Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Root beer #8

Somehow I've neglected my root beer hobby for a couple of years. I finally dusted of my bottles and started a new batch. My jars of roots don't seem to have deteriorated, but the wintergreen leaves, which never seemed to have much aroma, were pretty stale, so I left them out. I included a little bit of birch syrup and some "Pappy's Sassafras Tea" concentrate that I picked up in Ohio.

1/4 cup birch bark
3 Tbsp sassafras root
3 Tbsp sarsaparilla root
2 Tbsp wild cherry bark
1 Tbsp licorice root
2 tsp yellow dock root
1 tsp burdock root
1 Tbsp birch syrup
1/4 cup sassafras concentrate
1/4 tsp champagne yeast
 1 gal water

After only about 40 hours at 72°, the test bottle was bubbly enough to drink, though I'll leave it in for at least another day to get it foamy, like root beer should be. I got curious about the amount of carbon dioxide in soda and started Googling. A 12 oz can of coke has roughly a liter of CO2 squozen into it. Crazy. Anyway, this tastes much as I remember the last 8-tree ale recipe, though this has only 7 roots in it and I didn't use ale yeast. It has a bit more bitter edge to it. Not sure why. I should maybe do an experiment, making just one bottle using each ingredient alone. I can chew on the roots, but it would be interesting to taste them steeped, sweetened, and carbonated.

After straining the wort this time, I threw the roots back in some water to boil some more to make some tea. More flavor definitely came out. Maybe it would be more economical to use less of the ingredients and steep the roots in the second half of the water after the first. The flavor balance was different though: much more licorice in the second-run tea than in the soda, it seemed.