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Old 08-29-2013, 09:10 PM   #1
scobysurfer
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Default Root Beer tasting

My friend and I are brewing root beer and in order to better hone in our recipe, we'd like to first know what's out there and what truly makes a great root. What sort of characteristics am I look for when doing a survey/sampling of root beers?

  • Sweetness
  • Fizz
  • Bite
  • Viscosity
  • Color

Anything else I'm missing?
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Old 08-30-2013, 12:58 AM   #2
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Are you gonna use sassafras ?

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Old 08-30-2013, 01:42 AM   #3
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Nope

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Old 08-31-2013, 12:16 AM   #4
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I might add a quality called earthiness. Rootbeer is a combo of fetid swamp mud flavors counterbalanced with cloying yucky sweet. It doesn't really make sense to rate one as right and the other off; it is an issue of balance where both can be weak, medium, or strong... as long as they match. Well, you could add a quality called strength.

I mix rootbeer about daily using zaterain (sp?) extract and agave syrup poured into a half liter carbed water. The extract is in a funny shaped bottle that tends to surge out, so I often accidentally create what I call "black tar rootbeer". Then I have to really cram in agave syrup or else it will be disgusting. Or too much syrup and it becomes candy-like kid stuff.

Other issues fall way, way down the scale. Who the heck cares what color it is... but with my extract, a medium strength gives a color of liquid and foam is a wonderful slightly translucent glowing happy color. Black coffee color, and the strength will be harsh. Light color, and the strength won't be strong enough to overcome a certain seltzer bitterness.

Ok, since you will mix your own extract you can break it down a bit more. I would downrate anything with peppermint or licorice taste because I hate them, although often used as a substitute for that cancer related ingredient. But it's hard to rate components because like I said things can be adjusted. More carb can give bite that the extract may lack. Oh, there is the quality of sudsiness, which is absent in most other types of sodas which don't like to retain foam.

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Old 08-31-2013, 06:01 AM   #5
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"Rootbeer is a combo of fetid swamp mud flavors counterbalanced with cloying yucky sweet."

Rofl!! That was hilarious!

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Old 08-31-2013, 06:19 AM   #6
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Just keep in mind, you are making this to your own tastes. People have different recipes for a reason, because they all give different tastes. You can come up with whatever taste attributes you like, there are no rules for how root beer has to taste.

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Old 08-31-2013, 06:51 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djbradle View Post
"Rootbeer is a combo of fetid swamp mud flavors counterbalanced with cloying yucky sweet."

Rofl!! That was hilarious!
What I meant was if you carefully balance them, it is wonderful. They can both be strong or weak, but heaven help it if one dominates. A lot of us got the cheap dozen pack of rootbeer extracts from amazon, and gagged when we first used it in strength... at least with the zatarain brand.

I actually like missing the mark in my sloppy pouring of extract. It gives variety, and pushes my boundaries of too much rootiness. I balance it with agave syrup, and all that changes (a lot) is the overall intensity. I would get tired of my root beer if it was the same ideal mix every day. The agave is a splurge, but seems the most compatible with rootiness.
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