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Old 01-26-2013, 11:23 AM   #16
Rich Guano
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aqualady View Post
Here is how I did it... warm tap water in 2 liter bottle, added 2 cups of sugar and 1 tsp of baking soda, shook bottle till sugar dissolved, then added 1/4 tsp of yeast, shook again, then filled bottle (about 3-4 inches from top), shook a second or two more, then placed it. I have been seeing tiny bubbles throughout the bottle coming from the bottom upto the top, so as stated above I am hoping by morning/noon all has turned out well....
Why do you add baking soda? What is its purpose?

How did your generator do overnight, is it producing sufficient CO2 this morning?

You can get away with allot less sugar 1/2 cup or less per liter. What were are looking at is how much sugar is left over that you end up throwing away with the alcohol at the end of the process.
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Old 01-26-2013, 12:43 PM   #17
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I activated the yeast in a bowl before adding it to the reactor to speed up the process. I would add a teaspoon each of yeast and sugar into a small bowl, half-fill with warm tap water (no dechlorinator), and stir (to aerate) frequently for about 10-15 minutes. While I'm waiting, I would put 1-2 cups of sugar into my 1-gallon generator, a couple teaspoons of baking soda (to stabilize the pH), hot water to dissolve everything, shake bottle, cold water to get the temp the same as what's in the bowl, pour the contents of the bowl into the generator when it's ready, then add additional warm water until it's about 3/4 filled. I think I was running three of these on my 90g, switching out one per week, when I was still doing DIY a couple years ago.
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Old 01-26-2013, 01:58 PM   #18
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I don't understand the use of Baking Soda. Baking Soda will raise the ph of a solution. Yeast prefers a lower ph (more acidic) environment. Are you trying to regulate the growth rate of the yeast, because the yeast growth is already hindered by living at room temperature. Yeast would prefer 90 degrees temperature and a ph of 4 to 6, and can tolerate much less.
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Old 01-26-2013, 02:08 PM   #19
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Just located this study that indicates CO2 production is greatest at a ph of 7.

http://www.pieternieuwland.nl/Menu_I...o_Wouter_A.pdf
v
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Old 01-26-2013, 02:52 PM   #20
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from what I've read in the past, people add baking soda to buffer the acidity of the alcohol when it builds up. I personally don't use it.
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Old 01-26-2013, 03:26 PM   #21
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I add baking soda because so many others do, and the first time I tried it I had good production for about 3 weeks, so I didn't want to change anything. The same is true for my using 1 cup of sugar per liter of water. I find sugar pretty cheap, so saving half the cost of it doesn't do much for me if I think it might reduce the life of my CO2 production.

Doing hobbyist research is enjoyable. And, it can add a lot to everyone's knowledge. Someone could do some experimenting with the amount of sugar per liter, the amount of yeast per liter, the shake it or don't shake it method, how much baking soda per liter, etc. to find what seems to be the best in terms of quantity of CO2 and how long that production continues. It would take getting several 1 or 2 liter bottles set up, with bubble counters, so you could run tests with everything else the same, but different amounts of sugar, etc. Does someone want to volunteer?
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Old 01-26-2013, 05:28 PM   #22
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I have done something close to experimenting when I first started diy co2.
here are my results.
all batches are in 2 liter bottles. and shaken up.

first batch:
1cup sugar
1/4 tsp yeast
no baking soda
results: 3 weeks of co2, first week about 2-4 bps, second week 1-3 bps, and third week stuggles to get 1 bps

2 cups sugar
1/4 tsp yeast
no baking soda
results: first week 3-5 bps, second week 1-2, and third week struggles

1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp yeast
no bs
results: first week 3-5 bps, second week struggles towards end

2 c sugar
1/2 tsp yeast
no bs
results: first week 5+ bps, second week starts at 1-2 bps, and by the end of week all done

results with baking soda:
all results made the reaction occur faster, more stable, and slightly longer.
all baking soda tests where done with 1/2 tsp baking soda, which if my math is correct makes the water approx. 40 dkh, unable to test ph of solution on all tests.

all experiments need to be recreated by a second or third source to confirm my results. I have since settled on 1c sugar 1/4 tsp yeast and 1/2 tsp baking soda

I have heard that you could use baking powder but am unsure on this.
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Old 01-26-2013, 07:24 PM   #23
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I add a pinch of KH2PO4 for some minerals, just in case the yeast needs a bit more than sugar.

Basic ratios:
1 c white granulated sugar
1 qt. water
1/8 tsp per yeast
TINY pinch of KH2PO4

I make a big batch all at once in a production line:

1) Yeast in tap-hot water (water heater is set at 110*F). Stir gently a few times as the yeast dissolves.
2) Heat about half the water on the stove, turn off heat. Stir in sugar until it dissolves. Water is cooling off, too. Add only a generous pinch of KH2PO4 to the whole batch.
3) Put less than half the water (cold) into all the bottles.
4) Pour in the hot sugar water. It is not so hot to cause problems with the plastic bottles, and pouring it into the cold water cools it off even more, so it is not too hot for the yeast.
5) Add yeast.
6) Use remaining water to top off any bottles. I also use it to rinse the pot the sugar water was in, and the yeast bowl so that all the ingredients end up in the bottles.

All bottles (most are 2 liter) are filled to the bottom of the shoulder or the top of the label (if the label remains)

Swirl gently, do not get the mixture into the cap or the tubing.

Production is about what others are showing: About 24 hours or less to ramp up, a week of good production, another week of so-so production, then a week of trailing off. I find during that last week if I gently swirl the bottle each morning the production is a bit better, but it does not last.

I sit the bottles on top of or near the lights, on top of the tank. Heat during the day (lights on) might make the yeast grow better, cooler at night. I know, timing is all wrong. Need to heat it several hours before lights on.
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Old 01-26-2013, 08:11 PM   #24
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One question: Why fast rise yeast instead of standard? I've never tried it but have been warned off it, saying it will give a sharper peak in production.

And comments: Always remember, we're not making bread here. If bread fails to rise within the expected time, you have a disaster. If DIY CO2 takes an extra hour or two to start producing, no big deal. If you kill some of the yeast, probably also no big deal. I bought a bottle of "yeast nutrient" once at someone's recommendation, then read the label - seems it's just dead yeast, which the live yeast feed off of to make more live yeast. No wonder we often get away with chlorinated water, non-optimal temperatures, lack of "proofing", old yeast, etc.

I just put sugar, yeast, and baking soda in the bottle, add lukewarm water, shake the dickens out of it, and away it goes. The time to start varies, but is otherwise reliable as clockwork. Only two yeast failures - one when I tried skipping the shake, and the other when I tried a really tiny amount of yeast.

I think the majority of failures are due to two things.

Temperature extremes is one. Some people apparently think 120F is lukewarm. I consider this evidence for aliens masquerading as humans on Earth. If I'm wrong, and these folks aren't aliens, I pray they never need to warm a baby bottle.

And leaks, which I've had more of. No glue or caulk adheres well to polyethylene (bottle caps), and only slightly better to vinyl, so better to use glueless methods. And don't swap caps. For example, I tried swapping a Mountain Dew cap onto a Diet Coke bottle, because I decided I wanted a clear bottle instead of green, and the Dew cap was already drilled. It looked compatible, and felt right going on, but absolutely would not seal.
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Old 01-28-2013, 03:34 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkCobra View Post
One question: Why fast rise yeast instead of standard? I've never tried it but have been warned off it, saying it will give a sharper peak in production.

And comments: Always remember, we're not making bread here. If bread fails to rise within the expected time, you have a disaster. If DIY CO2 takes an extra hour or two to start producing, no big deal. If you kill some of the yeast, probably also no big deal. I bought a bottle of "yeast nutrient" once at someone's recommendation, then read the label - seems it's just dead yeast, which the live yeast feed off of to make more live yeast. No wonder we often get away with chlorinated water, non-optimal temperatures, lack of "proofing", old yeast, etc.

I just put sugar, yeast, and baking soda in the bottle, add lukewarm water, shake the dickens out of it, and away it goes. The time to start varies, but is otherwise reliable as clockwork. Only two yeast failures - one when I tried skipping the shake, and the other when I tried a really tiny amount of yeast.

I think the majority of failures are due to two things.

Temperature extremes is one. Some people apparently think 120F is lukewarm. I consider this evidence for aliens masquerading as humans on Earth. If I'm wrong, and these folks aren't aliens, I pray they never need to warm a baby bottle.

And leaks, which I've had more of. No glue or caulk adheres well to polyethylene (bottle caps), and only slightly better to vinyl, so better to use glueless methods. And don't swap caps. For example, I tried swapping a Mountain Dew cap onto a Diet Coke bottle, because I decided I wanted a clear bottle instead of green, and the Dew cap was already drilled. It looked compatible, and felt right going on, but absolutely would not seal.

+100000

Just wanted to add that using a hot screwdriver tip or soldering iron to make a hole with a 1/16 to 1/8" smaller diameter than tubing creates a better seal
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Old 01-28-2013, 04:21 AM   #26
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I wouldn't sweat the 120 F thing too much- it's more to help the sugar dissolve than anything to do with aseptic technique. Among other things, the vessel isn't sterile, the inoculum isn't pure, and 120 F isn't going to do much for getting rid of bacteria or mold in any case.

In order to minimize the chance of mold contaminants, just work quickly and minimize the time you have the bottle opening pointed upward toward the open air and the amount of time the sugar/buffer mixture sits out. Mold is probably the one thing you should worry about, especially in humid environments.

While alcohol is definitely an issue toward the end of the fermentation run, weak organic acid build up and changes in osmolarity are just as much of a problem for the yeast. As others have mentioned in their recipes, try a little baking soda and a pinch of salt.

Laying the bottle on its side will help with gas exchange, as will not overfilling it. Try to shoot for no more than 1/2 full, 1/3 full if you keep the bottle vertical instead of tipped horizontally.

Don't even bother washing out the old bottle or changing the culture as long as its healthy. Just dump out most of the old liquid and pour in the new stuff. If you leave some residue in the bottom of the bottle, there will be plenty of yeast left.

As for the bottles, I shrink the gas separator bottle down to thicken the plastic. If your dishwasher has a sanitize option, that should be enough to shrink it. I'm currently using a shrunken 12 oz Dr. Pepper bottle for that and a Schweppes Ginger Ale bottle for the fermentation vessel. The walls on the latter are thicker. For connectors, I'm using Foremost bulkhead fittings sealed with GE silicone caulk (the kind without the mildew inhibitors, as the chemicals GE uses work on yeast too). The bottles themselves sit in a plastic tub lined with old hand towels to absorb the gunk if and when there's some sort of catastrophic failure. I used to work with organisms that grew optimally at 30 atmospheres of pressure and 105C, so I'm probably overly paranoid in that regard.

Last edited by flc; 01-28-2013 at 04:25 AM.. Reason: http://www.qsl.net/w2wdx/aquaria/diyco2.html
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Old 01-28-2013, 04:00 PM   #27
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Just to demonstrate how non-sensitive DIY CO2 is to specific techniques:

Quote:
Originally Posted by flc View Post
I wouldn't sweat the 120 F thing too much- it's more to help the sugar dissolve than anything to do with aseptic technique. Among other things, the vessel isn't sterile, the inoculum isn't pure, and 120 F isn't going to do much for getting rid of bacteria or mold in any case.

In order to minimize the chance of mold contaminants, just work quickly and minimize the time you have the bottle opening pointed upward toward the open air and the amount of time the sugar/buffer mixture sits out. Mold is probably the one thing you should worry about, especially in humid environments.
I have never seen mold in any of my DIY CO2 bottles, and I also never make any effort to avoid it.

Quote:
While alcohol is definitely an issue toward the end of the fermentation run, weak organic acid build up and changes in osmolarity are just as much of a problem for the yeast. As others have mentioned in their recipes, try a little baking soda and a pinch of salt.

Laying the bottle on its side will help with gas exchange, as will not overfilling it. Try to shoot for no more than 1/2 full, 1/3 full if you keep the bottle vertical instead of tipped horizontally.
I always fill the bottle up to where it starts to neck down or a bit higher. I have never experienced foaming of the solution, nor any problems from having the high water level. The reason I do this is to minimize the amount of air in the bottle so I get more nearly pure CO2 sooner.

If we were to keep the bottles upside down, of course with the CO2 tube long enough to reach the bottom of the bottle, that would eliminate any CO2 leakage at the bottle cap connections. The tiny amount of leak of the solution shouldn't be a problem. (just think about this for awhile!)

Quote:
Don't even bother washing out the old bottle or changing the culture as long as its healthy. Just dump out most of the old liquid and pour in the new stuff. If you leave some residue in the bottom of the bottle, there will be plenty of yeast left.
I dump the contents, do a small flush with about 1/8 full bottle of water, shaking it good to remove the residue. New yeast is cheap, at 1/2 tsp per bottle filling.

Quote:
As for the bottles, I shrink the gas separator bottle down to thicken the plastic. If your dishwasher has a sanitize option, that should be enough to shrink it. I'm currently using a shrunken 12 oz Dr. Pepper bottle for that and a Schweppes Ginger Ale bottle for the fermentation vessel. The walls on the latter are thicker.
Carbonated beverage bottles are made to withstand pretty high pressures, so there is little chance that they will rupture from our use of them for our form of carbonated beverage.
Quote:
For connectors, I'm using Foremost bulkhead fittings sealed with GE silicone caulk (the kind without the mildew inhibitors, as the chemicals GE uses work on yeast too). The bottles themselves sit in a plastic tub lined with old hand towels to absorb the gunk if and when there's some sort of catastrophic failure. I used to work with organisms that grew optimally at 30 atmospheres of pressure and 105C, so I'm probably overly paranoid in that regard.
My DIY system finally developed enough tiny leaks so it quit working. Each connection of hose to bottle has always had a very tiny leak, so I suspect those finally got big enough to shut down production. If I decide to do this again I will also try bulkhead fittings to eliminate that source of leakage.
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Old 01-28-2013, 05:01 PM   #28
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My DIY system finally developed enough tiny leaks so it quit working. Each connection of hose to bottle has always had a very tiny leak, so I suspect those finally got big enough to shut down production. If I decide to do this again I will also try bulkhead fittings to eliminate that source of leakage.
I drill the hole the exact size of the tubing. Cut the end of the tubing flat instead of at an angle. Push it through the hole just a little bit. Then take the plastic adapter from a pack of those cheap white disposable foam aerators, and shove the tapered end into the tubing hard, expanding the tubing inside the hole. Haven't had a single leak at the hose-to-bottle connection since I started doing this.
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Old 01-28-2013, 05:06 PM   #29
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I just use the put everything in the bottle and shake method, works fine for me. When I change bottles I usually make the replacement bottle a couple days ahead to give the reaction time to stabilize.

I've tried the non glue method, but there was always some small leak somewhere that made keeping a constant pressure a little difficult. Lots of hot glue and the plastic air line connectors have done the trick for me.
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Old 01-29-2013, 03:01 AM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkCobra View Post
I drill the hole the exact size of the tubing. Cut the end of the tubing flat instead of at an angle. Push it through the hole just a little bit. Then take the plastic adapter from a pack of those cheap white disposable foam aerators, and shove the tapered end into the tubing hard, expanding the tubing inside the hole. Haven't had a single leak at the hose-to-bottle connection since I started doing this.
A photo showing exactly what you are referring to would be very good
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