So scobies can do some weird and wonderful things but what is normal and when should i worry?
Brewing Kombucha is often not the prettiest of brews and the most commonly asked question we get asked is if a brew has gone moldy. So we have put together a little photo gallery for you.
I have included these pictures as people often panic when there scobies stop looking all white and pristine after you first brew with them!
Scobies can do some weird and wonderful things during brewing.... here is just a few examples....
This scoby has split in two (this often happens as scobies grow in layers and it is not unusual for the layers to sometimes seperate) and has chains of yeasts hanging from it, again it looks a little weird but nothing at all to worry about. All normal here.
Again this scoby has split into several layers (not a problem) and has developed brown fuzz (my term). This brown fuzz (sometimes it is so dark it can look black!) is absolutely normal and you may notice that it also develops in your drink once it is bottled. It is yeast chains joining up in the brew and is perfectly normal. Most people prefer to filter it out of their final drink (coffee filters can be used but are a little slow or a filtering funnel is perfect!)
This is a picture of what the brown fuzz looks like when out of the drink. It can look a little slimy (a bit snotty), again nothing to worry about.
This picture illustrates the way a scoby can grow by building up layers. You will see the layers underneath are the original mother and the layers above are the new baby scoby layers. Do not worry if your scoby sinks to the bottom of the jar and a new baby grows on the surface of the brew. This is also normal and there is no perfect or prefered way for a new scoby to grow.
This picture shows new layers of healthy baby scoby attached to very old layers of a mother scoby. The mother scoby is VERY dark brown, this happens over time and is normal, and the baby is creamy white. If tugged gently the old mother will fall free of the baby scoby. Once a scoby has turned this very dark brown it is old and can no longer brew (this can take 6 months to 1 year). It is good housekeeping to remove old bits of scoby like the very dark brown bits from your scoby every now and again, if they do not simply fall off with a gentle tug, they can be cut off using a plastic Knife.
In this picture you can see that the scoby has formed patchy and in the old scoby and new have merged together, it looks messy but healthy and all normal.
This one is the same, uneven scoby growth and air bubbles underneath make it look a bit gruesome but its completely normal.
This photo shows a new baby scoby growing on the surface of the brew with some air pockets and yeast chains. It looks a bit gunky but again is completely normal. Baby scobies don't always grow in neat pancake layers on the surface (although sometime they do). Sometimes as in the photo they get air pockets trapped underneath and and can look pretty wierd but this is all normal.
This pictures shows a nice big yeast chain. Most mistake this kind of growth with mold but it is not it is simply a yeast chain. Harmless and nothing to worry about (although they do look odd!).
This picture shows a mother scoby that has a much smaller surface area than the container it is being grown in. This is not an issue but the film you can see forming is the new baby scoby that has started to develop and you can also see air bubbles and yeast chains. Again it all looks a bit messy and gross but all normal, natural and a perfectly happy and healthy brew.
Just so you can compare the pictures below show mould on a scoby/brew.
Mould will always form on the surface of the new baby scoby, usually in lots of patches. Mold NEVER forms in the brew, it will only form on the surface.
If you ever see this it means the whole brew is contaminated and need to be thrown away. You cannot save the mother, she needs to be thrown away too, sterilize everything and start again.
Sometimes the mould is white and sometimes it is green/blue but it usually looks like the mould you see on bread
Again this scoby has Mold forming in the holes in the scoby.
There are many reasons that you can get mould so if you suspect mould then take a picture and send it to us for confirmation (firstname.lastname@example.org) but NEVER consume kombucha from a mouldy batch. Throw everything away and if in doubt throw it out!