Hard Kombucha Recipe

has been gaining popularity in recent years due to its health benefits and unique flavor. But what if you're looking for a little more kick in your kombucha? Enter hard kombucha, a fermented with an increased content. In this article, we'll guide you through the process of making your own hard kombucha at home.


– 1 gallon of kombucha (store-bought or homemade)
– 1 cup of sugar (white or raw)
– 1 packet of (Safale US-05 or Red Star Premier Cuvée are recommended)
– Optional: flavorings of your choice (e.g., fruits, herbs, spices)


1. Start by a gallon of regular kombucha. If you're new to kombucha brewing, check out our beginner's guide to get started. You can use store-bought kombucha as a base or make your own using a kombucha culture (SCOBY), , sugar, and .

2. Once your kombucha is brewed and has reached the desired flavor, it's time to turn it into hard kombucha. Transfer the kombucha into a clean, sanitized fermentation vessel. Make sure to leave some headspace for the additional ingredients.

3. Add one cup of sugar to the kombucha. The sugar will provide the food source for the yeast during the second fermentation process. You can use either white or raw cane sugar, depending on your preference.

4. Now it's time to introduce the yeast. Choose a flavor-neutral dry yeast, such as Safale US-05, or opt for a yeast like Red Star Premier Cuvée if you prefer a more effervescent final product. Sprinkle the yeast packet over the kombucha and gently stir it in.

5. If you want to know the potential alcohol by volume (ABV) of your hard kombucha, you can use a hydrometer to measure the specific gravity of the liquid before adding the yeast. This will give you an estimate of the alcohol content once fermentation is complete.

6. Seal the fermentation vessel with an airlock lid to allow carbon dioxide to escape while preventing oxygen from entering. This will create a controlled fermentation environment.

7. Place the vessel in a cool, dark place and let it ferment for 7 to 10 days, or until you're happy with the flavor. Remember that the longer you ferment, the higher the alcohol content will be. Keep an eye on the vessel, as fermentation can cause pressure buildup. If necessary, release some pressure by opening the lid briefly.

8. If desired, you can add flavorings to your hard kombucha during or after fermentation. Fruits, herbs, and spices can be added directly to the fermentation vessel or used for a secondary fermentation. This will add complexity and unique flavors to your final product.

9. Once fermentation is complete, it's time to bottle your hard kombucha. Use clean, sanitized bottles with secure lids or caps. You can add a small amount of sugar or fruit to the bottles to create natural carbonation during the bottling process.

10. Seal the bottles tightly and let them sit at room temperature for a few days to allow carbonation to develop. After this, refrigerate the bottles to slow down fermentation and preserve the flavors.

11. Your homemade hard kombucha is now ready to be enjoyed responsibly! Serve it chilled and savor the unique blend of flavors and the slight alcohol kick.

Remember, making hard kombucha involves a fermentation process that produces alcohol. It's essential to drink responsibly and be aware of the alcohol content in your homemade brew. Start with small amounts and gradually adjust to your taste preferences.

Now that you have the knowledge and steps to make your own hard kombucha, get creative with flavor combinations and enjoy the satisfaction of crafting your own alcoholic beverage. Cheers to homemade hard kombucha!

hard kombucha recipe

How Is Hard Kombucha Made?

Hard kombucha is made through an extended fermentation process. Let's break it down step by step:

1. Initial fermentation: The process starts by brewing kombucha in the traditional way. This involves fermenting sweet tea with a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY). The SCOBY consumes the sugar in the tea, converting it into alcohol and carbon dioxide. This initial fermentation typically takes 7-14 days.

2. Additional sugar: After the initial fermentation, brewers add more sugar to the mixture. This is done to provide additional fuel for the yeast, allowing them to continue fermenting and producing more alcohol.

3. New yeast strain: In addition to the extra sugar, a new strain of yeast is introduced to the mixture. Different yeast strains have varying alcohol tolerance levels, so brewers choose a specific strain that can handle the increased alcohol content desired for hard kombucha.

4. Second fermentation: The mixture, now containing the additional sugar and new yeast strain, is transferred to a fermentation tank. The tank is sealed to create a controlled environment, allowing the fermentation process to continue undisturbed for another week or two. During this time, the new yeast strain consumes the added sugar, producing even more alcohol.

5. Alcohol content: The extended fermentation period results in a higher alcohol content compared to traditional kombucha. While regular kombucha typically contains less than 0.5% alcohol by volume (ABV), hard kombucha can have an ABV ranging from 4% to 7% or even higher, depending on the brewing process.

To summarize, hard kombucha is made by adding more sugar and a new yeast strain to the fermented sweet tea, then locking it inside a fermentation tank for an extended period of time. This allows for further sugar consumption and alcohol production, resulting in a higher alcohol content compared to traditional kombucha.

What Are The Ingredients In Hard Kombucha?

Hard kombucha is an alcoholic beverage that is made using a process similar to regular kombucha. It contains a specific set of ingredients that are crucial for its production. These ingredients include:

1. Tea: Hard kombucha starts with the infusion of tea leaves. Various types of tea can be used, such as black, green, or white tea. The tea provides the base flavor and nutrients for the fermentation process.

2. Pure Spring Water: Water is a key component in making hard kombucha. Pure spring water is usually preferred as it contains natural minerals and is free from impurities that could potentially affect the fermentation process.

3. Raw Cane Sugar: Just like regular kombucha, hard kombucha requires a source of sugar for the fermentation process. Raw cane sugar is commonly used as it provides the necessary food for the kombucha cultures to thrive and produce alcohol.

4. Kombucha Cultures: Hard kombucha is fermented using the same kombucha cultures as regular kombucha. These cultures consist of a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY) that convert the sugar into alcohol and other byproducts during fermentation.

The ingredients in hard kombucha include tea, pure spring water, raw cane sugar, and kombucha cultures. These ingredients work together to create a flavorful and alcoholic version of kombucha.


Making hard kombucha is a relatively simple process that involves adding yeast and additional sugar to regular kombucha to increase the alcohol content. By fermenting the mixture for an extended period of time, the yeast consumes the added sugar, producing alcohol as a byproduct. This results in a flavorful and slightly effervescent alcoholic beverage.

It is important to note that the choice of yeast can greatly impact the final product. Dry yeasts like Safale US-05 and champagne yeasts like Red Star Premier Cuvee are commonly used for their flavor neutrality and ability to produce a higher level of effervescence. However, brewers can experiment with different strains of yeast to achieve their desired flavor profile.

Additionally, the amount of sugar added can also be varied to customize the sweetness and alcohol content of the hard kombucha. Some brewers may prefer a sweeter and lower alcohol content, while others may opt for a drier and higher alcohol content.

Hard kombucha is a versatile and enjoyable beverage that combines the health benefits of kombucha with the added kick of alcohol. It is a great option for those looking for a unique and refreshing alternative to traditional alcoholic beverages. So, why not try making your own hard kombucha at home and explore the endless possibilities of flavors and alcohol levels? Cheers!

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Thomas Ashford

Thomas Ashford is a highly educated brewer with years of experience in the industry. He has a Bachelor Degree in Chemistry and a Master Degree in Brewing Science. He is also BJCP Certified Beer Judge. Tom has worked hard to become one of the most experienced brewers in the industry. He has experience monitoring brewhouse and cellaring operations, coordinating brewhouse projects, and optimizing brewery operations for maximum efficiency. He is also familiar mixology and an experienced sommelier. Tom is an expert organizer of beer festivals, wine tastings, and brewery tours.