Troubleshooting - Water Kefir

Wondering why your brew is still sweet? Whether your grains are alive or whether you are doing everything right? This page is where you can troubleshoot almost anything on your Water kefir journey!

Visible changes
As culturing takes place the sugar water may become lighter or cloudy. You may also see air bubbles form and rise to the top of the jar.

You’ll notice a sweet, slightly yeasty or mildly sour aroma coming from the jar.

Floating or sinking of kefir grains
The position of the grains does not influence their effectiveness.

No growth or multiplication of grains
While kefir grains often do grow and multiply, they are sometimes reluctant to do so. Even if kefir grains do not grow or multiply, they should still make good kefir indefinitely.

Rapid growth of grains
Under the right conditions, kefir grains may grow and multiply very quickly. Too many grains in a batch may crowd the bacteria and cause the sugar water to culture several hours faster than usual.

Brown pieces or stringy particles in the grains
The water kefir grains are cultured on a dark whole sugar. When dried and concentrated, it looks very dark brown and some residue may remain within the dried kefir grains. The residue is not harmful, and may be left in the kefir or removed and discarded.

Sweet finished water kefir
Water kefir normally has some residual sweetness, depending on culturing conditions. The first few batches of kefir made with newly purchased grains may be sweeter than expected, as the grains may take a while to become fully active.

Water kefir is too sweet after several weeks
Finished water kefir may be sweet, as there is some residual sugar even after 48 hours of fermentation. If a less sweet kefir is preferred, use a darker whole sugar such as Rapadura or Sucanat.

Kefir grains disintegrate or turn mushy
Kefir grains may begin to disintegrate or turn mushy if over-mineralised or if some contamination has been introduced. While mineral supplementation is usually healthy for the grains, too many minerals can also harm them;

If the kefir grains begin to break up, reduce mineral supplementation until grains stop disintegrating.
If using dark cane sugar and high mineral water, switch to a lighter cane sugar or a different water source.
If using coconut or palm sugar, switch to cane sugar.
If grains are breaking up or turning mushy and the sugar water mixture is not too high in minerals, the grains may have picked up some contamination.

Please contact our customer support at before discarding anything.

Stress: Grains may become stressed from overcrowding, lack of nutrients or contamination. Under any of these conditions you may experience the following;

Grains become slimy
Kefir becomes syrupy
Kefir smells unpleasant
White film forms on top of finished kefir
Grains diminish in volume

In any of the above situations, the grains may benefit from a rinse, rest, and recovery period. Rinse the grains in filtered water; rest the grains in a sugar water solution with minerals in the refrigerator for a week or two; then get them back to work again. If over-mineralization is the problem, do not add minerals. It may be necessary to repeat the procedure a few times, to completely recover the grains.

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