How to use a Soda Stream to carbonate flat beer

Can you use a Soda Stream to carbonate beer?


The short answer is yes. 


The slightly longer answer is yes but it's gonna get messy if you force carbonate homebrew beer without following the advice below. 


how to carbonate beer with a soda maker


Here's how to safely and cleanly use a Soda Stream machine to carbonate flat beer

Soda Stream machines are a classic piece of kitchen equipment. If there was one thing I was envious of my mate John as a kid, it was his soda machine. After school we'd head to his house, eat mountains of hot toast and butter and wash it down with homemade red fizzy. 

It was the best. 

But now I'm an adult and I've cracked open a home brew expecting to hear that wonderous sounding FITZZZ of CO2 escaping from my beer ... and nothing. 

The sound of silence. 

And defeat. 

Or am I defeated? 

A trick to fix/fizz a flat beer is to add a fresh beer to it! It's a handy rescue to be able to open a can of beer and pour into the flat beer. 

But what if I don't have a spare beer?

The soda stream machine is starting to look pretty good eh? 

So? Shall I pour my flat beer into a Soda Stream bottle, synch it with the machine and press the bubble maker? 

Only if you are a very brave brewer. 

One simply doesn't stuff the gas into the bottle at an explosive rate. Soda is generally carbonated to at least twice the pressure of beer so do this can be a risky little game.

Otherwise, this will happen:

beer carbonation explosion


With that in mind, you may want to do your initial testing outside. Ideally, before you begin these steps your flat beer will be as chilled as possible. 

1. Transfer the flat beer into a genuine Soda Steam bottle. You do not have to have it filled to the line on the bottle - a single bottle of beer will mix with the CO2...
2. Connect the bottle properly. This is a must. If you do not, the beer proteins will connect with the CO2 in ways that will cause a beer explosion. 
3. Give the machine ONE frim press of gas and then release your finger. Do not do an extended press of the button. Such a move will greatly increase your chances of beer spillage.
4. Let the newly carbonated beer 'settle' in the machine before you release the bottle from the Soda Stream. Trust me, let it sit a bit. Your bottle may be quite foamy and fizzy. Let it settle.
5. Remove from the device and pour your beer into a cold glass. 

This is the time to assess what you have done. 

Did it work? Did you put enough gas in?

Did you put too much? (You'll have learned quite quickly if you did!)

This is where some muscle memory comes in so that you learn just how much to press the Soda Stream button. Too little, you're beer will still be flat. Too much and it will be all over the floor. 

burping beer with CO2 soda maker


Pro tip: The more you burp CO2 in your beer, the greater the chance of an explosion of foam all over the ceiling and the odd chance an over-pressurized bottle goes flying off the Soda Stream! Also, the fresher or more filled the CO2 Cannister is, the greater the rate of release of CO2 into the beer. So hold back on massive depresses of the button if you have a fresh gas bottle!

Here's a handy video lesson that guides you step by step:

 



REMEMBER TO CLEAN YOUR SODA MACHINE

Rinse off the valve of the Soda Stream with water. Beer residue can get quite icky and reduce the efficiency of the valve and impact normal making soda practices. 

What about conditioning beer with Soda Stream?

All of the above advice has been to rescue a flat beer, not as part of the consideration of carbonating a whole fermenting drum with a view to capping the newly gassed beer for conditioning. 

I honestly have no idea if this would work. So, some 'google fu' tells me you can do this. This perhaps seems counterintuitive but there we go. I venture however using a Soda Stream for full carbonation is a costly way to carbonate beer. You are probably better off priming your fermenter drum with sugar and bottling. The choice, as always Dear Brewer, is yours. 

Fair Warning: The Soda Stream instruction manual CLEARLY states to not use their device for anything other than making soda water. You have been warned.  

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