Making Sparkling Water

HomeBrewTalk.com - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Community.

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

dutchoven

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2011
Messages
623
Reaction score
11
Location
SF Bay Area
I'm having some trouble finding comprehensive threads on making sparkling water. I've searched and searched and don't see any stickies in this area ... hoping the soda-making folks here could point me in the right direction.

I have a kegerator and CO2 distribution system. I'm basically looking to put in an additional tap for sparkling water service. I would use a dedicated 2.5- or 5-gallon corney keg (new) and tubing (new) for the water. I'm not looking to make soda, root beer, ginger ale, etc. Just sparkling water.

Here's my questions:

* What PSI is best for force carbing and serving sparkling water? I'd guess upwards of 25-35+, but can't find a consensus.
* What is the recommended line length for sparkling water? Of course, I would size the line for the CO2 applied; just wondering if there's any need to increase the length for carbonated water (vs carbonated beer).
* Has anyone used dry ice for making sparkling water? I would never use this for my beer, but I could maybe see this working for water. I don't want to re-hash the whole "dry ice in a closed container is dangerous" argument. I realize that; just wondering if anyone has had success with the method.
* Are there any tips/tricks anyone could recommend for sparkling water?

Thanks for the help!
 

bradydennis

Member
Joined
Jan 21, 2012
Messages
13
Reaction score
1
I was just given a carbonation pump system from a connivence store. They make continuous sparkling water. They sell on eBay for a a few dollars more than a soda stream (125$).
 

KevinM

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 1, 2010
Messages
1,174
Reaction score
22
Location
Ann Arbor
Good place to ask.

Yes, you're looking at a psi of 20-35 and you can vary this depending on just how carbonated you want your water. Some like it slightly carbonated (like a perrier) some like it highly carbonated (like storebought carbonated water).

You'll be looking at calculations depending on line resistance, but your typical 3/16 beer line, you'd be using between 12-20 feet. Or some other resistance modifier like mixing sticks in the out ..dipstick?. (mental word blank here)

Not touching the dry ice thing. (not to mention sanitation req's and exact calculation and density.)

You can add various salts and minerals to the keg to make replications of different spring waters if you want to. Haven't seen too much on this one though.
You can make sodas with different syrups that you put into a glass, then add the sparkling water. (there's some posts out there on this).

A carbonation pump is a different addition which helps keep a constant input of carbonated water either into your reservoir to refill or your soda dispenser (gun/machine)
 

kenyabob

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 4, 2009
Messages
57
Reaction score
3
I too would like to make some carbonated water. Is there some health concern with water since the environment is not as caustic to outside bacteria as beer or wine is? If I made sparkling water like they sell at Trader Joes, I'd be my wife's hero.
 

EFaden

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2006
Messages
536
Reaction score
13
Location
Rochester
I actually have a carbonator dump into a keg in the fridge... cold seltzer on tap.... wife loves it.
 

KevinM

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 1, 2010
Messages
1,174
Reaction score
22
Location
Ann Arbor
Possibly. Carbonated water is just tap water that a large company carbonates and bottles anyways. What you're looking at is generic sanitation. Don't go poking your finger into the bottles, wash them out, sterilize them etc. You want to consider volume and turnaround time. Are you making a 2 liter bottle? How long will it last? A few days probably, just make it when you need it. Are you doing 5 gallons? 10 gallons?

Usually, the volumes you're looking at is 12 oz, 2 liters or 5 gallons. If you buy a the co2 tank, regulator, hose, connectors and maybe ball lock, you can buy or make a carbonation cap. You can then reuse a soda or sparkling water bottle. (I've used a 12 oz metromint water bottle, a 16 oz sprite bottle and a 2 liter sprite bottle. I prefer sprite since it doesn't have a lingering taste like rootbeer or cola does). I usually store a bottle or two in the fridge and carbonate it when I want it. I refresh the water every other month if I don't use it, but generally I'm cycling between the two every other week, if not every other day.

If you're looking at a 5 gallon keg (or 2-5 gallon kegs) then you'll have to do some figuring. Per fema.gov, you'll probably want to refresh every 6 months or less. (For example, a few days before keg 1 empties, you can prepare keg 2 by filling it, getting it cold and even starting to carbonate it).

Per www.fema.gov/plan/prepare/water.shtm
"Filling Water Containers

Fill the bottle to the top with regular tap water. If the tap water has been commercially treated from a water utility with chlorine, you do not need to add anything else to the water to keep it clean. If the water you are using comes from a well or water source that is not treated with chlorine, add two drops of non-scented liquid household chlorine bleach to the water.Tightly close the container using the original cap. Be careful not to contaminate the cap by touching the inside of it with your finger. Place a date on the outside of the container so that you know when you filled it. Store in a cool, dark place.Replace the water every six months if not using commercially bottled water.
"
 

Turlian

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 23, 2009
Messages
113
Reaction score
0
Location
Boulder, CO
KevinM - you are thinking of using epoxy mixers in the liquid dip tube. Specifically, these.

I just installed my three-way secondary regulators over the weekend and have my first keg of H2O carbing. Can't wait.
 

kenyabob

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 4, 2009
Messages
57
Reaction score
3
I was just thinking of carbing some water with a bit of flavor (not sure how much lime essence or whatever I would need) and put it in a keg with a clean line and tap. I probably wouldnt even bother with bottling. The most I would do is simply put some water in a glass swingtop that is run through the washer. If she that wasnt consumed in a week, I would be blown away.

Currently, my parents own a soda stream (http://www.sodastreamusa.com/), and we will sometimes bring home a little liter bottle. The thought passed through my mind if of running purified water into one of my soda kegs, as well as some of the lime/lemon blends they sell, and just getting my wife a glass of fizzy water everytime I get myself a fizzy beer. Sounds like it is possible.
 

EFaden

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2006
Messages
536
Reaction score
13
Location
Rochester
I was just thinking of carbing some water with a bit of flavor (not sure how much lime essence or whatever I would need) and put it in a keg with a clean line and tap. I probably wouldnt even bother with bottling. The most I would do is simply put some water in a glass swingtop that is run through the washer. If she that wasnt consumed in a week, I would be blown away.

Currently, my parents own a soda stream (http://www.sodastreamusa.com/), and we will sometimes bring home a little liter bottle. The thought passed through my mind if of running purified water into one of my soda kegs, as well as some of the lime/lemon blends they sell, and just getting my wife a glass of fizzy water everytime I get myself a fizzy beer. Sounds like it is possible.
Should be. I have a keg for soda, but my seltzer keg stays clean to avoid any off flavors, etc... all seltzer all the time.
 

jefflane510

Active Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2012
Messages
34
Reaction score
6
Location
East Conway
Perhaps I'm the laziest of the bunch, but I don't give too much thought to it when I make seltzers and they always come out fine. I've done it two ways. The simple way is to fill a keg with water, attach the gas at the same psi as your beer, and stick it in the fridge. And yes, I just use regular, short beer lines for dispensing. After a few weeks, it's carbed up plenty. No one has yet complained, anyhow.

If you're in a hurry, you can kick up the psi and force carb more quickly. I once got away with bringing a keg of beer to a work party (generally a no-no where I work) by also bringing a keg of lemon-lime seltzer. Everyone was happy. This was made the night before the party.

Either way, I don't worry about purifying the water at all. Just a clean keg is all. It's going to live in the fridge, so that helps. If it starts to taste funky, you've been drinking it too slowly! Then you could just throw it out and make more; it's only water, after all. And you might be surprised how much water one can drink when it's this easy.

I've also added citrus juices, like lemon, lime, or grapefruit. They all work well. Remove the seeds, but pulp isn't a big deal. It flows through into the glass.

Overall, it's a worthwhile thing to have on tap if you've got extra fridge space. My wife and her friends love it when it's available. Unfortunately they also know I can shake up a new keg in short time, so they know there is no such thing as being all out of seltzer.

Jeff
 

kenyabob

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 4, 2009
Messages
57
Reaction score
3
Glad to see your response! What do you usually serve your seltzer at?

Also, wouldn't cold beer at 12 or so PSI be carbed in under a week? Or is that you are cranking it up to 20 something and that takes a bit longer?

I myself would still be tempted to use a bit of star san, although I am wondering whether or not star san 'disappears' the way it does in beer, or whether it comes through it all in something as simple as water.
 

KevinM

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 1, 2010
Messages
1,174
Reaction score
22
Location
Ann Arbor
I carb my water at 40psi, and usually just fill the keg, set it on its side, attach the hose and rock it back and forth for a few minutes. Done.

Starsan doesn't exactly disappear. It supposedly degrades. About half of starsan is phosphoric acid, which is used in some sodas (especially colas). Another item is some benzosulfuric acid, 15%. And then there's some foaming agents, but they don't say from what. While I would use starsan to sanitize my containers, dump and fill (not worrying about foam), I probably wouldn't add starsan to the drinking water. Though I believe it's said to be possible to consume.
 
OP
dutchoven

dutchoven

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2011
Messages
623
Reaction score
11
Location
SF Bay Area
Thought I'd put a quick update out. Thanks to KevinM and others for the responses. I put a keg into service for carbonated water with a dedicated tap and my wife and I love it. I didn't go with a new keg, just used one of my nicer 5-gallon corneys. I cleaned, sanitized, and rinsed it well before the first fill. I haven't bothered to sanitize it since.

Here's my process for carbonating:

About a week before filling, I start making ice and transfer to gallon ziplock bags. My keg fridge has an icemaker with a dedicated carbon filter. I don't keep any open food in the fridge, so the ice stays pretty fresh. When its time to fill the keg, I add three or four bags of ice and fill using a carbon block filter. Once the keg is full, I cap and force carbonate at 30 psi through the beverage out post. After 10-15 minutes of vigorous shaking, the water is pretty well carbonated -- the ice drops the water temp to near freezing, so the CO2 dissolves immediately. I keep the keg on 30 psi and serve through about 10 feet of line.
 

kenyabob

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 4, 2009
Messages
57
Reaction score
3
I guess I just didnt appreciate how much higher a PSI you would use when dispensing carbonated water vs beer. It doesnt seem like it's three times as fizzy, although I am not a carbonation wiz. In fact, this post may confirm that.

Could I also just set it to 30 and wait a few days, then start serving? Also, if I wanted to transfer them into bottles so we can just have it in the fridge, could I turn down the serving psi to like 10?
 

kenyabob

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 4, 2009
Messages
57
Reaction score
3
I cleaned out some kegs this weekend, and refilled a clean keg with water. I followed the tips posted here, and man, it was some amazing water! I am using a picnic tap (haven't made the jump to building a collar, etc) so I think I need to bring my serving PSI wayyyy down, but otherwise, it tastes great! And I think we will go through the 5 gallons pretty quickly.
 

kenyabob

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 4, 2009
Messages
57
Reaction score
3
I didnt end up putting any juice in. I usually put a little bit of juice at the bottom of the glass, pour some water, mix, and then fill it up the rest of the way. Its easier to then simply open the keg when its tapped and pour more water in...
 

TexasGuy

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 5, 2014
Messages
63
Reaction score
2
I’m about to put to dedicate a keg to carbonated water. Do any of you use Campden tablets for your seltzer water?
 
Top