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Major Nikon

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Member since: Tue Sep 13, 2011, 12:26 AM
Number of posts: 33,129

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Carbonating beverages

Since the subject of making carbonated water comes up frequently, I thought I would post details on how I do it here, with a list of supplies in case you want to do this yourself. Certainly Sodastream is one option which is certainly easier to set up. You just buy the Sodastream system and supplies and off you go. The problem with Sodastream is that the carbonators don't really last all that long and they are expensive. The large size (130L) costs $30 to exchange and $50 to buy one outright from Sodastream. Perhaps they are cheaper at other places, I'm not sure. I'm not really sure how to compare the Sodastream carbonator to say a 5lb CO2 bottle since Sodastream doesn't list the quantity of CO2 by weight. If I were to guess I'd say you're probably getting about 1lb of CO2 with the large carbonator at best which means a 5lb bottle of CO2 is going to be about 5 times more. My local home brew supply shop charges $10 to refill a 5lb CO2 bottle. So you get about 5 times more for 1/3rd the cost. The materials I'm listing will cost you roughly $125 before shipping charges. Add to this $10 to get your tank filled. So the initial cost is a bit more, but long term it's going to pay for itself, especially if you make a lot of fizzy water and I do. I love carbonated water and always keep some in the fridge. Occasionally I make my own root beer and ginger ale. If your family goes through a lot of soda and you want to make your own (using your own sweeteners), a system like this makes a lot of sense. I have a 20lb bottle and I don't think I've had it filled in over a year and the bottle is not even close to being empty plus I make a lot of fizzy water.

Here's what you need and how to do it.

Regulator:
http://www.beveragefactory.com/draftbeer/regulator/double/commercial_double_gauge_beer_co2_regulator.shtml

5lb Tank (or larger):
http://www.beveragefactory.com/draftbeer/tanks/co2/C5.shtml

Ball lock:
http://www.beveragefactory.com/draftbeer/couplers/homebrew/BLGI-MFLB.shtml

Carbonator cap (might want to buy 2-3 so you can do more bottles at once):
http://www.amazon.com/LiquidBread-The-Carbonater/dp/B0064OKADS

5/16" hose:
http://www.beveragefactory.com/draftbeer/hoses/airtubing/516BAL_beer_air_line_mfl.shtml

The squeeze clamp that comes with the hose sucks, so buy a better clamp at your local hardware store along with some tephlon tape to seal the all the fittings. That's all you need besides a wrench to tighten everything. Set the regulator to between 30-40 psi after you get the tank filled. I keep mine at 40.

You can have the tank filled at home brew shops, some liquor stores, gas distributors, and perhaps welding supply shops. Naturally the bigger tank you have, the less you'll need to fill it. You may want to check around and see how far you have to go to get it refilled before you decide on a bottle size. The carbonator cap fits both 2 liter bottles and 20 oz bottles(or any other bottle that uses the same size cap). I use coke bottles because the plastic is a bit thicker than the really cheap soda bottles. Make sure you remove the plastic ring from the bottle.

With this setup you can carbonate most anything liquid like soda, tea, water, juice, and even home brew beer. You can also recharge partially used 2 liter soda bottles so they don't go flat. Charging the bottles is pretty simple. You just push the pin on the carbonator cap and squeeze the air out of the bottle, turn on the valves, and put the ball lock valve on the carbonator cap to charge and shake the hell out of it for a couple of minutes then remove the ball lock and turn off your valves. You can drink it right away, but it gets a bit more fizzy if you let it sit for an hour or so for whatever reason. If you do it right you'll get at least as much carbonation as commercial soda.

Lots of stuff on the utubes:

Here's what you need

Regulator:
http://www.beveragefactory.com/draftbeer/regulator/double/commercial_double_gauge_beer_co2_regulator.shtml

5lb Tank (or larger):
http://www.beveragefactory.com/draftbeer/tanks/co2/C5.shtml

Ball lock:
http://www.beveragefactory.com/draftbeer/couplers/homebrew/BLGI-MFLB.shtml

Carbonator cap (might want to buy 2-3 so you can do more bottles at once):
http://www.amazon.com/LiquidBread-The-Carbonater/dp/B0064OKADS

5/16" hose:
http://www.beveragefactory.com/draftbeer/hoses/airtubing/516BAL_beer_air_line_mfl.shtml

The squeeze clamp that comes with the hose sucks, so buy a better clamp at your local hardware store along with some tephlon tape to seal the all the fittings. That's all you need besides a wrench to tighten everything. Set the regulator to between 30-40 psi after you get the tank filled. I keep mine at 40.

You can have the tank filled at home brew shops, some liquor stores, gas distributors, and perhaps welding supply shops. Naturally the bigger tank you have, the less you'll need to fill it. You may want to check around and see how far you have to go to get it refilled before you decide on a bottle size. I would venture to guess that a 5lb tank would probably charge at least 100 2 liter PEP bottles and possibly more. My 20lb tank seems to last forever and I make a lot of fizzy water. The carbonator cap fits both 2 liter bottles and 20 oz bottles(or any other bottle that uses the same size cap). I use coke bottles because the plastic is a bit thicker than the really cheap soda bottles. Make sure you remove the plastic ring from the cap.

With this setup you can carbonate most anything liquid like soda, tea, water, juice, and even home brew beer. You can also recharge partially used 2 liter soda bottles so they don't go flat. Charging the bottles is pretty simple. You just push the pin on the carbonator cap and squeeze the air out of the bottle, turn on the valves, and put the ball lock valve on the carbonator cap to charge and shake the hell out of it for a couple of minutes then remove the ball lock and turn off your valves. You can drink it right away, but it gets a bit more fizzy if you let it sit for an hour or so for whatever reason. If you do it right you'll get at least as much carbonation as commercial soda.

If you go with the cheapest setup, that's about $122 not counting shipping, tax, and the misc things like the clamp and tephlon tape. So the initial setup is more expensive, but you're not tied to sodastream for the CO2 and other supplies so in the long run it will be a lot cheaper.

Lots of stuff on the utubes:

How do you feel about Marijuana laws?

&feature=youtu.be

Here's what you'll need

Typical bottle sizes are 5, 10, 15, 20 lbs. I have a 20 lb bottle which lasts for a very long time even though I make a lot. You'll need a regulator, dual gauge with a valve preferably. Mine goes to 40 psi. I wish it went a bit higher, but 40 is fine. You'll need a hose and a ball lock connector. Other than tephlon tape and a wrench, that's it. You can google these things and you might find them cheaper. I don't recommend buying a used tank because you don't know what's been in it and they need to be inspected every 5 years (I think), or you can't get them filled. Used regulators are OK. You might find the tank and regulator locally cheaper. Check with gas companies, welding supply shops, and home brew supply shops. You may want more than one carbonator cap. I have 3. There are videos on YouTube which show how to charge your bottles. Make sure you remove the plastic ring from used PEP bottles or you wont get a good seal. This same setup can be used to charge home brew beer kegs. You can also carbonate home brew in 2 liter bottles the same way as soda. If you buy commercial soda in PEP bottles, you can recharge leftovers and they don't go flat.

http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/brewing/kegging/tubing/tubing-kits/gas-connector-kit-bl-ball-lock-version.html
http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/co2-cylinder-10-empty.html
http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/dual-gauge-regulator-w-1-4mfl-backcheck-outlet.html
http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/the-carbonator.html

I believe I can fly

These pictures aren't all that great, partly because it was hazy yesterday and partly because they were taken through the window of my plane. However, they should give you an idea of what it's like flying a small plane at low altitudes, even though pictures never do justice to the experience.

The story behind them is a bit more interesting. One of the groups I volunteer for is called the Veteran Airlift Command (VAC). We transport injured veterans and active duty service members (and their families) on various trips they need to take on general aviation aircraft. On this trip I flew to San Antonio and picked up an active duty specialist who had been wounded by an IED in Afghanistan last October. He has been recovering at the Brook Army Medical Center. His wife is giving birth to their third child tomorrow in Russellville, AR. Due to his injuries, a trip by car (~12 hours) or by commercial aircraft wasn't an option. A commercial flight would have only gotten him as far as Little Rock anyway. In my plane, the trip took just 3 hours and 21 minutes and I landed just a few miles from their home.

This picture is between San Antonio and Austin just at the start of the overcast and light rain that covered San Antonio. A few minutes later I descended through the weather and right to the runway at San Antonio International Airport.


This is what a small general aviation terminal looks like.


The rest of these were taken over Arkansas.






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