I'm not the "smarticles". There is an Aussie dude that has a great site...I'll find it again and put it here that I got most of my info from. That's where I decided to try it because it's supposed to help alot of the health issues I have....
Kefir is pronounced keh f é-er [as in keh in kettle, and fear
Kefir is a refreshing cultured-milk beverage which originated in the northern slopes of the Caucasus Mountains, believed to date back at least 1,000 years. The tribes-folk of this particular region who possibly developed kefir by sheer accident consumed the nutritious beverage in large quantities. These people were renowned for longevity, living long, healthy lives with little to no known disease. An active life span of over one hundred years was common for folks living in the region where kefir was cultured and liberally consumed as part of a staple diet.
Kefir has a uniform, slightly creamy consistency, a sour refreshing flavour, with a slight subtle aroma of fresh yeast [or a very subtle beer-like aroma]. Kefir also has a slightest hint of a natural effervescent zesty tang. There is an assortment of some 40 aromatic compounds contributing to the unique flavour and distinctive pleasant aroma of kefir. Rounding this off, kefir contains between 0.08% to 2% alcohol. However, about .08 to .1% alcohol is a realistic figure for 1-day cultured kefir. Whereas kefir stored for a number of days after separating the natural mother-culture, kefir grains [see following], contained up to 2% alcohol, and possibly 3% alcohol, depending on the type of milk and ripening conditions. [Yep-- wow!].
A batch of kefir grains consist of many individual white to bone-coloured mostly self-enclosed bodies made up of a soft, gelatinous biological mass somewhat resembling cooked cauliflower rosettes. The complexity of the kefir grain is a mixture of protein, amino acids, lipids [fats] and soluble-polysaccharides. Kefiran a unique polysaccharide with many health-promoting virtues, is the major polysaccharide of kefir grains and is also found in kefir. The bacteria and yeasts not only create the bio-matrix structure, or the grains, the organisms are also harboured by the very structure that they create; abiding on the surface, and encapsulated within the grain itself <[The abode of the friendly microbe]>
Traditional kefir [real authentic kefir] is easily prepared at home, just as it has been for many centuries by the ancients of the Caucasus Mountains. Fresh, non-pasteurised or pasteurised full-cream, low fat or non-fat milk is put in a clean suitable container with the addition of a smaller portion of kefir grains. The content is left at room temperature for about 24 hours. The resulting developed cultured-milk is strained in order to separate, and retrieve the kefir grains from the liquid-kefir. The grains are added to more fresh milk to repeat the simple process for the next batch. This procedure can be performed on an indefinite basis... for kefir grains last forever.
Strained liquid-kefir may either be consumed fresh, refrigerated for later use, or ripened at room temperature over a period of days. The ripening process is not only useful for individuals who wish to reduce lactose in their kefir, it is important to increase some b group vitamins [For details explaining the simple procedure of ripening, please follow this link situated at Dom's kefir making web page]. Ripening improves overall flavour, while increasing vitamins B1, B6 including vitamin B9 or folic acid, and carbon dioxide including alcohol also increase.