Homebrewers Association | AHA Forum

General Category => Beer Recipes => Topic started by: duboman on June 27, 2013, 01:29:49 PM

Title: Alcoholic Root Beer
Post by: duboman on June 27, 2013, 01:29:49 PM
SO here in Chicago area we have "Not your Father's Root Beer which in two versions is either 10% or 19% alcohol and is seriously amazing!

I am trying to come up with something similar and located a BYO article from '97 with the following recipe:
2 lbs. crushed mild ale malt
1 lb. dark crystal malt, 120° Lovibond
0.25 lb. black malt
0.25 lb. chocolate malt
3 lbs. unhopped dark dry malt extract
0.5 lb. dark unsulphured molasses
4 oz. maltodextrin powder
1 oz. Cluster hop pellets (7% alpha acid), for 60 min.
0.5 oz. sassafras bark
0.5 oz. sarsaparilla bark
1 oz. dried wintergreen leaves
0.5 oz. shredded licorice root
pinch sweet gale (optional)
pinch star anise (optional)
pinch mace (optional)
pinch coriander (optional)
dash black cherry juice (optional)
10 to 14 g. dry ale yeast
2 oz. lactose powder
7/8 cup corn sugar
0.5 cup spice tea (pinch wintergreen, sarsaparilla, licorice root)
corn sugar for priming
Step by Step:

In 1 gal. water mash crystal, black, chocolate, and mild ale malts at 155° F for 60 minutes. Sparge with 1.5 gals. at 170° F. Add 1 gal. water to kettle and bring to a boil. Add dark dry malt, maltodextrin, and molasses. Stir well to avoid scorching. Add Cluster hops and boil 60 minutes. At kettle knockout steep your spice combination (in a mesh bag) as wort cools. Pour into fermenter and top up to 5.25 gals. Cool to 75° F and pitch ale yeast. Ferment seven to 10 days at about 70° F, rack to secondary, and condition at 60° F for two weeks. Prime with corn sugar, add strained spice tea (1/2 cup boiling water over spices for at least a half hour), and bottle. Age two to three weeks cool (55° F).

This recipe comes to about 5% so I entered it in Beersmith and bumped the fermentables up to achieve about 9.5% as well as the Cluster addition to keep the IBU ratio the same as well as color of almost 50SRM.

I'm wondering if anyone has tried something similar or possible this recipe and how it turned out. Not Your Father's Root Beer tastes incredibly like Root Beer with almost no alcoholic taste-it is wickedly dangerous as you want to keep drinking more:) Appreciate any input or thoughts.
Title: Re: Alcoholic Root Beer
Post by: yso191 on June 27, 2013, 03:56:36 PM
FYI, from Web MD:

In beverages and candy, sassafras was used in the past to flavor root beer. It was also used as a tea. But sassafras tea contains a lot of safrole, the chemical in sassafras that makes it poisonous. One cup of tea made with 2.5 grams of sassafras contains about 200 mg of safrole. That equates to a dose of about 3 mg of safrole per 1 kg of body weight. This is about 4.5 times the dose that researchers think is poisonous. So, in 1976, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ruled that sassafras could no longer be sold as sassafras tea.

I understand that there is a synthetic Sassafras out there, so maybe that is what you are thinking of using.
Title: Re: Alcoholic Root Beer
Post by: duboman on June 27, 2013, 04:46:14 PM
Yes, I had read the same thing. I am also contemplating simply using either root beer extract or sarsaparilla extract for the flavor addition at bottling.

Right now I am just trying to figure out the alcohol part and see what people's thoughts/experience might be.

Thanks!
Title: Re: Alcoholic Root Beer
Post by: The Professor on June 27, 2013, 07:43:45 PM
Yes, I had read the same thing. I am also contemplating simply using either root beer extract or sarsaparilla extract for the flavor addition at bottling.
Right now I am just trying to figure out the alcohol part and see what people's thoughts/experience might be.
Thanks!


Just remember that if you're shooting for a beverage with a sweetness similar to regular root beer, you'll want to increase the crystal malt and/or arrest the fermentation at some point, especially if you're going to bottle.
Trust me on this...about 20 years ago, I learned this the hard way. 
It was merely by luck that no one was injured. 
I'm serious. 
Either let it ferment out completely or kill off the yeasties to retain more sweetness (especially if you sweeten it post ferment).
Of course, if your strictly kegging it, there's  bit more wiggle room.
Title: Re: Alcoholic Root Beer
Post by: duboman on June 27, 2013, 08:17:41 PM
Yes, I had read the same thing. I am also contemplating simply using either root beer extract or sarsaparilla extract for the flavor addition at bottling.
Right now I am just trying to figure out the alcohol part and see what people's thoughts/experience might be.
Thanks!


Just remember that if you're shooting for a beverage with a sweetness similar to regular root beer, you'll want to increase the crystal malt and/or arrest the fermentation at some point, especially if you're going to bottle.
Trust me on this...about 20 years ago, I learned this the hard way. 
It was merely by luck that no one was injured. 
I'm serious. 
Either let it ferment out completely or kill off the yeasties to retain more sweetness (especially if you sweeten it post ferment).
Of course, if your strictly kegging it, there's  bit more wiggle room.

Yes, aware and this is going to be bottled as I do not keg. I am planning on mashing high. I recalculated the recipe to be AG, added crystal and with mashing high Beersmith tells me it should finish about 1.025 using WY1056. I am also planning on using PET bottles.

I'm hoping this will be sweet enough, thoughts? Still no one that has actually and successfully brewed something like this?
Title: Re: Alcoholic Root Beer
Post by: erockrph on June 28, 2013, 02:41:40 PM
Haven't tried this myself yet, but I've been kicking around an idea for brewing something in the vein of a hard lemonade. My plan was to use a wine or champagne yeast (something that doesn't ferment maltose well), then use DME for added fermentables. Since the wine yeast will probably only hit 50%ish attenuation on the DME, the rest would leave sweetness and I could still bottle-prime with added sugar.
Title: Re: Alcoholic Root Beer
Post by: duboman on June 28, 2013, 03:26:07 PM

Haven't tried this myself yet, but I've been kicking around an idea for brewing something in the vein of a hard lemonade. My plan was to use a wine or champagne yeast (something that doesn't ferment maltose well), then use DME for added fermentables. Since the wine yeast will probably only hit 50%ish attenuation on the DME, the rest would leave sweetness and I could still bottle-prime with added sugar.

Interesting thought
Do you think using a dark DME would be better than going AG with a lot of crystal?

I like the champagne yeast thought, thanks!
Title: Re: Alcoholic Root Beer
Post by: erockrph on June 28, 2013, 03:36:35 PM

Haven't tried this myself yet, but I've been kicking around an idea for brewing something in the vein of a hard lemonade. My plan was to use a wine or champagne yeast (something that doesn't ferment maltose well), then use DME for added fermentables. Since the wine yeast will probably only hit 50%ish attenuation on the DME, the rest would leave sweetness and I could still bottle-prime with added sugar.

Interesting thought
Do you think using a dark DME would be better than going AG with a lot of crystal?

I like the champagne yeast thought, thanks!

That's a good question. If it were me, I'd go with what I know. I was just going to use a light DME for the lemonade, but if I were going on the dark side then I'd probably go AG or extra light DME then use Crystal Malt for color/sweetness.
Title: Re: Alcoholic Root Beer
Post by: duboman on June 28, 2013, 09:30:52 PM

Haven't tried this myself yet, but I've been kicking around an idea for brewing something in the vein of a hard lemonade. My plan was to use a wine or champagne yeast (something that doesn't ferment maltose well), then use DME for added fermentables. Since the wine yeast will probably only hit 50%ish attenuation on the DME, the rest would leave sweetness and I could still bottle-prime with added sugar.

Interesting thought
Do you think using a dark DME would be better than going AG with a lot of crystal?

I like the champagne yeast thought, thanks!

That's a good question. If it were me, I'd go with what I know. I was just going to use a light DME for the lemonade, but if I were going on the dark side then I'd probably go AG or extra light DME then use Crystal Malt for color/sweetness.

So do you think the Champagne yeast or wine yeast would provide less attenuation? I know some people use Champagne yeast for stuck fermentation.

In playing with the amounts I have almost 3lbs of crystal120 and plan on mashing around 155 or so to reduce the fermentability of the wort. With a starting gravity of 1.090 I would like to get this to finish I'm thinking around 1.025-1.030 to retain as much sweetness as possible. This is a tough one to figure out.....
Title: Re: Alcoholic Root Beer
Post by: Slowbrew on June 28, 2013, 09:40:19 PM
I think you need to create a beer with a lot of body and the general flavor of root beer and let it completely ferment out.  At that point you could back sweeten with NutraSweet or saccharine to get the sweetness without restarting fermentation.

Kegging would likely be the best option or you could add priming sugar as usual (likely a bit more than normal) and bottle.

Adding any fermantable sugars to try and get a sweet flavor is just going to lead to bottle bombs.

IMHO

Paul
Title: Re: Alcoholic Root Beer
Post by: duboman on June 28, 2013, 09:50:35 PM
I think you need to create a beer with a lot of body and the general flavor of root beer and let it completely ferment out.  At that point you could back sweeten with NutraSweet or saccharine to get the sweetness without restarting fermentation.

Kegging would likely be the best option or you could add priming sugar as usual (likely a bit more than normal) and bottle.

Adding any fermantable sugars to try and get a sweet flavor is just going to lead to bottle bombs.

IMHO

Paul

Yeah, except I do not keg........that is why I am trying to get a low attenuating yeast and recipe going to retain the sweetness up front but thanks for the input:)
Title: Re: Alcoholic Root Beer
Post by: erockrph on June 29, 2013, 12:17:38 AM

So do you think the Champagne yeast or wine yeast would provide less attenuation? I know some people use Champagne yeast for stuck fermentation.

There was a presentation at last year's NHC comparing fermentability of different worts by different yeast strains (I forget if it was Greg Doss from Wyeast or Neva Parker from White Labs). They used a wine strain of theirs as a baseline. The wine strain only hit 50% attenuation, while all the beer strains were in the 70-80% range IIRC. Wine yeasts aren't good fermenters of maltose so they will leave a lot behind if used in beer wort.
Title: Re: Alcoholic Root Beer
Post by: piszkiewiczp on June 29, 2013, 12:27:26 AM
I am seriously hoping that you can pull this off & would love to try it myself. I've sampled the subject brew and it is dangerously good. One unsubstantiated rumor, however, is that at least the 19% variety gets there with the addition of vodka. Using a yeast with low alcohol tolerance and spiking the fermentation with vodka could explain the residual sweetness. (Personally, I hope this is not true.)   
Title: Re: Alcoholic Root Beer
Post by: duboman on June 29, 2013, 01:35:49 AM
Based on that I think wine yeast will be my choice.

I've never tried the 19% version, personally if I want something that strong it won't be root beer;)
Title: Re: Alcoholic Root Beer
Post by: duboman on August 21, 2013, 10:38:48 PM
Sorry to bump my own thread but an update and addition question on direction.

The root beer turned out pretty good! 10%abv using a bland base ale at 50srm back sweetened with sugar and sarsaparilla extract. Kegged and carbed and pretty tasty!

Question: since root beer is basically sugar, water, extract/raw ingredients and champagne yeast I'm wondering: what if I used enough sugar for desired ABV, allowed to fully ferment, added extract, malto dextrine and back sweetened with sugar and kegged would I achieve the better results? Or just some type of nasty cider beverage?

I ask because while the current batch is good for a start there is a late flavor that kind of doesn't work and no one knows what it's derived from. Extract, malt base or perhaps the hops? Possibly need to use root beer extract instead of sarsaparilla?

Looking for thoughts on the sugar idea primarily, thanks!
Title: Re: Alcoholic Root Beer
Post by: erockrph on August 21, 2013, 11:38:33 PM
Sorry to bump my own thread but an update and addition question on direction.

The root beer turned out pretty good! 10%abv using a bland base ale at 50srm back sweetened with sugar and sarsaparilla extract. Kegged and carbed and pretty tasty!

Question: since root beer is basically sugar, water, extract/raw ingredients and champagne yeast I'm wondering: what if I used enough sugar for desired ABV, allowed to fully ferment, added extract, malto dextrine and back sweetened with sugar and kegged would I achieve the better results? Or just some type of nasty cider beverage?

I ask because while the current batch is good for a start there is a late flavor that kind of doesn't work and no one knows what it's derived from. Extract, malt base or perhaps the hops? Possibly need to use root beer extract instead of sarsaparilla?

Looking for thoughts on the sugar idea primarily, thanks!

If I was going to go all-sugar, I'd probably use honey as my base and essentially brew a root beer metheglin. I don't have any experience using an all-sugar base for fermenting, but I can't help but be concerned that I'd end up producing jet fuel. I figure, you might as well use a proven base ingredient that can add some nice flavor while you're at it.

On the other hand, there's really nothing to lose if you want to try a quick 1-gallon batch. Just make sure you use nutrient/DAP like you would with mead.
Title: Re: Alcoholic Root Beer
Post by: duboman on August 22, 2013, 01:33:16 PM
HaHa! Jet Fuel......didn't think of that, maybe not such a great idea!
Title: Re: Alcoholic Root Beer
Post by: kmwylie on September 03, 2013, 02:14:11 PM
Duboman, can you post your recipe? I see the starting one. (I found that one too.) But, what did you change exactly? Did you end up going with an extract? If so, how much?

Being from IL, did you happen to go to Brewfest in Plainfield a couple of weeks ago?  Not Your Father's had a special 30% -- yes, 30%! --batch! It was delicious. I spoke with the owner (I forget his name. My husband and I were pouring all day for the event and by the after party, when I finally got a taste, I was exhausted), and he told me he doesn't use extract at all. He listed off some of his ingredients -- wintergreen, vanilla, ginger, and I thought he said both sassafras and sarsaparilla - maybe it was just sassafras.

Anyway, I too have been on the hunt for an "adult root beer" recipe.

I found this from MotherEarthNews.com...

A mixture is made by adding 1 1/2 gallons of molasses to 5 gallons of boiling water. This is allowed to stand for three hours.

Then 1/4 pound each of sarsaparilla root, bruised sassafras bark, and birch bark (wintergreen flavor) is added.

Next add 1/2 pint of fresh yeast, and enough water to make about 16 gallons total volume.

This is allowed to ferment for 12 hours before being drawn off for bottling (the same as in making beer), after which the secondary fermentation creates the carbonation.

Keep the temperature at 65 to 75 degrees F. during fermentation and after bottling until the carbonation process is complete.

The amount of alcohol in the beverage is dependent upon how long the batch ferments prior to bottling and the level to which the bottles are filled. By partially filling the bottles, the fermentation continues for a longer time and the alcoholic content is correspondingly increased. It is possible to obtain up to 10% alcohol with this process.

Read more: http://www.motherearthnews.com/real-food/guide-making-root-beer-zmaz71ndzgoe.aspx#ixzz2dpzl0U6z


Then I found this recipe, for a non-alcoholic version from WelnessMama.com:


Ingredients

    ½ cup Sassafras Root Bark
    ½ teaspoon wintergreen leaf (or more- try this to taste but start with a little as it has a very strong flavor)
    1 cup unrefined organic cane sugar like rapadura
    ¼ cup molasses
    1 cinnamon stick or 1 tiny dash of ground cinnamon (optional)
    dash each of coriander and allspice (optional)
    2 teaspoons of natural vanilla extract
    3 quarts filtered water
    ¼ cup lime juice (optional but good for flavor)
    ¾ cup homemade ginger bug or other starter culture like whey or vegetable starter

Instructions

    Put the sassafras root bark and wintergreen leaf in a large pot. Add cinnamon, coriander and allspice if using.
    Add 3 quarts of filtered water and turn on high heat.
    Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for about 15-20 minutes.
    Strain through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth to remove herbs.
    While still warm, add the sugar and molasses and stir until dissolved.
    Let cool until warm but not hot and add the lime juice and then then ginger bug or other culture and stir well.
    Transfer to grolsch style bottles or jars with tight fitting lids and allow to ferment for several days at room temperature.
    Check after two days for carbonation and when desired carbonation is reached, transfer to refrigerator and store until use.
    Enjoy!

Notes
If desired, the following can be added to the original boil but they are not needed:
-2 cloves
-1 tablespoon licorice root
-1 tablespoon grated ginger root
-1 tablespoon hops flowers
-1 teaspoon of anise or fennel


I was thinking of using this recipe - swapping out (or adding to) the molasses with malt and using a little hops. Then adding a champagne yeast.

Thoughts?

Kim
Title: Re: Alcoholic Root Beer
Post by: morticaixavier on September 03, 2013, 02:26:03 PM
I think that second recipe sounds wonderful just like it is! I have been meaning to make some lactic soda and I love rootbeer.
Title: Re: Alcoholic Root Beer
Post by: duboman on September 05, 2013, 07:08:16 PM
Duboman, can you post your recipe? I see the starting one. (I found that one too.) But, what did you change exactly? Did you end up going with an extract? If so, how much?

Being from IL, did you happen to go to Brewfest in Plainfield a couple of weeks ago?  Not Your Father's had a special 30% -- yes, 30%! --batch! It was delicious. I spoke with the owner (I forget his name. My husband and I were pouring all day for the event and by the after party, when I finally got a taste, I was exhausted), and he told me he doesn't use extract at all. He listed off some of his ingredients -- wintergreen, vanilla, ginger, and I thought he said both sassafras and sarsaparilla - maybe it was just sassafras.

Anyway, I too have been on the hunt for an "adult root beer" recipe.

I found this from MotherEarthNews.com...

A mixture is made by adding 1 1/2 gallons of molasses to 5 gallons of boiling water. This is allowed to stand for three hours.

Then 1/4 pound each of sarsaparilla root, bruised sassafras bark, and birch bark (wintergreen flavor) is added.

Next add 1/2 pint of fresh yeast, and enough water to make about 16 gallons total volume.

This is allowed to ferment for 12 hours before being drawn off for bottling (the same as in making beer), after which the secondary fermentation creates the carbonation.

Keep the temperature at 65 to 75 degrees F. during fermentation and after bottling until the carbonation process is complete.

The amount of alcohol in the beverage is dependent upon how long the batch ferments prior to bottling and the level to which the bottles are filled. By partially filling the bottles, the fermentation continues for a longer time and the alcoholic content is correspondingly increased. It is possible to obtain up to 10% alcohol with this process.

Read more: http://www.motherearthnews.com/real-food/guide-making-root-beer-zmaz71ndzgoe.aspx#ixzz2dpzl0U6z


Then I found this recipe, for a non-alcoholic version from WelnessMama.com:


Ingredients

    ½ cup Sassafras Root Bark
    ½ teaspoon wintergreen leaf (or more- try this to taste but start with a little as it has a very strong flavor)
    1 cup unrefined organic cane sugar like rapadura
    ¼ cup molasses
    1 cinnamon stick or 1 tiny dash of ground cinnamon (optional)
    dash each of coriander and allspice (optional)
    2 teaspoons of natural vanilla extract
    3 quarts filtered water
    ¼ cup lime juice (optional but good for flavor)
    ¾ cup homemade ginger bug or other starter culture like whey or vegetable starter

Instructions

    Put the sassafras root bark and wintergreen leaf in a large pot. Add cinnamon, coriander and allspice if using.
    Add 3 quarts of filtered water and turn on high heat.
    Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for about 15-20 minutes.
    Strain through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth to remove herbs.
    While still warm, add the sugar and molasses and stir until dissolved.
    Let cool until warm but not hot and add the lime juice and then then ginger bug or other culture and stir well.
    Transfer to grolsch style bottles or jars with tight fitting lids and allow to ferment for several days at room temperature.
    Check after two days for carbonation and when desired carbonation is reached, transfer to refrigerator and store until use.
    Enjoy!

Notes
If desired, the following can be added to the original boil but they are not needed:
-2 cloves
-1 tablespoon licorice root
-1 tablespoon grated ginger root
-1 tablespoon hops flowers
-1 teaspoon of anise or fennel


I was thinking of using this recipe - swapping out (or adding to) the molasses with malt and using a little hops. Then adding a champagne yeast.

Thoughts?

Kim

Kim,

So yes, I was at the fest and had the Root Beer. I can actually get it on tap at several restaurants/bars around my home, it is delicious but I am suspect of the recipe and ingredients as I know some people that are familiar with the brewer. He does actually have a third party produce his flavoring extract for him and the final product is cut with Homemade Root Beer but the alcohol base is a mystery............I have a theory and have heard rumors but, well, who knows...........

So here is the recipe I brewed:
BeerSmith 2 Recipe Printout - http://www.beersmith.com
Recipe: Dad's Hard Root Beer
Brewer: Commune Brewing Company
Asst Brewer:
Style: American Pale Ale
TYPE: All Grain
Taste: (30.0) For flavoring: Added 35 ml sasparilla extract for root beer flavor
Sweetening: Added 1550 grams table sugar to back sweeten

Initial tasting was quite boozy and needs time to mellow and condition dated 8/11/2013

Recipe Specifications
--------------------------
Boil Size: 5.00 gal
Post Boil Volume: 2.25 gal
Batch Size (fermenter): 3.00 gal   
Bottling Volume: 2.75 gal
Estimated OG: 1.090 SG
Estimated Color: 27.8 SRM
Estimated IBU: 32.5 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 80.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 88.9 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Ingredients:
------------
Amt                   Name                                     Type          #        %/IBU         
6 lbs 6.4 oz          Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM)           Grain         1        75.0 %       
4.1 oz                De-Bittered Black Malt (Dingemans) (550. Grain         2        3.0 %         
2.7 oz                Carafa I (337.0 SRM)                     Grain         3        2.0 %         
2.7 oz                Caramel/Crystal Malt -120L (120.0 SRM)   Grain         4        2.0 %         
1 lbs 4.5 oz          Corn Sugar (Dextrose) (0.0 SRM)          Sugar         5        15.0 %       
4.1 oz                Milk Sugar (Lactose) (0.0 SRM)           Sugar         6        3.0 %         
0.86 oz               Cluster [7.00 %] - Boil 60.0 min         Hop           7        32.5 IBUs     
0.15 tsp              Irish Moss (Boil 10.0 mins)              Fining        8        -             
0.24 tbsp             Yeast Nutrient (Boil 10.0 mins)          Other         9        -             
1.0 pkg               American Ale (Wyeast Labs #1056) [124.21 Yeast         10       -             


Mash Schedule: Single Infusion, Medium Body, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 8 lbs 8.6 oz
----------------------------
Name              Description                             Step Temperat Step Time     
Mash In           Add 2.44 gal of water at 162.5 F        152.0 F       60 min       

Sparge: Batch sparge with 2 steps (1.03gal, 2.63gal) of 168.0 F water
Notes:
------
Once fermentation is complete and beer has cleared, sample and add Root beer/sarsaparilla Extract to taste. If sweetening is needed add more sugar syrup to taste.

Brewing notes: over sparged to 6 gallons, re-calaculate recipe for proper batch size  for post boil to be 3.25 gallons Lactose and sugar added at 30 minutes
Sucrose used instead of dextrose at 95% value?

Flavor Additions:
35 ml Sarsparilla Extract
1550 grams Table Sugar to sweeten

The ABV of the base beer did come to 10% which is what I was shooting for. after sampling several small pre-measured pours we arrived at the 35 ml of Sarsparilla extract (Rainbow Flavors) and the 1550 grams of sugar for the final 3 gallon batch, added to the keg. Force carbonated and being served at 30 psi.

Initially there was quite a bite to the taste that we really could not put our fingers on. After 3 weeks in the keg it tastes really good but still has a late something that we are having a hard time deciphering. I believe it is the extract as I am told that straight Sarsaparilla extract can do that. I shipped two bottles off to the pro brewer that helped me with the recipe and also a BJCP judge I know to sample. I am hoping for some critical feedback and some advice as to what I might want to alter for the next batch soon to be brewed again.

My initial thoughts on the second batch will be to go with Root Beer extract. I also plan on adding the same 1550 grams of sugar but as a simple syrup instead of just the sugar. It was difficult to dissolve that much sugar into cold beer:) I am also thinking that the hops will be completely eliminated from the recipe as its possible the hops are creating the taste and not complimenting the extract. I'm curious to hear what the pros have to say before I brew it again.

There you have it! If anyone gives this a whirl I would love to hear your thoughts or if you choose to do something else as well-Cheers!
Gary