One of the biggest questions I receive is how much alcohol exactly is in Kombucha and it is a loaded question because there are so many different factors that determine that amount of alcohol levels.
These factors are mainly how much sugar you begin with, how much sugar you end with, how much the temperature is, meaning like how high the brewing consistency is, how long you let your Kombucha tea ferment for and when you go to bottle your Kombucha tea, what the temperature is of that as well.
Those are just a few factors, generally following the basic Kombucha recipe that we have on our site, you’re looking at if you’re a home brewer, you’re looking at around 0.05-1% alcohol content, what does that mean? Well a beer is usually anywhere from 3.5-6%, so at high levels Kombucha let’s say is 1% if you’re home brewing, so it’s about a quarter to a fifth of a beer, so drinking a 12 ounce bottle of Kombucha is like drinking 2-3 ounces of beer.
So does that mean that all Kombucha has that amount of alcohol? No there are certain specific techniques that you can do to increase that level of alcohol. Here’s the thing though guys, you need to pretty much go out of your way to do that. Now in some situations it’s preferable, I know for myself, I’ve experimented, it’s kind of cool to have at a party Kombucha wine, it’s a nice alternative to incorporate Kombucha with other spirits to create a Kombucha-rita, which we also have as a video and resources as kombucha alcohol recipes, but in terms of the general alcohol content of Kombucha you’re looking at 0.05-1%. I know there was some controversy regarding Kombucha being pulled off of shelves in big chain retail stores, grocery stores like Whole Foods and such and that was more of a labeling issue, meaning that there are certain requirements if you’re selling something in a retail food setting, that if it reaches, I believe that it’s anything, though it might vary state to state, anything over 0.05% has to be labeled alcohol, when you label something alcohol, you got to pay an alcohol tax, so that was more of a labeling issue.
Just to keep things in mind, if you took fresh squeezed orange juice and let that sit out for a few hours, you’re also looking at an alcohol content of around 0.03-0.08%, so all fermented foods have alcohol in it to some degree, Kombucha mainly gets converted though, if you’re following the basic recipe, the alcohol continues to get transferred into acetic acid, so the preservative effect is more of a vinegar preservation than an alcoholic preservation. So why do you feel so good? Well how do you feel after you do yoga? How do you feel after you go for a walk? How do you feel after you get a good night’s sleep? When we’re doing something good for our body, we feel good, so that drunkenness is really just a sign of feeling good.
Now whether or not you should or shouldn’t drink kombucha because of of the alcoholic content in kombucha tea is definitely an individual choice. I know some people’s religious beliefs prevent them from consuming any alcohol, and with regards to recovering alcoholics it is really a double edge sword, as I personally know people who have used kombucha to replace their alcoholic habits, while at the same time I believe that some 12 step programs are against any amount of alcohol toward recovery. I am curious what you guys think about this. Let me know by posting a comment below.
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About Kombucha Dave
Happy go lucky guy who most recently (past 6 years or so), has been enjoying his time teaching people how to make kombucha, traveling, and playing dodgeball. If you are asking yourself what is kombucha? Fear not, as it is one of the most common questions I receive on a daily basis... that and why are you always smiling? :) Connect with me on Google+