Where Are We On/With Kombucha?

Discussion in 'BeerAdvocate Talk' started by woodychandler, Oct 24, 2019.

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  1. woodychandler

    woodychandler Poo-Bah (10,046) Apr 9, 2004 Pennsylvania
    Society Trader

    This is perhaps/maybe/probably a discussion that I should have had via D/M w/ @Todd , but it may be a Q on the hive's mind.

    Let me begin with a link:
    from this site. It ends with "If the growing popularity of sour and wild ales is any indication, it may only be a matter of time before kombucha ales appear on tap. 'Brewers with an interest in the virtually limitless array of flavors and aromas that mixed culture fermentation can create are bound to experiment with microbes from kombucha,' notes Stuffings."

    In the (nearly) five (5) years since that article's publication, Kombucha & "Hard" Kombucha has come into its own. Just as with the now-widely recognized Kvass, Kombucha is a fermented beverage with an albeit usually-low ABV. Also in the interim, a "Hard" version has begun to commercially appear, making it a very real possibility for inclusion as a fermented beerverage, much akin to Kvass.

    For total clarity, let me tell you that I was at the forefront of a VERY heated discussion in favor of retaining Kvass vs (sort of) @UCLABrewN84 many years ago & although my side of the discussion prevailed, I have NO interest in taking up yet another torch. If this is D.I.W. (dead inna water), open for heated debate or S/C'd (s**tCANned) at entry level, I don't care.

    This one, for me, is much like beer itself - I don't care how it got there, I am ONLY (Mostly) interested in the final product. If we agree to add Kombucha(s) or simply allow them as Herb & Spiced Beers, fine. If not, also fine, but I need some direction in life, rather than drifting without a rudder.
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  2. Roguer

    Roguer Poo-Bah (4,399) Mar 25, 2013 Georgia
    Moderator Society Trader

    It's a valid question, I think. I personally don't think kombucha qualifies as beer, exactly; it is literally fermented tea, and just being a fermented beverage is not inherently beer.

    The presence of high(er) ABV variants, to me, also isn't enough of a case. Exceptionally low ABV (often sub-0.5%) is the norm for kombucha, with higher ABV an exception (or often a mistake by home "brewers"). With beer, non-alcoholic variants are the exception; it is normal for beer to have a noticeable alcohol presence.

    Then again, if we're adding cider .... maybe there's a place?
  3. woodychandler

    woodychandler Poo-Bah (10,046) Apr 9, 2004 Pennsylvania
    Society Trader

    We've already added Kvass & many of the initial arguments against it were the same ones that you are raising now, hence my allusion to the Kvass (ahem!) discussion. We're all civilized people on here. Been air, done 'at.

    My (potentially) lost point: We've been down this path, we've added (or retained) Kvass, we're looking at cider. It's ALL okay! The dictum of this site was originally to have fun & enjoy ourselves, not devolve into squabbling. Yes, such is the inherent nature of the Internet, but I'd rather have fun drinking fermented beverages either IRL or in real-time with people that I may never meet (but hope to). I live a life of inCANsion vice exCANsion & I feel that the more, the merrier.

    Okay, NOW I AM stepping aside to see how this plays out.
    #3 woodychandler, Oct 24, 2019
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2019
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  4. Harrison8

    Harrison8 Poo-Bah (3,637) Dec 6, 2015 Missouri
    Society Trader

    Wild Tonic has a 5.6 line of kumbucha, in which the products feature 5.6% ABV. I have not tried it, but have enjoyed their other products. I consider it of interest, but not enough to seek it out. That abv level is pretty formidable, offering up more alcohol than Boulevard Wheat - a KC classic!

    As far as its relevancy in Beer Advocate: bit of a grey area, but I'm in favor of including it.
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  5. Roguer

    Roguer Poo-Bah (4,399) Mar 25, 2013 Georgia
    Moderator Society Trader

    Fair ... -ish. I would argue Kvass is closer to beer (based on the bread base) than Kombucha, which is based on tea. It's certainly not what one typically thinks of with beer, and it's certainly lower ABV (albeit typically, still higher than your average kombucha).

    So the arguments may have been raised, but that doesn't mean they're not valid, or more appropriate for kombucha.

    I too have no skin in the game, though, and won't complain at all if kombucha is added.
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  6. FBarber

    FBarber Poo-Bah (2,895) Mar 5, 2016 Illinois
    Society Trader

    I thought that got nixed?
  7. Roguer

    Roguer Poo-Bah (4,399) Mar 25, 2013 Georgia
    Moderator Society Trader

    The last I read, @Todd was talking about it again (recently). Of course, now I can't find the thread ... grrrr.
    Bitterbill, woodychandler and FBarber like this.

    GOBLIN Meyvn (1,145) Mar 3, 2013 Ohio

    Of course I can't find the picture right now or I would post but ... I have drank several GT's black label (alcoholic) kombuchas where on the label they specifically call it beer. Personally I'm not buying it but I find it interesting nonetheless.
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  9. unlikelyspiderperson

    unlikelyspiderperson Meyvn (1,080) Mar 12, 2013 California
    Society Trader

    I know some states classify it as beer for tax and permitting purposes, but it still doesn't seem to really fit as a beer. More like hard cider to me.

    I generally agree that the lack of any malt kind of disqualifies something as a beer for me. I have seen at least one beer that had the kombucha scoby added as a source of mixed fermentation, so there are surely more of those to come
    woodychandler likes this.
  10. Todd

    Todd Founder (5,994) Aug 23, 1996 California
    Staff Moderator Fest Crew Society

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