Recently I received questions from a fellow Jun brewer about storing SCOBYs and about carbonation. I realized as I began to answer her questions that everyone in our community might benefit from my responses!
SCOBY Hotel 101
A Jun SCOBY hotel is an important addition to your kitchen if you are planning to brew frequently. A healthy Jun culture will reproduce with every batch of Jun, so it’s important to think about keeping a few extra on hand as backup in case something goes wrong or to gift a mother SCOBY to a friend. Remember, because Jun brews so quickly you may have a very thin layer the first few brew cycles. If this is the case you can wait until your baby SCOBY has thickened before placing her in a hotel. We often see thick cultures grow on top of our hotels if we leave them undisturbed for several weeks. There are many other uses for Jun SCOBYs too, which you can read about here.
The Jun culture is very hardy and can stay in the hotel for extended periods of time even up to a year. This is partially due to the very low pH levels of 2.5-3.5. We do recommend that you keep your hotel at room temperature and that you do SCOBY hotel maintenance every 2 months. If you need to take a break from brewing you can either seal your hotel with a lid and place in the refrigerator or about every 1-2 months you can discard some of the liquid from your hotel and add some fresh sweet tea. This will provide nutrients to your SCOBYs that they need to thrive. Keep in mind that refrigeration can cause the bacteria to go dormant and it can take a few weeks for the bacteria to become active again. You can help your SCOBYs to become active again simply by placing them at room temperature for a few weeks. You will know that they are ready when you see another SCOBY growing at the top of your hotel. It’s a good idea to do Jun SCOBY hotel maintenance about every 2 months. This is to ensure you don’t have an excessive amount of yeast.
The bacteria and yeast live in symbiosis with each other but they also compete and our job as brewers is to maintain a balance by nurturing the bacteria and removing the excess yeast as it builds up. The yeast are such a vital part of the Jun brewing process because they provide the nutrition for the bacteria and also the wonderful carbonation. The yeast are the brown strands that hang from the SCOBY and eventually accumulate at the bottom of your brewing jar.
If you are not experiencing good carbonation it could be due to an imbalance with your yeast and bacteria.
- Remove your SCOBYs from the hotel and place them in a separate jar.
- Cover them with a cloth to prevent fruit flies from having a party.
- Use a strainer to filter the large strands of yeast from the liquid.
- Reserve 2 cups of liquid that you will be returning to the hotel.
- Rinse your hotel jar with hot water in order to remove the yeast from the jar. If it’s been a while you may need to scrub.
- Thin and trim your SCOBYs.
- Place them back into the clean hotel.
- Add fresh sweet tea until the jar is about half full.
- Top off with strong starter liquid to add a protective layer to prevent mold.
Create Your Own SCOBY Hotel
Interested in creating your own SCOBY hotel?
- Start with a clean glass jar (quart size or bigger)
- Gently place your extra SCOBY in the jar
- Cover with unflavored Jun Tea
- Cover with a cloth cover and rubber band
- Store out of direct sunlight and at room temperature
- Continue adding SCOBYs as needed
- Every 2 weeks press the new formed SCOBY down with the others to submerge in the tea
- Add more Jun tea as needed to keep them covered until you are ready to brew again
No matter where you are on your Jun brewing experience, be sure to join our Facebook Jun Brewing Community where you can share your experiences, get inspiration from others and ask your questions!