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Old 04-11-2010, 04:14 AM   #1
FungusBrew
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Sep 2009
Illinois
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Hi guys,

I was interested in brewing with Sassafras Root. Sassafras is what gives "root beer" its flavor right? Could anyone describe what it tastes like?

Thanks!



 
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Old 04-11-2010, 07:19 AM   #2
FungusBrew
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Sep 2009
Illinois
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In addition to the "rootbeer" flavor that is...someone told me it tastes like mushrooms..?



 
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Old 04-11-2010, 12:23 PM   #3
TUCK
 
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Jul 2006
Kennesaw, Ga, Georgia
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i have a root that is 5 ft tall......Found when I went camping one year.

I love root beer, so I had to try it. When I scrapped some and made a tea from it ........it did have a taste like root beer.....like a liquorish taste but not extremely intense and I was getting a lot of bitterness as well.

Now this bitterness could have been Cause I brewed it too long.

If I was to attempt this again I would recommend and plan on doing, making another tea and playing with the brewing time and adding sugar to taste. Come up with a good ratio (brew time, amount, sugar) and roll with it so I can make some homemade root beer.

 
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Old 04-11-2010, 01:29 PM   #4
SumnerH
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Feb 2009
Alexandria, VA, USA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FungusBrew View Post
Hi guys,

I was interested in brewing with Sassafras Root. Sassafras is what gives "root beer" its flavor right? Could anyone describe what it tastes like?

Thanks!
Sassafras root is rarely used in root beer in the US, and when it is it's processed for safety because a major component (safrole oil) has been shown to cause liver failure and is a carcinogen.

Traditionally it wasn't present in a lot of root beers, anyway; sarsaparilla and wintergreen are the two most common universal root beer flavorings. For instance, a 1922 Hires pamphlet lists: Birch Bark, Chirreta, Dog Grass, Ginger, Hops, Juniper Berries, Licorice, Sarsaparilla, Sugar, Vanilla, Wintergreen, and Yerba Mate.

http://brewing.housezacharia.com/Sassafras.html

Quote:
In the 1960s, laboratory tests determined that safrole, the major component of the oil of the sassafras root bark, was toxic to the liver and could cause cancer in rats and mice. In 1976 the U.S. Food and Drug Association banned the usage of sassafras containing safrole in products for internal consumption.

Commercial root beer brewers and "extract" makers scrambled to reformulate their recipes, either balancing out the missing sassafras with other roots or synthetic flavors or by extracting the safrole from the sassafras root bark oil.

Although you will find sassafras oil, tincture, and root bark available for sale, they are legally intended for external use only
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Old 04-05-2011, 08:53 PM   #5
Bukozki
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Apr 2011
State College, Pennsylvania
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I think you'll be okay using it. Here is a government listing of carcinogenic potential...

http://potency.lbl.gov/pdfs/herp.pdf

Quote:
Safrole is the principle component of oil of sassafras (up to 90%). It was formerly used as the main flavor ingredient in root beer. It is also present in the oils of basil, nutmeg, and mace (Nijssen et al., 1996). The HERP value for average consumption of naturally-occurring safrole in spices is 0.03%. Safrole and safrole-containing sassafras oils were banned from use as food additives in the U.S. and Canada (Canada Gazette, 1995; U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 1960). Before the 1964 ban in the U.S., a person consuming a glass of sassafras root beer per day for life, would have had a HERP value of 0.2% (Ames et al., 1987
Considering that beer has a HERP value of 1.8%, I think you'll be okay. I'm not a doctor. I'm debating using it in a batch.

 
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Old 04-05-2011, 09:20 PM   #6
Pivovar_Koucky
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Feb 2010
Cincinnati, Ohio
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Sassafras definately tastes like root beer. I don't think it has much bitterness though, at least not with 2 oz. to a gallon.



 
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