* Please note that this blog remains up as a resource. However, this blog is currently on hiatus until further notice. For more information, please read this blog post. Thank you and happy kombucha brewing, drinking, and SCOBY trading! Lots of love. ~Annabelle *

Monday, July 19, 2010

Q&A: Why does my kombucha smell like sulfur and/or rotten eggs? Is it safe to drink?

Q: Why does my kombucha smell like sulfur and/or rotten eggs? Is it safe to drink?

A: A rotten egg smell comes from sulfur. The presence of sulfur may be:
Because kombucha and beer are both products of fermentation, the reasons for sulfur/rotten egg smells in beer may be the same for kombucha:
Is the kombucha safe to drink?
According to the threads here and here, it appears that the kombucha is still safe to drink even if it smells like sulfur/rotten eggs. However, if you don't feel good after you drink it, stop!

What can you do?
  • If you think the sulfur smells are due to your water source, consider using a water filter or upgrading your current water filter.
  • Let your kombucha age for longer periods of time before you drink it to see if the sulfur smells decrease over time.
  • If you think the sulfur smells are due to certain yeasts in your kombucha, try favoring the bacteria in your brew.
  • Try cleaning all of your equipment and make sure you practice proper sanitation techniques.
  • Try starting over with a new SCOBY.
If you have had any experiences with your kombucha smelling like sulfur and/or rotten eggs, have any other suggested solutions, or have any success stories, feel free to share!


Suzanne said...

I experienced that funk after a few brews with my first scoby. It was too funky to drink and my gut told me to discard it and start again.

Annabelle Ho said...

Hi Suzanne,

Thanks for leaving a comment! I'm also wondering, after you changed your SCOBY did the sulfur problem come up again?

Cybrslug said...

I started to Google "Kombucha smells like sulfur" thinking, I doubt I'm gonna get a hit if I type sulfur. Low and behold Google auto completed my search string with "sulfur" and I was relieved that I was going to get answers. I brew 4 gallons at a time. I have dozens of scobe. This was my first batch to have this issue.

Its summer and my brew vessel is at about 80 degrees everday, I am thinking over active yeast. I also reduced sugar by one cup so maybe that was also an issue. Next batch is back to old recipe and see if I can insulate more from the heat.

Wannabeskinny said...

Mine has a little smell after being bottled several days but still tastes great. The smell seems to disapaite after I open the bottle. It has not made me feel sick so I am still drinking it...

Annabelle Ho said...

Thanks @Cybrslug for sharing. That's interesting that you only had one batch that smelled like sulfur. I hope that the rest of your batches returned to normal!

@Wannabeskinny Thanks for sharing as well! Glad that your kombucha still tastes great despite the initial smell. And if you ever don't feel well after drinking your kombucha, feel free to consider starting over with a new SCOBY. Happy brewing!