Eary/Traditional Root Beer(?)

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Wayek

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Hi there!
I'm going be making a very early traditional root beer based on these ingredients which took a few months to gather but might need some tips on how to proportion some of these
according to wikipedia and some other vintage recipes so far here is what I've gathered to work with: different types of cinnamon, allspice, birch bark, cloves, fennel seed, coriander seed, juniper berries, ginger root, wintergreen leaves and berries, hops, burdock root, dandelion root, spikenard root, pipsissewa, guaiacum wood chips, sarsaparilla root (I have indian, mexican and jamaican but usually use the indian cause it just tastes best IMO), wild cherry bark, yellow dock root, prickly ash bark, sassafras root, marshmallow root, star anise pods, green anise seed, vanilla extract instead of beans, dog grass root, and licorice root (I think this is all based on one of the first Hires recipes cause that's 27 ingredients .. I managed to find everything listed on wikipedia except for something called spicewood or spicebush.... so I think I'll just substitute that with extra allspice and cloves... I also have cinchona bark, spruce tips and grains of paradise as optional ingredients...

anyways I've done a few batches before with usually 1 lire of water to make syrup with sassafras being at the front with usually portioned like this

sassafras root - 20g
fresh ginger root - 35g
wintergreen leaf - 14g
sarsaparilla, licorice, marshmallow, dandelion, burdock roots - 10g
cinnamon - 5g
birch or cherry barks - 7g
juniper berries - eyeballed (about half a handful)
star anise - 1 pod
3 cloves
fennel, anise, coriander seed - 1/4 tsp

start with the ginger, cloves, cinnamon, seeds and star anise is cold water and bring to a boil for 3 minutes then add everything else and remove from heat and let steep for 15-20 minutes
then re heat with pinch of salt and 2 cups of demerera sugar and 1 tbsp of vanilla at the end (sometimes I'll reuse the wort with another L of water)

and that pretty much makes a fool proof killer root beer! but that's all I've ever worked with and everything else (the hops, spikenard, pipsissewa, guaiacum, yellow dock, prickly ash, dog grass root, cinchona, grains-o-paraidso) those are totally new to me and some of them were pretty expensive and tough to find so I kinda don't wanna really do too many experiments with them without at least getting someones knowledge about how to maybe portion some of these things to make them work .... and how would you portion them with 1L of water??? with this much ingredients I would likely need to use 2L of water to start? hmmmmm ....


any suggestions??


thanks for reading
 

JohnSand

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Welcome aboard! That looks really interesting, I wish I could help. I tried once based on an old recipe in a book. Mine just used sassafras and sugar. The book had scant details and it ended overcarbed but good. If you don't find any help here, you might check your library or Ebay for books or magazine articles. Please keep us posted.
 

Miraculix

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Wow, that's a lot of ingredients that I never even thought of using in anything.

I'd really like to try the result.
 
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Wayek

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This syrup turned out so dark it's almost like cola and I got a lot more than I thought I would...

Well, I used all of the ingredients mentioned above..
35g ginger root
20g sassafras root
10g wintergreen
10g sarsaparilla, licorice, yellow dock, spikenard, dog grass, marshmallow, roasted dandelion, burdock roots
10g pipsissewa
10g juniper berries
7g birch, wild cherry, prickly ash bark
7g guaiacum wood chips
5g cassia
1/2 tsp allspice, clove, fennel seed, coriander seed, grains of paradise, anise seed
about 7 whole hops flowers

Now I used just a tiny bit of hops just to say that it's in there but I didn't want much taste of them cutting through the mix and I'm not fermenting.. I think that's where most of the "medicinal" comments from really old tyme root beer comes from ... for the root ingredients I was stumped on I just 10 g'd everything and figured guaiacum wood is just wood so 7g of that should do - plus I read that stuff was used in indigenous medicines and would have an acrid taste.. pipsissewa is supposed to be like wintergreen so 10g of that too even though I don't think it smells or tastes similar.

The ingredients are supposedly based "on a recipe from Hires before the 1920's" weather that's true or not but since guaiacum wasn't used for anything ever after the 1800's it's possible .

So how does it taste? WOOAAHH!!! 😯 Best I can describe it's like a cross between root beer and Pepsi with a bold zinging punch of something! It's actually good! would probably be considered even better back in the 1800's but even for today it's pretty good for today standards but I don't think kids today would dig it too much but adults would for sure! With that being said, this is a root beer that will put hair on your chest! even if you're a lady! ...... weird enough apparently pipsissewa is also an ingredient in Pepsi!
 

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PberBob

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Wow - sounds like an apothecary clearance sale!

Glad it turned out well. Drink one of those on your way to a drug test and your sample will be enshrined in the Hall of Fame! :mug:
 
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Wayek

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Is that 10g each or a mix of the above at 10g? If it's a mix, can you specify a ratio?
Oh sorry .. 10 grams of each root

and I forgot to mention 1 cup of lactose powder, 4 cups of demerara sugar, 1 tsp of salt and a tiny tiny bit of molasses (less than a 1/4 tsp) during the simmer after straining and cold bath to filter out the sediment (and there was a TON of sediment after brewing this)
 
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Jacob_Marley

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Is your root beer sparkling - carbonated?
If so, how did you do that? ... naturally done (verses a tank of CO2)? ... if so, what was your process?
 
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Wayek

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Is your root beer sparkling - carbonated?
If so, how did you do that? ... naturally done (verses a tank of CO2)? ... if so, what was your process?
That's just the base syrup .... I mix a ratio of 3/1 with just sparkling water. I can't do a ferment and make it alcoholic since I have cirrhosis but then again there's vanilla extract in there so meh...

Here's what it looks like after it's mixed....foams up like a mother!

Anyways update - after realizing that I accidentally made an extra pint of syrup I had to go back and put it all back in a pot and readd the sugar, lactose, salt, molasses and vanilla accordingly and now WHAM THERE IT IS!!!!!! now there is absolutely no second guessing it ..... what I mentioned earlier about anything acrid is totally balanced out now. If this was the recipe Charles Hires sold at the Pennsylvania centennial expo then I can definitely see why this was a hit...... It's still root beer that will put hair on your chest but now that it's been adjusted properly it's 100 x better.... My mother who is in her mid 70's tried a glass of it last night and didn't have much to say except it was bold, she tried a glass today after the adjustments and her eyes lit right up.
 

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