Homemade Carbonated Beverages

Picture of Homemade Carbonated Beverages
I have been making homemade soda for longer than I have used Instructables. After scanning what people have posted here on soda making, I decided that I would post my technique. This will not save you money if you compare it to most store bought carbonated beverages. However you will have control over what you put in your body. After all, the most famous soft drink in the world won't tell you all of its ingredients, but it sure makes a great rust remover!!! On to the Instructable!!!
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Step 1: Tools

Picture of Tools
To make soda you could buy a pre-made soda maker, but I did not want to have to rely on a cylinder exchange program. So, I put one together using off the shelf components.

Here is what you need:

A C02 Cylinder, mine is a 10 LB as I did not want to have to get it filled very often. 5 lbs would work too!

A Regulator

1/4" thick walled hose, as long as you want, but long enough to give you some freedom from the cylinder.

Disconnect - Ball lock with 1/4" barb (gas)

Hose clamps (2)

Carbonator brand PET bottler

Empty 2 Liter PET bottles

I happen to live close to Ballast Point Breweries' Home Brew Mart, so that is where I picked up all but the 2 liter PET bottles. All the pieces cost me about $250. I recommend finding a local home brew supply house to pick up all the items as they should have helpful staff to assist you in the acquisition of all the pieces and perhaps fill your cylinder or direct you to somewhere that can. It will cost less to order the big pieces online though. You don't actually have to drink any of the nasty commercial sodas to get the 2 liter bottles, family and friends should be more than happy to give you theirs!

Attach the regulator to the C02 cylinder using the instructions provided with said regulator.

Attach the hose to the regulator's outlet and tighten with a hose clamp.

Attach the Ball lock disconnect to the other end if the hose with the other hose clamp.

Following all safety precautions (i.e safety glasses, and directing loved ones to a safe distance) slowly open up the C02 canister's valve and tighten up any leaky connections.

Adjust the regulator to 30 PSI.

Your C02 rig should now be ready, on to the next step!
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doomsdayltd4 years ago
so this isn't just a how to make soda tutorial its how to make ORGANIC soda tutorial...sweet!
BrianI4 months ago

Word of advice to all who might try this, I have force carbonated beer in a similar fashion with great success. You may need to apply the CO2 pressure and shake repeatedly until the beverage quits absorbing the gas for the best result.

jgarcia762 years ago
not to be mean, but why even put this on here i am so sure that ppl just have this stuff lying around, right?
BrianI jgarcia764 months ago

As a home-brewer I do have this lying around

BrianI4 months ago

How many 2 liters can I expect from a 10# CO2 bottle? Thanks for the tutorial.

TSellers229 months ago

Bump, I found that when adding my Calamasi syrup to commercial Sparkling Water or generic Club Soda, it tends to make it go flat quickly. So with the system I just got assembled today, I'm planning to add the syrup first, then carbonate, although I did note that this instructable mentions that better results were achieved by adding the syrup post-carbonation. Guess I'll have to try both and see what gives the best results.

Rias881 year ago
Can i Use steel tank and regular CO2 regulator sir for this system?
wpetta3 years ago
Okay, we followed your instruction and the soda tastes flat after 15 minutes in the bottle. Any thoughts as to why it is not holding carbonation?
Cold and Pressure are the 2 things required to mix CO2 and water and keep it mixed.

If either one of those is lacking, your soda will be flat. ;)
mattbomb4 years ago
LOL adding the alcohol wont be bad
not isopropyl
el kabong4 years ago
Why is it that you carbonate the water before adding the syrup and flavorings? Wouldn't you get a more consistent result if you carbonated after all the ingredients are mixed?
iyore el kabong3 years ago
I just finished some root beer and I did the following:
1. chilled water (overnight)
2. added syrup (mix/shake/rattle/roll/etc.
3. chilled some more (overnight)
4. Carbonated; I am using a kegging system so this took 4 days.
5. Voila nice taste.
That was my thought as well. To get the items really well mixed, you'd have to stir/shake it, and won't that knock out some of the bubbles? Is it a matter of the water carbonating better without the sugar, or is it something about the room in the bottle?
I carbonate after. I put the ingredients in *warm* water because it dissolves better, agitate to mix, then chill the result as cold as possible. THEN I carbonate, and agitate under pressure to dissolve the CO2 into the cold solution. Cold liquid carbonates easier because it holds more gas, but warm liquid dissolves sugar and syrups more easily. So make your base first, then chill and carbonate the finished base. It comes out more consistent and holds the carbonation better.
could you also carbonate by dropping some dry ice in the bottle and shaking it as long as you make sure it dosen't explode?
Yes, you could - I have done that. However, I also exploded a couple bottles in the process.
1. Use ONLY plastic bottles, never glass.
2. Wear safety goggles.
3. Cool the liquid in the fridge before carbinating ( cold liquids hold much more CO2)

A piece of dry ice about the size of a Mintos breath mint is good for a litre bottle. Drop the dry ice in and then loosely seal the lid. After the dry ice is almost completely gone, seal the lid tightly. After sealing each bottle, place it immediately into a cardboard wine box, so if it explodes later it will be contained in the box.
bowmaster5 years ago
Jalapeno soda.
That poses an interesting philosophical situation. Since capsaicin does not actually burn your mouth, but aggravates the the receptors that sense burning, and CO2 does not actually hurt your tongue but aggravates the pain receptors, You could call it Voodoo soda. Cheers, M
Or poison soda.
Or Horrible. ;)
"Probably soda"? Hmm, THAT one, I don't know about...
Try it, it's really good. It's a mix of cyanide pellets, shaving cream, bird guts, razor blades, and ground up microchips.
Ah, got it now: "PROBABLY SODA: after you try it, you'll *probably* never ask for any other soda again!" (or anything,, perqiod.) :D
Throw in a tablespoon of antimatter.
ronmaggi (author)  bowmaster5 years ago
The very point of this I'ble is to give people the power to make any flavor of soda they want!!! While I have no interest in making Jalapeño soda, I am interested in you making it!!! It would probably go well with garlic ice cream. Also It could be a nice April's fools gag "Oh, that is spicy salsa... here, wash it down with this!"
quadracer4 years ago
You can flick or tap the side of the bottle to release the bubbles
mdeblasi14 years ago
I've been thinking about making soda for a while now. I found this a couple of weeks ago That technique seemed perfectly reasonable to me, until I came across your method. What is the difference between Yeast fermentation and CO2 fermentation. Is one easier? More "authentic" ? Better tasting? I was thinking of something with black strap molasses, espresso, maybe jasmine and sechuan peppercorns. Something along the idea of what coke once was, with out actually attempting to reproduce it. For all I know, it will taste awful.
ronmaggi (author)  mdeblasi14 years ago
I'v actually thought about making ginger ale the old fashioned way. I just haven't had the time. I'm sure it tastes fantastic though!!!
yeast actually turns sugar into alcohol making alcoholic beverages
It does. For a ginger ale, though, the goal is to stop the yeast fermentation long before the alcohol content becomes noticeable. One should make sure to use brewer's yeast for soda, though, as baking yeast ends up with a slightly 'bready' flavor. I've made soda both with yeast fermentation driving the carbonation and with CO2 driving the carbonation. Yeast-carbonated is much cheaper to do, since there's less gear needed, but you need to be more careful so that the yeast stops yeasting when it should. It also means you can't leave your soda around at room temperature for long periods of time as the yeast may start doing their thing again and you end up with the risk of exploding bottles.
I made naturally-carbonated sodas for a long time before I switched to force carbonation. It doesn't take a lot of yeast, and it doesn't make a lot of alcohol unless you let it go for a long time in warm conditions. A lot depends on what kind of yeast you use, too. I never used bread yeast -- it comes out tasting very bready and yeasty instead of like your soda. I used several different champagne yeasts. My favorite was a Lalvin EC-1118 strain. It's a low-temperature champagne yeast that will continue to ferment VERY slowly at refrigerator temperatures over a very long time. A PET bottle will hold the pressure just fine, so don't worry about that. The key to it isn't alcohol, but maturing of flavors. Just like wine, the flavor will change and meld over time, becoming finer, less rough. The longer it ages in the fridge, the more complex and gentler it will get. If you want the yeast to STOP fermenting once you put it in the fridge, go with something like Premier Cuvee, a higher-temp yeast that will shut down at fridge temperatures. The aging will still take place, but due to flavors mingling over time, not due to continued fermentation. The process with natural fermentation is simple -- make your base, add the yeast, put it in your bottles, leave it out in a warm spot for a few days until the bottles are ROCK HARD with pressure, then fridge them for at least a week. Champagne yeasts are the most subtly flavored and will interfere with your soda flavors the least.
sealman4 years ago
I have one ? If you had a 2 liter coke that had went flat, could this process bring it back to it new taste. Thank you!
red9er5 years ago
how would you make a root beer flavor?
I know you can buy root beer syrup for use in making snow cones; I bet you could just use that. If not, there must be some sort of root beer flavoring on the market... somewhere.
ronmaggi (author)  UberNoober5 years ago
There are many root beer mixes, and recipes out there. In fact when I bought my equipment, the clerk let me sample his own root beer. The ultimate would be to make your own recipe! If you do I sure would like to see an I'ble on it!!!
ardrhi ronmaggi5 years ago
The most common ingredients for root beers are sassafras root and young birch twigs.  You can usually get these at health food or brewing stores, or you can get extracts.  Root beers made with exclusively birch are usually called birch beer, and taste strongly of wintergreen. (I guess technically that'd be a bark beer, because it isn't a root.  Go figure.)  I don't care for wintergreen, so I lean heavily toward sassafras.
Ah, thank you ardrhi for answering a question I've always had; why do so many artisan root beers taste like wintergreen soda? I don't like wintergreen at all, so, when I eventually embark on making my own root beer, I'll back off on the birch! :D
I agree...I can't stand wintergreen myself either. My aversion comes from the years I spent working in janitorial services, and one of the cleaning products was scented with oil of wintergreen. The scent was so powerful and cloying, it would stay with you for hours, and was one of the most intensely obnoxious scents I had to work with. After that, root beers tasting strongly of birch, or specifically birch beer would literally turn my stomach. It's a bit of an issue -- my partner loves birch beer! I like sassafras and sarsparilla based root beers better. You can generally find sassafras extracts with the safrole component removed (the FDA says it causes cancer and liver damage), and sarsparilla root in some health food stores, brewing stores, and some ethnic food marts. I haven't made my own soda in a long time ever since I came down with post-surgical type 2 diabetes. I haven't found an artificial sweetener that I like in soda yet. (Splenda. Yuck. Stevia. Double yuck. Aspartame. Allergic. Triple yuck through a swollen throat.) I have yet to try it, but I may try a small batch using erythritol. I use that in my coffee to cut my sugar intake by 50% or more. And that's just about my only remaining pure sugar intake now.
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