Have you ever been disappointed with how flat your homemade rootbeer or soda is? After spending an hour watching rootbeer and dry ice bubble in a cooler you would expect something fizzy, sadly the concoction never lives up to expectations.
In order have carbonation strong enough to spray soda everywhere you need three things:
- Cold temperatures
- High pressure
The drink cooler plus dry ice method provides both CO2 and cold temperatures but is missing the crucial third ingredient, high pressure, and therefore makes flat soda.
Commercially, high pressure CO2 is provided by a CO2 tank and regulator setup as seen here. Unfortunately the equipment is somewhat expensive.
Another method of obtaining pressurized CO2 is yeast, sugar, and a sealed bottle. The drawback to this method is it takes 3-4 days.
Finally, and this is the extra fizzy quick cheap method, using a safety valve, sealed bottle, and dry ice. Now you probably know that a tightly sealed bottle and dry ice combine to make a powerful dry ice bomb. This is due to the dry ice building enormous CO2 pressure until the bottle ruptures. To harness this high pressure CO2 without creating an explosion, a soda bottle is fitted with a pressure relief valve.
The pressure now rises until it reaches the set point of the relief valve. The valve then continuously and safely vents the excess CO2, always keeping the bottle at the perfect carbonating pressure. This results in deliciously fizzy carbonated beverages in about ten minutes.
Here is a recipe I tried:
- 1 cup white sugar
- 10 cups cold water
- 1/4 (2 ounce) bottle root beer extract
Mix well, pour into carbonator bottle, add several chunks of dry ice, screw cap on tightly, allow 10 minutes to carbonate then enjoy.
This is how I attached the safety valve to the bottle cap:
The valve and locknut can be ordered from mcmaster.com:
- $5.26 48435K71 Extend-Life ASME Pop-Safety Valve W/Test Ring Brass, Medium Flow, 1/8 NPT Male, 60 PSI
- $1.67 50785K141 Med-Pressure Brass Threaded Pipe Fitting 1/8 Pipe Size, Locknut
Be aware that carbonated water (carbonic acid) can corrode the brass valve. Keep soda off of your safety valve and store soda capped with a regular cap.
About how much dry ice do you need? You mention several chunks… can you ever put in too much or too little?
Paul W says
You want enough dry ice to cause the valve to vent the whole time (you can hear it hissing). Too much dry ice will freeze the bottom of the drink. A few chunks equal to about the size of one egg seems to be about right.
Soda Pop says
C02 -> CO2
I really like the carbonated apple juice this makes. Great idea!
karl j says
you dont need much dry ice I have done this type of pop making but I was using 5 gal of root beer so you need a few oz by weight
Question, Out of curiosity, I like my Club Soda… can this work with just regular tap water? Or would I be better off buying Distilled? Purified? A bottled Water? Due to the mineral conent I would figure one would be better or worse amongst others. U have any idea?
Also are the valves available at like H0mE Dep0t? Or L0we$? Or a TYpe of Hardware store so u know? Or only available from the website?
It works with any type of water, the root beer was made with tap water. The amount of fizz depends on how high of pressure and how cold the water is. I was unable to find a suitable relief valve at home depot, they were all the wrong pressure. I suspect you could find one locally, something between 50-70 psi will work nicely.
Ok cool thank you. SO if i were to lets say freeze the water to just before it goes to ice or starts to ice over, then that should work nicely right?
Lucky for me, I have an @ce and a True V@lue right next door to each other. So i will look there too. If i cant find one there, then poof gonna have to order it. BUt thank you, i didnt know if the 2 major stores would actually carry one period, let alone the right one. Thank you for the heads up.
That’s right, just above freezing is ideal for maximum carbonation. I try to chill the water I’m going to use in the refrigerator overnight which leaves it at 34 degrees.
Gourmet Detective says
Great idea for different kinds of drinks. It will make fruit juices more interesting rather than the plain ones but I think this will really challenge and scary to do haha. Do you think I should wear protective glasses and such when I make this?
Apple juice is my favorite so far, it carbonates wonderfully. I wore safety glasses and worked outside the first few batches. It is a little scary at first until you get used to the hissing and popping the valve makes. Hope you have fun and let me know how it turns out!
I didnt. There is no real pressure in it if done properly. Get the right PSI valve and you will be fine. One the dry ice is broken into about they are right an egg size then all dropped in yes it does bubble and you have a few to put the top on, about 20sec before any real loss is gone before u have to add more. But if you do the put on the valve correctly and seat it right and tightened it down right, then you wont have to worry about it blowing up or fractaling all over you the walls etc. I used multiple types of containers, from plain wrap soda bottles, to coke bottles, to canda dry bottles, to the ‘simply orange’ bottles(they are thick) with the OJ in it which it does work mind you in orange juice just get the OJ to really cold just before it turns to slush and you will be set. This goes along with any ‘flat’ i guess liquids you have get it just before the liquid goes to ice and you will get great fizzy drinks.
And yes I did try this on my flat gingerale bottle(wife left the cap off during a party) and it brought my gingerale back to fizzyness, it was great.
You can wear protective goggles if you wish, but as with any soda do you wear them to open them all the time? I figure it would be the same. Handleing the dryice, well gloves are not a necc but some people are more susceptable to the cold than others, so gloves as needed? I guess? And tongs too. But if you plan on using a hammer on the dry ice to break it up to have it fit in the bottles. Yes Most def. goggles and gloves, sharp shards to fly everywhere when the bag breaks(already had that happen). Yeh yeh, i didnt have an ice pick sorry.
I’d recommend you only use soda bottles to carbonate with. Other bottles, even thick ones, are not rated for high pressures and may burst. I wash out and save 3 litier soda bottles to carbonate my fruit juices in.
So were you able to find a valve locally Odomus? It sounds like you have gotten things up and running.
Yeh prob true on the reccomendation, but the Simply Orange bottles did hold upto the 60PSI pressure that is for sure and carbonated the OJ more than I expected that is for sure.
Yeh, from AZCentral, it is a Major Plumbing and Air Compressor place out here for all sorts of small valves and parts for everything in construction and the like. Lucky me it is right down the street farther than then Ace Hardware and True Value that is for sure. But yes I did, and it works wonderfully. The Dry Ice was the biggest pain, and a 30min drive away almost 45min in traffic. I wish would someone would sell it closer than driving in traffic forever. Like a Frys or and Albertsons or A Walmart(yeh right a Walmart selling Dry Ice that will be the day). All is working good. And DOing your step by step if anyone follows the directions it is kinda fool proof.
Albertsons sells it here, next time you pick up a batch try carbonating some grapes or other fruit. I thought it was pretty fun, just watch you don’t freeze it solid.
Village Smithy says
Hey so would this retain the carbonation after you let it carbonate for 10 mins and then replace the cap with a regular bottle cap and store for a day or so? thx.
Yes, it behaves the same as store bought soda.
I really like it. it’s Great idea!
This. Is. Awesome. Going to use it to turn homebrewed wine into homebrewed champagne! Haha. One question though- Wouldn’t it be a bit safer with the 1/4″ pipe fitting rather than the 1/8″? Or will it be too big for the cap..
The 1/4″ valve is too large for two-liter caps but would probably fit the three-liter cap shown in the pictures.
Safety-wise the 1/8″, 1/4″, and 3/8″ valves are all rated at the same air flow capacity, 61 SCFM. I tested knocking over a bottle at pressure and the valve is able to vent the liquid safely.
The safety valve works only with 2 lock nuts. The way is shown in the photos with only one lock nut produces leaks because there are not enough treads in the valve to make a tight seal.
I ran into that problem. Solution: put silicone around the valve threads on both sides of the caps, then screw nut on.
I ran into leaks as well. I created a washer out of a second cap and tightened the nut down over both. This stopped the leaks nicely.
David L. says
What size drill bit did you use for the shown pop safety valve? (48435K71 Extend-Life ASME Pop-Safety Valve W/Test Ring Brass, Medium Flow, 1/8 NPT Male, 60 PSI)
3/8 drill bit
Great idea for step #2.
Now for step #1 — how do you make your own dry ice, and keep it frozen?
This looks very unsafe
So far there have been no casualties.
Geno J says
Grainger has the valve less that $10 plus shipping