Water kefir is not working?

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Water kefir is not working?

Postby Paned on Thu May 31, 2018 8:38 pm

Hello anyone viewing this post. I'm pretty new to growing water kefir(been like 1 month) and I faced this problem recently. I don't know what's wrong, I hope you could help me.
I'll put some detail, sorry if it's unnecessarily long.
I got my grains from ebay, and started growing in my room. I used glass jar, plastic strainer, plastic spoon, organic cane sugar, blackstrap molasses(doesn't say it's organic), poland spring water, and a coffee filter to cover the top.
I kept ratio of 1/4 cup sugar and grain per 1 cup water, and fermentation time of 48 hour.
First few batches worked very well. Grain kept increasing, someday even doubled, and almost no sugar taste.
I added tea spoon of molasses and half piece of organic lemon, but I started to hate the taste of molasses and lemon, so I did not add them from around 4th batches.
To make taste better, I tried adding oranges, and banana directly to first fermentation and second fermentation. I didn't like the taste again, and I've noticed some fruit piece like thingy floating around the bottom, so I stopped.
Even after this, I didn't have any problem. Grain kept increasing until the last few week from now.
Grain doesn't increase, and even decrease if I use molasses. There's strong sugar taste after 48 hour of fermentaion. Only problem that is visible is that the grains have brown spots.
To fix this, I tried adding lemons again, and tried adding pinch of natural salt.
Nothing seems to work. Grain remains the same amount, and sugar taste after brewing is awful.
I have no idea why is this happening. Please help me solve this issue.

[Sorry for blurry picture. I'm trying to brew new batches and it's really difficult to take picture from bottom]
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Joined: Fri May 25, 2018 9:45 pm

Re: Water kefir is not working?

Postby baerdric on Sat Jun 02, 2018 2:30 pm

I worry about the lemon or orange. The thing that stops fermentation is the production of alcohol or acid. You're putting in citric acid.

It may be OK on a second fermentation, but in the main fermentation I would worry about grains gradually, cumulatively, absorbing too much acid, changing the pH, and that might be causing the slower action.
Currently looking at things and pondering about stuff.

Bill DeWitt
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Joined: Sun Mar 18, 2018 9:00 am

Re: Water kefir is not working?

Postby Tibor on Sun Jun 03, 2018 11:25 pm

In my opinion, you should never add any flavoring to your primary ferment. You should keep your grains pure and clean of anything but sugar and water. I have sometimes added a few grains of Himalayan pink salt for mineral content, as I heard that that helps . After a fresh primary ferment ,strain your grains and start a new batch; then add flavors or whatever to your just finished fermented sugar water and continue from there with your second fermentation . If you add fruit or whatever to your grains you are-I believe- messing them up. Water Kefir is wonderful. keep at it and you will be very happy.
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Re: Water kefir is not working?

Postby Paned on Mon Jun 04, 2018 11:39 pm

Thank you for the replies. I think kefir communities are too confusing(not meaning other subjects are not confusing). Too many people is trying different method, saying they're doing right. However there's the case where they're not doing it right, thus handing people false information.
I really don't know what to do. I'll just have to keep trying different method.
I saw an website saying that adding lemons on first fermentation helps kefir grain by stopping other fungi's develop from more acidic water.
Now, I also saw other websites saying you should never add lemons or citrus, like you said baerdric.
I don't know which is truth. My problem happend like 2-3 batches later when I stopped using lemons. Maybe using lemon effected kefir grain later in the fermentation process, or.. I don't know.
I also tried before like you said, Tibor. Only using sugar and water.. but again, I saw an website saying that they cannot live only with sugar and water.
You need to add molasses for enough minerals for kefir grain, you need to add salt, egg shell to produce original habitat environment, you need to add dried fruits to accelerate their growth, etc.. etc.. but molasses are killing my grains for some reason? or are there other reason?(I'm just being sarcastic here)
It's realllly confusing. I guess I'll just try different things. Luckly my kefir grains are not decreasing after stop using non-organic molasses.
Thank you two for the replies, it gave me some idea how should I proceed.
This is first website I followed, introduced by ebay seller I bought kefir grain. Read it if you're interested.
Um.. and if you have any more idea why I'm having trouble, it'll be thankful if you share that. Thank you for the time.
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Joined: Fri May 25, 2018 9:45 pm

Re: Water kefir is not working?

Postby Tibor on Tue Jun 05, 2018 12:44 am

All I could say is that I successfully made water kefir for 2 years before my grains pettered out. I can't pin down why my grains finally stopped working but I think it was because I refrigerated my grains too long.I was making 3 liters of nicely carbonated soda every 5 days and that became too much so I would refrigerate(to slow down) a new batch of sugar water and grains for up to a week before I pulled it out for the primary ferment for 2 days after it reached room temperature. I left it longer than a week in the fridge on standby a few times and that's what might have weakened it.
That said, I never had a bad batch while I was at it. I used 3/4 cup organic sugar to a 2 liters snap lock glass jar of water with a few grains of pink salt and fermented for 2 days. Then I transferred the 2 liters thru a strainer into a 3 liter snap lock and added almost 1 liter of store bought organic juice not from concentrate along with 1/3 cup lemon juice to fill the 3 liter jar and fermented that for 2 more days. Then I transferred that into 3 one liter snap lock bottles for maybe one day to carbonate and I had amazing soda every time. I loved using pomegranate juice, blackberry , mulberry ,and mixed in apple juice at times.
So that is what I did and it worked splendidly and my grandkids and everybody loved it. So there you have my experience.

Keep at it and good luck !
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Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2013 11:24 am

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