture. The finish rounds out in an after-breath of alcohol and other attenutated by-products.
Overall Impression: I couldn't be happier with this product. I was worried it would come out with some factor outbalancing the rest, but what I got was a entirely refreshing probiotic elixer that can be easily drunk morning or night. The method to making this was a complete learning experience and shot in the dark experiment. Tart, refreshing, balanced and reminiscent of grapefruit. I hope to make this again!

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