I'm fairly new to brewing, and have been trying my hand at making root beer lately. My first batch was with Rainbow extract. It tasted pretty good before I put the yeast in, but after the bottling it never got fizzy. I know now that my mixture was way too hot and I killed the yeast. Poor little buggers never had a chance.
Tried again last weekend with a "scratch" recipe. I am nothing if not optimistic! Here is the recipe i used. I doubled it to make 2 gallons:
1 gallon filtered water
½ ounce dried sassafras root bark
½ ounce sarsaparilla root
½ ounce fresh spearmint (about 3 sprigs)
3 star anise pods
1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, crushed
1 cinnamon stick
1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise, seeds removed and reserved
1½ cups packed brown sugar
½ cup mild or dark molasses
⅛ teaspoon ale yeast
The mixture looked and smelled great, and this time I made sure the temp was right before pitching yeast and bottling. Bottles got firm after 2 days and I thought all was well. Let it sit 2 days in fridge after carb up, then tasted.
Bubbles were perfect but BLAH! It had a strong medicinal aftertaste. Undrinkable to me, though maybe some folks like this? Any ideas on which root/spice is giving me this strong flavor? I want to try again, but have no idea how to modify this recipe. I like very sweet root beer with hints of vanilla.
Thanks and look forward to your replies!