Author Topic: Alcoholic Root Beer  (Read 7457 times)

Offline duboman

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Alcoholic Root Beer
« on: June 27, 2013, 06:29:49 AM »
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.
Peace....Love......Beer......

The Commune Brewing Company-Perfecting the craft of beer since 2010

Offline yso191

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Re: Alcoholic Root Beer
« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2013, 08:56:36 AM »
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.
Steve

Offline duboman

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Re: Alcoholic Root Beer
« Reply #2 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!
Peace....Love......Beer......

The Commune Brewing Company-Perfecting the craft of beer since 2010

Offline The Professor

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Re: Alcoholic Root Beer
« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2013, 12:43:45 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.
AL
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Homebrewer since July 1971

Offline duboman

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Re: Alcoholic Root Beer
« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2013, 01:17:41 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?
Peace....Love......Beer......

The Commune Brewing Company-Perfecting the craft of beer since 2010

Offline erockrph

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Re: Alcoholic Root Beer
« Reply #5 on: June 28, 2013, 07:41:40 AM »
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.
Eric B.

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Offline duboman

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Re: Alcoholic Root Beer
« Reply #6 on: June 28, 2013, 08:26:07 AM »

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!
Peace....Love......Beer......

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Offline erockrph

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Re: Alcoholic Root Beer
« Reply #7 on: June 28, 2013, 08:36:35 AM »

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.
Eric B.

Finally got around to starting a homebrewing blog: The Hop Whisperer

Offline duboman

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Re: Alcoholic Root Beer
« Reply #8 on: June 28, 2013, 02:30:52 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.....
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Offline Slowbrew

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Re: Alcoholic Root Beer
« Reply #9 on: June 28, 2013, 02:40:19 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
Where the heck are we going?  And what's with this hand basket?

Offline duboman

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Re: Alcoholic Root Beer
« Reply #10 on: June 28, 2013, 02:50:35 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:)
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Offline erockrph

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Re: Alcoholic Root Beer
« Reply #11 on: June 28, 2013, 05:17:38 PM »

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.
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Offline piszkiewiczp

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Re: Alcoholic Root Beer
« Reply #12 on: June 28, 2013, 05:27:26 PM »
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.)   

Offline duboman

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Re: Alcoholic Root Beer
« Reply #13 on: June 28, 2013, 06:35:49 PM »
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;)
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Offline duboman

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Re: Alcoholic Root Beer
« Reply #14 on: August 21, 2013, 03:38:48 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!
Peace....Love......Beer......

The Commune Brewing Company-Perfecting the craft of beer since 2010