Carbonation: The Process and Its Uses

Carbonation is a word that sounds too technical to regular people. Carbonation is actually a process done to many kinds of beverages you are familiar of. For one, carbonation of beer and of course another is the carbonation of soft drinks. Of course there are other beverages that undergo this process but soft drinks and beer are the most popular amongst all.

So, what is carbonation? In layman’s term, it is a process of adding the carbon dioxide gas to any liquid. This is a tricky process and should be done with utmost care. It follows Henry’s Law or simply put, the amount of the gas in the solution (or liquid) is directly in proportion to the partial pressure of the said gas in its surrounding environment. That means in order for carbon dioxide to dissolve in a liquid solution, the surrounding pressure of carbon dioxide should also be measured to be in proportion to your desired amount of dissolved carbon dioxide. There are charts that will help you with this so you don’t need to be great in Math and Chemistry to get this right.

Methods for Carbonation
There are different methods for carbonation. But let’s focus on the two primary methods. One is the force carbonation and the other is the natural carbonation. Force carbonation is done when you pump carbon dioxide into a tank where the liquid is in. The tank or container should be closed to avoid the release of the gas or the intrusion of air coming in. You would need a regulator and follow the right pressure to get the right amount of CO2 desired for your beverage. Once again, check out the charts about this so you will get the right pressure needed. Once you reach that pressure, you must seal the tank and leave it there for a few days to complete the carbonation process.

The other method is called natural carbonation and this method lets you use priming sugar and yeast. In beer, yeast is already in the wort and by adding the priming sugar, the yeast would ingest the sugar and convert it primarily to CO2 and also a little bit of additional alcohol. This method takes weeks to complete and you also need to make sure you don’t add too much priming sugar to avoid over carbonation. This can be done in a keg or bottles. As for soft drinks, you can add a small amount of the yeast for the carbonation as well. To stop the carbonation process, simply put the bottles in the refrigerator as this will then keep the yeast dormant to avoid over-carbonation and prevent explosion of the bottles.

Benefits and Dangers
Carbonation is a great process that lets you enjoy your beverage a little bit more. Soft drinks and beer won’t be as satisfying if they are not carbonated. The carbon dioxide gives it the sparkle or fizz which makes the drink a lot more refreshing. Also, this fizz enhances the flavor of the beverage.

As for its dangers, the danger of carbonation is in the process if it isn’t done properly. You have to know about the safety of carbonation to avoid explosions of sort. Don’t add too much pressure as anything with really high buildup pressure would explode. Once done properly, this method is quite safe.

Carbonated beverages will surely stay with us for a long time. We get so addicted to this type of beverage especially when it’s hot and humid. Soft drinks and beer have been with us for many years and they will continue to be a part of our lives and for the future generations.