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Old 01-12-2011, 01:12 PM   #1
Ceetar
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Default Root Beer Beer?

I was thinking of something with chocolate and strawberry, but I procrastinated and now I think that's better shelved until wintertime.

My next thought was to make a root beer beer. Nothing crazy, just maybe adding a wee bit of Sarsaparilla and wintergreen.

I'm thinking it might be best in a brown ale of sorts. Probably want something a little earthy, but I'm not sure. If i do choose something lighter I figure I have to color it a bit anyway so it looks like root beer.

Anyone mess around with Sarsaparilla much? I imagine I don't want to go more than maybe 2oz of wintergreen (likely a 5gallon batch).

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Old 01-12-2011, 02:23 PM   #2
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Made a Root Beer Ale about a year ago. Was shooting for a 2% session beer. Addes sarsapailla root into the boil at about 30 min......it smelled great, however it made the beer SUPER bitter. After it sat for about 3-4 weeks the bitterness dropped WAY out, however was still present. Me and my buddy enjoyed it b/c we love bitterness. All in all, we would dumb down the sarsaparilla. We didnt add wintergreen however, we bought it, just never added it.

Good luck!!

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Old 01-12-2011, 02:28 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by lostboysbrew View Post
Made a Root Beer Ale about a year ago. Was shooting for a 2% session beer. Addes sarsapailla root into the boil at about 30 min......it smelled great, however it made the beer SUPER bitter. After it sat for about 3-4 weeks the bitterness dropped WAY out, however was still present. Me and my buddy enjoyed it b/c we love bitterness. All in all, we would dumb down the sarsaparilla. We didnt add wintergreen however, we bought it, just never added it.

Good luck!!

Interesting. I don't mind bitter but was hoping to make it more palatable for all type beer. Did you try it after 3-4 weeks? Did it de-bitter further? Would think about sweetening it up a little to offset that bitterness, but wouldn't want it to mellow out and then end up overly sweet either.
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Old 01-12-2011, 02:36 PM   #4
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Interesting idea. What about adding it later in the boil. Could that extract aromoa and less bitterness?

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Old 01-12-2011, 04:01 PM   #5
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Thanks for the reminder. I've been thinking off and on about revisiting a batch of root beer ale I made a few years ago.

.5# Caramunich
.5# Carapils
6.6# Light LME
.5# lactose
1 tbsp vanilla
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 oz sassafrass
1 oz sarsparilla
3/4 oz burdock root
1 oz wild cherry bark
1/4 oz star anise
1272 wyeast

I added the lactose, vanilla and ginger late in the boil, and steeped the roots and bark for 15 minutes after the boil. I don't think I could find wintergreen, but after drinking the beer, which turned out great, figured spearmint would have added a nice twang to it.

I don't remember where I came up with the recipe, or why I added what I did but I remember enjoying drinking it. The root beer flavor was there, but a little weaker than I anticpated, although I really didn't know what to expect.

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Old 01-12-2011, 04:08 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ruppe View Post
Thanks for the reminder. I've been thinking off and on about revisiting a batch of root beer ale I made a few years ago.

.5# Caramunich
.5# Carapils
6.6# Light LME
.5# lactose
1 tbsp vanilla
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 oz sassafrass
1 oz sarsparilla
3/4 oz burdock root
1 oz wild cherry bark
1/4 oz star anise
1272 wyeast

I added the lactose, vanilla and ginger late in the boil, and steeped the roots and bark for 15 minutes after the boil. I don't think I could find wintergreen, but after drinking the beer, which turned out great, figured spearmint would have added a nice twang to it.

I don't remember where I came up with the recipe, or why I added what I did but I remember enjoying drinking it. The root beer flavor was there, but a little weaker than I anticpated, although I really didn't know what to expect.

That's probably more stuff than I'll end up adding to it myself, but does seem like it'd be good. You remember what color it was?
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Old 01-12-2011, 05:21 PM   #7
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Yes, the longer it sat, the more it mellowed out. Ours was plenty sweet. Just tasted like a bitter rootbeer. Enjoyed the hell out of it. Only ended up around 1.5% though.

Be careful with the sassafrass. We were going to use it but didn't because our LHBS stopped selling it due to a FDA ban on it. It has been classified as a cancer causing agent.

Ginger, star anise, and cinnamon also are good additives. Be way careful with the though, otherwise they will over power and make it taste like a spiced ale.


Also recommend using a rootbeer extract for flavoring. It is really hard to get an authentic root beer flavor with natural ingredients. use the soda making extract to get your flavor and natural ingredients to customize it......have fun with it, its a fun challenge.

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Old 01-12-2011, 07:57 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ceetar View Post
...but I procrastinated and now I think that's better shelved until wintertime.


January doesn't count as wintertime in New Jersey?
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Old 01-12-2011, 08:03 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bradmont View Post


January doesn't count as wintertime in New Jersey?
well, as it's snowing, probably.

but by the time i get the ingredients, and brew it, and it's ready to actually drink? so I figured I'd switch gears to something summery.
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Old 01-12-2011, 10:31 PM   #10
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I remember it being brown, but lighter than a rootbeer. I was surprised when I looked up the recipe, I thought I based a brown ale recipe, but maybe I was afraid to cover the flavors. Next batch I may add a little more caramunich. I remember something about sassafrass being a carcinogen, which in these quantities, I kind of laugh at, as I take a long drag on my smoke (kidding on the last part). I think it was actually sassafrass bark, not the root anyhow.

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