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Alcoholic Root Beer

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duboman:
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.

yso191:
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.

duboman:
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!

The Professor:

--- Quote from: duboman on June 27, 2013, 09:46:14 AM ---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!

--- End quote ---

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.

duboman:

--- Quote from: The Professor on June 27, 2013, 12:43:45 PM ---
--- Quote from: duboman on June 27, 2013, 09:46:14 AM ---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!

--- End quote ---

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.

--- End quote ---

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?

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