Force carbonation is one carbonation method. Alternatively, you can employ the natural carbonation method. However, an increasing number of individuals are choosing force carbonation due to its ease, despite the slightly higher cost. When force carbonating, it is crucial to possess a CO2 tank, which can be purchased, rented, or borrowed. The key is to ensure you have a CO2 source to effectively infuse carbon dioxide into your desired liquid.
CO2 tanks and force carbonation truly go hand in hand. However, there are alternative methods for accomplishing force carbonation at home, even without a CO2 tank. One cost-effective approach involves combining vinegar or natural lemon juice with caustic soda in a container, and then connecting tubing from that container to the one where you will be carbonating your desired liquid. It's worth noting that the use of vinegar may impart a vinegar-like taste to the drink, so opting for lemon juice can yield a similar carbonation effect without altering the flavor profile.
Carbonation should not be taken lightly as it can be extremely dangerous. It is important to remember that you are working with a pressure tank and introducing gas into a sealed container. Consider blowing up a balloon - if you add too much air, the balloon will burst. The same principle applies to carbonation in a sealed container. Regardless of how sturdy the container may be, if too much gas is added, it will eventually give in and explode. While a popping balloon only produces a sound and no serious damage, dealing with thicker sealed containers is a whole different story. Fragments of the container's material can be forcefully propelled into the air, causing significant damage. Additionally, the noise produced in such situations can be quite loud.
There are handy CO2 tanks that you can use, particularly if you prefer using them at home. These small tanks contain enough gas to carbonate multiple bottles of soda, and you can easily get them refilled at local gas refilling stations where CO2 is available. Finding these stores is not a challenge as CO2 is also commonly used for air guns, attracting a large number of enthusiasts. However, it is essential to ensure that any CO2 tank you use has a regulator to monitor the pressure correctly.
Some individuals use the observation technique by squeezing PET bottles to determine the CO2 levels. If the bottle cannot be squeezed, it indicates an excessive amount of CO2 and signals the need to stop carbonation. Although this method might be effective, it can still be hazardous, particularly for beginners. With experience, you will soon learn to recognize the signs of sufficient pressure and when it exceeds the safe limit. For those starting out, it is imperative to have a regulator paired with your CO2 tank.