Make Soda Yourself With Yeast, Sugar & Bottles
Make soda yourself. Did you know that you can do it yourself? People have all sorts of skills and abilities for the sake of preparedness. But I found this one to be interesting when one of our MSB readers emailed me this: How to Make Your Own Soda for TEOTWAWKI.
Guest article by ‘Peanut Gallery’
Several months ago I embarked on a journey to make soda. After my first failed attempt to make soda, I spent many, many hours in research. I have concluded there are three ways to make soda.
-with yeast & sugar in 2 liter plastic bottles
-with yeast & sugar and Kombucha glass bottles
The first being the most expensive as it involves CO2 to carbonate the soda. Besides being expensive you would also need to be able to acquire CO2 after the SHTF. I scrubbed that idea immediately.
The whole idea for me is to make it a level 4 skill on the preparedness scale. Having to acquire something that may or may not be available leaves you open to failure.
The next option was to make your soda with the yeast and whatever flavoring you plan on using with sugar and water. Then put the mixture in a 2 liter plastic bottle and put the cap on tight. Once the bottle is very firm, the soda is ready.
My experience with plastic bottles has not been favorable. You might be able to use this method for a year or more until the bottle fails.
The third method is from my own testing. I use glass bottles with the swing top cap. Since I have been making Kombucha and beer I already had the glass bottles. These are 16-ounce bottles.
Easy Cap Kombucha Bottles – 16 oz.
When making soda use champagne yeast as it is a very light yeast and you won’t taste it in the finished product. You won’t need a lot of yeast to make soda. I am still working with my first envelope of yeast.
Lalvin EC-1118 Champagne Yeast
“Level-4 is the ultimate in preparedness. To transition from being supplied and secured for 1 year to actually being relatively (and truly) self-sustaining is huge, and VERY difficult.”
The above quote was from Ken’s article from May 23. I am going to show you how to make it self-sustaining.
After all the research, I concluded that the safest way to make soda is to make seltzer first. Then like the soda stream you add your seltzer to a concentrated soda flavor.
To make seltzer, first put one level teaspoon of sugar in each bottle. Please use a measuring spoon as this is the most critical part, too much sugar and you could have a dangerous situation on your hands, not enough and it won’t be fizzy enough. Make sure it is a level spoonful.
Then fill the bottle with lukewarm water leaving 2″ of air.
Next take a pinch of yeast and sprinkle it on top. Then seal it and shake it. Don’t worry about not using allot of yeast. Once those little granules become active they will reproduce more yeast.
Now just set your bottles aside somewhere where the sun won’t hit the bottle.
Over the next week or two you will notice that the water is now cloudy. This is normal as the yeast explodes in population and they are all searching for and consuming the sugar.
You will know when your seltzer is ready when the water clears again.
As the sugar is consumed the yeast will go dormant and settle to the bottom of the bottle. You will see a layer of what looks like white dust in the bottom of the bottle. This is the yeast settling. That is why I like clear bottles.
Now you can drink it as seltzer or add it to a concentrated flavoring to make a soda. I made ginger ale by mincing fresh ginger and simmering it with water for half an hour then sweetening it with honey. I only needed to add about 2 tablespoons of this to the seltzer to transform it. I also purchased a couple of premade concentrates to try as well. Just remember, the less concentrate you use, the more carbonated your soda will be.
Now you’re probably wondering how is this a level 4 skill. First of all, I experimented with using sugar, maple syrup, and honey. They all worked fine to carbonate the water. You will use a level spoonful regardless of which sweetener you use. Some of you may have a renewable source of sweetener such as honey bees, others make maple syrup.
When you are out of yeast you can leave about a half of an inch of seltzer in the bottom of the bottle when you open it and just refill it with water and whatever sweetener you are going to use and that is it. There will be enough yeast left in the bottle that they will once again take over.
I was going to try and experiment with larger bottles however, after I had made several 16 oz. bottles I noticed that once opened the fizz doesn’t hold up as well as commercially made soda. So I think the 16 oz is probably the best size as you can drink it in one sitting.
A couple of notes: If you have city water, make sure you allow your water to sit for 24 hours to allow the chlorine to evaporate, as it will kill your yeast.
Next make sure that your water is not too warm when adding the yeast. Too warm and it will kill your yeast.
The time for each bottle to be ready varies. Amount of yeast used, and ambient temperature of the room all play a part in how fast the yeast works. The average is about 2 1/2 weeks.
This sounds like a great winter project. Are the ingredients available on Amazon? I have no idea where I would find champagne yeast and flavoring.
Thanks for the article.
@Pieface, FYI The links (for the Champagne Yeast and Jars) are right in the article. Curious for more recommendations of flavoring however…
I haven’t had a chance to experiment with different flavors as much as I would have like, but I have to juggle the use of the bottles between soda and Kombucha. Also I think flavors are a personal choice. I figured making the seltzer was the hardest part to work out. I really wanted to get that part out there for people, and then they can experiment with their own choices.
At what point in the process do you add flavoring?
Once you open the seltzer you add the seltzer and flavoring to your glass. Adjust to taste, and drink. If your flavoring contains a sweetener do not add it to the bottle and seal as the yeast will consume the sugar making even more co2 and more pressure will build in the bottle, making it dangerous.
Sorry, I missed that. My eyes are trained to skip over anything that might be an ad etc.
If you’re not into experimenting with flavoring, there are quite a few concentrates out there made for soda stream. I bought one to try. It was quite good.
Thats a good idea they probably have along shelf life. You can buy root beer extract too. Sounds like a good fall, winter project.
Vanilla creame soda
Excellent article! :)
You made it sound do-able.
What a range, from people arguing over liberal preppers to makin yer own sasparilla,,,,
When brewing other delicious tasty beverages such as beer. Be sure to lower the amount of table sugar per 12 oz. bottle. About 1/8 teaspoon is sufficient due to the fact that your brewed beer will continue to ferment & mature inside the bottle after primary and secondary fermentation cycles have completed. Under long term storage I have noticed some of my higher octane beers & honey meads have significantly increased their carbonation over a year in storage. To the point that you may get over carbonation. Your beer will come out of the bottle all fizzy head.
I haven’t had a bottle blowup on me yet. That should be fun when it does happen… it is only a matter of time.
Love the article.
As a Home Brewer and person of ‘odd talents’ I also make 90% of my own Sodas. I do a little differently than your process though, and YES I have had Beer and Soda explode in storage, so take heed to my method and make sure you have room in a Refrigerator for Sodas, not so critical for beer.
I like the ‘Swing Top’ bottles also, I happen to use the one liter size, recapping the bottle and keeping it refrigerated seems to help retain the ‘fizz’.
For flavoring I do buy the extracts from a local Brew Supply House, ya can get them on Amazon also. I particularly enjoy the Hires Root-Beer; one small bottle of extract, 5 pounds of sugar, 5 gallons of water, 1/2 packet of yeast (I reuse a LOT of yeast) will yield ya a little over 5 gallons of brew. I simply rehydrate the yeast, and add everything together in a large SS pot, Bottle to within 2” of the top and cap, let sit at room temps for about 2 weeks, then refrigerate. If you don’t refrigerate it WILL explode after a while because the yeast has basically an unlimited amount of sugar, unlike Beer that one ‘ferments’ all the sugar into alcohol before ya bottle it.
Hint; make sure you rehydrate the yeast in warm water before you add it to Sugar Water, if you don’t the Sugar will coat the Yeast Cells, rupture the cell walls, and kill about 50% of them before you even get started.
I have tried making Ginger-Beer with real ground up Ginger, works GREAT! Make sure you keep the Ginger stirred up as you fill the bottles.
I have used Honey for Sodas, once you do that you’ll NEVER go back to sugar… HAHAHAHA
I have to laugh a little, Yeast and Sugar in water make the CO2 for the ‘Fizz’, but it also makes Alcohol, CO2 is the ‘by-produce’ of fermentation by which your carbonating the water…. I always wondered why I liked my Fathers Root-Beer so much LOLOL
Lastly I ‘keg’ a lot of beer in old Pepsi Kegs (5 gallon) makes great size for Sodas, but ya need the equipment to extract the Soda from the Kegs, BUT when I do it in kegs, I bypass the Yeast and just pressurize the mix with straight CO2 at about 15# for a few days, and poof, it’s done.
After the “collapse” and society has to start over
We here are looking forward to your grand opening of NRP’s home-brew and soda shop
Blue can advertise for ya! I foresee that beloved hound on your labels, whattaya think?
PS Your grandpa’s root beer sounds soooo good! What a memory for you :)
Oops your Father’s rootbeer ;)
Thinking I could use the Orange Animas River Water and make a GREAT Orange Soda…. HAHAHAHA
Call it “Glow In The Dark Soda” Gata-Love-It :-)
Sounds super easy. Is the seltzer shelf stable or does it need to be refrigerated to arrest fermentation?
When I make ginger beer, I need to keep it in the fridge or I get “explosive” results. Having a shelf stable “base” to work from would be brilliant.
I think it’s just the amount of sugar–once the sugar is gone the fermentation stops. So limit the amount of sugar and it won’t explode. Theoretically. I was reading something a while ago that said no more than 1/8 t per bottle, whether sugar, honey, whatever.
The ‘Seltzer’ should be shelf stable for quite awhile, without refrigeration, for there is a limited amount of Sugar to ferment, and hence will (theoretically) not over pressure the bottles. Basically the same as Beer.
Followed your advice and ordered 4 #10 cans of dehydrated water for my soda thinking it would be more pure. – what a mistake – from Amazon and all were past their best before dates. But they did state on the cans that the contents were from the Animas River 10 miles south of Durango.
I can NOT believe that Amazon ship past Best-By dates, unbelievable….. I would request a full refund and return ASAP!
Thanks Sheperdess and NRP. I do enjoy dabbling in the kitchen. I think it’s the mad scientist in me. I really wanted to wait to do the article until I had experimented with more flavors but I feel things are getting close so I wanted to make sure I got this information out there. It’s a starting point to get people to try something they may never have thought of trying.
I don’t usually comment but I had to this time.
I’ve made ginger beer before, starting with a ginger bug. The bug is easy to make. I got the recipe from “Wild Fermentation” by: Sandor Elix Katz. If you’re interested the recipe is on page 139. Very easy. Very sustainable, very good!
You could make this with ginger you grew yourself and never have to buy anything. I have added the bug to fruit juice. Very Tasty. You only want to ferment the juice a couple of days or you will have too much carbonation.
One more thing. I just want to say how much I enjoy all of your comments! I really enjoy this site!
Good to hear from you Milk Maid. Never heard of ginger bug before, thanks for sharing.
Oh the things you can learn on this site!
It’s a good place to “be” hope to hear from you again :)
That looks like a good book Milk Maid. I will add it to my want list. I also never heard of the ginger bug. I do love ginger in all forms. I am also just getting started with fermented foods.
Why in the world would you make soda (not good for you) when your half way to BEER? Beer is also one of the major food groups, you know the fun group. As Homer Simpson said ” I’ll have my end of the world with a six of cold Duffs”
Some of us do not drink that stuff…….It might be good in pancakes/waffles or homemade bread. I take root beer over beer any day.
WHAT???? Say it ain’t so LOLOL. Interestingly enough though, the Spitzer and the Kombouch both contain a slight amount of alcohol. Yeast and Sugar ferment to make alcohol the by product is the CO2 that corbonates the water. The Scobe and sugar in Kombouch do the same thing to make the sour. :-) :-) ;-)
Good! More for me. When it all goes down a few bottles of homemade beer and a little shine is going to be worth a whole lot more than a bottle of pop. Check the book of John, Yeshua first miracle was turning water into wine. He must not have been a Baptist as he danced at the wedding feast also. Kind of a Jewish thing we have done for a long time.
I’m a bit late in replying to your post on DIY soda, but here goes. You can make homemade ginger ale without the yeast. All you need is fresh ginger root, sugar and a bit of molasses and vanilla. There are recipes online. The process isn’t hard, it just takes time. It takes something like five days to brew up the starter, then another three to five days to brew in the bottle.
We used to make it all the time in the winter (when there were fewer outdoor chores to do). I thought it tasted great and the natural fizz was refreshing AND entertaining. We even used the starter to make fermented/fizzy apple cider. Great stuff. Need to get to doing that again.
— Mic Roland