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Old 03-30-2009, 08:36 AM   #1
Annoyingnoise
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Default The use of glass bottles in making soda.

I'm new to this forum and I'm excited about the experimentation that is going on here. (Can't wait to try avocado soda.) As I've run through many of the threads, I've found an interesting fear. A fear of glass bottles.

Now I will say that this is only my opinion and personal experience. I will not say that under no circumstances will you be making little glass bombs. If you try this at home, I am so not responsible. However, most of the stories I hear about exploding glass bottles involve long term storage of soda, many involve mason jars.

That being said, I've been making soda for about 3 years now, and I have only ever used glass for my soda making. I make a couple batches every couple months. I use brown bottles made for bottling beer, with regular metal caps, and an old dudes homerigged capper. We bought the stuff off of the old dude, post-mortem, at a garage sale. It was a beer making kit. After we trashed the dusty hops and dead yeast. It was a go.

I buy my yeast online, I'll get specific if somebody asks. Mostly champagne yeast, bread yeast for root beer, cuz I love that fresh bread smell. Yada yada, but I've never had a bottle go shard city on me. I've left slow root beer that wasn't flavored right sitting for over a month, in my garage, in the summer. We had a root beer fight, it was messy. But the only bottles that busted, were the ones that got a little too close to each other and ended up colliding at high velocity.(Teenagers, they were excited.) I've had a bottle get lost in the back of the fridge for a couple months. When it came out, it was way more alcoholic than my religion allows, yet, not a glass grenade.

But if you are worried about it, here a couple ideas. Don't make more than you plan on drinking in the next couple weeks. Make it a couple days ahead of when you want it. If you know that you want it to go slow, stick it in the fridge a bit early, and slow those sugar eaters down. You can always take it back out again if they need a kick. If you've never made it before, make a small batch. 4 gallons of nastiness is a whole lot o' nastiness, and waste.

My Highly Scientific soda making method.
0. Wash bottles, rinse in very hot water.
1. Mix soda base, to taste.
2. Add yeast, preferably while base is warm.
3. Bottle it, cap it.
4. Set it on the counter.
5. Wait till tomorrow, if you can.
6. Pop the top.
7. Taste.
8. If it ain't fizzy enough, recap it. You can even use the same cap, if you were careful taking it off.
9. Set that bottle on it's side to make sure the cap isn't leaking.
10. Check, you know, whenever. When you think it's fizzy enough, or close to it. Stick those puppies in the fridge. Preferably hide them where the wife and kids can't see them.
11. After chilled, sit back, relax, and enjoy the fruit of yeasts labor.

I'm not trying to be snarky. Soda making isn't nearly as involved as beer or wine making. Most of my soda, barring an experimental batch, is ready in 48 hours, including fridge time. I use glass because we never buy plastic bottles, we just don't. Plus, come on old timers, soda was always better from the glass bottles.

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Old 03-31-2009, 04:26 PM   #2
The Blow Leprechaun
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Annoyingnoise View Post
But if you are worried about it, here a couple ideas. Don't make more than you plan on drinking in the next couple weeks. Make it a couple days ahead of when you want it. If you know that you want it to go slow, stick it in the fridge a bit early, and slow those sugar eaters down. You can always take it back out again if they need a kick. If you've never made it before, make a small batch. 4 gallons of nastiness is a whole lot o' nastiness, and waste.

...

I'm not trying to be snarky. Soda making isn't nearly as involved as beer or wine making. Most of my soda, barring an experimental batch, is ready in 48 hours, including fridge time. I use glass because we never buy plastic bottles, we just don't. Plus, come on old timers, soda was always better from the glass bottles.
This is pretty fair. Once refrigerated, the glass bottles will probably be fine for a while. If I didn't buy plastic for some reason and I wanted to make soda, I guess I'd use glass.

Mostly, I don't like to worry, and using plastic bottles lets me not worry about it at all. That's what tips the equation for me.
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Old 04-01-2009, 11:56 AM   #3
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I find that the plastic bottles allow me to gauge when the soda is ready very easily without removing caps.
People can be overly cautious when it comes to this hobby, but it's better to be safe than sorry is the motto most of them would tend to employ.

I also had a lemonade recently that took about 10 days to carb up, it'd have been a whole lot of pain to check and recap that daily.

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Old 04-03-2009, 09:32 PM   #4
Annoyingnoise
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Good point about checking plastic vs glass. And now I have to eat crow.
We made some soda for somebody, and they left four bottles in the fridge for about two months. Today, about an hour ago, they came up to me and told me. So we went out on the lawn to open them up. The first three opened up in glorious effusions of purple grape foam. When someone opened the fourth one, there was a loud pop, and foam went shooting off, along with the cap, and the top 1/4 inch of the bottle. So the lip was completely gone, along with some of the bottle below that.
This, of course, was a long term storage problem. Now I have had a bottle go. But I'll still use glass, all of our soda is consumed within the first week.
I will say that if I were to advise someone who was just starting, I would tell them to use plastic. But if you were making beer before and already had the stuff for glass. Why bother to buy more stuff?

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Old 04-05-2009, 08:47 PM   #5
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The timing of this thread is perfect. I'm just about to make some DIET soda and I was thinking that I could absolutely use glass bottles without a worry in the world so long as I make sure to maintain the proper ratio of fermentable sugar and Splenda (really the later doesn't matter beyond flavor). To carbonate at about 2-2.5 volumes for beer, I've used around 3/4 cups per 5 gallons, or 1.8 tbsp per 1 gallon. The soda extract suggests using 4 to 6 tbsp sugar per 1 gallon, which would definitely lead to a dangerous situation if left completely unattended (i.e. not being monitored and put in the fridge as has already been discussed in this thread). Unless 2-2.25 volumes of carbonation will not suffice for soda, I'm thinking this might work great for making DIET soda in glass bottles. I think the carbonation level will be fine; I'm willing to bet that part of the reason behind the suggesting so much more sugar is that the kit uses plastic soda bottles, which can expand pretty significantly. And here's another idea: substituting 3 tbsp of dry malt extract for the fermentable sugar in order to leave behind some mouthfeel, smaller carbonation bubbles, and a touch of flavorful dextrins from the grain. Here's what I'll do:

1 gallon Water
3 tbsp Amber DME (for carbonation at 2-2.5 volumes)
1.5 cups Splenda granulated version (or to taste...haven't nailed quantities down yet)
1 tbsp Rainbow Flavor extract
.25 tsp Vanilla (flavor companies usually cheat out of this)
1 tsp BrewCraft Yeast Nutrient (super optional, only if i have problems this batch)
.25 tsp RedStar Champagne yeast

Bottle it into sanitized 12 oz glass brown bottles, leaving about an inch of headspace. Cap those suckers off and let them sit indefinitely at room temperature. And pray that Splenda and maltodextrin are absolutely unfermentable by yeast. If you do not wish to use DME, then just substitute the Amber DME for 1.8 tbsp sugar or honey (honey is 95% fermentable, so any adjustment would be tedious and unnecessary).

UPDATE: The Splenda brand I would be using is the granulated type which contains more maltodextrin than it does splenda, which might make for quite a thick brew at 1.5 cups per gallon. For beer this would be way too much, but since there really isn't anything else in soda besides water and sugar, I think this might actually work in producing a thick and creamy root beer. After a side by side taste test, I have come to the conclusion that while the sweetness levels are roughly equivalent per volume for the granulated product, the sweetness is more lingering and less noticeable up front then with regular table sugar. It is an experiment to be sure. As a side note, maltodextrin and sucralose are not fermentable by brewing yeasts, though both of them may be broken down by the human body to a varying (and scientifically debatable) degree. While I might be causing long-term health problems by the overconsumption of industrial chemicals, I won't be getting punctured by glass shards anytime soon. Neurotic...muah?

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Last edited by robertjohnson; 04-05-2009 at 10:39 PM. Reason: Learned more stuff and wanted to share
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Old 04-06-2009, 01:50 AM   #6
The Blow Leprechaun
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I think 2-2.5 volumes is too low for soda.

There was another thread a while back on this subject, I remember discussing it, basically converting the numbers for keg PSI to priming sugar.

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Old 04-10-2009, 05:59 PM   #7
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I'll have to disagree. I made soda 10+ times in glass bottles with no issues. Then, I made a batch one Sunday afternoon and left them on top of my kitchen cabinet where it was ~70F. When I came home from work Monday there was root beer mixed with glass shards all over the kitchen. Thank god nobody was home, but what a huge mess; sticky syrup all up, down and between my kitchen cabinets. I don't know what the problem was, too warm maybe or I messed up with the ingredients. The moral of the story, be very, very careful if you make soda in glass.

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