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Old 08-30-2009, 04:32 PM   #1
Aug 2009
Hanover, PA
Posts: 4

Hello everyone!

I am gathering everything I need to make root beer the old fashioned way. Here's what I bought so far...

4 - Cornelius soda kegs - Pressure Tested (I know these need to be sanitized before use, so I have to gather that info as well).

12 - 4 oz bottles of Zatarain's Root Beer Extract (each bottle makes 5 gallons - perfect for corny kegs - cost was 2.49 per bottle)

50 - 5 gram packets Red Star Pasteur Champagne Active Dry Wine Yeast (got 50 because I wasn't sure how many I would actually use per batch and only cost me 60 cents per packet). I got this because I read it produced the cleanest tasting soda with minimal yeast flavor.

Now, there's a recipe on the back of the Zatarain bottles and here's what it says:


Old fashion method: To make 53 bottles Zatarain's Root Beer. HANDLE WITH CARE. USE ONLY HEAVY GLASS BOTTLES.
Five (5) gallons of lukewarm water, white sugar (three to four pounds according to taste), one (1) bottle Zatarain's Root Beer Extract, one (1) package beer yeast (5 grams) dissolved in a cup of warm water. Mix properly and strain into clean heavy glass bottles. Cap securely. Lay in sun for an hour or two (to help it age and help yeast to rise). Always lay bottles down. Allow to stand at room temperature for 24 hours. After 24 hours, test one bottle for carbonation and flavor by tasting; if additional carbonation is desired allow to stand additional time and taste again. Refrigerate after desired carbonation is reached.


Ok, now with all that out of the way. My desire is to make a keg at a time of this root beer. But not in glass bottles as they say. I want to make it in the corny kegs. So my question is do I follow the mixing instructions by adding the quantities they listed (probably not all the water right away, but maybe 4 gallons then top off in the end with a bit more water ( I know I need to leave a little room in there maybe a quarts worth). Then seal the keg and shake/flip the keg to mix up the ingredients more. Then store away for about a week or two to carbonate.

Then once the proper level of carbonation is reached, how to serve it out? Do I need additional pressure to serve it from the keg using a party tap? Do I need a CO2 tank hooked up to serve it or is there a hand pump that can be used to build up pressure to serve it?

Obviously, I am new to this, so any help would be greatly appreciated. I have 3 eager kids that would love to have this root beer.

Thanks in advance!

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Old 08-30-2009, 04:39 PM   #2
Yuri_Rage's Avatar
Jul 2006
Posts: 14,296
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If you're kegging, you should get a CO2 tank and regulator. Natural carbonation will not provide enough pressure to serve.

Since you're planning on kegging, I highly recommend force carbonation. Yeast adds a little bit of a "bite" to the flavor, and it also provides a very slight amount of alcohol (that will increase over time, especially in a keg). Of course, you'll need that tank first...
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Old 08-30-2009, 04:42 PM   #3
bmckee56's Avatar
Sep 2008
Coraopolis, PA (Near Pittsburgh)
Posts: 912
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If you have the cornie kegs, you might as well go for the co2 tank and regulator setup. Or you could go on-line or to a LHBS vendor in your area and purchase one of the co2 cartridge chargers that adapts to a ball valve gas-in port. Then you just need a picnic tap and some properly sized food-grade hose to dispense your root-beer. Don't forget the hose clamps or you might have a nasty, sticky clean-up ahead.

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Old 08-30-2009, 05:51 PM   #4
Aug 2009
Hanover, PA
Posts: 4

OH and what type of sanitizer should I be using? I read that Iodophor Sanitizer is the better one to use for cleaning out my kegs... do I need a brush for scrubbing them as well and do I soak them for any length of time? Thanks!

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Old 08-30-2009, 08:57 PM   #5
Jan 2009
New Orleans, LA
Posts: 245
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Get ya some oxiclean and/or boiling hot water.
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Old 08-30-2009, 10:03 PM   #6
DrinksWellWithOthers's Avatar
May 2008
Posts: 1,049
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Originally Posted by kanielb1 View Post
Get ya some oxiclean and/or boiling hot water.
Which is a good cleaner but not a sanitizer. Oxyclean for cleaning, Iodophor or Star San for sanitizing.

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Old 08-31-2009, 01:57 PM   #7
david_42's Avatar
Oct 2005
Oak Grove, Oregon, USA
Posts: 25,599
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You can naturally carbonate, but unless you can chill the kegs to 35F or so, they will continue to ferment.

You'll need a CO2 tank and regulator for serving.

You will need a very long party tap for serving. I use 20 feet of 3/16ths tubing for soda. Otherwise, you'll have nothing but foam.
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Old 09-01-2009, 04:56 AM   #8
dantodd's Avatar
Oct 2006
San Carlos, CA
Posts: 1,173
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All good advice.

clean with "Powdered Brewers Wash" or OxyClean Free (only use the "free" the other versions have fragrance added which will still be there after sanitizing)

Sanitize with StarSan, Iohophor or commercial no rinse sanitizers (quat-based are best)

DO NOT use yeast to carbonate

Buy a regulator and CO2 tank. Even if you tried to naturally carbonate you'd still need the CO2 to push the Root Beer out of the keg so just do it right from the beginning.

I run my soda regulator at 45psi and use 20 ft of 3/16th tubing which gives a decent pour.

The Root Beer will permeate everything plastic and you won't want to ever use the beverage hoses for anything else. You probably will want to change the o-rings on the kegs too if you ever want anything other than root beer in them.

I use 4 lbs sugar and 20 oz honey when I make the zatarains concentrate, I like it better than the all cane sugar version.

I also keep a keg with plain water at 45 psi. My wife really likes soda water and this is way cheaper than buying the stuff.

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Old 09-25-2009, 11:04 PM   #9
Nov 2007
So.Cal., No. Orange County
Posts: 322
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I use 2 litre soda bottles. Simple recipe:
2 cups Sugar
1 tblsp Zatarains
1/16 or a hair more tsp of Nottingham or whatever ale yeast happens to be handy.
Fill bottle with luke warm tap water, put cap on tightly
Shake vigorously
Put bottles away in a safe place, after 3-5 days check bottles, if they are hard when you squeeze them you have carbonated rootbeer, put the bottles in the fridge and enjoy when cold.

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Old 09-25-2009, 11:46 PM   #10
Always Ready
RonRock's Avatar
Jul 2008
Underwood, Iowa
Posts: 1,263
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I made Root Beer for my son's graduation party this spring. It was a big hit, I was worried we'd run out before everyone that wanted a glass could get one. Point is, home made RB is great, make more than you think you need.

A lot of good advice here. Subscribed.

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