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Brew Diagnosis Checklist: What We Need to Help

Brew Diagnosis Checklist: What We Need to Help
Knowing your brew is doing well is vital. That’s why we are here to diagnose any concern you might have. We see hundreds of pictures every week from home brewers all over the world. In order for us to make a sound diagnosis there is a certain set of questions and pictures that will tell us what is going on. Here is a brew diagnosis checklist for you to complete before submitting a query.   Pictures   In making sure there is not a problem with a brew we need to see pictures. Luckily, taking and sending pictures is an easy every day activity. The ideal set consists of three images:  

1. Aerial shot of entire brew surface showing SCOBY growth, if any.



2. Close up of surface highlighting any area of concern or general SCOBY growth.


3. Profile shot of entire brew

  The more pictures the merrier. Don’t feel like these are the only shots you should send if you have the will to send more. In the event that there are still questions after viewing the photos we may request a couple more shots of any area of concern.   Questions   With most inquiries we will ask the same set of questions. The answers will give us a reason for an issue if there is one and will help us guide you to make the necessary changes to your brew set up.  
  1. What is the average temperature of the brew while it is fermenting?
  2. How long has it been fermenting?
  3. Where did the original SCOBY (mother, mushroom, culture) come from?
  4. How much starter liquid was used?
  5. What tea/blend and sweetener was used, and what quantity?


  We can almost know everything we need to know just from these five questions. As with pictures though, if there is something specific we need more information on, we will ask.   As you can see diagnosing a brew is just as easy as brewing. With only a few simple steps we will gladly tell you what’s going on. In 95% of the cases we see, when using a proper set up there is nothing actually going on, just a new brewer needing some confirmation on their brew. 

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  • Eric
Comments 6
  • Chris

    Hi Pili, you can just tear it off, the other SCOBY will be fine – it’s a homogenous organism, there’s no danger of ripping off a vital piece. Use the culture and 1 cup of her brewed kombucha or 3 TBSP distilled vinegar per gallon, 12 grams OR 6 store-bought tea bags (unflavored, preferably black to start) and a cup of sugar per gallon. Happy brewing!

  • Pili

    Hi there, I wanna start my own batch of kombucha peeling off a layer from my friend’s one, as she mentioned but I can’t find online any information. How can I do it without compromising the existing one? And what I need to add to start my own one, some vinegar? thanks!

  • Darcy Ali
    Darcy Ali

    I’m trying to start home brewing of Kombucha and ordered a SCOBY on line. I think I’m growing mold instead of “living tea”. Can I post pictures here to see if it’s okay?

  • Chris

    Hi Andrea, I would dump the tea from this batch, rinse off your SCOBY with some distilled white vinegar, and start over. You can use 3 TBSP distilled white vinegar in lieu of the starter. Happy brewing!

  • Andrea

    I have a healthy scoby, did everything right, then forgot to put some strter liquid! It’s been 6 days now, and my scoby is at the bottom of the jar, which it has been The whole time. The top surface of the tea had 3 quarter sized spots of mold, which I plucked out with a wooden spoon. What do I do? If I dump this batch, I have no starter. Can I use vinegar as a starter?

  • Chris

    Hi Darcy, if you’d like, send us your images over to and we will assess them for you! Happy brewing!

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