Soda water Help - first time homebrew

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Nov 24, 2023
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Can you tell me about your soda water/seltzer (soft) setup?

I've had a kegerator in my house for over a decade and am finally ready to bite the bullet on buying hardware to dedicate one of my taps to keeping cold soda water fresh and available. My family goes through a LOT of cans of the flavored stuff and this is an investment I want to make to do my small part to reduce waste. From what I've read so far it is as "easy" as filling a keg with water (distilled in my case), pressurizing it with CO2 (I think just by dialing up the pressure to 30psi?) for a day, then drop the pressure to line level for serving. Forget the flavoring aspect right now, I know how to make cocktail syrups and that's plenty of flavor to add to the blank slate of carbonated water. Flavor is a future problem, I think. For now I want to focus on (1) making the water mix and getting it served, (2) how to clean the parts, and (3) tips and ideas you got to down the road, after you started doing soda water and realized "shucks, if I had done X instead, the Y would be so much easier or cheaper"

My setup would have the keg and dedicated 5lb CO2 tank outside my fridge; I'll run a long beer/water line into the fridge to keep at least 30 ounces cold in the lines, then up to the tap.

I have only ever bought beer kegs from distributors and never brewed my own so I don't know the names of parts, the type of keg or couplers, etc that I will need for this. How often do I need to clean the keg if only distilled water and gas ever go into it? What kind of cleaners do I need? Is there a trick to pressuring the water? Tips for getting the line/distribution pressure dialed in?

Thanks in advance for your wisdom!

P.S. this is entirely for my family, I hate carbonated water. My 5 favorite drinks are Guinness, Guinness, Guinness, Guinness extra stout if needed, and bud lite if Guinness is not available.
I have never made carbonated water but I have lots if carbonated beer on tap. At times I'll have carbonated soda made from extract. I think the carbonation process for water is no different although I'd keep the keg of water inside your kegerator. Don't keep the CO2 tank inside. I could be wrong but I don't think you'll have enough mass in your chilled line to have a cold pour from a warm keg. Your pressure method sounds good although you might need to tweak it some as you get it carbonated and cold.

I'd do some more reading here and maybe some else might actually offer some ideas.
I have a dedicated soda water tap on my 4 tap keezer. I keep two kegs of soda water in the keezer at all times: one carbonated and on tap and the other carbonating. That way I don't run out.

I carbonate at 35 psi and serve at the same pressure. If you lower the "serving" pressure after its carbonated, the CO2 will come out of solution over time and your soda water will get flatter and flatter.

It takes longer than 24 hours to fully carbonate a keg of water, more like a week to ten days if you "set and forget." If you force carbonate it, it will go much faster, but you will need to shake the keg. I use a diffusion stone lid on my Corny kegs to speed the carbonation process up a bit, but it still takes longer than 24 hours. See Quick Carbonating Keg Lid

It is a good idea to clean you kegs every once in a while. They don't need to be cleaned as often as a keg with beer, though. Most people use PBW for beer kegs, but I would think rinsing with hot water every 6 months or so should be enough unless you see a problem like mold.

As for flavoring, I don't flavor in the kegs. I have small bottles of Bubly flavoring and add it to pitchers or glasses of soda water after its poured from the kegs.

Good luck.
That's interesting, I hadn't heard about needing to shake the keg. From the description I guess that quick carb lid also releases the CO2 at the bottom of the keg in addition to pressurizing the top. Or rather, pressurizing the top may not even be needed if it's just water being carbonated.

Long term I'm looking to do a continuous flow system and I've seen a keg lid designed for that, but if you say it takes a week to carbonate a keg of water... How large is that keg? I wonder if the continuous system would require a significantly larger keg so that the newly added water that needs to carbonate is a much lower percent of the volume (and therefore would appear to carbonate faster, rather than diluting the whole keg).
Temp vs pressure guide
I found this chart which, from the blog indicates that 3 volumes is the minimum for water, most people would like 4-5. To get that requires colder temps and higher pressures, obviously. The chart doesn't go above 30psi though.
You can use one of the attached spreadsheets to calculate CO2 pressure required at ranges outside of the commonly available charts. Getting 4 volumes at room temp (70°F) will require about 57 psi. If you put the keg in a fridge at 38°F, will require about 27 psi.

Brew on :mug:


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