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Old 05-28-2012, 07:43 PM   #1
foxandbear
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Default Sassafras Leaves in Root Beer

This weekend, I gave a shot at my first non-extract root beer. I used the 1912 Fleishman recipe (http://www.root-beer.org/recipe2.htm), adjusted down for just one gallon. Through a bit of a mishap (my brain focuses more on prices than an details sometimes) I ended up with sassafras leaves instead of sassafras root. Overall the product turned out pretty well. Having used ginger instead of hops, I ended up with a pretty decent flavored ginger beer, instead of the root beer I was hoping for. However one thing I had noticed while bottling, was that my brew had taken on an almost syrupy texture. Not quite as thick as pancake syrup but a lot thicker than tea normally would be.

Earlier this morning, by coincidence I was reading "Organic Orcharding" by Gene Logsdon, and stumbled across some interesting trivia. In the book, while discussing sassafras, Logsdon notes that sassafras leaves were/are often used as a thickener in gumbo.

I suppose at this point I would wonder about the potential applications of sassafras leaf as an intentional thickener in sodas. I actually really enjoyed the texture that was produced, as it was very soft textured having a really nice thickness to it, without being too thick. I think if I use this intentionally on a future brew, I might cut back on the amount, or possibly add it a little later in the process so as to create a little less thickness.

Has anyone else ran into this or heard of sassafras leaf being used to intentionally alter root beer texture?

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Old 05-28-2012, 09:07 PM   #2
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This is cool, never heard of it before but I may have to try it in my next batch. Where did you find the leaves at anyways?

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Old 05-28-2012, 09:24 PM   #3
foxandbear
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I ordered my leaves on amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Sassafras-cut-...A28FUI98AHS404). It's a little bit expensive, I think I paid $11 for one ounce including shipping.
It's great for experimentation, just make sure you understand the risks associated with safrole. Some people get squeamish around carcinogens. I figure that I can counter balance the risks associated with safrole, by not bottling in plastic bottles, or smoking.

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"I believe that 100% of the people who use sassafras eventually die. Since cancer is a leading cause of death in this country, no doubt a statistically significant number of sassafras users die of cancer...I am willing to wager all the gold at Fort Knox that if you do not die of it sooner or later, you will die of something else." - Gene Logsdon, "Organic Orcharding: A Grove of Trees to Live In."

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