Number one son and I love root beer and with the holidays coming thought it might be neat to make some for gifting. The 5 gallon batch objective was pretty simple:
5 gallons filtered water (Reverse osmosis, deionized, and then re-buffered)
5 cups sugar
4 oz. Zatarain's root beer extract
* The extract with sugar and water makes a darn good drink all by itself, but we can never resist the urge to tinker, so we also added:
5 teaspoons vanilla extract
5 tablespoons Pappy's Sassafras concentrate (just 'cuz I found it on the grocer's shelf the day before)
Heated the water to dissolve the sugar and then let cool before combining flavoring ingredients to keep from loosing any volatiles. Mixed it all up in a Cornie and proceeded to force carbonate (30 psi and shake for 5 minutes, then held at 10 psi and kept sampling for the next couple of days).
It was fantastic! Only problem was about two days later there was nothing left. I was flabbergasted. There are only three of us drinking it, and I pulled off a few bottles to share with the neighbor's kids, but I couldn't believe we had drunk FIVE GALLONS in just a few days?
So I start checking the kegerator where I had tapped it. The root beer was loaded behind a new keg of IPA and not easy to get at so I skipped to just checking my CO2. I had kept the gas bottle for the soda in the frig with the soda and beer and thought, well maybe I'm low on gas and the gauge isn't reading right or something, or maybe the CO2 doesn't want to gasify because I had turned the temp down to help with the carbing process. Pull the gas bottle and switch it out, with a brand new, warm one... still no joy.
"Geeze oh peeze Louise, we really must've drunk it all. That's scary. None of us should be drinking that much soda" I thought, so I wasn't in much of a hurry to temp fate again by putting up another batch right away.
Well today I finally had occasion to empty out the kegerator and wha'dya know? Seems some dummy had turned the frig down so far that the root beer simply froze. What a knucklehead. As I type the Cornie sits inthe kitchen slowly warming and defrosting. I let the pressure off to open and inspect and low and behold we had only gone through about a third of the batch.
Important note to self. Put Post-It note on tap handle reminding your dumb azz to turn the temp back up once you're done playing around.
"Fill what's empty, empty what's full, and scratch where it itches."
- the Duchess of Windsor, when asked what is the secret of a long and happy life