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Old 09-30-2013, 02:33 AM   #1
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Default anatomy of a soda

I am just starting in soda making. I had good luck with teaberry/checker berry/american wintergreen soda but I did not make the recipe I like all natural things no syrups ir extracts or anything like that so my question is how do you build a good soda, what all is needed and generally in what amounts. And is fruit ok to use?

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Old 09-30-2013, 06:01 PM   #2
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I'd recommend a quick read through True Brews by Emma Christensen or Homemade Root Beer, Soda, and Pop by Stephen Creswell. Both of those will give you some good recipes and foundations for what's needed in a naturally brewed and fermented soda.

In my opinion, building a soda needs 3 things on the most basic level: sweetness, carbonation, and flavor. Beyond that it's all creativity.

Fruit is fine to use, depending on how you use it. Are you fermenting or force carbonating?

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Old 09-30-2013, 07:30 PM   #3
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Tartness is supremely important... get to know and love lemon juice. Sweetness and carbonation are obvious other components, and sweetness is counterbalanced by the other two.

Naturalness is almost meaningless and a fashionable fraud... nature can be a very hostile place and includes cyanide and flesh eating bacteria. But yeah, at least a trace of real fruit can really elevate an otherwise empty tasting soda. I started putting a drop of lemon juice in some oversweet canned soda... yum.

But also I put totally synthetic banana flavor drops in coke and it is much better than "natural flavored" lorann oils banana emulsion that is hard to get here. Normal grocery store extracts that are heavy with rotgut alcohol can be disappointing.

You do not have to make a big complicated deal to make soda. Virtually no equipment is needed... slam some bread yeast into a plastic container of cranberry juice... YUM!. Get a sodastream machine and run it off paintball co2 and frozen canned lemonade concentrate... YUM!

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Old 09-30-2013, 07:43 PM   #4
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I agree with daft that tartness is important, but it depends on the flavor. Chocolate soda shouldn't have much tartness, whereas a lemon soda is awesome with extra tartness. Different acids give you different taste profiles as well. Acetic acid gives the vinegar flavor characteristic of a shrub, quite refreshing if done correctly. Citric acid is tart and characteristic of fruit. Malic acid is similar, but is somewhat astringent like a green apple. Lactic acid is the sour/tart characteristic of yogurt. Phosphoric acid isn't really sour, but it is astringent and very characteristic of cola.

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Old 09-30-2013, 07:49 PM   #5
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I almost mentioned root beer as not needing literal tartness, but I think a more generic kind of bite is needed for which there is no english term. I think you need the bitter rootiness in root beer. Coke has barely legal alkaloids that work great. Chocolate has a dark biting quality of it's own. Maybe some like pure sweet soda, but I gag on it.

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Old 09-30-2013, 10:19 PM   #6
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As for carbing I am using yeast although there is a company who has made a regulator that connects to paintball tanks and you can put a schrader valve in a bottle cap to carb sodas which I am considering. Nature can be a cruel place but all the sodas being consumed started naturally so a fashionable fraud I think is unfair, there are entire companies whom speacialize in natural and dare I say because I hate the term "organic." Products.

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Old 10-01-2013, 12:33 AM   #7
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I don't know how well the other valves work, but Sodastream has a good injector valve to plunge the bubbles deep so they have time to be absorbed on the way back up. And it has a handy noisy overpressure blow off valve so you know when to stop.

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Originally Posted by Bobbop89 View Post
Nature can be a cruel place but all the sodas being consumed started naturally so a fashionable fraud I think is unfair, there are entire companies whom speacialize in natural and dare I say because I hate the term "organic." Products.
"Natural" has no legal meaning, and cannot have any. Everything is natural, and it doesn't matter if a particular molecule was manmade or not if they are exactly the same arrangement of protons and electrons. That is not just being literal, but most of the intuitive, feel-good, natural foods claims fall apart if examined closely. But I can give kudos to biochemical sodas; I love the European sodas that have significant real fruit in them (apparently don't have the shelf life desired in the US).

The history of sodas certainly don't stem from "naturalness"; it came from the drugstore labs/fountains of chemists back when they made their own drugs, stimulants, and snake oil cures... especially to take the place of alcohol during prohibition. Coke came from taking the alcohol out of a worldwide popular cocaine-infused wine in a newly dry county in Georgia. Phosphoric acid and all kinds of unnatural, nonintuitive stuff was widespread. Don't imagine a sentimentalized past, according to the soda history by a biochemist in http://books.google.com/books/about/...d=_H69qO6f438C
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Old 10-02-2013, 03:57 AM   #8
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For a force carbonation in a keg, how many volumes of CO2 am I looking for?

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Old 10-02-2013, 03:14 PM   #9
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If I'm not mistaken, commercial sodas are around 4.0 volumes. I like to hit anywhere around 3.5. The toughest thing is getting the balance right between serving and carbonating. You can probably carb to 5.0, but that doesn't mean it will be 5.0 once it's in your glass.
It really depends on the sugar and pulp content of whatever you're carbonating along with the carbonating/serving temperature. Water will carbonate and hold it really well. A high solids juice will foam like crazy even with a lower volume carbonation.

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Old 10-03-2013, 01:40 AM   #10
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I'm not talking about naturalistic type stuff I'm referring to from scratch if you will as in not using oils if I truly don't have to.

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