This will slowly become an index and time line of things I’ve done related to Carbonation.
This is chronological so skip to the bottom if you need to catch the latest.
Advanced Soda Making Basics (8/2008): Far from advanced, my first foray into soda making was using yeast and doing it in champagne bottles. Back then I had a library of 200 bottles in the wine walk-in. I was doing the disgorging under water. If I attempted this again I would use a bidule under the caps to help disgorge. There was a lot of yeasty aroma and some of the ingredients produced sulphury aromas when fermented.
Fenaroli’s Handbook of Flavor Ingredients (5/2009): Fenaroli says a wide variety of strange and amazing stuff. One thing he hints at is that carbonation has a relationship with bitterness and somehow changes contrast detection.
Advanced Kegging Basics (6/2009): This is the post that kicked off the craft kegging revolution. Shitty margarita bars had shitty kegged drinks on the gun but it had never been done in a craft context or modern culinary program. You will notice I also re-discovered reflux de-aeration and the enzymatic bittering of citrus. Yep, a lot of things start right here at bostonapothecary.com.
Cocktails for 400, well more than 200 of 400… (10/2009): This was the first instance of me or probably anyone using craft keg batching for a catering event. My boss is crazy and she set me up to work mostly by myself (a helper showed up) and make drinks for 400 people. I proposed using kegs, she said she didn’t care, and away we went. I explain the rig and muse on the sensory properties of the drink I chose.
Elusive High Pressure Bottling (3/2010): This is a cautionary tale of what I’ve tried and failed with in my goal to bottle at very high carbonation levels. Since then I’ve slowly tackled everything and revolutionized my knowledge of the subject, but it did take years and thousands of dollars.
New Ways of Thinking about Carbonation (7/2012): This post simply marks my revelation that if we think of carbonation in terms of g/L of dissolved gas it is far easier to wrap your head around and we can measure carbonation with a kitchen scale because the figures are in the multiple grams per liter.
For Sale: Champagne Bottle Manifold ($100 USD) (12/2012): The unveiling of the Champagne Bottle Manifold. This thing is awesome and new prototype version that moves liquid is epicly cool. I’ve even seen this post quoted for its great DISCLAIMER. I’ve had a lot of fun with these and shipped them around the world.
RTFM: Using Your Brand New Manifold / Carbonator (1/9/2013): The manual for the champagne bottle manifold.
Reflux de-aeration and what it can do for you (12/2012): Here I unveil the very powerful concept of reflux de-aeration and explain what it can do for bar programs. Using pressure to remove oxygen might even be cooler than carbonationg. I use this technique a lot.
High Pressure Batching: NYE Edition! (1/2013): I just repeated this tradition for the second time with big success. The drink is simply served in magnum champagne bottles. It was great to see so many celebratory flutes around the room. I did this drink again on valentines day and had left over bottles that I saved and opened many months later for an event. There was no loss of carbonation or hint of oxidation.
Carbonating With an Agitating Head (1917) (1/2013): A great look at a historical paper that described an instrument that functions very similarly to mine.
Working with one less tool: Finding specific gravity with a kitchen scale (2/2013): This post has some problems but I include it to stimulate ideas. The successful ideas inside can help add extra justification for buying an expensive kitchen scale to measure carbonation. A gem here is the idea of knowing the dissolved volume a gram measure of sucrose by dividing by its density, 1.587.
Green Apple Soda as De-aeration Color-Indicator-Test (8/2013): This is really one of my brightest ideas and really delicious. I prove the power of reflux de-aeration by using color as the tell instead of aroma.
TKO in nine rounds with Bostonapothecary (9/2013): Nine rounds of modernist cocktails I made for two visiting food scientists after their presentation at Harvard. I served the green apple soda and a cocktail from a magnum that had been aging since Valentines Day. It had no loss of carbonation or signs of oxidation after all those months!
High Pressure Liquid Transfer Bottler End All, Be All (10/2013): The first unveiling of my liquid transfer version of the manifold. The newest version work really well.
High Pressure Small Bottle Filler (100 mL / 187 mL) (11/2013): This was the unveiling of the prototype small bottle liquid transfer version of my champagne bottle manifold. I had since refined the design but need to refine it again. Ultimately I will move to 3-D drawings, 3-D printed prototypes, and then injection molding.
Currently I’m still mastering the newest version of the manifold which has the potential for a removable down tube to move liquid up and down a bottle. The hold up is the valve that lets out the gas to vary the pressure. I can’t find a reliable enough valve that doesn’t leak. If it leaks even gradually, the manifold cannot do double duty as counter pressure solution. I think I need to switch to a higher end fitting which will unfortunately increase the cost significantly. I my last large scale try, which was this NYE, every thing worked really well. I carbonated 1.2 liters in each magnum then used one magnum to top up the others under pressure. Everything behaved as expected when I went to use them days later. No leaks or oxidation!
Right now I also have cradles made to move liquid into 100 mL, 187 mL, and 200 mL bottles. They work but need to be re-modeled to have tighter radii so the seal aligns better. I can’t do this with my drill press because the bits are too proprietary but I can do it with my jewelers saw then carefully remold to make a seamless part.