With the process below, why wouldn't the yeast eat all the sugar or explode the bottle whichever comes first? How does the yeast eat the sugar to make carbonation, yet keep the soda sweet?

Directions from Homebrew4less.com:

Sprinkle 1/8 teaspoon dry yeast (Red Star preferred) in 6-oz. of warm water. Let sit undisturbed for 15 minutes then stir gently to thoroughly dissolve. While waiting for the yeast to dissolve, shake extract bottle well, mix 2-1/4 cups of sugar and 1 tablespoon of soda extract in 1 gallon of lukewarm water. Mix until sugar is completely dissolved, then add yeast mixture stirring well. Pour 1/2 of this mixture in each 2 liter soda bottle and top off each one with plain water to within 1 1/2 to 2 inches of top. Attach a resealable cap and shake well. Store bottles at room temperature, preferably between 70 and 75 degree F for 4 to 6 days. You can tell by the firmness of the bottle how your carbonation is coming along. Move to cooler area if possible for another week of aging. When fully carbonated and aged the bottle should be just about as hard as a glass bottle. At this point chill thoroughly for 24 - 48 hours before opening and enjoying.

  • Do you know what your yeast produces besides CO2? Welcome to the site!
    – Stephie
    Jul 11, 2015 at 16:24
  • Are you trying to make beer? I don't know why you'd go through with this multi-day process rather than just force carbonating with a soda-stream or similar device. You're going to get dead yeast sediments, probably some small amount of alcohol, and, since there's no boiling or sanitation process, you're probably going to get some sort of secondary contamination in the liquid. We homebrew beer... And this is, essentially, the same process... without removing the dead yeast cells (and, obviously, without the grain).
    – Catija
    Jul 11, 2015 at 17:38
  • The recipe in the OP is a lot like Alton Brown's ginger ale. I've never made it, but it has been on my list for years to try it.
    – Jolenealaska
    Jul 11, 2015 at 19:26
  • Also similar to homemade root beer recipe: nourishedkitchen.com/homemade-root-beer-recipe Jul 11, 2015 at 21:36
  • 1
    The less space left (liquid to cap) the faster the carbonation brings the contents to pressure, and the yeast dies. Jul 12, 2015 at 17:59

1 Answer 1


If you follow the process, the yeast are not cold-tolerant strains and shut down for most intents and purposes when the bottles are chilled. Plastic soda bottles also take a LOT of pressure to burst, and unlike glass you CAN gauge the pressure by feeling them (and they don't make shards if they do explode, but they sure do make a mess.)

This is pretty much the standard "extract soda carbonated with yeast" recipe.

With glass bottles (or if you don't chill them) explosions are not uncommon, and were much harder to clean up (not to mention the hazard if you happened to be in the area at the time.)

In summary, use plastic bottles only, and storing them in a big plastic tub or a room you can easily hose down into a floor drain is not a bad precaution, just in case. But there's no real hazard beyond the mess if you use plastic, so dive in and have fun. The alcohol production is trivial; the dead yeast is only in the dregs if you pour carefully.

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