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Home Brew Forums > Wine, Mead, Cider, Sake & Soda > Soda Making > A lot of brewing, Many questions.
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Old 05-17-2013, 03:24 AM   #1
Crazy8
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Default A lot of brewing, Many questions.

Well I wasn't sure what to title this but that's the best most fitting thing I could think of so here it is. First off its been a while since I was last here and man has it been a great adventure in the root beer world. Well I have nailed down my own recipe. I have been fine tuning this thing for some time and I think its about as close to perfection I can get, but might tweak something just a bit. Not sure what, but you know it when it happens. Along this adventure many questions have popped up that I would like to ask and hopefully get some answers for. So here we go..

1) I know that the ingredients I add last, right at the end of the boil, tend to be the most pronounced flavors. One of them is vanilla and I was thinking today, "I wonder if it will make any difference if I put everything in BUT the vanilla when it still hot, then chill the batch in the freezer then add the vanilla then if it will make any difference in the potency of the vanilla flavor, or any difference at all with the flavors?" Any personal experience on this with you root beer pros?

2) I use Red Star Champagne yeast. I am quite satisfied with it. When I make a batch it typically takes about 3 days to carbonate and then I throw it in the fridge. I have noticed with a bottle I opened tonight, Its been in the fridge for maybe 3 days. It tastes amazing, there seem to be more head retention, and the carbonation seems to have a little more bite in comparison to other bottle that have only been in the fridge for 1-2 days. Does a longer time in the fridge cause any of these, or other, effects to the root beer?

3) Recently I have been making A LOT of root beer. A few 6 gallon batches even. I will bring 2 gallons to work to share with my team and if there is a bottle we don't drink all of, I will let it sit under my desk so that it warms back up and starts carbonating again. There have been a few instances where I notice that with it carbonating again, the flavors start to change a little bit. Is there a way of preventing the flavors from changing or a way for the root beer to hold on to the carbonation longer?

4) I had purchased and have dandelion root and burdock root. I tried them once upon a time and did not care for them AT ALL. I don't know if they are just meant to be used in a much smaller quantity that the sassafras and sarsaparilla root or what. So a couple questions on that. Are they meant for flavors or are they more for head retention and stuff like that? Are either of those roots worth putting into my root beer? I use 3/8 cp of sassafras for 3 gallons of water, should I use the dandelion and burdock at the same measurement or much lower if it is okay to use?

Well I think that's all I got now. I know that these questions are kind of advanced but Im sure we must have some rather advanced people in here that might have some idea.

Thanks much in advance for any help that might be given on this.

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Old 05-18-2013, 06:20 PM   #2
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I'll tackle the only question I can answer with any certainty.

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1) [...] chill the batch in the freezer then add the vanilla then if it will make any difference in the potency of the vanilla flavor
If you're using vanilla extract, that's the way to go as it will prevent the flavored alcohol from evaporating during brewing. In the extract, all of the flavor ends up in the alcohol (which is why the FDA mandates a minimum alcohol content on vanilla extract).

If you are using vanilla beans, however, you want the vanilla beans in while you're heating/simmering the mixture so the flavor/oils will come out of the beans and caviar (the tiny seeds inside the beans that you scrape out first). If you find the vanilla flavor too strong for your liking, you should use less bean rather than putting it in after the solution cools.
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Old 05-18-2013, 07:47 PM   #3
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Thanks much in advance for any help that might be given on this.
1. That makes sense, as I don't heat my ginger for ginger ale when I want a "spicer" ginger flavor. I don't know for sure, though!

2. Yes, longer in the fridge seems to really smooth it out and make the bubbles finer. I think it has to do with a couple of things- one is that more yeast falls out as sediment so the flavor and texture of the soda is better, and secondly c02 diffuses better in cold liquids so it seems like the carbonation is finer and the bubbles are smaller.

3. If it's carbing up, it's fermenting. That will indeed change the flavor of the soda. If it's a partially opened bottle, it will ferment quite a lot to fill the headspace with c02, so the flavor will change. If you want to preserve the flavor, it needs to go into the fridge. If you can't drink a big 2L bottle in a day, just like with storebought soda, it will go flat soon.

4. I don't use those things, so I don't know.
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Old 06-01-2013, 10:48 PM   #4
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I think what I am going to do from now on, at least for now to try, is to let it ferment for 3 days and then let it sit in the fridge for three days. I usually let it just let it ferment in the cupboard for about 2-3 days when I can tell there is enough CO2 then let it sit in the fridge for just a few hours to get cold or sometimes chill in the freezer a bit. However, it seems that about 3 days in the fridge after fermenting for 3 days is about the right amount of time to still have all the right flavors and to get the perfect carbonation. The head, head retention, and mouth feel all seem to not change in this time much. Actually now that I think of it, there has been a time or two that I will get some REAL deep head but that's kind of fun to see sometimes...

Thanks again for the info. This is the kind of stuff that starts to get even more interesting as you find out how these little details change your brew, even when it comes to the flavor. Its even better when you understand these little things and learn how to use them to fine tune your recipe.

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