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Old 08-08-2013, 08:41 AM   #21
pkrath84
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My batch with the fresh sassafras root suffered from some complications but overall it went well! Definitely tasting much more like root beer than sarsaparilla soda like my first attempt, hah!

With that said though I ran into some kinks when I realized I was 8 ounces short on honey and it came out lacking sweetness and I was also 4 oz short on vanilla flavoring. To make up for it, i added another cup of brown sugar and I found some molasses sitting around and figured, why not!? I also added cinnamon, wintergreen (which I think really made it taste more like commercialized root beer), and sub's the remainder of the vanilla with Madagascar bourbon vanilla extract.

With the changes I made I seemed to produce a slight off after taste... almost bitter in a medicinal way.

Crazy8 - In your other recipe you've used wintergreen... I'm suspecting that this is where my "bitterness" came from. Can you confirm or guide me based on your experience? I'm thinking it was drawn out from boiling the wintergreen too long.

Overall though it came out fantastic and that bitterness I produced with my experimenting goes away after a few sips after your taste buds saturate. This 3 gallon batch will get finished for sure, with enthusiasm!

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Old 08-08-2013, 01:03 PM   #22
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Well I have heard that wintergreen can cause a bitterness. I guess I haven't had much problems with it. It was suggested to me though to try and put the wintergreen in towards the end of the boil. The wintergreen is only being used for head retention not flavor or to add bitterness. I think I may not be having a problem with the bitterness because of the quantity of sweets/sugars I have added in. So I would try to do that. Maybe add the wintergreen during the last 5 minutes of your boil. That should be long enough to draw out whats needed for head retention but long enough to not grab all that bitterness. At least thats my thoughts on it.

Glad to hear that everything seemed to go well over all for you. It always nice when you start something new and the experience starts off on a good foot. Just remember that you have a great resource here on the forum.

It took me a long time to develop my two recipes which 99.9% of people that have tried it seem to love. Though one of them is loved slightly more. The best part about this hobby is being able to play with your recipe and get it all tweaked just right. It takes time but in the end, when you got it, you got it, and its wonderful.

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Old 08-09-2013, 09:51 PM   #23
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Well I have heard that wintergreen can cause a bitterness. I guess I haven't had much problems with it. It was suggested to me though to try and put the wintergreen in towards the end of the boil. The wintergreen is only being used for head retention not flavor or to add bitterness. I think I may not be having a problem with the bitterness because of the quantity of sweets/sugars I have added in. So I would try to do that. Maybe add the wintergreen during the last 5 minutes of your boil. That should be long enough to draw out whats needed for head retention but long enough to not grab all that bitterness. At least thats my thoughts on it.

Glad to hear that everything seemed to go well over all for you. It always nice when you start something new and the experience starts off on a good foot. Just remember that you have a great resource here on the forum.

It took me a long time to develop my two recipes which 99.9% of people that have tried it seem to love. Though one of them is loved slightly more. The best part about this hobby is being able to play with your recipe and get it all tweaked just right. It takes time but in the end, when you got it, you got it, and its wonderful.
Thanks for the insight! I agree with you on the timing of that wintergreen. I suspected that was my culprit because I've had experience with all of the other ingredients.

Thanks again for posting the recipe up for sharing. I remember in one of your messages to be before yo were working on clearing up the brew. Any progress/tips?
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Old 08-12-2013, 01:49 PM   #24
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Yes I have had much success with both of my recipes. One of the big tips I think I would have for anyone is to take a look at the timing that everything goes in. Now I know some people may not agree with this, and others may but here is my experience and one of the secrets I haven't really mentioned, lucky you.

As you know now with the wintergreen thing, you may want to put that towards the end of your boil. Well with the exception to that, it seems that there are some flavors you may want more pronounced (ie vanilla, honey, etc.) and if you want them to be stronger flavors, then put them in at about the last 5 minutes of your boil. All the roots and stuff like that need to be in the water from the very beginning because it takes a much longer time to extract the flavors from those types of ingredients.

Now I am no master brewer or anything. I am just someone who has brewed probably a total of 50 gallons of root beer by now and has some experience and has noticed some things. That's it. I would also suggest the use of maltodextrin to add that creamy mouth feel. I think I use about 4oz for a 3 gallon batch. Hopefully that advice and tip will help you a bit in your brewing hobby.

As far as "clearing" the brew, that has not been a successful venture yet. I still have one or two more things to try in doing that, I just haven't done it yet. If I do find that one of the methods works you can bet ill be posting about it.

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Old 08-17-2013, 05:46 PM   #25
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I got some online (ebay) from seller: washburn71scotty

2lbs (I received about 2.5) set me back $20 shipping included.

Just FYI, I thought I'd share that the recipe he provided for root beer calls for 3 ounces of the root in a recipe that makes 2 quarts, so this is a good starting point. I'm wondering if I need to scale directly or if I can cut back and just boil longer? His recipe calls for a 15 min boil.
I'm also wondering if you can just scale directly if I wanted to make 1gal instead of 2. Anyone know if I can just cut the recipe in half, or are there only some ingredients that scale like that?

I got that same sassafras root, though I got the unwashed stuff so it was only $15 for me. Took a whole 2 minutes to wash, and the dirt probably didn't add that much weight when he weighed it to sell.

Actually, once I washed it, I dried all my roots in the oven at 180 fahrenheit for a few hours, then peeled off the bark when it hardened a bit, but didn't become brittle. Then I just let it fully dry and I ground it into large chunks (not powder) so I could measure it. This way it won't get moldy.

This will actually be my first time brewing anything, so I have very minimal equipment. I have almost everything (still waiting on the yeast in the mail, and I'm getting some bottles later), so once I try Crazy8's recipe I'll let you know how it turns out.
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Old 08-18-2013, 06:48 PM   #26
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You should be able to scale it straight out add far add I know. I've made 1 gal, 3 gal and didn't notice much difference. Only differences from my addition of wintergreen which I'm going to put in right at the end from now on.

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Old 08-20-2013, 07:48 PM   #27
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Thanks Crazy 8! I used your base recipe and added crush star anise, burdock root, a 1/4 cup of vanilla extract, and gum arabic for 4 gallons. This is day 2 after refrigeration. After another week the head should be better maybe clearer. Very very very good!
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Old 08-21-2013, 03:32 AM   #28
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Wow that looks great. If you don't mind me asking, how much burdock did you put in for that 4 gallons and what exactly does the gum arabic do? Thanks much and Im glad you liked it and that it all turned out well for you.

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Old 08-21-2013, 05:32 AM   #29
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As far as "clearing" the brew, that has not been a successful venture yet. I still have one or two more things to try in doing that, I just haven't done it yet. If I do find that one of the methods works you can bet ill be posting about it.
I'm going to try adding a little gelatin to my root beer right before I stick it in the fridge, but after it carbonates when I try making it in a few days. Hopefully it will recarbonate well when I release the pressure to add the gelatin.

My yeast should get here thursday, and I already emptied and bleached several plastic soda bottles that add up to a gallon. I'll add some gelatin to a bottle or two and leave the rest alone, just to compare. I got eight 16.9oz bottles, because I figure waiting for the the 2L bottles to recarbonate every time I open them will be a pain. I guess 1/2 tsp per bottle will do it.

Anywho, I'm going to try the recipe you posted on page 1 of this thread, but I'm cutting the entire thing in half to make only 1 gallon. That'll give me a good baseline to tweak it to my own taste. Who knows, it may even be perfect the first time (though I'm usually not that lucky lol).
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Old 08-21-2013, 01:29 PM   #30
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One thing to keep in mind is that if you are adding gelatin after carbing and before sticking it in the fridge, you will release most of the carbonation and once in the fridge the yeast will go dormant. The yeast may not go fully dormant but it will take a bit longer to get that carbonation back to where it was. Still worth a shot though to see what happens. Good luck Let us all know how it goes.

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