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Old 10-08-2013, 02:44 AM   #1
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Default Carbonated water tastes 'metalic'?

Long time brewer, occasional soda maker.

I've made a few simple soda's, I didn't put much effort into it. My daughter's first birthday is coming up and there are going to be a lot of kids there. I thought if I filled a keg with carbonated water, I could use Torani Syrups and make Italian Soda's on the fly. For a 6 year old, this might be cool.

Anyway, when I taste my keg of carbed water, it tastes a bit 'tinny'. I think I still notice it in the soda. I don't have a water profile, but I"m near Chicago so my water is very close to Chicago's profile.

I'm looking for any suggestions or advice on how I can fix my carbed water so when I make soda on the fly, the kids will actually like it.

Any advice/suggestions is appreciated!

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Old 10-08-2013, 07:55 AM   #2
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A flavored invert sugar syrup typically doesn't have enough bite/grab to take charge of your unfiltered carbed water. Even an $18 bottle of Monin syrup didn't do the trick for me. I correct it with acidic shot of real fruit, like high quality lemon juice or lemonade concentrate.

You can think about filtering, but I think that would just hide the real issue which is the need for kick. With homemade cola, I use de-cocainized coca extract with alkaloids that can turn your mouth numb. Not that you should use that for kids, but it's just a clue almost all sodas need an edge and in fact popular commercial sodas have that.

I think the problem with carbed home water is the bubbles waft up to your nose all the impurities that you don't taste much via the straight liquid. Dissolved sulfur etc... not that there is unreasonable amounts but just the carb is a transporter of it to your sense organs. Putting your focus on that seems a mistake because you will simply get less offensive but still spineless soda.

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Old 10-08-2013, 08:05 AM   #3
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Why not try RO? I build all my beers from RO, and I'd probably look up the country's best water locations (and their mineral properties) to build a profile for soda.

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Old 10-08-2013, 03:53 PM   #4
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I'll dabble with both ideas. I agree the carb is letting me notice elements of my water. A filter could help and some lemon acid could add some bite.
Thanks.

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Old 10-08-2013, 04:20 PM   #5
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I agree 100% with filtering your water.

I disagree with daft that filtering water is "hiding the real issue". In fact, I think just adding some acid would be hiding the off flavors in your water.

You probably don't notice them in your tap water because you're accustomed to drinking unfiltered tap water, and that tastes "normal". Once you carbonate it, the only thing you have to compare it to is commercially available carbonated water or soda, which is in fact filtered, so your unfiltered tastes off.

I've used Monin syrups before and I think their acid level is fine. Daft is just... well... daft, and apparently addicted to citric acid.

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Old 10-08-2013, 09:11 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrFoodScientist View Post
I disagree with daft that filtering water is "hiding the real issue". In fact, I think just adding some acid would be hiding the off flavors in your water.

You probably don't notice them in your tap water because you're accustomed to drinking unfiltered tap water, and that tastes "normal". Once you carbonate it, the only thing you have to compare it to is commercially available carbonated water or soda, which is in fact filtered, so your unfiltered tastes off.

I've used Monin syrups before and I think their acid level is fine. Daft is just... well... daft, and apparently addicted to citric acid.
First of all I said to add "real fruit" acid... Monin, which is a classier version of Torini, just tastes like one dimensional without that (even their extra expensive real-fruit versions). I have had Torini and they seemed wimpy and unassertive overlays on water, needing something else. It is unhelpful to deny this without trying it... if you say you are satisfied with straight monin and carbed water, you may not know what you are missing.

I think Monin/Torani is meant also as a generic sweetener for other purposes such as in still water or foods. It's a whole different ballgame to interact with carbed water which has natural carbolic acid and also hits your senses differently. With effervescence your smell senses become key, and not just thru your nose. The boldness of carbed water needs extra boldness by the flavoring to assert itself.

Secondly, I challenge folks to significantly improve the taste of straight carbed water by filtering if it was not unusually bad to begin with. It should be diminishing returns, or even negative ones over time if you don't change a filter enough and crud builds up. We must have nearly the purest water in the country but it tastes off to me carbed. Our water company reports the detailed chemistry to neighborhood meetings nearly every month, and unfortunately even fluoride isn't tolerated (giving some of the worst tooth decay in the country).

It is not true that any "off" taste should be attacked in carbed water... the heritage of soda comes from natural mineralized carbonated springs with tastes that just gag most people. Small amounts of impurities can be fine, healthy, and even a contribution in concert with a bold flavoring. It is a false goal to strive for sterile nothingness of a water source... look at root beer which has some disgusting components of flavor that when combined with bold sweetening become supportive backflavors.

Try your Torini/Monin syrup with regular and then filtered water vs a commercial ginger ale, coke, dr pepper, etc. At first the novelty of home made flavors are nice, but you may eventually crave the punch of the commercial stuff. Then try syrup with some real fruit acid... va-voom; best of both worlds.
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Old 10-08-2013, 10:27 PM   #7
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Chicago area is changing the water pipes and the lead levels are expected to rise dramatically, I would not be drinking the tap water straight from the tap. Get a Berkey.

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Old 10-08-2013, 11:51 PM   #8
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I appreciate all the comments. Technically I'm in aurora il, not Chicago. What was said about the lead is true, but it isn't an issue for me.
Currently my goal is to impress some 6 year olds for one day, but the realty is I may be making soda on a regular basis for my daughter and her friends. So I appreciate both the short term and long term aspects if this conversation. In the long term I'll abandon syrups, for the birthday- syrups will get me through the day!

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Old 10-09-2013, 07:22 AM   #9
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I still say build the water. You have consistency and control. Especially once you remove yeast, temp, fermentation, etc. Make a water profile that tastes good and give it a try!

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