Does Kombucha Need To Be Refrigerated?

Published on May 6th 2022 by SNBC

Does Kombucha Need To Be Refrigerated?

You’ve got a 6-pack of Strainge Beast in one hand, four grocery bags in the other, while your foot kicks open the door. The one-trip challenge, and you nailed it. But in your celebration, the hard kombucha slid to the corner of the countertop, briefly forgotten. Happy hour rolls around, and you rediscover your Ginger, Lemon & Hibiscus — now room temperature.

Wait, does that even matter? Lots of drinks aren’t in coolers at stores. Is hard kombucha any different?

It’s best to refrigerate hard kombucha whenever possible. For one thing, Strainge Beast just tastes better cold! But practically, it’s all about freshness. Hard kombucha owes its existence to ingredients that are living organisms, and prolonged warmth speeds up flavor changes you don’t want. It’s not all or nothing, though; we have guidelines for temporarily storing Strainge Beast outside the fridge.

Below we’ll dive a little deeper into the importance of refrigerating hard kombucha, including the rare occasion when a drain-pour is the right move.

Cans of Strainge Beast hard kombucha in a refrigerator

Kombucha Refrigeration FAQs

Does canned kombucha need to be refrigerated?

We package Strainge Beast exclusively in cans, and refrigeration is the best kind of storage for canned kombucha (bottles, too). Strainge Beast is raw and unpasteurized, meaning we don’t use heat to kill the kombucha culture; it sticks around in every can. Cold temperatures keep the kombucha culture “asleep.”

If you ever make your own hard kombucha, this is critical: moving your final creation to the fridge stops the fermentation process, where the kombucha culture was super active. Fermentation creates the natural, bubbly carbonation you want — but too much CO2 builds pressure that, in extreme cases, can pop a sealed container. Nobody wants that mess!

What if I forgot to refrigerate my kombucha?

Well, how forgetful are you? Did you leave a 6-pack out overnight? Or did you clean the garage and find Strainge Beast from…who knows when?

We’ve done lots of temperature testing with Strainge Beast, and we’ve found that our 7% ABV flavors stay fresh even when they’re stored at room temperature (a max of 80ºF) for a week or two. Again, your refrigerator is ideal. But if that’s not possible for a stretch of time, don’t exceed a couple of weeks and watch the ambient temperature. A closed pantry? That’ll work. The trunk of a car in summertime? That’s a lost cause.

A young man balancing a tower of three Strainge Beach hard kombucha cans

Does hard kombucha taste okay at room temperature?

You bought Strainge Beast a few days ago, kept it in the pantry, and now you’re cracking open a can. We vote you chill it first, but if not, that hard kombucha should taste alright. It’s when Strainge Beast is unrefrigerated for more than a couple of weeks that flavor can go sideways. Push that limit, and we bet your taste buds will revolt. Left out for a long time, hard kombucha starts to taste like vinegar, and what used to be a refreshing tartness becomes harsh acidity. If those are your first sips, abandon ship — it’s time to stock up on the fresh stuff.

Is it okay to drink kombucha that wasn’t refrigerated?

Odds are, you’re fine to drink that unrefrigerated hard kombucha, assuming it’s only briefly been at room temperature. (Ask that buddy how long ago they got their Strainge stash.) We’ll always shout Keep it cold! from the rooftops, but maybe it’s not practical in the moment. Another idea: pour it over ice as part of this Strainge Beast Old Fashioned Cocktail.

Can you refrigerate kombucha after opening?

If you put an open can of hard kombucha back in the fridge, the clock starts ticking. Like an open soda can, Strainge Beast will more rapidly lose its carbonation and fresh taste. Resealable containers, on the other hand — like swing-top bottles for DIY hard kombucha — will preserve that carbonation for longer in the refrigerator.

When it comes down to it, you have flexibility with how you store Strainge Beast hard kombucha. In the fridge, niiice and cold, is no doubt the best. But if room temp is your reality, follow our guidelines to uphold max flavor and freshness.

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