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-   -   My Own Root Beer Recipe (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f95/my-own-root-beer-recipe-192959/)

TheWhaleShark 08-27-2010 02:55 PM

My Own Root Beer Recipe
Well, I had a hankering for a nice old-fashioned root beer. I've had Virgil's many times, so I was in the mood for something else. Not finding anything, I did the only reasonable thing: I made my own from scratch.

I saw this recipe and decided that it would be a good place to start:

I made a few modifications, and came up with this:

Pete's Ass-Kicking Root Beer
Warning: May Kick Your Ass

~1.25 oz sassafras root bark*
~1.25 oz sasaparilla root
~1/2 oz licorice root
1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp ginger
10 whole cloves
10 juniper cones (berries), lightly crushed
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/8 tsp (pinch) crushed red pepper flakes
3 cups honey
~1/3 cup molasses (NOT blackstrap)
4 lbs turbinado sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract

5 quarts water

Pour the 5 quarts of water into a stockpot capable of holding at least 10 quarts; a 12 quart pot is ideal. Note the level of the liquid; you'll need to remember where it is later. Heat the water to near boiling, and add the sugar, honey, and molasses, stirring to dissolve it. Just as the water starts to boil, add everything else, stirring to get it all mixed. Let the water come to boil, and then back it off to a strong simmer/light boil for about an hour, or until you are back down to the 5 quart level. The sugar and such add roughly an extra 2 quarts to the volume.

After boiling, strain the syrup into another pot, add the vanilla extract, and mix well. Bottle the syrup in quart-sized Mason jars, plastic jars, or any other suitable container.

The syrup should be mixed in roughly a 1:4 ratio. I just mix it with seltzer and skip the whole force carbing or natural carbing thing. It would probably taste great if it were naturally carbed; I might give that a go at some point.

*Yes, I used real sassafras root bark. No, it probably wasn't the best idea. It does taste fantastic though. When I make this again, I'll likely look for a safrole-free sassafras extract.

duganderson 08-27-2010 06:46 PM

If you find a good safrole-free sassafras extract that works well for soda, please post on this page. I am looking for one because I really enjoy the real Sassafras flavor.

callmebruce 08-28-2010 07:54 PM

Wow! That sounds like one wicked combination! Where do you get the sassafras root bark, sarsaparilla bark and licorice bark?

TheWhaleShark 08-30-2010 02:04 PM

I found my root barks at our local co-op: Honest Weight Co-Op

They have a fairly extensive bulk food section, as well as an "herbal medicine" section. In other words, lots and lots of hippie BS. They had bulk sassafras root bark, licorice root segments, and cut-and-sifted sarsparilla root.

prosper 08-30-2010 03:42 PM

I made a root beer with essential oils - a few drops of wintergreen oil, birch oil, and anise oil, along with a few tbsp vanilla, 1/3rd cup of lime juice and 1/2 cup of molasses. It's unmistakeably root-beer-like

TheWhaleShark 08-30-2010 04:32 PM

In retrospect, I'd probably bump up most of those spices to a full teaspoon each. It's a good root beer, and the taste really lingers on the palate, but it's somewhat subdued. I was trying to give it a touch more "oomph" without being too overwhelming. Leave the cloves alone, though; it's got plenty of clove taste.

boss429 08-30-2010 06:30 PM

i've never had root beer with sarsaprilla as it is a "carcinogen" but I bet its good I might get into making root beer one day.

TBrosBrewing 08-30-2010 07:31 PM

Sassafras is the carcinogen. Its only in the roots, the leaves are perfectly fine. Gumbo File' is made from ground sassafras leaves.

TheWhaleShark 08-30-2010 07:48 PM


Originally Posted by TBrosBrewing (Post 2247303)
Sassafras is the carcinogen. Its only in the roots, the leaves are perfectly fine. Gumbo File' is made from ground sassafras leaves.

I would imagine that the leaves have a different flavor, yes?

TBrosBrewing 08-30-2010 08:17 PM

They are rather bitter.

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