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Home Brew Forums > Wine, Mead, Cider, Sake & Soda > Soda Making > my simple fermented cranberry soda
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Old 01-25-2013, 09:31 PM   #1
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Default my simple fermented cranberry soda

Here is the simplest cranberry soda, made from adding some of the cheapest economy size bread yeast to a half gallon jug of cran drink. Nothing else added or any transfer of containers.

It should come in a plastic jug and can be generic or store brands which are getting surprisingly good when simple and pure. Cran rasberry (normally my least favorite) or straight cran seems to work best... the other combos like cran apple, grape, etc don't emerge from the yeast as tasty.

The trick that distinguishes this from cider is to just give an initial blush of fast fermentation for bubble pressure... preserving sweetness, then consume it soon. Assuming the juice came with no artificial sweetener (yuk!) and little or no natural added sugar, i open the room temp jug and quickly pour in a mound of yeast about the size of three stacked large coins. I loosely recap, squeeze out most air, then tightly cap.

I let it sit for a few hours until the container is quite bloated and hard. Watch it because its hard to believe it wont blast a cap off, although never happened to me. If you like it warm, try it after bleeding pressure by a few quick opening and closings of the cap. Or else stick in fridge where it will shrink then reinflate in a few hours. It's quite intense flavor and bubbles; I guess you could pour it into a glass containing some water.

After opening, the trick is to squeeze out all possible air before resealing. You will hear it reflate noisely even in the fridge. When you finally cant flatten all remaining air out, prepare to accept a lot of off flavors from random yeast. They only go away if you leave it to turn quite alcoholic. Silly me, i dislike alcohol and swirl result into a half full jar of applesauce which resweetens it and gives crazy suspended bubbles in the resulting delicious slurry.

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Old 04-25-2013, 01:54 AM   #2
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I want to expand on my last applesauce sentence, although with any interest it could justify a seperate topic. That carbonated soupy sauce can be really really good... or sometimes not for reasons I don't know. Personally I love pulpy drinks and just drinking soupy apple sauce is a kick, but added with bubbles that just sit embedded inside gives amazing tart kicks (different from rising bubbles).

I think it works better in the extra soupy mode and fermented a day or so in the plastic apple sauce container in the fridge. Best to have quite a bit of headroom because the sauce volume expands as a whole, not just gas off the top. My first experiments were with straight apple sauce, which ferments to leave a thick banana-bread-like layer on top (the juice drains down the cell walls to the bottom). But that is very hit and miss, with too much fermenting of pulp giving an off taste.

But this addition of fermenting juice, like cranberry, gives a fluid that you can drink and it seems to ferment in a more predictable and tasty way. If you end up with a boring looking gruel near the bottom, give it a shake before opening and it can flash to double the volume and be almost like cranapple whipped cream. I guess you could alternatively inject c02 with the right equipment instead of yeast.

This all started when as a kid I once opened a new jar of boring old applesauce and it gushed all out due to natural fermenting. By the way I have gone thru a phase of fermenting cider with bubble traps and champagne yeast, but these shortcut approaches are more fun even though I haven't got them under total control yet. Yeast type is said to not matter when only fermenting for short periods, so you can afford to hit it hard with the cheapest.

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Old 11-23-2014, 06:50 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daft View Post
Here is the simplest cranberry soda, made from adding some of the cheapest economy size bread yeast to a half gallon jug of cran drink. Nothing else added or any transfer of containers.
I recently tried this with full gallon size Ocean Spray cran cocktail, and it worked even better. Everything slows down to a forgiving pace, and it just keeps percolating gentle bubbles and zingy flavors whether in or out of the fridge down to the last drop.

You don't get high pressure or noticeable alcohol. I had avoided the gallon size due to fear the irregular shaped bottle would pop under pressure, but you don't need much pressure due to the regenerative nature of fermentation. "Cocktail" seems to mean they make it adding water and sugar (not corn syrup) to cranberry concentrate.

I haven't tried it with the "all juice" version of cran, which omits sugar and adds cheaper apple and white grape juice on the sly. But I wouldn't expect it to work as well because fermenting stops early with no sugar. Also cranberry ferments more deliciously than traditional apple or grape, with a thicker mouthfeel!
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Old 12-13-2014, 11:12 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daft View Post
I haven't tried it with the "all juice" version of cran, which omits sugar and adds cheaper apple and white grape juice on the sly. But I wouldn't expect it to work as well because fermenting stops early with no sugar. Also cranberry ferments more deliciously than traditional apple or grape, with a thicker mouthfeel!
I have now done OK with the "all juice" by stopping (fridging) it early, but I think the "cocktail" version is better, and has fallen a lot in price relative to all juice recently anyway.

By the same method I got welches (concord) grape to work well, but that is more on the knife edge of overfermenting and running out of CO2. When you stop it early there is little pressure, but your tongue seems to trigger bubble formation and it feels really lively in your mouth - super enjoyable.
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Old 02-24-2015, 10:49 AM   #5
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I had avoided the gallon size due to fear the irregular shaped bottle would pop under pressure, but you don't need much pressure due to the regenerative nature of fermentation.
Note to self: If the fermentation does lead to runaway bottle pressure, the one-gallon may not pop, but it can drop free of the handle. So you may arrive to see the label entirely peel off a fat distorted bottle full of headspace. You may fridge it, then open to release pressure. But picking it up by the handle to pour leads to the bottle dropping and shooting a foam volcano.
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