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secondary fermentation vs bottle conditioning

Secondary Fermentation vs Bottle Conditioning

Maximizing flavor and fizz: Secondary fermentation vs bottle conditioning in kombucha

Primary Fermentation

In the world of fermentation, all beverages go through “The Primary Fermentation.” The primary fermentation refers to the first round of fermentation and is what kicks off the process. This is the stage where the yeast consumes the sugar in the liquid and converts it to ethanol (alcohol) and carbon dioxide. Once complete, the next step is usually a secondary fermentation or bottle conditioning. If you’re new to fermentation, you’re probably wondering the difference.

What is the Difference Between Bottle Conditioning and Secondary Fermentation?

The first thing to know is that bottle conditioning can also be a secondary fermentation. But a secondary fermentation isn’t always bottle conditioning. Using these two terms, interchangeably, is especially common with kombucha brewing. Let’s dig a little deeper. 

What Is Bottle Conditioning?

Bottle conditioning is another phase of fermentation that takes place in a sealed bottle. This step can occur after any round of fermentation (primary fermentation, secondary fermentation, third fermentation, and so on.) This step is one of the ways alcoholic beverages get their carbonation and is extremely popular in homebrewing. This process involves transferring the liquid from the fermenter into bottles with additional sugar. This time rather than having an open-air ferment or using an airlock, the bottles are closed. Now, the yeast will consume the added sugar as usual and convert it to alcohol and carbon dioxide. The most significant difference here is that since the bottles are sealed and hold pressure in, the carbon dioxide produced can’t escape. This traps the co2 in the headspace and, in turn,