Homemade Root Beer: Part Three

| 8/1/2016 11:40:00 AM

Tags: fermentation, beer making, home brewing, Renee Benoit, California,

Renee-Lucie BenoitAfter two tries at making old-fashioned root beer with herbs, I had to admit to some experiment fatigue. I just wanted to have some success to guzzle down with abandon on a hot day. If only I could get some success, I would promise to go back to making it from scratch! I sure have been learning a lot, and I've gotten a much greater respect for brew masters of old! How did they persevere?

The first experiment yielded a good flavor but lousy color. The second experiment yielded great color but lousy flavor. So I decided to cave and try a less nostalgic experiment to see if it were at all possible to come anywhere close to both good flavor and good color.

I got ingredients and a recipe from our local home-brew shop. The recipe used an extract, sugar, and champagne yeast, so there would still be an element of risk. I wanted my root beer to have a small fizz and a head of foam, and to achieve that I need to ferment it. The fizz in this recipe was not going to be from alcohol. It was going to be from carbon dioxide.

Here's what I did:

For 1 gallon of root beer I used ...

• 1/8 teaspoon champagne yeast
• 1 tablespoon root beer extract (I used Homebrew Root Beer Extract from Rainbow Flavors in Osage Beach, Missouri)
• 2 to 2-1/4 cups white sugar
• enough filtered water to make 1 gallon

8/13/2016 12:13:44 PM

Hi Shelley, Thanks for your feedback. I did try molasses in the 2nd batch. I guess I used too much because the molasses flavor was more dominant than we liked. I also used 2 grolsch (swing top) and one soda pop. You're right. The swing tops are better sealing. I never thought of using water kefir. I will check into that. This is a really fun experiment and I'm enjoying trying different techniques!

8/4/2016 5:43:52 PM

Also, the difference between brown sugar and white sugar is molasses, which might darken your final product and boost flavor.

8/4/2016 5:42:21 PM

Also use the swing top bottles from your 2nd experiment because that makes a huge difference in effervescence or "fizz". Also, did you use milk kefir or water kefir starter? I dont think I would like a gingerbug base... I would definitely use water kefir because its my mild-flavored go-to for all kinds of things. The description you used for trial one sounded like you may have used milk kefir and improper bottles. adjust those 2 things alone and you may have your winner. Looking forward to your next update! :)

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