How to Make Soda
Making your own soda at home is a great way to get the entire family involved in a fun and rewarding Adventure. The process is simple, the equipment minimal, and the ingredients are inexpensive. Much of the equipment and ingredients may already be in your home.
You will need:
- 5 gallon (or larger) bucket (with spigot or funnel)
- Plastic 2 liter or 20 oz bottles with caps
- 12 qt or larger stock pot
- Large spoon for stirring
- Sugar (8 cups)
- 1 packet Brewer’s yeast (champagne yeast is the most popular for soda)
- Soda Extract
- Kitchen thermometer
The Process - How to Make Soda at Home
There are many varieties of soda available. Each of the soda extracts will make 4 gallons of soda pop (smaller batches can be made by cutting quantities accordingly).
In stock pot, combine 2 gallons of water with 8 cups of sugar (2 cups per gallon of soda desired). Bring solution to a boil, stir until sugar has dissolved completely. Remove from heat and cool. Add sugar solution to bucket and top with cold water to equal 4 gallons.
Add soda extract to bucket and stir well. Make sure temperature is at 70° - 80°. Add yeast and mix thoroughly.
Transfer “soda” to bottles (this is where the spigot on the bucket comes in very handy). Cap tightly (new caps are available for purchase) and store at 70°. At this point, we are waiting for the yeast to begin consuming the sugar in the solution. When yeast eats sugar, it's by-products are alcohol and CO2(fermentation). For this step, we are waiting for enough CO2 to be produced for carbonation while watching carefully to make sure alcohol is not. This step can take 24-72 hours or more.
After waiting 24 hours, “test” for carbonation. This is where the plastic bottles make life easier. When proper carbonation levels are reached, the bottle while be firm when squeezed. If it still has a lot of give, wait 6-12 hours and check again. Once the bottles are hard, put them in the refrigerator.
Yeast is a living organism, putting the bottles in the fridge will make the yeast go dormant, halting fermentation. *be aware, when dealing with homemade soda, if removed from refrigeration for an extended period of time (as little as 6-8 hours) the yeast will “wake-up” and begin the fermentation process again.
Enjoy your homemade soda pop just as you would store-bought soda for a fraction of the price.
There are many small adjustments that can be made to change the flavor profile or calorie count of your soda. Malto Dextrin can be added to increase body, mouth feel and head retention. Spices like vanilla, wintergreen, anise and more can be added to “tweak” your flavor profile. A simple thing like changing the type of sugar being used can make a completely different soda pop. A few examples are switching from table sugar (derived from beets) to cane sugar. Another great soda sugar is honey, a combination of honey and sugar will add a lot of depth to your soda. For a diet soda pop, consider adding half of the sugar needed and supplementing the rest with a sugar substitute like splenda. Always remember that when naturally carbonating sodas, a small amount of sugar is essential for the yeast to consume in order to produce the needed CO2.
You are now ready to begin the Adventure of creating your own unique blend of craft brewed sodas at home.
Check out the Soda Making Supplies available at Adventures in Homebrewing.