Understanding the Beverage Carbonation Process

Many of us take beverage carbonation for granted, unless the drink we open is flat when we’re expecting to get a nice crisp fizz. Because society has become accustomed to carbonation in drinks such as soda, seltzer, beer and sparkling wines, there is an urgency for manufacturers to produce beverages with the perfect balance of carbonation. There is actually a science to the development of carbonated beverages which requires precision in the measurements of the ingredients used, the temperatures under which the beverage is developed, the timelines observed in the processes and in some cases, the length of time allowed for the fermentation process.

Carbonation in Soft Drinks
We understand that when a drink goes flat it loses its carbonation and this usually causes disappointment, especially when we’re expecting a refreshing bite on the tail end of our beverage. But there is more to know about how beverages become carbonated and what causes the fizz to fizzle out.

Here is a slightly more in depth explanation of the carbonation process and what happens when drinks go flat. Carbon dioxide dissolves in liquid and creates carbonation; the amount of carbonation achieved depends upon the pressure and temperature in the environment. The CO2 continues to dissolve in liquid until it reaches an equilibrium, which means the air found above the liquid and the CO2 which dissolved in the liquid results in a balance. When containers are sealed, pressurization of the air above the liquid can cause extra gas to dissolve. This can be observed when the pressure is released by opening a carbonated beverage and watching the pressure release as the gas escapes. The gas continues to escape until the beverage eventually goes flat; this is expedited by exposure to heat. Replacing the cap on a carbonated beverage stops the escape of the gas and the beverage is able to retain some of its carbonation for longer.

How Carbonation is Added to Beverages
Beverages may be carbonated in two different ways. Forced carbonation involves adding dissolved CO2 to the beverage using the pressure method as described above. The natural method of carbonation is achieved by adding substances which will cause a fermentation reaction. Yeast and sugar are used to encourage this process just prior to bottling. As the yeast digests the sugar carbon dioxide, along with alcohol, begins to form. The drink becomes carbonated because of the CO2 and pressure building within the sealed container.

Problems in the Carbonation Process
When there is too much sugar or yeast in the mixture, or if the bottles are stored at higher temperatures (above 75 degrees F), the beverages may become over carbonated. This can cause bottles to explode or cause the product to violently spew out upon opening; both are situations to be avoided. In the same regard not enough sugar or yeast can result in under carbonation, as can bottling beer too early in the process or not allowing it to rest for the proper amount of time or at the right temperature. All of these factors affect the balance of carbonation in the end product. For more information on beverage carbonation, visit the experts found at TechniBlend.


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Author: Myrtice Lovett

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