So I recently underwent a classic homebrewer scenario: Brewer learns extract brewing. Brewer learns about mashing, fermentation temp control, etc. Brewer experiments with recipe formulation, partial mash, dry hopping techniques, and kegging. Brewer accumulates garage full of equipment as SWMBO questions necessity for each piece. Brewer decides to try making cider. Brewer has to slow down on beer brewing because he now has pregnant SWMBO for the second time in three years. Looking into soda making to use keg equipment and have shorter "brew days". Enter my first root beer experiment!
Here is how my 8 year old and I went about making our first root beer:
1. Boiled 2 c. Water
2. Added spices and simmered with lid on over low med heat for about 20 minutes.
3. In a separate 5gal pot we boiled 2.5gal bottled water with cane sugar and cream of tartar to try and invert the sugar. Boiled for 15 minutes and then removed from heat. While hot, added agave nectar and honey.
4. Let both cool, then add strained spice essence and extract. Top up to 4 gal with tap water. Mix well.
5. After cooling some but while still hot, we added to cleaned and sanitized corny keg. Sealed with co2.
6. Put on 30psi. Intermittent shaking for about 24h then put down to about 25psi to equilibrate.
7. Attach 10ft picnic tap and enjoy!!
2.5 gal bottled water
2 c tap water
1oz dried wintergreen leaves
0.125oz dried licorice root
0.125oz dried star anise
0.5oz chopped,split,dried vanilla beans
3# white pure cane sugar
1tsp cream of tartar
8oz honey (clover)
4oz agave nectar
2oz birch root beer extract (rainbow brand)
*My calculations are that this has about 145 calories per 12oz serving and cost for ingredients probably about $30 for four gallons (about $0.75 per 12oz serving)