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lowriderdog37

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I have been brewing beers for several years now, but I got a hold of some great root beer in the store. I have an open tap and want some real root beer. I have been finding tons of recipes with just table sugar and RB extract. I would prefer to make it in more of a traditional fashion. Does anybody know where I can get ingredients and a recipe, or even a good kit?
 

Lefty

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Midwest Supplies have the soda kits, but I have not tried them. I wanted to try the Orange soda.
 

Joos

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Go dig up some sasafrass roots boil em then carb:)
 

Weazel

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I have only tried this recipe once and it failed due to contamination. The one bottle that wasn't contaminated tasted great.

Root Beer - Search - CHOW

The best place to look for the ingredients would be a local health food store that has herbs, roots and those sort of things in bulk. Sorry I can't help you any further with this.
 

talenos

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I think sassafras has been known to cause cancer so they use wintergreen now. So you might not want to go that route, just because it's probably much harder to find, even if you love the idea of getting cancer.
 

LousyRock

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I think sassafras has been known to cause cancer so they use wintergreen now. So you might not want to go that route, just because it's probably much harder to find, even if you love the idea of getting cancer.
From Wikipedia:

The roots of Sassafras can be steeped to make tea and were used in the flavoring of root beer until being banned by the FDA. Laboratory animals that were given oral doses of sassafras tea or sassafras oil that contained safrole developed permanent liver damage or various types of cancer. In humans liver damage can take years to develop and it may not have obvious signs.

In 1960, the FDA banned the use of sassafras oil and safrole in foods and drugs based on the animal studies and human case reports. Subsequently, both Canada and the United States have passed laws against the sale of any consumable products (beverages, foods, cosmetics, health products such as toothpaste, and others) that contain more than specific small amounts of safrole.
 

sterling214

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I would stay away from using molasses. From my experience its taste and aroma overpowers everything else. I found that plain table sugar was the best sweetener.
 

GroosBrewz

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This recipe was posted by Flyweed several weeks ago.. I cant remember which forum I copied it from.. Been wanting to try it..

Originally Posted by flyweed
Sure, I'll share mine if other people do as well. Mine is pretty easy really, and for the most part, is the "base" recipe for just about all "from scratch" brewers.

Makes 2 gallons:

2 oz of Sarsaparilla (optional because of FDA ban)
2 oz. of Sassafrass
1/2 oz. of Licorice root
2 oz. wintergreen leaves
1 pound of sugar (plain old cane sugar)
1 1/2 pounds of honey (clover or wildflower)
2 gallons of water

Bring water to a boil (use spring water if possible). Add all roots and spices in a grain/steeping bag and simmer for 30 minutes. Add sugar and honey and stir in to mix..shut off heat and allow to cool. Then once at room temp..you can either pitch a yeast and bottle, or force carb and keg. I usually just double this recipe and make 4 gallons and force carb in a corny keg.

Dan
Not sure if he used extract or dried herbs....
 

sterling214

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This recipe was posted by Flyweed several weeks ago.. I cant remember which forum I copied it from.. Been wanting to try it..



Not sure if he used extract or dried herbs....
That recipe sounds pretty good. You can get sarsaparilla root bark, which has none of the FDA banned chemical, and health food stores.
 

BearNP

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Please post how your rootbeer turns out, and whichever recipe you decide to use. Would love to brew some up for my family.
 

sterling214

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My guess would be just to cut back on the sugar. Maybe sub in some artificial sweetener for some, but not all of the sugar.
 

talenos

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Anyone know if you can just buy HFCS? Karo brand has flavorings in it. I'm curious because a friend wanted to test to see how well people could tell the difference.
 

bsay

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Anyone know of a diet rootbeer recipe?
The main problem with "regular" soda is the High Fructose Corn Syrup. That said, you're not adding that to your root beer, rather you are using cane sugar which the body can digest normally. Nothing more "diet" than using all natural ingredients....
 

GroosBrewz

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Anyone know of a diet rootbeer recipe?
Unless you are kegging, I don't think you can make a diet soda using yeast to carb since yeast requires sugar to do it's job.. But if you are kegging maybe there is an aceptable sugar substitute out there somewhere.:)
 

MrFinstad

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I think sassafras has been known to cause cancer so they use wintergreen now. So you might not want to go that route, just because it's probably much harder to find, even if you love the idea of getting cancer.
I owned an organic root beer business for a while. Though I cannot divulge the secret company recipe, I did learn quite a bit about the Sassafras root.

It was banned from consumption based upon a single animal study. Inquisitive as I am, I turned up this study, which was performed on some poor rats. My research is currently thousands of miles away from me, but if I remember correctly, they injected the little guys with enough sassafras to equate to an average sized man drinking inhuman quantities of rootbeer every day...I want to say like five gallons a day. Consumed in normal amounts it wasn't any more dangerous than eating an apple every morning. Hey, isn't that supposed to be good for you?

Anyway, I would look into yourself, rather taking the FDA at its word. People have been eating or drinking the root for thousands of years. The FDA has only been stumbling over itself for the last hundred.

I tried making a few batches with some personally harvested root, which were great. I also tried batches with the bark, which were not great. Safrole, the stuff they say will kill you, is much more concentrated in the root, and as far as I can tell, entirely responsible for the delicousness and fragrance of old fashioned root beer.

That said, there are hundreds of things people have thrown together and called rootbeer. If you can manage to think outside the usual consumer norms, root beer can be pretty much anything you want it to be. Hell, I've seen some old recipes that would do a lot more than give you cancer.

I'm sure I sound like a delusional cancer crazed sassafras lover, so I'll try and post the study If I can dig it up again.
 

CATFISHER74

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I think sassafras has been known to cause cancer so they use wintergreen now. So you might not want to go that route, just because it's probably much harder to find, even if you love the idea of getting cancer.
We use to make tea with this in Mississippi and now they say not too i really liked it thou.:(
 

armorshell

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The main problem with "regular" soda is the High Fructose Corn Syrup. That said, you're not adding that to your root beer, rather you are using cane sugar which the body can digest normally. Nothing more "diet" than using all natural ingredients....
The body can digest HFCS normally...it's just a supersaturated solution of fructose and glucose in almost exactly the same concetrations as most honeys. The reason it's problematic from a "diet" standpoint is because your body can digest it.
 

wilbanba

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try xylitol instead of sugar as it has fewer calories/gram and will help drop the calorie count per bottle or serving

fyi yest doesnt feed on xylitol well so a ratio of 1:1 xylitol:sucrose should help
 

talenos

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I owned an organic root beer business for a while. Though I cannot divulge the secret company recipe, I did learn quite a bit about the Sassafras root.

It was banned from consumption based upon a single animal study. Inquisitive as I am, I turned up this study, which was performed on some poor rats. My research is currently thousands of miles away from me, but if I remember correctly, they injected the little guys with enough sassafras to equate to an average sized man drinking inhuman quantities of rootbeer every day...I want to say like five gallons a day. Consumed in normal amounts it wasn't any more dangerous than eating an apple every morning. Hey, isn't that supposed to be good for you?

Anyway, I would look into yourself, rather taking the FDA at its word. People have been eating or drinking the root for thousands of years. The FDA has only been stumbling over itself for the last hundred.

I tried making a few batches with some personally harvested root, which were great. I also tried batches with the bark, which were not great. Safrole, the stuff they say will kill you, is much more concentrated in the root, and as far as I can tell, entirely responsible for the delicousness and fragrance of old fashioned root beer.

That said, there are hundreds of things people have thrown together and called rootbeer. If you can manage to think outside the usual consumer norms, root beer can be pretty much anything you want it to be. Hell, I've seen some old recipes that would do a lot more than give you cancer.

I'm sure I sound like a delusional cancer crazed sassafras lover, so I'll try and post the study If I can dig it up again.
That's really interesting. Have you seen any recipes that might be close online, they seem to vary quite a bit. Or is there one you wouldn't mind dumping to the public domain that would get us close?
 

Bullshivit-brew

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The only problem with HFCS is how much people consume. Back when I was I kid a soda was a treat and now people have exchanged it for water, then wounder why they are getting fat. I still like the taist of sugar cain better thow
 

doublehelix68

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I have been brewing beers for several years now, but I got a hold of some great root beer in the store. I have an open tap and want some real root beer. I have been finding tons of recipes with just table sugar and RB extract. I would prefer to make it in more of a traditional fashion. Does anybody know where I can get ingredients and a recipe, or even a good kit?
I want to try the same thing. Many recipes with many ingredients online. I wanted to try to grow the main ingredients from wintergreen, sassafras, sarsaparilla and various other roots and herbs. Hard to come by though. I've discovered about 15 or so typical ingredients. Some health food stores carry most of them (except wintergreen the key ingredient). But the recipes that I've read call for fresh leaves, roots, stems or flowers. Maybe I'll look for the seeds online and plant them myself. Then, honey, brown sugar and molasses make the fermentation possible for home made root beer. Not sure when kind of yeast, but most agree that champagne does not work.

I heard that some cherry barks are useful too.
 

KevinJ

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Try Safale S-04 (ale yeast). I tried it in a few sodas and liked it. It was not so yeasty as 1118 or the other champagne yeast I tried.

Champagne yeast works fine. I have used it many times. I just think I like the ale yeast better now.

Check EBay for some of ingredients you are looking for.

Kevin
 

homebrewer_99

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My take on the FDA: If they ban it, it must be good for you...if they allow it, check the allergic reaction list -- chances are they're hoping you become a patient so they can "service" you into the poor house... ;)
 

Barc

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Going back to the original question and also taking from some previous replies, I've found in drinking root beers, it can and does contain different flavors depending upon the manufacturer. Also, these flavors can be of varying degrees of intensity.

That being said, the most common flavor components I pick up on in descending order of intensity are the following:

Sarsaparilla
Anise or Licorice
Birch or Wintergreen
Vanilla

I've drank quite a bit of sassafras based / containing products (tea, beer, wine) and smelled it in the wild, while cooking, and during consumption and I don't pick up any flavor or smell at all in the root beers I've had. Of course, these are all from large manufacturers so some of the smaller ones may have some sassafras component in them.

Were I putting together a root beer recipe, I'd include the ingredients I listed above and possibly a few other very low key flavor components. Sassafras would not be one of them unless I were trying for a different flavor than those root beers I've sampled.
 

Brewin_the_goods

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My take on the FDA: If they ban it, it must be good for you...if they allow it, check the allergic reaction list -- chances are they're hoping you become a patient so they can "service" you into the poor house... ;)
+1 on that. :mug:
 

chemman14

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so when making root beer with yeast in it to carbonate you rely on the cold temperature killing the yeast
 

marzsit

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so when making root beer with yeast in it to carbonate you rely on the cold temperature killing the yeast
cold temps won't kill yeast, it will just slow it down or make it go dormant. once the bottles warm up, the yeast will wake up and the bottles can explode..
 

twohands

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IIRC - the "Pappy's sassafras" extract has had the safrole removed and is safe to make tea, rootbeer, etc.
 

onipar

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Great resource. Thinking about trying this. How long do you "ferment" with the yeast before putting the bottles into the fridge?
 

duffman2

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Check out Homebrew Chef: Home sean paxton has a recipe for a 5 gallons as well as some excellent looking "beer food"
Well, anybody try this yet?? Sounds crazy but really good. Looking up prices I found most everything for almost $90 if I buy in bulk and get a pound of each. Or I buy a 1/4 lb of each for $35. And then add shipping

So, in short, I'm looking for some overwhelming personal referrals to this if anybody has tried it before I fork over the dough.

And also, can you use the powder forms of any of these roots or would that mess up the recipe?
 

Tw0fish

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onipar said:
Great resource. Thinking about trying this. How long do you "ferment" with the yeast before putting the bottles into the fridge?
I've no experience with champagne yeast but if you use bread yeast leave it in a primary for a day. The fermentation is outright violent for several hours but it drops off fast!
 

Curtis2010

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I just brewed an awesome root beer and thought I would post here for the benefit of those looking for a good recipe. This is for 5 gallons for forced carbonated root beer (you could of course easily adapt this to naturally carbonate).

The end result has a rich creamy head with very long retention, creamy mouth feel, and is not overly sweet as can result if using sugar rather than DME.

Ingredients below:

8oz Cara-Pils
8oz Flaked Oats
1lb Light DME
1 Bottle Root Beer Extract (qty may vary by supplier)
1/2 tsp Vanilla

Brew Steps:

Bring 1 gallon of water to 160 and add grains (I put mine in a grain bag which makes them easy to remove). Steep at 155 for 30 minutes (do not boil). Remove grains.

Add DME and mix well. Bring water back up to 160 and hold for 30 minutes (there is no need to boil this stuff...just need to pasteurize and mix well).

Transfer to keg (our whatever your gear dictates) add extract (again no need to boil an extract you just drive off flavor components). Top up with with cool clean water. Force carbonate at approximately 26PSI at 45F.

Pic attached of the end result -- rich, creamy and yummy!

You could also adapt this to brew a "hard" root beer by upping the gravity with DME. I have a small 1-liter test batch of this approach brewing now. I brought the OG of this test batch up to about 1.060 with DME and pitched a generic dry brewer's yeast by Coopers.

Guate Root Beer 2011-12-23 SAM_1197.jpg
 
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