Last week to Enter the Spike Brewing 20 Gallon Sight Glass Kettle Giveaway!



Home Brew Forums > Recipe Database > HomeBrewTalk.com Recipe Database > Soda > Andre's Original Secret Rootbeer (from scratch) - No Kegging or Yeast Required
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
Old 07-14-2014, 10:45 PM   #1
droshi
Feedback Score: 1 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 39
Liked 2 Times on 2 Posts

Default Andre's Original Secret Rootbeer (from scratch) - No Kegging or Yeast Required

First, I just wanted to say that although I considered this recipe secret for a long time, I've learned a lot from HBT and developed many of my non-alcoholic beer recipes using other well-known recipes as starting points and their flavor has inspired me to try opening a zero alcohol brewery (I don't drink alcohol). So given that, I wanted to give something back to the community and so here is my original Root Beer recipe that gets very good reviews from all those who try.

Next, I'd like to give a bit of commentary on the "secret" formula and process. Just about every recipe I've seen online makes several mistakes when it comes to soda making. There's a good reason why homemade soda using those methods never have the amount of flavor they should, and most of it the home-brew community is already aware of from beer brewing! Later addition of hops gives you much more flavor/aroma than earlier additions, so the key is to not let the volatile oils be boiled off. Rather than trying to get all that flavor out of huge amounts of herbs, my recipe uses mostly 100% essential oils as flavoring for the above mentioned reasons, and they are added at flame-out.

No secret recipe would be complete without a secret ingredient. I'd like to explain what it is and why we use it. First, you may have realized that oil hates water, and we are using both in our recipe. I can't take full credit for this, as I'm sure it's already in use in the industry, but it certainly was hard to find at the time. My research on how to combine water and oil with search terms like "edible soap" (which the soda gnomes cleverly call "surfactants" to disguise their true nature to us normal folk) led me to gum arabic. Also known as acacia gum as it comes from the acacia tree. This gem not only combines oil with water in a true soap like fashion, but it is natural, edible, and doesn't contribute any major flavor to the drink. In addition, it allows for the correct "release" of those oils we add to contribute flavor, rather than locking them away to never be tasted. Gum arabic might not be new to people, but I really haven't seen listed recipes that have it listed. Most recipes I tried around the web used whole herbs and generally seemed to taste like cough drops with a more mild flavor, although not bad, wasn't what I was looking for.

A couple final comments before we get to the recipe. I include a lot of essential oils. Essential oils from reputable places aren't exactly cheap, but the good news is that once you've made the initial investment, they last a LONG time. In fact, I have bottles that are about 10 years old and I've made a lot of root beer in that time.

Disclaimer: WARNING! My recipe contains wintergreen or birch oil. The main active compound is methyl salicylate and is a known toxin in large quantities. It also breaks down in our bodies into what was later packaged as aspirin. Lethal doses are possible, with doses up to lethal making someone pretty sick. Methyls also may not be safe for those pregnant, so consult doctors. I'm not responsible for anything that you do with this recipe, consider it as informational purposes only. Also, wintergreen is usually listed on sites as not recommended for internal use, however 100% essential oils (NOT fragrance oils) are supposed to be purely from the plant listed, but you should buy your oils from reputable companies, as purity is all based on the company providing the oil.

However, given the above disclaimer, I will say that I've ingested lots (at what I feel are safe levels given here) of wintergreen in my time and never felt any effect. Also, lethal doses are listed around the web at about 4mL for children and up to 10mL for adults. My recipe includes about 4mL to create around 36 total litres of final product, which would all have to be drunk to make a lethal dose in a child. Even if the syrup is drunk straight, the full 6 liters would be necessary. I consider it pretty rare, however use your best judgement. And if you have children, make sure you keep your flavor oils LOCKED up in a secure area. Kids will love the smell and deaths have been reported mostly from children ingesting pure oil.

Although it depends on the thickness of the oil, generally 20 drops = 1mL

Ok, finally the recipe! All oils listed are 100% pure essential oil, get them from a trusted source!

Flavoring:
80 drops Wintergreen or Sweet Birch (betula lenta) - both taste the same to me
20 drops Star Anise Seed
20 drops Fennel Seed (sweet)
15 drops Cassia
5 drops Nutmeg
25 drops Clove Bud
10 drops Cinnamon Leaf
30 drops Vanilla Extract
100g Gum Arabic

Sugars:
4kg Turbinado or Demerara Sugar (honey or maple syrup can be substituted, or even fresh cane juice if you have access to it, but you will have to adjust to taste)

Water:
Use "simple" carbonated bottled water. Never use tonic water, it has sugar and quinine added. Mineral water will also change the flavor a bit, but it can work in a pinch. Look at ingredient list, should just be "carbonated water" without other additives.

To make flavoring:

  1. Mix Gum Arabic with ~230mL of filtered water
  2. Add oils to this mixture. WARNING! Make sure you use goggles (as well as for all observers) when handling pure essential oils, they can splash when dropped into the gum solution.
  3. Blend in a small food processor, or mix by hand until smooth. It should be a syrupy consistency.

To make syrup:
  1. Dissolve sugar into ~3 liters of water
  2. Add water until a total volume of 6 liters is achieved
  3. Boil for at least 5 minutes to sanitize, add any water that is boiled off if necessary back to 6 liters.
  4. Turn out flame, whirlpool to get everything mixing, then add flavoring "syrup" and immediately cover.
  5. Rinse container or food processor with a small amount of water and mix to get the last bit of flavoring out. Add this to the main syrup and cover again.
  6. Let syrup stand covered for 10 minutes or so, afterwards give it a good stir and replace cover.

To store syrup:
  1. Clean 13 mason jars (16 oz) and lids. You can sanitize as well, but it's not necessary. Pre-heating with hot water should help glass to not crack.
  2. Place jar in sink and pour in hot syrup leaving about 1/2" of headspace. Hot filling is my preferred method which prevents spoilage, I don't like to use preservatives, but they are an option as well.
  3. Cap immediately and invert jar to sterilize lid.
  4. Allow to cool to room temp and avoid major temperature changes else glass may crack.

To make root beer:
  1. Use a 1:5 ratio as a starting point, adjust to sweetness desired.
  2. Pour in syrup first, this can be done warm if needed.
  3. Make sure bottle/growler is cold, syrup is cold and carbonated water is cold! If you mix while warm, you'll lose a lot of carbonation.
  4. Pour in carbonated water while making sure it cascades down the side of the bottle. This will eliminate foaming.
  5. Cap bottle and shake to mix. Allow to settle a couple minutes in the fridge before serving.

You'll notice while making the syrup that I try to keep the lid on while it's hot as much as possible. This helps to avoid the volatile oils from escaping, however the recipe is such that a bit extra oil is added to account for some escape.

Also, optionally you can boil herbs to replace some of the essential oils if you want to limit or stage your initial cost of buying all the oils, but consider them a long-term investment. Some herbs could be for flavor, others for medicinal qualities if desired, just add them before adding the sugars and boil or steep as is required for the type of herb. The most important oil to not substitute is the wintergreen as this flavor is hard to get from herbs directly.

Optional is also to keg and eliminate the mixing steps, this is what I do now. My current recipe has changed somewhat to include more herbs than I used to use for various purposes, but this recipe is in my opinion very good as a base where you can adjust to your tastes.

As a final note, I don't mean to come off as though no one but me knows how to make root beer, but having been unsatisfied with other recipes is what brought me to create this one. Someone else out there is probably doing it the same way as me, and I'm sure some commercial root beers are made the same way with some natural/artificial oils. I've just never seen any of them published. So enjoy and share with your friends!
__________________
droshi is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 09-08-2014, 06:09 PM   #2
ColbyJack
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Eagle River, Alaska
Posts: 359
Liked 1 Times on 1 Posts

Default

If you don't mind me asking, how much per brew session does this recipe cost you?
Looks like a well thought out recipe. Thanks for sharing.

__________________
ColbyJack is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 09-16-2014, 09:26 PM   #3
droshi
Feedback Score: 1 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 39
Liked 2 Times on 2 Posts

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by ColbyJack View Post
If you don't mind me asking, how much per brew session does this recipe cost you?
Looks like a well thought out recipe. Thanks for sharing.
Most of the cost here is initial in the oils. To get started with this number it is around $100 from what I last remember.

Per batch cost, the highest is the sugar, oils per batch along with the gum arabic are probably in the neighborhood of about $1 or so.

I've now switched to Sucanat (SUgar CAne NATural) as my preferred sweetener. It is simply dehydrated cane juice (minimally processed) and doesn't crystallize at all because of the large amount of minerals naturally in the cane juice. This is fairly expensive at around $75 per 25lb. But it depends on what you use.

I now scale this recipe down to 5 gallon batches and keg since having started my kegging setup. Works mostly the same, but the syrup method worked for me for many years.
__________________
droshi is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 09-18-2014, 08:19 PM   #4
ColbyJack
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Eagle River, Alaska
Posts: 359
Liked 1 Times on 1 Posts

Default

Awesome! Thanks for sharing!

__________________
ColbyJack is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 11-10-2014, 04:57 PM   #5
aruzinsky
Registered User
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 86
Liked 4 Times on 4 Posts

Default

According to my calculations, this recipe is about 4 times too strong.

I test recipes by adding drops of 5% solutions of essential oils or flavor chemicals in alcohol to 1 gallon of water. I do my thinking in terms of parts per million (ppm) so I converted your recipe to ppm. To do this, I needed to know approximately the volume of final product. Based on 4 kg. of sugar and a usage rate of 1 lb./gal., the volume of final product is 8.8 gallons. From this, I calculate the following:



In my experience, root beer should contain approximately 25 ppm of methyl salicylate or 30 ppm of wintergreen oil. 120 ppm of wintergreen should taste terrible to almost everyone and may be unhealthy.

Please, check my calculations. Incidentally, who is Andre?

__________________

Reason: No white spaces in table therefore replaced with image of table
aruzinsky is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 11-13-2014, 01:06 AM   #6
droshi
Feedback Score: 1 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 39
Liked 2 Times on 2 Posts

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by aruzinsky View Post
According to my calculations, this recipe is about 4 times too strong.

I test recipes by adding drops of 5% solutions of essential oils or flavor chemicals in alcohol to 1 gallon of water. I do my thinking in terms of parts per million (ppm) so I converted your recipe to ppm. To do this, I needed to know approximately the volume of final product. Based on 4 kg. of sugar and a usage rate of 1 lb./gal., the volume of final product is 8.8 gallons. From this, I calculate the following:



In my experience, root beer should contain approximately 25 ppm of methyl salicylate or 30 ppm of wintergreen oil. 120 ppm of wintergreen should taste terrible to almost everyone and may be unhealthy.

Please, check my calculations. Incidentally, who is Andre?
Well let's see...first of all, I don't want this to come across as harsh, the internet doesn't do a good job of reflecting tone, so my intention with my response is to inform others as best as I can, and show where I came up with my amounts (other than adjusted to taste). And not to show that you're wrong and I'm right, in this case I don't think there's a 100% correct answer, but rather one that's good for your situation.

I didn't calculate based on ppm. Reason being is that I was more focused on what would be a practical safe dose of methyl salicylate. If anyone drinks the oil or syrup straight, you could have a potential for overdose, no matter the calculations. Also, if you are on certain meds, have a sensitivity to aspirin or shouldn't have aspirin, same thing...hence my warnings and disclaimers. Up to the individual to decide.

Once mixed, it seems to have safe levels according to my calculations, and taste has gotten great reviews, so I don't know why you seem to think both are opposite, but as the disclaimers have mentioned, feel free to ignore or adjust the recipe as required for you or your situation.

According to this link:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wintergreen

Wintergreen oil is 98% methyl salicylate, 30mL (1 fl oz) of MS is equal to about 171 adult aspirin. 20 drops = 1mL very conservatively which means this recipe has about 4mL of MS. Lethal dose with children can be about 10mL, but lethal dose doesn't really tell you what's safe over the long term, especially when you mix in what other medication a person might be taking etc.

The recipe makes a total of 36 liters and contains total approximately 22.8 adult aspirin. Which means each liter has 0.6 asprin in it, or less depending on how large/small your dropper makes drops. 20-36 drops = 1mL is an approximation, but I went with the most conservative.

So, how much rootbeer can you drink at once? If the answer is 36 liters (or all of the syrup) then you'll get a whooping dose of aspirin, but still less than half the lethal child dosage. Info is out there, and I had thought a lot of it was in the original post...I wanted to be pretty clear that methyl salicylate isn't something to toy around with, so I hope I got that across.

Appreciate the double check, but wondering where you got the ppm levels you're talking about in the 25-30 range? If it's just a matter of taste, then....adjust to taste? Maybe we are talking the same thing and ppm comes out to be the same way...I just can't relate to a ppm number as it seems relatively arbitrary to me and can only be used for reference once you know what the number "should" be. Even then, it could be different for other people or situations.

As to your final question...I had assumed it was obvious, but I'm Andre.
__________________
droshi is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 11-13-2014, 04:10 PM   #7
aruzinsky
Registered User
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 86
Liked 4 Times on 4 Posts

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by droshi View Post
Well let's see...first of all, I don't want this to come across as harsh, the internet doesn't do a good job of reflecting tone, so my intention with my response is to inform others as best as I can, and show where I came up with my amounts (other than adjusted to taste). And not to show that you're wrong and I'm right, in this case I don't think there's a 100% correct answer, but rather one that's good for your situation.

I didn't calculate based on ppm. Reason being is that I was more focused on what would be a practical safe dose of methyl salicylate. If anyone drinks the oil or syrup straight, you could have a potential for overdose, no matter the calculations. Also, if you are on certain meds, have a sensitivity to aspirin or shouldn't have aspirin, same thing...hence my warnings and disclaimers. Up to the individual to decide.

Once mixed, it seems to have safe levels according to my calculations, and taste has gotten great reviews, so I don't know why you seem to think both are opposite, but as the disclaimers have mentioned, feel free to ignore or adjust the recipe as required for you or your situation.

According to this link:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wintergreen

Wintergreen oil is 98% methyl salicylate, 30mL (1 fl oz) of MS is equal to about 171 adult aspirin. 20 drops = 1mL very conservatively which means this recipe has about 4mL of MS. Lethal dose with children can be about 10mL, but lethal dose doesn't really tell you what's safe over the long term, especially when you mix in what other medication a person might be taking etc.

The recipe makes a total of 36 liters and contains total approximately 22.8 adult aspirin. Which means each liter has 0.6 asprin in it, or less depending on how large/small your dropper makes drops. 20-36 drops = 1mL is an approximation, but I went with the most conservative.

So, how much rootbeer can you drink at once? If the answer is 36 liters (or all of the syrup) then you'll get a whooping dose of aspirin, but still less than half the lethal child dosage. Info is out there, and I had thought a lot of it was in the original post...I wanted to be pretty clear that methyl salicylate isn't something to toy around with, so I hope I got that across.

Appreciate the double check, but wondering where you got the ppm levels you're talking about in the 25-30 range? If it's just a matter of taste, then....adjust to taste? Maybe we are talking the same thing and ppm comes out to be the same way...I just can't relate to a ppm number as it seems relatively arbitrary to me and can only be used for reference once you know what the number "should" be. Even then, it could be different for other people or situations.

As to your final question...I had assumed it was obvious, but I'm Andre.
Sorry, Andre, but I didn't intend for you to fixate on, "120 ppm ... may be unhealthy". "May be" means that I don't know. I am more concerned with the strength of flavor. All of the essential oils are in reasonable proportions therefore all of the essential oils seem about 4 times more concentrated than necessary. I point out that this is good news, at least to Colby Jack, because, once corrected, the cost of the essential oils is reduced by 75%. How can you ignore that as good news?

My recommendation of 25 ppm of methyl salicylate is an average based on my perception of flavors in commercial root beers compared to what I have been able to reproduce. As I mentioned elsewhere, the strongest methyl salicylate flavor that I have encountered is in A&W, which I estimate to be 40-60 ppm. I have tried to find a chemical analysis of root beer to support my flavor estimate of concentration but only found this:

http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/si...rm+@DOCNO+1935

more specifically,

"Food Survey Values:
Methyl salicylate concentrations of 54 ppm in bakery goods, 840 ppm in candy, 59 ppm in non-alcoholic beverages, 8400 ppm in chewing gum, 27 ppm in ice cream and 200 ppm in syrups. Methyl salicylate has been identified as a volatile component of meat(2).
[(1) Furia TE, Bellanca N; Fenaroli's Handbook of Flavor Ingredients. CRC Press Cleveland OH (1975) (2) Shahidi F et al; CRC Crit Rev Food Sci Nature 24: 141-243 (1986)] **PEER REVIEWED** "

and

"REPORTED USES: ... NON-ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES 10 PPM; CANDY 900-5000 PPM.
[Fenaroli's Handbook of Flavor Ingredients. Volume 1. Edited, translated, and revised by T.E. Furia and N. Bellanca. 2nd ed. Cleveland: The Chemical Rubber Co., 1975., p. 490] **PEER REVIEWED**"

Thus, there is a conflict between "59 ppm" and "10 ppm" but, in either case, the amount is substantially less than 120 ppm.
__________________
aruzinsky is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 11-22-2014, 10:23 PM   #8
droshi
Feedback Score: 1 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 39
Liked 2 Times on 2 Posts

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by aruzinsky View Post
Sorry, Andre, but I didn't intend for you to fixate on, "120 ppm ... may be unhealthy". "May be" means that I don't know. I am more concerned with the strength of flavor. All of the essential oils are in reasonable proportions therefore all of the essential oils seem about 4 times more concentrated than necessary. I point out that this is good news, at least to Colby Jack, because, once corrected, the cost of the essential oils is reduced by 75%. How can you ignore that as good news?

My recommendation of 25 ppm of methyl salicylate is an average based on my perception of flavors in commercial root beers compared to what I have been able to reproduce. As I mentioned elsewhere, the strongest methyl salicylate flavor that I have encountered is in A&W, which I estimate to be 40-60 ppm. I have tried to find a chemical analysis of root beer to support my flavor estimate of concentration but only found this:

http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/si...rm+@DOCNO+1935

more specifically,

"Food Survey Values:
Methyl salicylate concentrations of 54 ppm in bakery goods, 840 ppm in candy, 59 ppm in non-alcoholic beverages, 8400 ppm in chewing gum, 27 ppm in ice cream and 200 ppm in syrups. Methyl salicylate has been identified as a volatile component of meat(2).
[(1) Furia TE, Bellanca N; Fenaroli's Handbook of Flavor Ingredients. CRC Press Cleveland OH (1975) (2) Shahidi F et al; CRC Crit Rev Food Sci Nature 24: 141-243 (1986)] **PEER REVIEWED** "

and

"REPORTED USES: ... NON-ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES 10 PPM; CANDY 900-5000 PPM.
[Fenaroli's Handbook of Flavor Ingredients. Volume 1. Edited, translated, and revised by T.E. Furia and N. Bellanca. 2nd ed. Cleveland: The Chemical Rubber Co., 1975., p. 490] **PEER REVIEWED**"

Thus, there is a conflict between "59 ppm" and "10 ppm" but, in either case, the amount is substantially less than 120 ppm.
Yeah I see what you mean, although I suppose the perceived flavor is probably very dependant on the type, efficiency and amount of emulsifier you have. My source of gum arabic or perhaps in general could be that a higher strength is needed to have a similar perceived flavor.

Certainly from a health perspective, dividing all flavor oils in half or by 4 wouldn't be any problem. Just like halving the sugar would be better for you as well. I personally like making a Ginger Beer with half the sugar.

So in the end, flavor is up to you. My total 175 drops of essential oils I believe came from somewhere at some point, but it's been many years. I remember referencing the Open Source Cola recipe at some point, but it could have been after getting this number. Either way, it's evolved with time, just making sure taste was as I liked it and the amount of wintergreen oil wasn't beyond what I considered safe.
__________________
droshi is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 11-29-2014, 04:13 PM   #9
aruzinsky
Registered User
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 86
Liked 4 Times on 4 Posts

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by droshi View Post
Yeah I see what you mean, although I suppose the perceived flavor is probably very dependant on the type, efficiency and amount of emulsifier you have. My source of gum arabic or perhaps in general could be that a higher strength is needed to have a similar perceived flavor.

Certainly from a health perspective, dividing all flavor oils in half or by 4 wouldn't be any problem. Just like halving the sugar would be better for you as well. I personally like making a Ginger Beer with half the sugar.

So in the end, flavor is up to you. My total 175 drops of essential oils I believe came from somewhere at some point, but it's been many years. I remember referencing the Open Source Cola recipe at some point, but it could have been after getting this number. Either way, it's evolved with time, just making sure taste was as I liked it and the amount of wintergreen oil wasn't beyond what I considered safe.
I tasted your recipe at 25% concentration of essential oils and it tasted almost as I had expected except the most prominent flavor was cinnamon instead of clove (as I expected). Is that the way you intended it? The overall strength was about the same as most commercial root beers.

I don't see how the emulsifier would matter because, at the final concentration, all of your essential oils should dissolve within a few seconds. Even if the essential oils segregated into a separate layer from the water, I would expect all of them to dissolve within several months. It would be easy enough for you to try adding a 5% solution of essential oils in alcohol to the final solution (not the syrup) just to see whether it makes a difference but, I doubt it.

The most likely explanation is that your essential oils were severely adulterated. The easiest way for you to test for severe adulteration is to compare the strength of flavor of your wintergreen and clove oils against the flavors of the known standards, pure methyl salicylate and pure eugenol, respectively. You can buy them very inexpensively at http://shop.perfumersapprentice.com/...molecules.aspx . Also, if you want, I can give you a list of other flavor chemicals useful in making root beer. Maybe, 90% of all flavor chemicals are liquids that you can treat exactly the same as essential oils. The solid flavor chemicals have to be dissolved in something like alcohol before adding to water.
__________________
aruzinsky is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 12-03-2014, 05:23 AM   #10
mennarec
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 3
Default

How would this scale down to a 5 gallon batch?

__________________
mennarec is online now
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Reply



Quick Reply
Message:
Options
Thread Tools


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Kegging beer and rootbeer GrumpySquirrel Bottling/Kegging 17 12-16-2014 03:50 AM
Rootbeer Beer (Hard RootBeer) mprourke Recipes/Ingredients 0 04-03-2014 09:59 PM
Rootbeer w/out yeast? iLoveOlivier Soda Making 9 09-20-2012 04:17 PM
Is co2 tank required for kegging jchancey Bottling/Kegging 12 04-28-2012 03:03 AM
First kegging. Is offgassing required? westpointbrewery Bottling/Kegging 8 04-09-2009 05:37 PM



Newest Threads

LATEST SPONSOR DEALS