I made root beer last year, and used (as I recall) champagne yeast, which is different from regular active dry. I bought the kit, which included the old fashioned bottles, the recipe, the yeast, and extract. It took a couple of weeks to ferment. And no, it's not alcoholic. It contains the same amount of alcohol as o.j., which is minimal. I will find the name of the company that I bought the kit from. They also had other recipes. I bought the cream soda extract, but never got around to making it.
So how's it work? The more sugar the less alcohol and conversely? But if left long enough, will the rootbeer turn more alcoholic or does it turn to vinegar? Bacterial interaction in foods have always fascinated me but I can't seem to get a firm grasp on it.
BTW, are there any rootbeer recipes that start completely from scratch? That is, with sasparilla barks, herbs, etc?
[ June 29, 2001: Message edited by: monpetitchoux ]
I think that the yeast used in this process creates something that is naturally very low in alcohol. Don't quote me on this. Just now, I opened a bottle of rootbeer that I brewed about 18 months ago, and it's better than when it was a month old. It was slightly cloudy back then , but now it is clear and crisp.
i worked with a pastry chef who made her own root beer. she had a company that would do the bottling for her and she would occaisionally make a big batch of her flavor base. from scratch...with lots of bark and herbs and stuff. she did it in the tilt-braiser on the hot line where i worked and i used to love the day every month or two that she'd do it because of the amazing smell.
do some of you have certain smells that are strongly linked to certain places you've worked? the smell of plantains frying brings me immediately back to another restaurant i worked in.
elakin, you didn't by chance work with Gale Gand did you? Her line of rootbeer was highly publicized in food magazines when she first launched it. So how exactly did your pastry chef do it? Did she simmer and reduce? It'd be very interesting to make rootbeet completely from scratch.
Momoreg, the leeners link has a few ingredients for sale. But not a whole lot, as they probably want to sell their own extract. It's so funny. Rootbeer is like Chinese medicine, but a whole lot easier to quaff. Hey, maybe an herbalist would supply the best source for ingredients. Even a recipe or two?
When I was a romantic teenager, I always fantasized that the person I'd marry would include a jug of home-brewed rootbeer as part of the dowry. Diamond ring was not a requirement. As you can tell, I've given up on the romantic fantasy and decided to make my own rootbeer.
The sparkle of a crisp rootbeer appeals to me more than the sparkle of a diamond. In addition to the rootbeer, I would have liked a crown of flowers, a poem or a song written just for me (how vain!), and a sweater knitted from his own hand. How could a diamond ever substitute for any of that?
momoreg, I am interested in knowing if you have kept your rootbeer in the fridge this whole time. As far as I know, most yeasts will continue converting sugar to alcohol until they run out of sugar, or create an environment that is too alcoholic for them to live in. Many recipes for making rootbeer, ginger ale, or other sodas tell you to refrigerate the liquids after they have carbonated the soda to stop the fermentation.
I remember, as a kid, my parents made homemade ginger ale once. We only got to drink one or two bottles before the others blew up.
Two things can stop fermentation: high alcohol content or an exhausted sugar supply. Refrigeration only slows the process. Limiting the sugar supply by using a triple beam balance to weigh the sugar will avoid explosions - especially when the bottles have the potential of exploding in your eyes.
I get the distinct feeling that some of you approach home carbonation carelessly. Using a triple beam balance is paramount for safety's sake. Figuring the amount of sugar isn't that difficult, no rocket science here. GO GET A BOOK ON BEERMAKING, PLEASE. And read the information on carbonation.
kokopuffs, the problem lies in the fact that when making soda you want lots of residual sugar and yet very minimal amounts of alcohol. I have read many recipes for making homemade sodas, carbonating them naturally (as opposed to forced carbonation with CO2 gas). They say that using a very tiny amount of yeast and refrigerating soon after fermentation begins will slow it down enough as to make it almost non-exsistant. As a homebrewer myself, I find this hard to believe, but I have read this from many sources, some of which I know to be very reliable. Of course, if you are really into the beer and soda making hobby you can totally bypass trying to carbonate your beverages naturally and keg them under pressure from CO2. Many kegging systems can cost as little as $150 from brewing supply stores.
Safety is paramount with me, especially since my first bottle of sparkling cider exploded shortly after handling and scrutinizing the bottle. It could have exploded in my face causing blindness. Subsequent batches of carbonated beverages utilized a tri-beam scale for carbonation. No further problems.
I just want people out there aware of certain dangers of carbonation.