Root beer tastes medicinal
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!