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Old 10-04-2012, 04:05 PM   #1
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Default On The Hunt For Root Beer

As you can see this is my first post here. I have been doing some reading on this forum and belong to a root beer forum. In addition to those resources, I have also been doing a bit of research. I am currently on my 3rd batch of root beer and one of them being a failure. I am realy wanting to make a root beer much like A&W, Frosttop and even 1919. These are examples of the flavors that my wife and I love a lot. Granted the recipe I have and have modified (my third batch) is not bad, but isnt quite what we are looking for.

This recipe involves sassafras, sarsaparilla, star anise, very small amount of vanilla, and brown sugar. This is not the enitre recipe but will give you an idea of what is mostly in it. I know, like most things, that A&W, Frostop, etc. are closely garded recipes, but I am looking for a recipe that would be much closer to those styles than what I am making. It would be a much better starting point. Any help on this would be much appreciated.

Because of the title of this post I had a couple other things to address. I know that root beer brewing isnt exactly as big as beer/wine brewing, or even a hobby that people just wake up one morning and decide to do, but am I wrong in seeing that the resources are pretty slim and what is out there also tends to be pretty much repitive info? I guess by that I mean there are few forums and not one that I would consider a "big" forum with constant large amounts of traffic, or fast constant response times to postings on a regular level.

I also notice that there seems to be only one book that gets recommended in the root beer community, which I have purchased and do enjoy very much. Lastly, there doesn't seem to be nearly as many recipes as I had hopped to find when first gaining interest in brewing root beer. Am I just not finding what may actually be out there? Are there hidden communites or resources I maybe just have not stumbled across yet? Is there somewhere that has a great list of different recipes of different varieties of root beer? I guess if there were ever a site I could go to that "had it all", and this may not be the case, I woud want to see what are the different styles of root beer, what are the base ingredients/recipes of those styles, brewing methods, brew setups, etc. I dont want to know anything scientific, just want to know more about this stuff.

I dont know if I am asking anything that cn be answered or if I am asking to much but I figured thats what forums are for. Any help on any of this would be very much appreciated.

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Old 10-04-2012, 05:58 PM   #2
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Root beer really doesn't have the history or as vast a reach as does beer. That said, there really aren't "styles" of root beer like there are styles of beer, because root beer itself is more a style of soda than anything. It's like looking for a style of sugar cookie. There are different recipes, but probably not necessarily different styles.

I'd say try some different roots like burdock or dandelion. Also, I've always thought A&W was pretty heavy on vanilla, maybe try different varieties of vanilla as well. Also, having a decent recipe after only three batches is pretty good.

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Old 10-06-2012, 04:42 PM   #3
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Do you ever get to a point in a recipe, cooking food or otherwsie, and think "this is good but its's still missing something." then have no clue what that "something" is thatwill finish it off perefectly? See I have been drinking this recipe and I do like it, but its not compete yet. My wife and I love the A&W, Frostops, vanilla-y root beers. Maybe I should try adding more vanilla, like 1oz of vanilla extract/gal or something? I did find this other recipe that has 3 cups of molasses in it for 1 gallon of water and my wife thinks that could be "the one". So ill have to make a batch of that and see...lol I love this trial and error stuff. But like you said, maybe I also need to experiment with different roots. I just can't wait to find that one recipe that we love like our third child...lol

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Old 10-06-2012, 08:04 PM   #4
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Heh, my fingers smell like root beer right now. Just kegged a batch. extract, table/brown sugar, vanilla, maltodextrine.

I want to make a batch from roots, but I need to have a quick success and get family buy-in first, so extract it is.

Good luck with your recipe.

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Old 10-06-2012, 10:51 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crazy8 View Post

This recipe involves sassafras, sarsaparilla, star anise, very small amount of vanilla, and brown sugar. This is not the enitre recipe but will give you an idea of what is mostly in it. I know, like most things, that A&W, Frostop, etc. are closely garded recipes, but I am looking for a recipe that would be much closer to those styles than what I am making. It would be a much better starting point. Any help on this would be much appreciated.
Well, I wonder- you don't want to share your recipe, but you want OURS? M'kay.

I'm on a soap forum, and they have the same thing where they won't tell you their secret recipes, but want some help troubleshooting them. That's like taking your car to a mechanic, but not letting him look under the hood.
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Old 10-06-2012, 11:27 PM   #6
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actually, its not like that at all. The only reason I didn't post up the details of the recipe was because I did not have access to it at the time and thought I could just show a general idea of what I was working with. Im also missing were I said I didn't want to share it, but whatever. If you really would like to see it I have no problem posting it, and that may have been the better approach but thats just me. I will be sure to do better from now on.

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Old 10-06-2012, 11:37 PM   #7
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Quote:
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actually, its not like that at all. The only reason I didn't post up the details of the recipe was because I did not have access to it at the time and thought I could just show a general idea of what I was working with. Im also missing were I said I didn't want to share it, but whatever. If you really would like to see it I have no problem posting it, and that may have been the better approach but thats just me. I will be sure to do better from now on.
I must have misunderstood, then, and I apologize.
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Old 10-07-2012, 09:31 PM   #8
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That's how I read it too, Yoop. I would love to see the recipe in question!

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Old 10-08-2012, 02:37 AM   #9
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Here is the requested recipe...

Ingredients:
8 Qts. Water
24 oz. Honey
3 Star Anise
1/4 tsp. Salt
1/4 cp. Sarsaparilla
1/4 cp. Sassafras
1 1/2 cp. Brown Sugar
2 Vanilla Bean (Split and scraped)
2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1/4 cp. Chopped Raisins
1/4 tsp. Nutmeg
1/4 oz. Juniper Berries (50)
1/4 tsp. Champagne Yeast

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Old 10-08-2012, 12:12 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crazy8 View Post
Here is the requested recipe...

Ingredients:
8 Qts. Water
24 oz. Honey
3 Star Anise
1/4 tsp. Salt
1/4 cp. Sarsaparilla
1/4 cp. Sassafras
1 1/2 cp. Brown Sugar
2 Vanilla Bean (Split and scraped)
2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1/4 cp. Chopped Raisins
1/4 tsp. Nutmeg
1/4 oz. Juniper Berries (50)
1/4 tsp. Champagne Yeast
That looks pretty good.

What do you think is the difference in the commercial root beers you're trying to get closer to? Is it mouthfeel? If so, you can add some malt-dextrine to make it have a bit of body and a creamy mouthfeel.

Don't add too much though! My son used too much and made root-beer Jello. He loved it, but it was gross to me. I don't remember the exact amount, but it's not much at all- maybe a tablespoon for 2 quarts (but check the "dosage"! as I'm not sure at all).

What happens if you leave out the salt? Does the rootbeer really need it to balance? I'd try leaving out the salt, too, to see if that brings the full sweet rich flavor into it (I assume that's what you're missing).

Are you using "dark brown sugar", or the light? You may want to use the molasses-y dark brown sugar if you've used the lighter one.
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