A buddy of mine doesn't drink alcohol, but is interested in brewing, so he made a root beer. He really likes the idea of making something from scratch and the root beer extract and sugar wasn't doing it for him. We got to talking about making a soda from barley malt and adding natural flavoring ingredients to make a sweet soda like root beer. In my 30 seconds of research before creating this thread, I found there was a German drink called Vitamalz that sounds similar to what we are doing.
I was hoping to get all the sweetness from the barley malt, but it looks like they add glucose to theirs which is understandable. I've never tasted sweet wort that was sweet enough to make a soda.
Anyway, does anyone here have any experience with this? Any tips on what base malt to use, how much malt, mash temperature, etc.? Things to avoid so that I don't make 5 gallons of gnarliness?
I'll try to document this here if we go for it.