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Old 22-02-2016, 20:33   #1
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Anyone else brewing Gingerbeer / kefir in colder weather?

I finally managed to find the real Gingerbeer culture and finished my 5th batch today

I found it for sale on the wwweb before, but after having it tested we found it wasn't the real thing after all as waterkefir or milkkefir had contaminated it. But a friend of mine found the good stuff (yeah, I know, we sound like junkies lol) and now we're both happily brewing the real, original Gingerbeer - yay us

I still have my kefirs going as well, and on a 29' boat 3 cultures is a lot to handle -- not much room to keep them separated

Since it's still freezing (only just) at night I'm having a little trouble keeping the cultures happy, but so far they are still going and spring will be here soon. And during the summer I'll be wondering where to keep them cool, but for now:

anyone have any tips on keeping kefir (milk & water) and gingerbeer happy on a colder boat? I'm not going to heat the boat for it, but maybe someone has thought of some clever ways to help keep things going during the colder months?

The water kefir seems happy enough, I just leave it for about 36 hrs now instead of 48. The milk kefir seems to think it's on vacation (as in, parked in the fridge) and the gingerbeer is OK, just not growing at all

Thanks for any tips that might help my poor, cold cultures & happy brewing
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Old 23-02-2016, 02:08   #2
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Re: Anyone else brewing Gingerbeer / kefir in colder weather?

I don't know your boat's electrical capabilities but here is a way a friend solved a similar issue, albeit inside the house.

He rigged a cooler with an electric bulb inside on a timer and temp. controller. So the bulb goes on and off as needed to keep a certain temperature inside.

Or may be you can adopt your boat's stove, if you have one, to a similar set up. But IMO the cooler would be a better choice.

A dedicated battery fed by a solar panel might be enough to keep this going until warmer days.
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Old 23-02-2016, 04:32   #3
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Re: Anyone else brewing Gingerbeer / kefir in colder weather?

What about a little ice box and those clicking heat packs (I have no idea what they are called). Hopefully keep it above freezing overnight and if the ice box is a good one will stay that way for longer then overnight.


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Old 23-02-2016, 19:56   #4
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Re: Anyone else brewing Gingerbeer / kefir in colder weather?

do you only brew while anchored, or can the cultures withstand some movement?
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Old 23-02-2016, 20:02   #5
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Re: Anyone else brewing Gingerbeer / kefir in colder weather?

Thanks guys! The ice box looks doable, and I actually have one somewhere - and some of those 'click to heat' thingies too.

Maybe I could also try an old fashioned light bulb - my LED's don't do much warmth-wise but and old fashioned light could help them as well.

Sigh -- the darn milk kefir takes forever now, and isn't as good as it should be. The water kefir & Gingerbeer plant are much easier to keep happy, just take a little longer but tastes great.

packeteer: the cultures don't mind movement at all. If anything, I think they like it. I brew in glass jars (tho you could buy plastic that's safe to use too), so the main thing is not to forget to put them in the one cupboard where glass will survive in one piece
Having said that, I always make sure I have some dried culture just in case (you can easily dry what you don't need and it'll keep for months and months).
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Old 02-04-2016, 18:12   #6
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Re: Anyone else brewing Gingerbeer / kefir in colder weather?

Well this might be a little late for this year but if you take a hot water bottle filled with boiling water and wrapped in a very thick beach towel then put that in the cooler with your kefir you should be good to go.
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Old 02-04-2016, 21:00   #7
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Re: Anyone else brewing Gingerbeer / kefir in colder weather?

How long does kefir take to finish normally? (I make yogurt and just put it in a cooler preheated with warm water....lasts plenty long for yogurt). A small cheapo styro cooler works fine for this.

LEDs wont work for heating (too efficient), but even a small incandescent (grossly inefficient) generates quite a lot of heat.

If you buy plastic for fermenting, be sure and get the right type of plastic, many are not ok for use with acids (kefir/yogurt) or alcohol.
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Old 03-04-2016, 05:45   #8
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Re: Anyone else brewing Gingerbeer / kefir in colder weather?

Yeah, I don't like plastic for brewing ... All glass jars here

I found special brewing heating belts, which worked like a charm. And by now, spring has arrived so my kefir (and now also Kombucha and Jun) are happy as can be.

Milk kefir takes 24 hrs, water kefir around 48 hrs. Kombucha / Jun a week at least.

Since I don't drink any soft drinks and only ever have water, coffee and tea on the boat, anyone popping by for a chat will get either Waterkefir or kombucha / Jun. And people love it, so now my problem is not having the room to brew enough of it all fast enough, hahaha!
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Old 04-04-2016, 02:21   #9
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Re: Anyone else brewing Gingerbeer / kefir in colder weather?

Does anyone have any recommendations to where to buy kefir grains. thanks in advance. For water not ginger beer. Edit :the info on the supplier for the true ginger beer kefir would be appreciated too.
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Old 04-04-2016, 03:10   #10
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Re: Anyone else brewing Gingerbeer / kefir in colder weather?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sparrowhawk1 View Post
Does anyone have any recommendations to where to buy kefir grains. thanks in advance. For water not ginger beer. Edit :the info on the supplier for the true ginger beer kefir would be appreciated too.
For waterkefir, check out culturesforhealth.com or happyherbalist.com
If you want the original ginger beer, you can PM me, I'll check with my source if he has any ready to go at the moment.

You can get (any kind of) kefir online for free or very cheap, but if you want a healthy culture I would strongly advise to buy from a reputable shop.
It'll last a lifetime so to me, it's worth that first investment to make sure you start with a strong, healthy culture.

And nope, not affiliated with the happy herbalist or cultures for health
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