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Home Brew Forums > Wine, Mead, Cider, Sake & Soda > Soda Making > Sassafras flavor / alternatives
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Old 10-16-2012, 05:58 PM   #31
springmom
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Hmmmm. Hay soda....... Nom. :-)

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Old 10-17-2012, 06:47 PM   #32
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...okay, so I gave up trying to find a local source of fresh wintergreen leaves or oil...they are both surprisingly difficult to find! However, I did actually come up with an even better idea (IMO). I ended up going to the local garden supply store and picked up an actual Wintergreen plant (Gaultheria Procumbens). Doesn't get any fresher than this!

The leaves do not have any smell until you break them, then they have a slight "clean" evergreen kind of aroma...a very faint "foresty" smell. Upon chewing a leaf, I first noticed that they have a fairly high astringency, followed by a very distinct, minty wintergreen chewing gum flavor.

I am currently steeping some leaves to verify the online info that states that enzymatic conversion to methyl salycilate is necessary.
See here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaultheria_procumbens
Edibility
The fruits are edible, with a minty flavor,[7] and the leaves and branches make a fine herbal tea, through normal drying and infusion process. For the leaves to yield significant amounts of their essential oil, they need to be fermented for at least 3 days.[8]

From everything I've read, the "fermentation" that is referred to has nothing to do with yeast or bacteria, and is simply an enzymatic reaction of some sort, much like mashing grains to make beer. I would like to find out what the chemistry behind this process is, and what the ideal enzymatic conversion temperature/environment is...which would probably significantly speed up the process. Any Bio Chemists out there that could help?

I'll try to make a wintergreen only brew first, then try making a blended recipe.

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Old 10-17-2012, 11:51 PM   #33
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Just as well that you couldn't find oil of wintergreen. The toxicity is impressive, even in small amounts. It metabolizes into salicylic acid (aspirin) and just a teaspoonful is the equivalent of 300 aspirin tablets...with the obvious outcome if ingested.

It's also what gives Ben-Gay ointment that smell.

Not to start (or restart) a tussle but I have to say, I think I'd be of a mind to use sarsaparilla or sassafras (maybe Pappy's extract? It has the nasty stuff taken out) than to mess around with methyl salicylate.

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Old 10-18-2012, 12:11 AM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ryangibson77 View Post
...okay, so I gave up trying to find a local source of fresh wintergreen leaves or oil...they are both surprisingly difficult to find! However, I did actually come up with an even better idea (IMO). I ended up going to the local garden supply store and picked up an actual Wintergreen plant (Gaultheria Procumbens). Doesn't get any fresher than this!

The leaves do not have any smell until you break them, then they have a slight "clean" evergreen kind of aroma...a very faint "foresty" smell. Upon chewing a leaf, I first noticed that they have a fairly high astringency, followed by a very distinct, minty wintergreen chewing gum flavor.

I am currently steeping some leaves to verify the online info that states that enzymatic conversion to methyl salycilate is necessary.
See here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaultheria_procumbens
Edibility
The fruits are edible, with a minty flavor,[7] and the leaves and branches make a fine herbal tea, through normal drying and infusion process. For the leaves to yield significant amounts of their essential oil, they need to be fermented for at least 3 days.[8]

From everything I've read, the "fermentation" that is referred to has nothing to do with yeast or bacteria, and is simply an enzymatic reaction of some sort, much like mashing grains to make beer. I would like to find out what the chemistry behind this process is, and what the ideal enzymatic conversion temperature/environment is...which would probably significantly speed up the process. Any Bio Chemists out there that could help?

I'll try to make a wintergreen only brew first, then try making a blended recipe.
It sounds like you are on the right track with what you are doing. I suspect there will be something about the wintergreen, maybe just a small amount, in the mix that makes it more "root beer" like, at least in comparison to modern renditions. Nobody is saying just go ahead and use only wintergreen. Most recipes I've seen that contain sassafras also contained other flavor components. I don't know why that would be any different with recipes using wintergreen.
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Old 10-18-2012, 12:48 AM   #35
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SpringMom, 10-4 on the toxicity. Someone can correct me if I am wrong, but I believe that if the flavor of the wintergreen is reasonable (ie. less strong than chewing a piece of wintergreen gum, which uses methyl salicylate as flavoring) it's probably fine. Where the problem comes in is if I were to over-dose the soda in such a way that the concentration of methyl salicylate would be so strong that it would make anything even resembling root beer...perhaps a mouthful of Bengay? I would think that using a handful of fresh wintergreen leaves would be pretty safe...? I mean, they used to make tea out of it...but then, they also used to make sassafras tea...

Also, I'm not ruling out the Pappy's extract, I'd just rather find a combination of raw ingredients other than sassafras that works.

Shooter, yeah, I just want to make a straight wintergreen soda for experimental purposes. I have single flavor sodas of each of the other flavors, so as I'm developing the recipe, I can more easily recognize which flavor component needs to be adjusted.

It also helps me set a benchmark for single ingredient proportion. For example, the sassafras soda that I made was WAY too strong, whereas most of the others were pretty close to ideal. Now I have a benchmark for how much of each component to add.

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Old 05-30-2014, 05:51 PM   #36
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Default Dihydroanethol

Dihydroanethol tastes like a mixture of sassafras and anise oils. As such, it can replace the combination in most root beer recipes that use both. See http://www.thegoodscentscompany.com/data/rw1024292.html .

For example, a commercially viable recipe (minus sweetener, coloring, foaming agent, etc.) might be:

Ethyl Vanillin, 100 parts per million (ppm)
Methyl Salicylate, 25 ppm
Dihydroanethol, 3 ppm

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Old 06-09-2014, 05:45 PM   #37
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Is this available somewhere in small quantities?
I would like to try (& smell) it.

I wonder if Pappy's contains this compound?

Pappy's certainly is the only non-safrole containing sassafras like material I have found.

Blue-Frog

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Old 06-09-2014, 08:08 PM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blue-Frog View Post
Is this available somewhere in small quantities?
I would like to try (& smell) it.

I wonder if Pappy's contains this compound?

Pappy's certainly is the only non-safrole containing sassafras like material I have found.

Blue-Frog
There is a problem in that food grade (FCC) dihydroanethol is difficult to buy retail. Sigma Aldridge sells it wholesale here, http://www.sigmaaldrich.com/catalog/...g=en&region=US .

I purchased 25 g. of perfume grade dihydroanethol online at http://www.thegoodscentscompany.com/pricoffr.html but I am uncertain whether they will sell to anyone.
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Old 06-22-2014, 04:57 PM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blue-Frog View Post
Is this available somewhere in small quantities?
I would like to try (& smell) it.

I wonder if Pappy's contains this compound?

Pappy's certainly is the only non-safrole containing sassafras like material I have found.

Blue-Frog
Dihydroanethol would have to be listed on the label as "artificial flavoring." I have not tried Pappy's Sassafras Tea but according to

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51FGO%2BQHN9L.jpg

all of the ingredients are natural. Also, according to one negative review, it tastes too much like root beer instead of sassafras:

http://www.amazon.com/Pappys-Sassafr...DateDescending

So, did you have any luck buying dihydroanethol? Sooner or later some retail online store will sell it to anyone with a credit card.
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Old 06-22-2014, 08:52 PM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aruzinsky View Post
Dihydroanethol would have to be listed on the label as "artificial flavoring." I have not tried Pappy's Sassafras Tea but according to

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51FGO%2BQHN9L.jpg

all of the ingredients are natural. Also, according to one negative review, it tastes too much like root beer instead of sassafras:

http://www.amazon.com/Pappys-Sassafr...DateDescending

So, did you have any luck buying dihydroanethol? Sooner or later some retail online store will sell it to anyone with a credit card.

Well one of the detractors clearly states "I am use to tea like Lipton's Ice Tea" and so obviously had no idea what they were buying; another person wrote: "This tastes mostly like root beer, or sasparilla, not sassafras. Great if you like root beer, which I hate." again displaying a lack of affection for the concept!

Also, if you have used sassafras yourself, you will no doubt have observed that Sassafras keeps on giving... so for someone used to drinking homebrewed concentrated sassafras tea, Pappy's could indeed be considered too weak....

but all said, I haven't tried it since they were supposed to have removed the goodness from it, but well, it could have changed.

Humm, actually, I think I have had it once since then, and found it very sasisfactory, but I am not quite sure - it's all a bit fuzzy!

OTOH, I tried Lorann Oils Sassafras maybe 2 years back and that was NOT sassafras like at all. It actually tasted like one of my own formulations.... It was very dissapointing to learn that the best they could do... was no better than the best I could do.

They also have a root beer flavor, but I did not bother trying it....

As far as DHA goes,
I am in the sap-like flow from one location to another, while rebuilding etc. our home & garden so I haven't had time to look into it. I am sure I will as soon as we get settled in to the new place!

but,

are you sure dihydroanethol doesn't exist in nature?

Blue-Frog
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