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Old 12-17-2012, 09:32 PM   #1
Semsem
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Default Natural Carbonation

Okay, so I carbonated with champagne yeast in a plastic 2 liter bottle.

After 8 days at 62 degrees (in basement) the bottle was fairly hard, so I did what I read and put it in the fridge to make the yeast dormant. However, doing that, the bottle went from fairly hard to not hard. Upon some Googleing, I found Henry's Law and the solubility of gases which increases as temperature drops. Upon warming the bottle back up, the bottle re-hardened.

Upon tasting the soda, however, there is noticeable effervescence. It didn't create foam on top when poured like normal (store) soda or champagne does. It seemed reminiscent of soda that is on its way to going flat.

I don't know if I needed more sugar? But then again, I don't see what that would have to do with it since the bottle got hard and thus the yeast had enough to eat. Perhaps I filed the bottle up too much (as in put in more than 2 liters, fairly certain I did) and there wasn't enough air headspace above the water level? Perhaps I needed to let it ferment a couple more days?

I don't think it'd have to do with gas solubility, since it re-hardened as it warmed back up...

Any suggestions, ideas, etc., would be greatly appreciated. Looking to doing another attempt tomorrow (and then waiting a while to let it ferment again)

Thanks in advance!

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Old 12-17-2012, 09:37 PM   #2
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I think it could have sat longer at a cool temperature like 62 degrees. When the bottle is "hard", it's done- but the bottle should be rock hard at room temperature. I put my soda ontop of the fridge to carb up and it takes only about 24 hours since it's the warmest place in my house!

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Old 12-25-2012, 08:28 PM   #3
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Okay, second attempt. Started 18 December, currently 6 days 18 hours into the bottled fermentation.

The bottle's a lot harder than at the 8 day mark (after I cooled/opened it) for the previous attempt, more sugar was added, same amount of yeast, and a tad bit less water (little more headroom). Also, doing this attempt with one 2 liter, and two 20 oz bottles, plastic.

Now, question, if I may, need some professional opinions.

The current 6 day 18 hour hasn't gotten any firmer now for the past 1.5 days. One of the 20 oz's is less hard than the other (assuming sugar amount differed somehow), but both 20 oz's have become rather clear. Still a very little bit cloudy, but near clear. The 1 liter, more cloudy, but a lot clearer than the previous attempt at 8 day mark.

Is that a sign that the carbonation is (or should) be done? (I find that hard to believe, since if bottle bombs are possible, I rather doubt the pressure in the bottles killed most of the yeast)
And what is the reason for the clearing of the water in the bottles?

Planning on giving the bottles around another 18 hours (for a total of 7.5, maybe might go a total of 8 days) before I see what has happened. Just wanting a little insight on whether this is normal and what it could mean...

Thanks.

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Old 12-27-2012, 11:51 PM   #4
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And what is the reason for the clearing of the water in the bottles?
I don't really know what's going on for the other questions, but I know this one! "Gravity"! Larger particles are heavier, and will drop to the bottom. It's no problem, just turn it end over end to resuspend until you want to drink it. Drinking it will be more pleasant with all the crud at the bottom, though! When you pour it into a pitcher/glass, just leave the stuff on the bottom behind and the soda will be great.

I don't know what else is going on, unless your caps leak. The soda should be carbonated for sure, but maybe a tiny bit of co2 is leaking out from your caps, or they aren't tight enough?
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Old 12-31-2012, 05:30 PM   #5
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Okay, so I let it sit a couple more days than I planned, a total of 10 days.

It appears as though the first two days, it didn't have any noticeable fain in firmness, but by around day 4-5, it was a hard as it was before at the 8 day mark. Then it didn't seem like it was getting firmer, but by the end of day 8, it was noticeably firmer than end of day 5. After 10 days, I thought it was really firm, and stuck it in the fridge.

Couple days later now, I opened it, it was a lot more carbonated that the first attempt, but still not enough for my liking.

I'm a bit concerned on several things...mainly the time it's taking and the alcohol content. Now, please correct me if I'm wrong, but there shouldn't be any more alcohol in it after 10 days if it hasn't gotten carbed enough than if it would be carbing good in the 4 days I read most about, right? Seeing as how if none of the CO2 is leaving, then it shouldn't be increasing alcohol beyond what a home brew soda should have, right?

Maybe it'd help if I gave my sugar/yeast amounts...

First attempt: 1.25 tsp sucrose per cup of water; 1/16 tsp yeast to a 2 liter
Second attempt: 2 tsp sucrose per cup of water; 1/16 tsp yeast to a 2 liter, adjusted to 1/3 of 1/16 each for the two 20 ouncers.

My immediate thoughts are:
1. Not enough sugar for "fast" carbing
2. Not enough yeast for "fast" carbing (a number of days being wasted waiting for the yeast to multiply to the proper levels for "faster" carbing)
3. It's champagne yeast, which I believe is a slow fermenting yeast (so everything is done slowly, right? Alcohol/CO2 production and budding?)

Really, any insight from more experienced brewers would be greatly appreciated. Planning for a third attempt to begin in the next couple days.

Thanks.

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Old 01-01-2013, 06:50 AM   #6
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What kind of soda are you trying to brew? This makes a huge difference in fermentation times ... Something like a root beer will carbonate pretty fast ... 2 days is pretty common. However, brews with a sizeable amount of citrus can easily take 10-12 days at the temps you list ... Maybe even more. Also, keep in mind that most naturally carbonated sodas will NEVER get to the level of carbonation a store bought soda/ kegged soda without sacrificing sweetness and adding alcohol.

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Old 01-01-2013, 01:54 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Semsem View Post

Maybe it'd help if I gave my sugar/yeast amounts...

First attempt: 1.25 tsp sucrose per cup of water; 1/16 tsp yeast to a 2 liter
Second attempt: 2 tsp sucrose per cup of water; 1/16 tsp yeast to a 2 liter, adjusted to 1/3 of 1/16 each for the two 20 ouncers.
.
The amount of yeast and sugar doesn't really matter- but I'd use more than 1/16 teaspoon of yeast! That's a miniscule amount.

For a 2L bottle, try using more like 1/4 teaspoon or even a tad bit more if the yeast package as been opened before.

Most soda has more than 1.25 teaspoons of sugar- I assume you're making "diet" soda and so using a different sweetener for the soda itself? I've never done that so I don't know the particulars. I've always just used regular sugar, like a cup of it, in 2 liters.

Mix up all the ingredients, including yeast, in a sanitized pitcher. Then pour the soda into bottles and cap. That makes sure everything is mixed well.
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Old 01-01-2013, 11:38 PM   #8
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What kind of soda are you trying to brew?
Not really trying to brew any special type of soda...not yet anyway. It's just sugar, water, and yeast. The base ingredients necessary for fermentation, JUST to see how well it works...and if I can actually get it to work.

Quote:
Something like a root beer will carbonate pretty fast ... 2 days is pretty common. However, brews with a sizeable amount of citrus can easily take 10-12 days at the temps you list ... Maybe even more.
That does now raise a question, why does citrus make it take longer to carbonate?

Quote:
Also, keep in mind that most naturally carbonated sodas will NEVER get to the level of carbonation a store bought soda/ kegged soda without sacrificing sweetness and adding alcohol.
I'm well expecting that, just looking for something comparable with decent carbonation. Problem is that what I have tried already results in undercarbonated, the second attempt was better, roughly 1/3 of the carbonation that I'm looking for, whereas the first was what comparable to what you'd get if you left store bought sit out for 18-24 hours uncapped, very, very flat with some tiny carbonation.

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For a 2L bottle, try using more like 1/4 teaspoon or even a tad bit more if the yeast package as been opened before.
I could increase yeast, yes, but I'm trying to conserve on it, make it more cost-effective. I doubt that'd be a problem, would it? Since using less yeast would just automatically force the extension of the time needed for proper fermentation and carbonation, right?

Quote:
Most soda has more than 1.25 teaspoons of sugar- I assume you're making "diet" soda and so using a different sweetener for the soda itself? I've never done that so I don't know the particulars. I've always just used regular sugar, like a cup of it, in 2 liters.
The first was 1.25 teaspoons per cup, the second was 2 teaspoons. I'm used to diet soda, and don't really like the taste of regular anymore. For me, it doesn't need to be that "sweet", just enough for it to be discernible as being
sweeter than regular water, if that makes sense to you. I'm not sure yet if when it is properly carbonated, if it'll need artificial sweetener (aspartame, sucralose, saccharine, etc.)
Quote:

Mix up all the ingredients, including yeast, in a sanitized pitcher. Then pour the soda into bottles and cap. That makes sure everything is mixed well.
That's basically what I've been doing. Upon opening all the bottles from the second attempt, I noticed they were on there very tightly. I needed to use a gripper pad to get the caps off.

However, I decided against waiting a few days, and redid it yesterday. Three 20 ounce bottles. Done differently.
1. Cooling water to 90 F and pitching the yeast directly in.
2. Cooling water to 90 F and adding yeast that was premixed with sugar and 110 F water (similar to baking bread)
3. Pitching at 110 F, like normal (but not exactly like normal, below)

One thing that I did notice, that might explain why it was taking so long (I'll have to wait to find out), was that the temperature in the kettle differs from the temperature of that same water when put into the bottle. In the kettle, it was reading 80-90 F, but in the bottle, it was measuring 110-120 F. And it maintained the temperature for quite a while. A 20-30 degree drop took about 2 hours. So...I may have inadvertently killed most of the yeast in the first two attempts.

I've got the bottles labeled now, so time will tell.
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Old 01-02-2013, 02:42 AM   #9
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1). Citrus slows down carbonation because it inhibits yeast growth.

2). There is a LOT more sugar in most sodas than you're using. When. Make soda,I use about 1.5 - 2 cups per gallon. Without enough sugar, the yeast will not multiply and carbonate the soda.

3). Not sure I you'll get accurate results using just sugar and water ... You're also missing the natural sugars and nutrients in the ingredients that will affect yeast growth.

4). Your yeast usage is fine. I use 1/4 tsp dry ale yeast to 1 gallon of soda.

5). Your temperature is a BIG DEAL. As a general rule, shoot for lukewarm to the touch. Around 80 - 85 deg. You might have killed the yeast in he hotter temps.

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Old 01-02-2013, 02:51 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Semsem View Post
Not really trying to brew any special type of soda...not yet anyway. It's just sugar, water, and yeast. The base ingredients necessary for fermentation, JUST to see how well it works...and if I can actually get it to work.
And how's that working for you? (In my best Dr. Phil voice).


Quote:
Originally Posted by Semsem View Post
That does now raise a question, why does citrus make it take longer to carbonate?
In short, the extra acidity without additional nutrients.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Semsem View Post
I could increase yeast, yes, but I'm trying to conserve on it, make it more cost-effective. I doubt that'd be a problem, would it? Since using less yeast would just automatically force the extension of the time needed for proper fermentation and carbonation, right?
No. Not having enough yeast means lame to little carbonation. Use the proper amount of yeast, and the proper amount of sugar!
A package of wine yeast is like $.59 cents. If you're trying to conserve to the point where you can't afford 1/4 of a package of that, then this is beyond silly. You're wasting time and energy to save 20 cents? Really?

I still say that there isn't enough sugar, and that 1/16th teaspoon of yeast per 2L is woefully inadequate. The above poster said it's the same, as they use 1/4 teaspoon per gallon, but it's not. It would be an 1/8 teaspoon for 2L, and that is still low- but it's 1/4 of the amount they use! 1/16th teaspoon of wine yeast is too little. Use 1/2 teaspoon per gallon, and I promise it will be better. Also, increase the sugar.

Instead of experimenting with sugar and water and yeast, which doesn't have enough nutrients for the yeast, why not make a real soda? Ginger ale is exceptionally easy, and it would carb up in a day or so so you could test it.
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