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Old 04-16-2012, 03:29 PM   #1
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Default made root beer... no alcohol???

So we made root beer for the kids the other day... school me a little..

we added sugar, the root beer extract and yeast... why will that NOT make alcohol? instead of putting it in two liters, we threw it in a carboy with an airlock... Thanx for the tips and guidance...



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Old 04-16-2012, 04:47 PM   #2
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Good question -- The process of fermentation will make alcohol but this will make content that would basically be measured as NC (no content) by the time everything is all said and done.

For a little more on it you can check out

http://biology.clc.uc.edu/fankhauser/cheese/rootbeer_jn0.htm

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So we made root beer for the kids the other day... school me a little..

we added sugar, the root beer extract and yeast... why will that NOT make alcohol? instead of putting it in two liters, we threw it in a carboy with an airlock... Thanx for the tips and guidance...


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Old 04-16-2012, 05:35 PM   #3
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It will make alcohol, especially the way you've done it. The fermentation is the same. With beer, you ferment to bring up the alcohol content, then pressurize to carbonate.
Soda production you ferment to pressurize and carbonate without the unpressurized fermentation step (carboy with airlock). So there is minimal alcohol in traditional soda, but it's still there.

So your method with the airlock is not holding the CO2 to dissolve into the solution to create carbonation.

You're just making root flavored beer, not root beer flavored soda. I hope your kids enjoy that.

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Old 04-16-2012, 05:41 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Firebat138 View Post
So we made root beer for the kids the other day... school me a little..

we added sugar, the root beer extract and yeast... why will that NOT make alcohol? instead of putting it in two liters, we threw it in a carboy with an airlock... Thanx for the tips and guidance...
By fermenting it in a carboy with an airlock at room temperature, yes you are certainly creating an alcoholic beverage and not a soda pop. It will not be appropriate for children.

To make a root beer soda pop, you still add yeast to the mixture. But the yeast is only there so that it eats a little bit of the sugar, to carbonate the soda. That means there will still be a tiny tiny bit of alcohol, but a safe amount for anyone to drink. What you do is mix up the soda, add the yeast, bottle it and let sit a couple of days until the plastic bottles are firm (showing the soda is carbonated). Once the bottles are firm, they placed in the fridge to halt further fermentation. That prevents more alcohol production as well as stops more carbonation that would cause the bottles to blow up.
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Old 04-16-2012, 05:45 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by MrFoodScientist View Post

You're just making root flavored beer, not root beer flavored soda. I hope your kids enjoy that.
I bet they will! I know I would have! Hell, I'm brewing up a Ginger Ale tomorrow!
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Old 04-16-2012, 06:51 PM   #6
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To expand a bit on what Yooper said, for clarity's sake, it's the matter of scale.

When you put fresh root beer and yeast in the 2L (or other) bottles, and then refrigerate when the bottle is firm, only a small amount of sugar is converted to alcohol and a comparatively large amount of CO2. Halting with cold (or pasteurization for room temp storage) will keep your beverage at the miniscule alcohol content indefinitely.

When you put it in the carboy, you were giving the yeast free rein to go nuts on the sugar, converting everything possible to alcohol, and saving NONE of the CO2, which means when you want to carb it, you'll have to add more sugar for CO2, and still wind up with a VERY alcoholic, dry root beer. If you want to backsweeten, you can, but you'll still need to either pasteurize or chill to halt the yeast on that, or suffer bottle bombs (plastic will survive better, but not forever), or use non-fermentable sugars like lactose... which doesn't seem like a great choice for root beer.

Unless your goal is hard root beer, it should never go in a carboy/fermentation vessel. Since you made it the other day, it's likely finished all initial fermentation, so please don't give it to your kids in any real volume...

I'd stick the carboy in the closet and let it do it's thing for a few weeks and see how it turns out for the adults. Meanwhile, start a new batch of root beer for the kiddies and put it in bottles, to head into the fridge as soon as they feel solid.

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Old 04-16-2012, 07:43 PM   #7
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yup... got it.. The kids help make it, so probably a felony... lol... not really... We shall just keep this away in the corner for a while... already bought the stuff to try again... for the kids of course... thanx all



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