Root Beer World - root beer history, brands, recipes, news

Root Beer World - root beer history, brands, recipes, news
A World of Root Beer Resources

 

In Association with Amazon.com



Nickname

Password

Security Code
Security Code
Type Security Code


Don't have an account yet? You can create one. As a registered user you have some advantages like theme manager, comments configuration and post comments with your name.

  
Root Beer World: Forums

 Forum FAQForum FAQ   SearchSearch   UsergroupsUsergroups   ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

Some Questions from a Beginner - I'd Appreciate the Help!
 
 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Root Beer World Forum Index -> Home Brewing
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
NewerBrewer
Root Beer Fan
Root Beer Fan


Joined: Nov 23, 2010
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 4:11 am    Post subject: Some Questions from a Beginner - I'd Appreciate the Help! Reply with quote

Alright, I new at this, so sorry if the answers seem obvious.

Anyways, I've brewed five batches of beer, two summers ales, and three IPAs. However, I had never even considered root beer until I saw this website. A single post in particular. While my original thoughts on root beer were simply an extract, sugar, water, etc, I recently came across this post in which the ingredients are all natural. Anyways, I decided I wanted to try out a root beer brew and I had a few questions considering it would be my first time brewing. Well, here it goes:

1. When a person is referring to wintergreen, do they mean oil, extract, leaves, etc? I remember reading somewhere that wintergreen had a certain substance in it that made a small amount comparable to over 100 adult sized aspirin doses. Is there a certain type of wintergreen that I should be using?

2. As I'm used to brewing, I normally have anywhere between 2-3 weeks fermenting my brew before transferring it over to bottles. Because most of the root beer recipes that I've seen call for immediate bottling, with standard brewer's Ale Yeast, do I run a risk for exploding bottles? How long should I have the bottles room temperature before I refrigerate them to slow down the carbonation process?

3. I know that safrole oil is a carcinogen and is contained within sassafras. However, what about sarsaparilla? I think I read somewhere that sassafras was sometimes used to help flavor sarsaparilla, and if that is the case, is sarsaparilla safe to use?

4. What is the approximate shelf life of an average batch of root beer. I've seen this question asked before all over the place, but I've seen varying answers as well, so I was just hoping to get some perspective on that.

5. In this particular recipe (the recipe that I want to do, looks great) is half licorice root referring to half of an entire root, or do you think it is supposed to be half a cup, tablespoon, teaspoon, etc? I accidentally bought shredded licorice rot, so I'm trying to figure out a good way of making this proportionate.

"3 vanilla beans - split
1/2 licorice root - broken into pieces
3/4 cup sarsaparilla root - cut and sifted
1 tbs burdock root
1 cinnamon stick
3 heads star anise
1 teaspoon marshmallow root
2 tablespoons of wintergreen
2 cups raisins - chopped" (Recipe in question)
  
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
kguske
Site Admin
Site Admin


Joined: Jun 27, 2003
Posts: 341
Location: Fort Lauderdale, FL

PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 9:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

aruzinsky is one of resident brewmasters, so I'll defer answers to his expertise and give you my $.02:
1. See this for all your answers and more (kinda scary, really): http://food.oregonstate.edu/glossary/w/wintergreen.html

2. Of course, it's better to be safe than sorry, but generally it's not enough pressure to explode glass bottles. Timing is definitely left to more experienced brewers than am I...

3. The methods used to determine the carcinogenicity of sassafras are debatable. IMO, the main ingredient required for "root beer" is sassafras (or artificial sassafras flavor which is just as good). Birch beer generally doesn't have sassafras, but all sarsaparillas I've seen do (i.e. sarsaparilla = root beer, birch beer <> root beer). According to Wikipedia, sarsaparilla has now health concerns.

4. Average shelf life is also better answered by someone like aruzinsky.

5. Not sure how to convert shredded licorice root into "root" - but like all other ingredients (except, apparently, wintergreen, of which too much can kill you), it's probably a matter of taste. I tried a local brewer's brand in St. Augustine, FL, once and it tasted more like licorice soda than root beer. That said, somebody must like it... Also, just a heads up that anise has a similar flavor to licorice (at least IMO).
_________________
Bottoms up!
Kevin Guske

So heres a tribute toast with root beer in hand to you and the many mugs of suds along your happy trails. --Charles Wysocki, artist and root beer fan, 1928-2002
  
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
aruzinsky
Root Beer Connoisseur
Root Beer Connoisseur


Joined: Oct 13, 2004
Posts: 159
Location: IL, USA

PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 2010 12:12 pm    Post subject: Re: Some Questions from a Beginner - I'd Appreciate the Help Reply with quote

NewerBrewer wrote:
Alright, I new at this, so sorry if the answers seem obvious.

Anyways, I've brewed five batches of beer, two summers ales, and three IPAs. However, I had never even considered root beer until I saw this website. A single post in particular. While my original thoughts on root beer were simply an extract, sugar, water, etc, I recently came across this post in which the ingredients are all natural. Anyways, I decided I wanted to try out a root beer brew and I had a few questions considering it would be my first time brewing. Well, here it goes:

1. When a person is referring to wintergreen, do they mean oil, extract, leaves, etc? I remember reading somewhere that wintergreen had a certain substance in it that made a small amount comparable to over 100 adult sized aspirin doses. Is there a certain type of wintergreen that I should be using?

2. As I'm used to brewing, I normally have anywhere between 2-3 weeks fermenting my brew before transferring it over to bottles. Because most of the root beer recipes that I've seen call for immediate bottling, with standard brewer's Ale Yeast, do I run a risk for exploding bottles? How long should I have the bottles room temperature before I refrigerate them to slow down the carbonation process?

3. I know that safrole oil is a carcinogen and is contained within sassafras. However, what about sarsaparilla? I think I read somewhere that sassafras was sometimes used to help flavor sarsaparilla, and if that is the case, is sarsaparilla safe to use?

4. What is the approximate shelf life of an average batch of root beer. I've seen this question asked before all over the place, but I've seen varying answers as well, so I was just hoping to get some perspective on that.

5. In this particular recipe (the recipe that I want to do, looks great) is half licorice root referring to half of an entire root, or do you think it is supposed to be half a cup, tablespoon, teaspoon, etc? I accidentally bought shredded licorice rot, so I'm trying to figure out a good way of making this proportionate.

"3 vanilla beans - split
1/2 licorice root - broken into pieces
3/4 cup sarsaparilla root - cut and sifted
1 tbs burdock root
1 cinnamon stick
3 heads star anise
1 teaspoon marshmallow root
2 tablespoons of wintergreen
2 cups raisins - chopped" (Recipe in question)


1. It's ambiguous, but, if not a liquid measure, probably dried leaves. BTW, I ate wintergreen berries as a child and, judging from the taste, they are also suitable for root beer. I prefer to use sweet birch oil to wintergreen oil. Both are > 90% methyl salicylate.

2. I have little experience in yeast brewing root beer. I mostly used a seltzer bottle to carbonate.

3. I used real sassafras oil. In my experience, sarsaparilla has little flavor but it does add foam.

4. I don't know.

5. I have never seen a whole licorice root. It has a sweet flavor with a long aftertaste but little odor.
  
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
steveb
Root Beer Fantasizer
Root Beer Fantasizer


Joined: Mar 19, 2010
Posts: 33

PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 2010 2:39 pm    Post subject: Re: Some Questions from a Beginner - I'd Appreciate the Help Reply with quote

The only question I may be able to help out with is #2 - a hint I could give you...get yourself a plastic soda bottle the same ounces as the glass bottles you are using. When the plastic bottle feels as tight as the ones you buy in the store, refrigerate. Another member mentioned that to me, and thought it was a great idea.
  
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
NewerBrewer
Root Beer Fan
Root Beer Fan


Joined: Nov 23, 2010
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 12:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, thanks so much for the help. With the responses you guys have given, I've been able to figure out the answers to all of my questions, except I'm still somewhat confused on the whole wintergreen issue. I've read so many things about it being poison, and the primary reason being the methyl salicylate. A few websites say that 10ml can be fatal. Still, it is an essential ingredient in root beer, which I don't quite understand. If it is so toxic, how is it used as such. I picked up some wintergreen leaves, but I don't really want to start up my batch until I'm clear on the wintergreen issue. So, my one and only question:

What wintergreen should I use, and how much? I don't want poison root beer, but I need wintergreen in order to make my concoction classify as a root beer. Please help me figure this out!
  
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
aruzinsky
Root Beer Connoisseur
Root Beer Connoisseur


Joined: Oct 13, 2004
Posts: 159
Location: IL, USA

PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 11:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

NewerBrewer wrote:
Wow, thanks so much for the help. With the responses you guys have given, I've been able to figure out the answers to all of my questions, except I'm still somewhat confused on the whole wintergreen issue. I've read so many things about it being poison, and the primary reason being the methyl salicylate. A few websites say that 10ml can be fatal. Still, it is an essential ingredient in root beer, which I don't quite understand. If it is so toxic, how is it used as such. I picked up some wintergreen leaves, but I don't really want to start up my batch until I'm clear on the wintergreen issue. So, my one and only question:

What wintergreen should I use, and how much? I don't want poison root beer, but I need wintergreen in order to make my concoction classify as a root beer. Please help me figure this out!


Use 1-5 drops of wintergreen oil, birch oil, or methyl salicylate per gallon of root beer. Drops is not an exact measure, but, I estimate 10 ml to be around 250 drops. As for wintergreen herb, equal flavor ~= equal amount of methyl salicylate. Before adding to water, dissolve essential oils in at least 50 times the amount of an edible solvent such as ethyl alcohol. Otherwise, the oil will float on the surface of the water for a long time before dissolving in the water. Also, remove all solid herb debris from the root beer before adding essential oils because the debris will absorb a substantial amount of oil. A necessary condition for legal use in food is that the essential oils are FCC (food grade), USP (drug grade), or NF (drug grade) (the last two are insufficient conditions because the oils might be of a kind for external drug use only). Also, beware of sellers who advertise a grade but do not put it on the label.

BTW, an easy trial and error way to determine the proper amounts of essential oils to suit your taste is to add them to store bought cream soda and give that a taste.
  
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
NewerBrewer
Root Beer Fan
Root Beer Fan


Joined: Nov 23, 2010
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 7:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

aruzinsky wrote:
NewerBrewer wrote:
Wow, thanks so much for the help. With the responses you guys have given, I've been able to figure out the answers to all of my questions, except I'm still somewhat confused on the whole wintergreen issue. I've read so many things about it being poison, and the primary reason being the methyl salicylate. A few websites say that 10ml can be fatal. Still, it is an essential ingredient in root beer, which I don't quite understand. If it is so toxic, how is it used as such. I picked up some wintergreen leaves, but I don't really want to start up my batch until I'm clear on the wintergreen issue. So, my one and only question:

What wintergreen should I use, and how much? I don't want poison root beer, but I need wintergreen in order to make my concoction classify as a root beer. Please help me figure this out!


Use 1-5 drops of wintergreen oil, birch oil, or methyl salicylate per gallon of root beer. Drops is not an exact measure, but, I estimate 10 ml to be around 250 drops. As for wintergreen herb, equal flavor ~= equal amount of methyl salicylate. Before adding to water, dissolve essential oils in at least 50 times the amount of an edible solvent such as ethyl alcohol. Otherwise, the oil will float on the surface of the water for a long time before dissolving in the water. Also, remove all solid herb debris from the root beer before adding essential oils because the debris will absorb a substantial amount of oil. A necessary condition for legal use in food is that the essential oils are FCC (food grade), USP (drug grade), or NF (drug grade) (the last two are insufficient conditions because the oils might be of a kind for external drug use only). Also, beware of sellers who advertise a grade but do not put it on the label.

BTW, an easy trial and error way to determine the proper amounts of essential oils to suit your taste is to add them to store bought cream soda and give that a taste.
Alright, so to clarify, essential oils do not encompass leaves as something in said category? Basically, the advice regarding essential oil is relavent in the use of such, but not with leaves? At the moment, I'm primarily concerned with how many leaves to add to the brew. I know there won't be a high concentration of methyl salicylate per leaf, but I don't want to over or under do it.

For future brews, to avoid this confusion,. I'll probably go with wintergreen extract, so for that, do you have any recommendations for good place to pick those up, a good brand, etc? Is there an advantage to using oil over extract, and birch over wintergreen? Once again, I'm really sorry for all these questions, I'm just the type of person who needs to research something a lot before I buy/brew.
  
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
aruzinsky
Root Beer Connoisseur
Root Beer Connoisseur


Joined: Oct 13, 2004
Posts: 159
Location: IL, USA

PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 11:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

NewerBrewer wrote:
aruzinsky wrote:
NewerBrewer wrote:
Wow, thanks so much for the help. With the responses you guys have given, I've been able to figure out the answers to all of my questions, except I'm still somewhat confused on the whole wintergreen issue. I've read so many things about it being poison, and the primary reason being the methyl salicylate. A few websites say that 10ml can be fatal. Still, it is an essential ingredient in root beer, which I don't quite understand. If it is so toxic, how is it used as such. I picked up some wintergreen leaves, but I don't really want to start up my batch until I'm clear on the wintergreen issue. So, my one and only question:

What wintergreen should I use, and how much? I don't want poison root beer, but I need wintergreen in order to make my concoction classify as a root beer. Please help me figure this out!


Use 1-5 drops of wintergreen oil, birch oil, or methyl salicylate per gallon of root beer. Drops is not an exact measure, but, I estimate 10 ml to be around 250 drops. As for wintergreen herb, equal flavor ~= equal amount of methyl salicylate. Before adding to water, dissolve essential oils in at least 50 times the amount of an edible solvent such as ethyl alcohol. Otherwise, the oil will float on the surface of the water for a long time before dissolving in the water. Also, remove all solid herb debris from the root beer before adding essential oils because the debris will absorb a substantial amount of oil. A necessary condition for legal use in food is that the essential oils are FCC (food grade), USP (drug grade), or NF (drug grade) (the last two are insufficient conditions because the oils might be of a kind for external drug use only). Also, beware of sellers who advertise a grade but do not put it on the label.

BTW, an easy trial and error way to determine the proper amounts of essential oils to suit your taste is to add them to store bought cream soda and give that a taste.
Alright, so to clarify, essential oils do not encompass leaves as something in said category? Basically, the advice regarding essential oil is relevant in the use of such, but not with leaves? At the moment, I'm primarily concerned with how many leaves to add to the brew. I know there won't be a high concentration of methyl salicylate per leaf, but I don't want to over or under do it.

For future brews, to avoid this confusion,. I'll probably go with wintergreen extract, so for that, do you have any recommendations for good place to pick those up, a good brand, etc? Is there an advantage to using oil over extract, and birch over wintergreen? Once again, I'm really sorry for all these questions, I'm just the type of person who needs to research something a lot before I buy/brew.


The point was that a normal person would find the taste of a harmful dose of wintergreen herb about as unpleasant as the taste of a similarly harmful dose of other common food ingredients such as salt or nutmeg. Do you worry about nutmeg poisoning from an eggnog recipe? See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nutmeg#Psychoactivity_and_toxicity

In my experience, steam distilled essential oils are cheaper, have much longer shelf lives, and are of more consistent strength than their herb counterparts. In my experience, extracts and expressed essential oils (like lemon oil) tend to have short shelf lives, especially after the bottles are opened and exposed to air. I assume this deterioration is due to oxidation of some non-volatile constituents.

There are very subtle differences in flavor between birch and wintergreen oil so it is a matter of personal taste.
  
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Swagger
Root Beer Fan
Root Beer Fan


Joined: Dec 01, 2010
Posts: 13
Location: Camarillo, CA

PostPosted: Wed Dec 01, 2010 1:47 pm    Post subject: Re: Some Questions from a Beginner - I'd Appreciate the Help Reply with quote

I too wondered about the use of wintergreen in my brew and decided to just exclude it since every root beer out there is centered around this flavor. Go old school and skip it.
_________________
Swagger Root Beer http://swaggerrootbeer.blogspot.com/
  
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
aruzinsky
Root Beer Connoisseur
Root Beer Connoisseur


Joined: Oct 13, 2004
Posts: 159
Location: IL, USA

PostPosted: Fri Dec 03, 2010 12:10 pm    Post subject: Re: Some Questions from a Beginner - I'd Appreciate the Help Reply with quote

Swagger wrote:
I too wondered about the use of wintergreen in my brew and decided to just exclude it since every root beer out there is centered around this flavor. Go old school and skip it.


How do you know that is old school? A long time ago birch beer was made from the sap of black birch trees which contained the same active flavor compound, methyl salicylate, as wintergreen.
  
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Swagger
Root Beer Fan
Root Beer Fan


Joined: Dec 01, 2010
Posts: 13
Location: Camarillo, CA

PostPosted: Fri Dec 03, 2010 6:44 pm    Post subject: Re: Some Questions from a Beginner - I'd Appreciate the Help Reply with quote

I meant that most recipes back in the day were not centered around wintergreen like today. You could just throw a few Wint-O-Green Life Savers in there. Wink I'm kidding...
_________________
Swagger Root Beer http://swaggerrootbeer.blogspot.com/
  
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
jeremylin
Root Beer Fan
Root Beer Fan


Joined: Aug 29, 2012
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2012 4:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have little experience in yeast brewing root beer. I mostly used a seltzer bottle to carbonate.
  
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
kguske
Site Admin
Site Admin


Joined: Jun 27, 2003
Posts: 341
Location: Fort Lauderdale, FL

PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2012 7:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

jeremylin, I left this post and removed the others (as well as your links in this post), which are all intended to provide links to sites I'd bet you're paid to promote. That sort of thing isn't welcome here, and won't be tolerated. You're free to make a living, of course, but please do that somewhere else.
_________________
Bottoms up!
Kevin Guske

So heres a tribute toast with root beer in hand to you and the many mugs of suds along your happy trails. --Charles Wysocki, artist and root beer fan, 1928-2002
  
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
iolar
Root Beer Follower
Root Beer Follower


Joined: Aug 19, 2012
Posts: 15
Location: Pacific Northwest

PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2012 6:19 pm    Post subject: Re: Some Questions from a Beginner - I'd Appreciate the Help Reply with quote

For yeast carbonation, you won't have to worry about explosions if you use thick-walled bottles. I use bail-top bottles because they don't require re-capping (though, you need to replace the gasket every once-in-awhile) and they tend to have the thickest glass of any long-neck bottle you'll find. I've fermented root beer to the point where, when I popped the top, it fountained out of the bottle like a well-shook champagne (and the bottle had no problem containing the pressure).

As for how long to let the yeast ferment in-bottle, that depends on a number of factors: ambient temperature, pH of brew, and sugar type and concentration. An acidic brew in a colder room will take quite a bit longer to get enough fizz as compared to a neutral pH brew in a warmer room. I've found, for brews that are closer to neutral pH, 24-72 hours is usually sufficient before moving the bottles into the fridge. I made some mint lime coolers one time, and they took almost 10 days of fermentation to build up sufficient fizz (the lime and lemon juice produced a very acidic pH which is sub-optimal for yeast fermentation). And, corn sugar (the sugar made from the stock, not the high-fructose corn syrup made from the kernels) generates the most carbonation. In fact, corn sugar acts like a turbo-charge for the yeast (yeast find corn sugar to be just about the easiest to digest), so be VERY careful using it -- pressure will build up QUICKLY using corn sugar. I use turbinado sugar (evaporated cane juice) -- it seems to work well. Corn sugar makes an excellent priming sugar in small concentrations (priming sugar is used when you actually do a primary fermentation cycle outside of the bottle, say in a carboy, to provide a little "boost" to the fermentation process after racking the brew from the fermentation container into the bottles).
  
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:       
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Root Beer World Forum Index -> Home Brewing All times are GMT - 4 Hours
 
 Page 1 of 1

 

Jump to:   
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum

Powered by phpBB © 2001-2008 phpBB Group
Forums ©
Page Generation: 0.09 Seconds