Author Topic: Hard Root Beer - Anyone have a recipe?  (Read 2534 times)

Offline majorvices

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Hard Root Beer - Anyone have a recipe?
« on: December 14, 2015, 12:04:42 PM »
I have been asked to brew a hard rootbeer and I don't really know where to start. I'm thinking about keeping it fairly low alcohol, maybe around 3.2%. Anyone have a good idea on where to start?

Offline pete b

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Re: Hard Root Beer - Anyone have a recipe?
« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2015, 01:26:53 PM »
I made one a few years ago that I basically liked but was to dry. I was pretty new to brewing and used all sugar as fermentables. Still I liked it better than the two commercial ones I have seen, both of which are cloyingly sweet and don't have a strong enough herbal earthy profile.  I used wintergreen berries that I picked but you can buy. I thought they were the key flavor component. I also used a couple ingredients you might not be comfortable using commercially.
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Offline theDarkSide

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Re: Hard Root Beer - Anyone have a recipe?
« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2015, 01:59:42 PM »
On a whim, I got the Northern Brewer kit and brewed it up yesterday.  It's a simple sweet stout extract recipe, then you add the Gnome Root Beer syrup and a dime bag of sweetener to secondary.

Here's the link to their recipe:   http://www.northernbrewer.com/documentation/beerkits/BastardStepsonRootBeer.pdf

I'm curious to see how it comes out.
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Offline Jimmy K

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Re: Hard Root Beer - Anyone have a recipe?
« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2015, 11:14:17 PM »
If they want one that tastes like the popular mass market models, the secret is an FG > 1.050
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Offline Steve Ruch

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Re: Hard Root Beer - Anyone have a recipe?
« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2015, 11:35:21 PM »
A&W plus root beer schnapps? :)
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Offline majorvices

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Re: Hard Root Beer - Anyone have a recipe?
« Reply #5 on: December 15, 2015, 01:42:29 AM »
If they want one that tastes like the popular mass market models, the secret is an FG > 1.050

I have heard that as well. I have never even bothered to drink one of these because of the sugar sweetness I have heard about.

Offline majorvices

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Re: Hard Root Beer - Anyone have a recipe?
« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2015, 01:43:00 AM »
On a whim, I got the Northern Brewer kit and brewed it up yesterday.  It's a simple sweet stout extract recipe, then you add the Gnome Root Beer syrup and a dime bag of sweetener to secondary.

Here's the link to their recipe:   http://www.northernbrewer.com/documentation/beerkits/BastardStepsonRootBeer.pdf

I'm curious to see how it comes out.

Let me know how that turns out. That would be easy enough.

Offline duboman

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Re: Hard Root Beer - Anyone have a recipe?
« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2015, 01:56:05 AM »
I've spent 1.5 years working on this recipe and countless 3 gal batches and according to all those that drink it, I've succeeded. Everyone likes it better than the ones on the market.

The recipe is for a 10% Hard Rootbeer in a 5 gallon batch so you'll have to scale and figure things out for a lower ABV but here ya go: 80% efficiency assumed on my system

85.94% 2 Row
3.94% De-bittered Black (added for color)
2.18% Crystal 120
5.74% Table Sugar (added to simply raise gravity)
2.18% Lactose
Approximately 40grams Malto Dextrine
Us-05 yeast
Gnome Root Beer Extract-add as necessary to desired taste in finished batch

You need to keg this and at kegging you add in 1.5kg table sugar simple syrup to back sweeten the batch, add this before the extract or you'll never get the flavor right. The malto dextrine helps with head retention and doesn't really affect flavor. The lactose creates a creamy root beer feel. There are other extract manufacturers but I have found Gnome to be the best, truest root beer. I will say it is a bit wintergreen so if you are not a fan of that substitute it with another.

If you have any questions let me know. If you give it a try I'd love to know anyone's thoughts on it. I basically have it on tap year  round and easily go through 15-20 gallons per year

Cheers!
Gary
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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Hard Root Beer - Anyone have a recipe?
« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2015, 02:28:27 AM »
Oh my gosh... Keith is serious!  In that case...

The lowest attenuating yeast I have ever used (at about 42%!) is 1099.  So I'd use that over anything else.

Aim for a starting gravity around 1.070 and a final gravity around 1.030.  Seems a good ballpark.  This would give you just >5% ABV.

Go with the Gnome for most or all of the root beer flavor.  I've made soft root beer with it a few times and it tastes good.  Make it easy on yourself.  If you want to add more personality, look into birch vs. wintergreen, see what's cheaper.  Same maybe for licorice vs. anise.  These would be additives on top of the Gnome.  I'd still start with Gnome as a base flavoring to give you all the other in-between, and add the others to taste somehow or another (vodka tinctures maybe even??).

Hmm... what else would work here..... I dunno.  Simplicity is probably best.  Maybe 90+% pilsner malt with enough debittered black or Carafa III or whatever to darken.  Or cheat and use Sinamar?!  Or do both.  I wouldn't use much if any caramel malts.  If you use any molasses, keep it real slight.  No more than like 1-2% of the fermentables.

Just thinking out loud.  Can't say I'll ever try brewing this myself.  Maybe this gives you a few ideas to bounce around anyway.
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Offline majorvices

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Re: Hard Root Beer - Anyone have a recipe?
« Reply #9 on: December 15, 2015, 01:04:08 PM »

Hahaha! I won't be drinking it, though! And it is becoming apparent that keeping it low alc. is going to be difficult without a lot of artificial sweetener.

I do like the Gnome rootbeer and have been using that (and the birch beer and cream soda) for my kids for years. Unbelievably, until this thread, I never even consider using it.

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Re: Hard Root Beer - Anyone have a recipe?
« Reply #10 on: December 15, 2015, 01:05:48 PM »
I've spent 1.5 years working on this recipe and countless 3 gal batches and according to all those that drink it, I've succeeded. Everyone likes it better than the ones on the market.

The recipe is for a 10% Hard Rootbeer in a 5 gallon batch so you'll have to scale and figure things out for a lower ABV but here ya go: 80% efficiency assumed on my system

85.94% 2 Row
3.94% De-bittered Black (added for color)
2.18% Crystal 120
5.74% Table Sugar (added to simply raise gravity)
2.18% Lactose
Approximately 40grams Malto Dextrine
Us-05 yeast
Gnome Root Beer Extract-add as necessary to desired taste in finished batch

You need to keg this and at kegging you add in 1.5kg table sugar simple syrup to back sweeten the batch, add this before the extract or you'll never get the flavor right. The malto dextrine helps with head retention and doesn't really affect flavor. The lactose creates a creamy root beer feel. There are other extract manufacturers but I have found Gnome to be the best, truest root beer. I will say it is a bit wintergreen so if you are not a fan of that substitute it with another.

If you have any questions let me know. If you give it a try I'd love to know anyone's thoughts on it. I basically have it on tap year  round and easily go through 15-20 gallons per year

Cheers!
Gary

I'm going to try a variation on this first. I may try to get the gravity lower and up the lactose to try to get a lower ABV. Thanks for the recipe!
« Last Edit: December 15, 2015, 01:58:22 PM by majorvices »

Offline duboman

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Re: Hard Root Beer - Anyone have a recipe?
« Reply #11 on: December 15, 2015, 01:09:32 PM »
I've spent 1.5 years working on this recipe and countless 3 gal batches and according to all those that drink it, I've succeeded. Everyone likes it better than the ones on the market.

The recipe is for a 10% Hard Rootbeer in a 5 gallon batch so you'll have to scale and figure things out for a lower ABV but here ya go: 80% efficiency assumed on my system

85.94% 2 Row
3.94% De-bittered Black (added for color)
2.18% Crystal 120
5.74% Table Sugar (added to simply raise gravity)
2.18% Lactose
Approximately 40grams Malto Dextrine
Us-05 yeast
Gnome Root Beer Extract-add as necessary to desired taste in finished batch

You need to keg this and at kegging you add in 1.5kg table sugar simple syrup to back sweeten the batch, add this before the extract or you'll never get the flavor right. The malto dextrine helps with head retention and doesn't really affect flavor. The lactose creates a creamy root beer feel. There are other extract manufacturers but I have found Gnome to be the best, truest root beer. I will say it is a bit wintergreen so if you are not a fan of that substitute it with another.

If you have any questions let me know. If you give it a try I'd love to know anyone's thoughts on it. I basically have it on tap year  round and easily go through 15-20 gallons per year

Cheers!
Gary

I'm going to try a variation on this first. I may try to get the gravity lower and up the lactic to try to get a lower ABV. Thanks for the recipe!
Good luck with it Keith! Any questions let me know. Curious to see what you come up with.

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Offline Stevie

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Re: Hard Root Beer - Anyone have a recipe?
« Reply #12 on: December 15, 2015, 02:41:42 PM »
Be sure to put it on a line that is easy to replace. That root beer flavor does not come out. I lived down the block from a bar that replaced a keg of Wienhard's root beer with a keg of The Abyss. I'll admit it was kinda good.

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Hard Root Beer - Anyone have a recipe?
« Reply #13 on: December 15, 2015, 02:45:32 PM »
+1.  I know a brewer who makes sodas for his kids. He had to replace all the keg seals to get rid of the root beer carry over, too.
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Offline theDarkSide

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Re: Hard Root Beer - Anyone have a recipe?
« Reply #14 on: December 15, 2015, 02:58:32 PM »
I plan on bottling mine...no way is it getting near my kegs.
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