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Old 10-20-2008, 04:42 AM   #1
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Default Why is the alcohol content of root beer so low?

I just brewed my first batch of (non-alcoholic) root beer from a commercial extract. It tastes great, and is sufficiently carbonated, but I have one question:
why is the alcohol content so low? I used 2 kg of table sugar (which seems like a lot) and a full package of ale yeast. Is it the type of sugar used? Or maybe the amount? I would have thought that this amount of sugar would have yielded a higher alcohol content...

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Old 10-20-2008, 04:50 AM   #2
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well you stop the fermentaion in some manor right?
the fermentaion is just to carb it right

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Old 10-20-2008, 04:58 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by clayton_ross View Post
well you stop the fermentaion in some manor right?
the fermentaion is just to carb it right
I brewed it in exactly the same way as I brew beer. The only difference is that it went right into bottles as opposed to a primary/secondary. I didn't explicitly stop the fermentation that I know of. Does the yeast exhaust all the oxygen in the bottles, thereby stopping the fermentation?
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Old 10-20-2008, 05:15 AM   #4
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no,,,,,,,,yeast dont need oxygen after the first bloom of the pitch. so let me get this strate ? its done all is well and its just normal sweet root beer ?

how do you know its low you used 6.6lbs of suger that could make a 4-5 %vol beer is it sweet ?

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Old 10-20-2008, 05:24 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clayton_ross View Post
well you stop the fermentaion in some manor right?
the fermentaion is just to carb it right
Quote:
Originally Posted by clayton_ross View Post
no,,,,,,,,yeast dont need oxygen after the first bloom of the pitch. so let me get this strate ? its done all is well and its just normal sweet root beer ?

how do you know its low you used 6.6lbs of suger that could make a 4-5 %vol beer is it sweet ?
Yes, it's normal sweet root beer. I know it's low because I had four Grolsh bottles of it the other night and didn't feel a thing. The package also claimed "non-alcoholic", and I followed the instructions to a "T".
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Old 10-20-2008, 05:36 AM   #6
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Right,
You mixed it, but it in the bottles and in a day or two you put them in the fridge. Thats when the fermentation stopped. You cold crashed it. Try this. Next time leave one bottle out, uncapped, with an airlock or a balloon on it. In 7-10 days chill it and taste it. I bet you taste alcohol and no sweetness.

2 kg = 4.4 lbs sugar. 4 lbs sugar in 5 gallons of water is an SG of 1.032 thats about 4.5 %ABV. The key is you do not let it ferment to dryness. You let it go long enough to carb the bottle and then you stop fermentation by cooling it.

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Old 10-20-2008, 05:55 AM   #7
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Partially fermented root beer is kind of nasty tasting IMO. You only let it go a few days to build pressure, then refrigerate to limit the process. Bottle bombs are very easy with root beer left a little too long.

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Old 10-20-2008, 01:02 PM   #8
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If you have not refrigerated your root beer, they WILL blow up the bottles in a short while. They yeast will continue to do it's job until the bottle can't handle the pressure.

If you let the soda sit in the fermenter, then you might get more alcohol. But at any rate, don't be like me and bottle your soda and store in a warm place. Get that stuff in a fridge!

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Old 10-20-2008, 02:41 PM   #9
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Since you followed the instructions the ABV is probably 0.25-0.5%. That's all it takes to carbonate the batch. The rest of the sugar is just making the root beer sweet. If you let it ferment out completely, you would have 4%, but without any sweetness. Not a tasty treat.

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Old 10-20-2008, 04:38 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lapaglia View Post
Right,
You mixed it, but it in the bottles and in a day or two you put them in the fridge. Thats when the fermentation stopped. You cold crashed it. Try this. Next time leave one bottle out, uncapped, with an airlock or a balloon on it. In 7-10 days chill it and taste it. I bet you taste alcohol and no sweetness.

2 kg = 4.4 lbs sugar. 4 lbs sugar in 5 gallons of water is an SG of 1.032 thats about 4.5 %ABV. The key is you do not let it ferment to dryness. You let it go long enough to carb the bottle and then you stop fermentation by cooling it.
Well that's the thing... I mixed it, put it immediately into bottles, and then put it in my room temperature brewing cabinet (the place I put all my brews). In fact, most of the batch is still in the cabinet! I haven't moved them to the fridge at all I usually sample one about once a day, and the pressure and/or sweetness does not appear to be changing! Maybe I should get them in the fridge just to be safe...
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