The Natural Carbonation of Sparkling Water

Natural carbonation occurs when carbon dioxide (CO2) gas dissolves in , creating bubbles or fizz. This process can happen naturally or be induced artificially. In the case of water, natural carbonation occurs when volcanic gases dissolve in springs or wells of natural water. The result is a refreshing and effervescent that can be enjoyed on its own or used as a base for various drinks and .

One way natural carbonation happens is through bottle conditioning, a process commonly used in . During bottle conditioning, a priming solution, which is a mixture of water and some form of sugar, is added to the flat beer just before bottling. This addition initiates a “re-fermentation” in the bottle, where the remaining in the beer consumes the added sugar and produces CO2 as a byproduct. This CO2 gets trapped in the bottle, creating the desired carbonation.

To naturally carbonate beer using bottle conditioning, the beer is first brewed and fermented. Once fermentation is complete, a priming solution is prepared by dissolving a specific amount of sugar in water. This solution is then added to the beer, usually at a rate of around 0.75 to 1 ounce of sugar per gallon of beer. The beer is then carefully bottled, ensuring that each bottle receives a consistent amount of the priming solution.

After bottling, the beer needs to be stored at a suitable temperature for the re-fermentation to occur. Generally, a temperature range of 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit is recommended. This allows the yeast to consume the added sugar and produce CO2 over a period of one to two weeks. The longer the beer is allowed to carbonate, the more carbonation it will develop.

Another method of natural carbonation is to use a keg. In this process, the beer is first brewed and fermented as usual. Once fermentation is complete, a priming solution is added to the keg, again using a specific amount of sugar dissolved in water. The keg is then sealed and left at a suitable temperature for the re-fermentation to occur, similar to the bottle conditioning method. However, in this case, the carbonation is not trapped in individual bottles but rather in the keg itself.

It is worth noting that some people prefer to use force carbonation instead of natural carbonation when kegging beer. Force carbonation involves using a CO2 cylinder to inject carbon dioxide directly into the beer, rather than relying on the re-fermentation process. This method allows for greater control over the carbonation level and reduces the waiting time, as the beer can be carbonated within a matter of hours instead of weeks.

While natural carbonation may take longer than force carbonation, many beer enthusiasts argue that it produces a more complex and enjoyable carbonation profile. The re-fermentation process allows for the development of subtle flavors and aromas, resulting in a more nuanced and satisfying beer. Additionally, natural carbonation can be a more sustainable and cost-effective option for homebrewers, as it does not require the use of additional equipment such as CO2 cylinders.

Natural carbonation occurs when carbon dioxide gas dissolves in water, creating bubbles or fizz. This can happen naturally, as in the case of sparkling water from natural springs, or it can be induced artificially through processes like bottle conditioning in beer brewing. Natural carbonation offers a unique and flavorful experience, allowing for the development of complex flavors and aromas. Whether you choose to naturally carbonate your beer or opt for force carbonation, the end result is a delightful and effervescent beverage to be enjoyed.

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Is Any Water Naturally Carbonated?

Some water can naturally contain carbonation. This occurs when volcanic gases, such as carbon dioxide, dissolve in springs or wells of natural water. The carbonation process can happen underground as the water comes into contact with volcanic rocks and gases, leading to the formation of naturally carbonated or sparkling water.

It's important to note that not all natural water sources contain carbonation. Only specific geological conditions, such as the presence of volcanic activity, can facilitate the natural carbonation process. In areas where volcanic activity is prevalent, there is a higher chance of finding naturally carbonated water sources.

Naturally carbonated water is often rich in minerals, which are also sourced from the surrounding rocks or underground layers. These minerals can include sodium, calcium, magnesium, and others. The presence of these minerals can give the water a distinct taste and contribute to its overall composition.

To summarize, while not all water sources are naturally carbonated, some springs or wells can contain carbonation due to the presence of volcanic gases. This natural carbonation process can result in sparkling water that may also contain minerals such as sodium or calcium.


Natural carbonation occurs when sparkling water forms naturally through the dissolution of volcanic gases in springs or wells of natural water. This process often results in the water containing minerals such as sodium or calcium. Similarly, natural carbonation can also be achieved in the beer-making process through bottle conditioning, where a priming solution is added to the flat beer just before bottling to initiate re-fermentation. This method allows for the natural production of carbonation in the beer over a period of up to two weeks. On the other hand, force carbonation involves the use of CO2 gas to carbonate the beer quickly and efficiently, either through rocking or shaking the keg or using a CO2 cylinder. While both methods have their merits, force carbonation is often preferred for its convenience and precise control over the carbonation levels. Ultimately, whether natural or forced, carbonation adds a refreshing effervescence to beverages, enhancing their taste and overall experience.

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Thomas Ashford

Thomas Ashford is a highly educated brewer with years of experience in the industry. He has a Bachelor Degree in Chemistry and a Master Degree in Brewing Science. He is also BJCP Certified Beer Judge. Tom has worked hard to become one of the most experienced brewers in the industry. He has experience monitoring brewhouse and cellaring operations, coordinating brewhouse projects, and optimizing brewery operations for maximum efficiency. He is also familiar mixology and an experienced sommelier. Tom is an expert organizer of beer festivals, wine tastings, and brewery tours.