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Alcohol Fermentation

based on 4 ratings
Author: Danielle Abadam

Grade Level: 5th - 6th; Type: Physical Science

Objective:

In this experiment you will be witnessing alcoholic fermentation at work by making your own soda. A long time ago, they used to make sassafras, which is root beer. They would put yeast and roots from a sassafras tree. The yeast would undergo alcoholic fermentation, releasing carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is what makes sodas frizzy.

Research Questions:

  • Why do you have to give the yeast time to react to the solution?
  • If completely filled the bottle with the solution, what would happen?
  • Why would this happen?

Alcoholic fermentation is an anaerobic process. Anaerobic processes do not require oxygen to function. Aerobic processes do require oxygen. It releases ethyl alcohol and other products. We used to use alcoholic fermentation to make soda, but now we use machines that inject carbon dioxide into the liquid, which carbonizes it.

Materials:

  • Empty water bottle – preferably a Gatorade bottle because it has thicker plastic(Grocery Store)
  • Yeast(Grocery Store)
  • Flavoring like Cherry, Root beer, or Vanilla(Grocery Store)
  • Water(Grocery Store)

Experimental Procedure:

  1. Wash out your bottle and make sure it is clean.
  2. Fill the bottle with water until it is about ½ full.
  3. Now fill the bottle with warm – hot water until it is ¾ full.
  4. Put about a teaspoon of yeast into the bottle. The amount of yeast depends on how big your bottle is.
  5. Let the yeast sit in your bottle for about 2 minutes to let it react to the solution.
  6. Add the flavoring to the solution.
  7. Shake the bottle.
  8. Record the appearance of the soda.
  9. Leave it in a shaded area for 2 days.
  10. On the 3rd day, put it in the fridge.
  11. Wait until it is cold, than take it out. You can drink it if you want, but all you need to do is open it slowly and listen to the sound it makes. Also, observe its color.
  12. Record its current color and its past color and also record what you think the sound it made meant.

Terms/Concepts: Alcoholic Fermentation; Anaerobic; Aerobic; Yeast; Carbon Dioxide

References:

Alcohol fermentation - http://www.yobrew.co.uk/fermentation.php 

The sassafras tree - http://treenotes.blogspot.com/2007/08/sassafras-root-beer-tree.html 

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