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Make You Own Sodas

By: Brewmaster Timotheus Zacharia von Schloss Zwilling
September 2020


Sodas, also known as short meads, are low alcohol, slightly carbonated beverages.

When making sodas you stop the fermentation early in the process by putting it in the refrigerator. The longer you let it ferment, the more alcoholic the soda will be. The refrigeration doesn’t kill the yeast, it makes it go dormant. You bring the soda back to room temperature and then bottle it.

Because the yeast was only dormant, it will wake up and start fermentation again, but because there is very little sugar left in the bottled soda it will produce a minimal amount of carbon dioxide.

This will produce enough to carbonate the soda, but not enough to explode the bottle … HOWEVER, using strong bottles with tight caps are a very good idea.

To make a non-alcoholic, or almost non-alcoholic, soda let it ferment with the yeast for 4 to 6 hours and then place in the freezer instead of the refrigerator.

Leave plenty of air space in the bottle, as the liquid will take up more space as it freezes. Freeze to a slushy consistency, check every 30 minutes to make sure you don’t freeze it solid. Freezing it solid doesn’t affect the soda but it means you have to wait for it to thaw before moving on to the next step.

Remove from freezer, bring to room temperature, and bottle as normal. These non-alcoholic sodas will last for about 3 weeks under refrigeration

You can actually make any mead recipe into a soda by following the instructions in these soda recipes.



Ginger Beer Soda

    Ingredients:

        4.5 gallons water
        10 pounds sugar
        7 ginger roots approx. 3” long by 3/4“wide, cut into inch long pieces
        1 package Montrachet yeast

    Recipe:

        Heat the water to 80-90 degrees
        Remove from heat
        Stir in sugar

        Cool down to room temperature
        Pour into a carboy
        Add the ginger and the yeast
        Shake gently to stir in the yeast
        Put on an airlock
        Let it ferment for 5 days

        Remove the airlock, cover the neck opening with foil
        Place the carboy in to the refrigerator for one week (to stop fermentation)
        Remove from the refrigerator
        Let it warm to room temperature

        Strain out the ginger roots
        Bottle in a tightly capped, strong bottle (there will be some carbonation)
        Place bottles in a cool (not cold) place and age in bottles for 2 months
        Drink within 2 months (after the aging)



Root Beer Soda

Root beer is a soda with a long history, and sassafras roots were traditionally used to make root beer.

Studies in the 1960s suggested that safrole (a chemical contained in sassafras) was carcinogenic, causing permanent liver damage in animals. Because of this, US FDA banned safrole for human consumption.

Later studies have cast uncertainty on sassafras having a similar effect on humans. And because of this some home brewers continue to use the roots in home brewing.

If you do not want to use sassafras roots for this recipe, you can use sassafras extract without worry. The extracts made for home and commercial use have the safrole removed and are approved by the FDA.

Ingredients:

    9.5 gallons water
    20 pounds sugar
    15 sassafras roots approx. 2” long by 1/2" wide
        --OR-- substitute sassafras extract (use the amount specified in the extract instructions)
    1 package Montrachet yeast

Recipe:

    Heat the water to 80-90 degrees
    Remove from heat
    Stir in sugar

    Cool down to room temperature
    Pour into a carboy
    Add the sassafras and the yeast
    Shake gently to stir in the yeast
    Put on an airlock
    Let it ferment for 5 days

    Remove the airlock, cover the neck opening with foil
    Place the carboy in to the refrigerator for one week (to stop fermentation)
    Remove from the refrigerator
    Let it warm to room temperature

    Strain out the sassafras is you used it
    Bottle in a tightly capped, strong bottle (there will be some carbonation)
    Place bottles in a cool (not cold) place and age in bottles for 2 months
    Drink within 2 months (after the aging)

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