Make your own soft drinks that are tastier, healthier, and cheaper than anything you'll find in stores! From soda water to sarsaparilla, in Homemade Root Beer, Soda & Pop, you'll find easy-to-follow instructions for more than 60 traditional and modern soft drink recipes. Your whole family can make delicious batches of old favorites and experiment with new combinations of natural ingredients to create your own refreshing recipes. You'll make fabulous, fizzy creations like: -- Old-Fashioned Root Beer -- Sarsaparilla Soda -- Birch Beer -- Virgin Islands Ginger Beer -- Lemon-Lime Soda -- Cherry Vanilla Soda -- Cream Soda -- Raspberry Shrub -- Molasses Switchel -- Coffee Whizzer -- Fruit Smoothie -- and much more!
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10/11/2006 -- I'm interested in bottling my own soda, but for now am looking at the best way to go. I know you had mentioned in a previous question the yeast method or CO2 method. Both seem expensive and time consuming. Do these carbonation drop do the trick? Say for instance I add drop mix, some sugar, then a carbonation drop and fill with water and cap. Is that's all that's needed? How much sugar is in the drops? Is there a noticeable difference in taste? Also, would you stick to recommending corn sugar for soft drinks, or is cane sugar the better route, as the cidery taste is probably not there in soft drinks.
Response From The Home Brew Store Dot Com: The CO2 option can be expensive, even using the handheld charger in lieu of the CO2 tank and fittings.
The yeast method is actually very inexpensive, but time consuming as it requires you to very carefully slip a few grains of yeast into each bottle. This is different from carbonating beer, because with beer the yeast is already in solution and you are blending sugar for the yeast to feed on. If the sugar isn't blended evenly, the results aren't too far off. With the soda, it's exactly the opposite. The sugar is in solution and you have to introduce the yeast. You can't do it in the bottling bucket because you don't have enough yeast cells, and because you risk fermentation.
Adding the carbonation drops will not have any benefit. They are concentrated sugar, but with no yeast - so you still have to add yeast.
I recommend cane sugar for the soda pop. The cidery flavor in beer comes from the fermentation, which should not take place in a properly capped soda pop bottle.
6/5/2006 -- I am interested in home brewing, but really don't know where to begin. I really enjoy dark beers such as Newcastle, Trois Pistoles, Guinness and several others. Occasionally I drink Heineken, Becks and Sam Adams. Any ideas and suggestions would be very helpful. Also what is "refermented on yeast base" referring to?
Response From The Home Brew Store Dot Com: Beginning homebrewing is actually a fairly simple process. There are some basic equipment items that you would need to get started, and the actual brewing is much like cooking a soup or stew.
Basic equipment includes a stainless steel stockpot for boiling. I can sell you an expensive one, but perfectly acceptable cheaper ones are available at Big Lots, Walmart, and other stores. 16 to 20 quarts works for extract brewing.
Other items include a bucket or carboy (large glass jug) for fermenting in, a bucket with spigot to bottle from, siphoning tools, a bottle capper, and some sort of stopper with an airlock. Some other items that are nice to have are a hydrometer (for checking specific gravities at various times in the process), a thermometer, and cleaning equipment. The True Brew, Brewers Best, or Home Brew Select beginner equipment kits all have these items, and are a great investment. Most homebrewing kits are packaged with a 5-gallon batch size as the industry standard. You will find some 2-1/2 gallon kits (like Mr. Beer), but support for the smaller sized kits is limited.
For beginners, I recommend starting out with kit beers. These are boxed or canned extract recipes that are already formulated for a particular style of beer. By following the instructions, you can brew your first batch in about an hour and a half, and be drinking it within two to three weeks. I heartily recommend the Home Brew Select line, as these are recipes that my partner and I have developed over time with much trial and error, and are quite proud of the results. Other brands that produce good beers are True Brew, Brewers Best, Muntons, and Edme, although any of the kits we list are good. We have brewed at least one of every kit we sell, and don't carry them if they don't turn out well. In addition, I can recommend a couple very good books on the subject, and our info email and toll-free number are always available for assistance.
Some recommedations for the commercial beers you've listed are:
Newcastle Brown = HBS American Presidents Brown or Munton's Connoisseur Nut Brown
Trois Pistoles - I've never had it, so I can't say
Guinness = HBS Show Me Stout or True Brew Irish Stout
Heineken = HBS Mid-continental lager
Becks = Brewmart Czech Pilsner
Sam Adams = HBS Patron Saint of Vienna Lager
Refermented on yeast base is a term used when brewers reuse the yeast from one batch to start another, rather than starting with a fresh packet of yeast each time. With careful sanitation, yeast can be cultured from batch to batch over time, eventually resulting in a mutated strain that takes on the charactersitics of the beers it has been used for. Several breweries in Belgium and Holland use this method to produce Abbey dubbels and triples.
1/19/2006 -- My local brew shop sold me a carboy and airlock to make rootbeer in. They didn't really know a lot about rootbeer making in general, and I have yet to see any instructions on using a carboy/airlock system. Will this way work? I'm thinking there will be no carbonation, but I'm not really sure how an air lock works.
Response From The Home Brew Store Dot Com: No, you do not need a carboy and airlock to make rootbeer. Using a soda pop extract in a carboy will allow fermentation, and you will wind up with a strange tasting alcoholic product.
The concept of making soft drinks is that you only allow enough fermentation to take place to carbonate the beverage without allowing enough to make alcohol. In order to do this, you would need a bottling bucket (large plastic bucket with a spigot), some siphon tubing, a bottle filler, bottles, and bottle caps.
You would mix the soda pop extract with water and sugar according to the instructions that come with the extract. Then add a pinch of champagne yeast to each bottle, and fill the bottles directly from the bucket. By capping them right away, you allow only enough fermentation to push carbon dioxide back into solution without producing any alcohol. Make sure you leave about 1 to 1-1/2 inches of air space in the top of the bottle when capping to allow for headspace, or the bottles may not carbonate correctly.
9/2/2005 -- Can you tell me how much and what type of sugar I need to make Pepsi Cola?
Response From The Home Brew Store Dot Com: Cola extracts can be blended with any basic sugar and water to make cola. Table sugar (beet or sugar cane) work best. Corn sugar is an acceptable substitute. You would need one pound of sugar for each gallon of cola.
4/22/2005 -- Do you have a kit for bottling soda pop? Do you have a 20-lb Co2 tank?
Response From The Home Brew Store Dot Com: We do have the equipment necessary to bottle soda pop. There are two ways to do it - through bottle conditioning (using yeast to carbonate the soda in the bottle) or force carbonation (using co2 to carbonate soda pop in the keg and bottle from the keg.) Bottling equipment for the first method runs about $25-$30 (bottling bucket, plastic hose with bottling wand, capper.) The bottling equipment for force carbonation is exactly the same as for beer - a co2 tank, cornelius keg, counterpressure bottle filler, hoses and connectors, and capper - total for all would be near $300.
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We currently only carry the 5-pound co2 tank. However, I can ask our supplier about the availability of a 20-pound tank. In the past, we have generally recommended using a tank-exchange service (available at most propane/natural gas dealers) due to the expense of maintaining the tanks.
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