How To Make Naturally Carbonated Soda At Home

Step #1 "Soften" your yeast by dissolving in a cup of lukewarm (body temperature) water for 5 - 15 minutes. This should be thoroughly mixed up before adding to the rest of the ingredients. For best results, use fresh champagne or dried beer yeast. If you're in doubt about the freshness of the yeast, do not use it! Bread yeast will make your soft drinks taste "yeasty" or "bready," and may not settle out well and pack down firmly.

Step #2 Shake extract bottle well. Combine extract with sugar and lukewarm water. At this point you may wish to "play" with the recipe by increasing the amount of extract or sugar per gallon. Adjust the proportions to taste. However, the one critical proportion is the amount of yeast per gallon. Do not exceed the recommended amounts!

Step #3 Now mix the "yeast slurry" with the extract/sugar water. This should be stirred thoroughly to insure that the yeast is evenly dispersed throughout the beverage. Otherwise, some bottles may carbonate very rapidly while others take considerably longer.

Step #4 Sanitize your bottles. Use either: 1 oz. unscented bleach per gallon water for 10 minutes or 2 capfuls of iodophor per 5 gallons for 5 minutes. Note: bottles must be clean before sanitizing. Unless you have some reason to suspect the quality of your tap water, we recommended giving the bottles a quick rinse with warm to hot tap water after sanitation. Now fill your bottles, leaving 1 - 2 inches of headspace in each bottle. Seal with caps.

Step #5 Age soda at room temperature for 3 - 4 days before cooling. You may wish to "check" the carbonation level before proceeding. This can be done by simply chilling a bottle and sampling. An alternative is to bottle at least some soda in re-used plastic 16 - 67 oz. PET commercial soda bottles and screwing the cap back on. When your homemade soda becomes carbonated, these plastic bottles become very hard. Under any circumstances, as soon as your homemade soda is carbonated, it must be refrigerated! Otherwise, it will gush upon opening (at best) or it may even explode! For best results, age the soda in the refrigerator for 1 - 2 weeks. This will allow the flavors to meld and the yeast sediment to firmly pack down on the bottom of the bottles. This slight yeast deposit is a natural result of the fermentation process and is not harmful in any way, but some people find the flavor objectionable. For this reason, it is best to pour carefully out of the bottle so as to leave most of the yeast deposit behind. Again, for best results, refrigerate your soda prior to opening.

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Amount to
Be Made
Yeast Amount
Extract
(or to suit taste)
Sugar
(or to suit taste)
Water
1 gallon 1/8 tsp. 1 TBS. (1/2 oz.) 2 cups (~1 lb.) fill to 1 gallon
2 gallons 1/4 tsp. 2 TBS. (1 oz.) 4 cups (~2 lb.) fill to 2 gallon
4 gallons 1/2 tsp. 2 oz. 8 cups (~4 lb.) fill to 4 gallon

***Please note that Zatarain’s comes in 4 oz. bottles, so double the recommended amount of extract.

For a heavenly variation on root beer, add a tablespoon of vanilla extract along with the root beer extract.  Also, note that some customers have had very good results with adding 4 - 8 oz. of malto-dextrin per 4 - 5 gallons to the mix to enhance the body & mouthfeel.  To visit the soft drink section of our catalog, go to: Soft Drink Supplies

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Testimonials

 
LOCATION
Stella Link Shopping Center (next door to La Michoacana - O'Reilly Auto Parts at the other end)
9223 Stella Link
Houston, TX 77025
Phone: 713-668-9440
 
STORE HOURS
Monday - Wednesday 10 - 6
Thursday 10 - 7
Friday 10 - 7
Saturday 10 - 5
Sunday 12 - 4
HOLIDAY HOURS
So that our employees can enjoy holidays with family and friends, we close for the following holidays during the year:
New Year’s Day (January 1)
Easter (variable Sunday in either March or April)
Memorial Day (last Monday in May)
Independence Day (July 4)
Labor Day (first Monday in September)
Thanksgiving Day (4th Thursday of November)
Christmas Eve & Christmas Day (December 24 & 25)

Obviously, our website is available 24/7, so you can shop at your convenience anytime, even when we are closed!

Loyal DeFalco’s Customers - Over the years, we’ve had some unhappy customers who arrive after we have closed for the day and counted out our register.  This is unfortunate for everybody.  It’s unfortunate for the customer who has driven a long way through traffic only to arrive too late. It’s also unfortunate for us, because it puts our staff in a position of taking time out of their personal time to accommodate tardy customers. “I’ll be there is five minutes!” has turned into ten, fifteen, and twenty minutes.  This is not fair to our employees. Yes, it’s hard to believe, but they have lives outside of our business.  If you think you are going to be running late, try emailing your order to us in advance and then give us a ring to alert us of it.  We’ll try to accommodate your needs while still maintaining some balance for our staff.  Thank you!
 
 

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OUR STORY

DeFalco's opened its doors in the Rice University Village in June of 1971 in the wake of a home winemaking boom.  The original proprietor, Frank DeFalco, had an uncle, Dom DeFalco, who had opened a similar establishment in Ottawa, Ontario a few years earlier, and Frank leaned on his uncle for advice. Getting the doors open was no minor feat as Frank was obliged to go to Austin to get the legality of making wine at home clarified.  This delayed the opening by several months.  Technically, the aspiring amateur winemaker was required to contact the Texas Alcohol Beverage Commission and report the amount of homemade wine that was produced and pay 17¢ per gallon tax.  Homebrewing was not even addressed as this was technically illegal nationwide since the repeal of Prohibition in 1933.
 
In March 1978, Scott Birdwell was hired as a part-time employee and was the company's first "beer expert" (after two successful batches!).  DeFalco's carried homebrewing supplies even though, technically, the customer could not legally make beer with them.  The standard line at the time was that the customer was merely producing "sparkling barley wine."  Within a few months, Scott became a full-timer and Senator Alan Cranston introduced a bill in Washington DC to legalize homebrewing, which passed with minimal opposition that summer.  President Carter signed the bill and beginning in February 1979, it was legal to make your own beer (sort of).  Unfortunately, this law only removed the federal restrictions on homebrewing.  Each individual state could prohibit the practice, if it was so inclined.  Homebrewing wasn't legalized in Texas until 1983 (but, this is a story for another day!).
 
In the spring of 1980, the shop's lease expired and faced with a rent at nearly double the existing rate, the shop was moved around the corner to 5611 Morningside.  Despite not having the atmosphere of the original University Boulevard location, the move was a good one for the shop and we remained there for the next 16 years. Later that same year, Frank DeFalco and his silent partner sold the shop to Birdwell, then the store manager.  Good news came, again, five years later when The Gingerman opened up next door, and a symbiotic relationship was born!
 
In 1996, after sixteen years on Morningside, the property was sold and the new landlord tripled the rent, so the shop moved once more this time to Robinhood, about six blocks away.  This proved to be our shortest stay at only five years when, stop me if you've heard this before, the landlord wanted to double the rent.  It was at this point the shop moved out of the fashionable and high-priced Rice Village to Stella Link.  After eleven years at 8715 Stella Link, we moved to our current location 9223 Stella Link in January 2012.  With the popularity of home wine & beer making, we were compelled to expand, and the new location enabled us to nearly triple our square footage.  We hope you like the new space.  We have grown quite comfortable here.
 
Having been established in Houston since 1971, DeFalco's is the area's oldest and most reliable home wine & beer supplier. We stock the widest selection of fresh,  quality ingredients available in the area. We also stock a full line of brewing publications and paraphernalia for your every need. You can depend on us for a knowledgeable staff, and prompt,  courteous service. Excellence is accomplished by providing extraordinary service to our customers. That is what we believe and the basis on which we run our business. Look around our web site to check out our wide selection and competitive prices! If you don't find what you want, please contact us.  We may already have it on hand or we can order it for you!  Feel free to give us a call for any of your brewing or winemaking needs.
 

 

Location

(in the shopping center next door to La Michoacana - O'Reilly Auto Parts at the other end)
 9223 Stella Link
Houston TX 77025
 Phone (713)-668-9440  Phone (800)-216-2739 

 

 
STORE HOURS
Monday - Wednesday 10 - 6
Thursday & Friday 10 - 7
Saturday 10 - 5
Sunday 12 - 4