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Old 05-23-2006, 05:26 PM   #1
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Tried to make root beer, what went wrong?

I used this page

http://biology.clc.uc.edu/fankhauser...OTBEER_Jn0.htm

I think I followed it to a "T" but after I chilled the rootbeer, cracked her open and it had a funny smell. It smelled like rootbeer at first but had a funny "after-smell"(don't think that is a word but Ill pretend like it is). I decided to taste it anyways and it tasted a little like rootbeer at first and then the after taste was kind of like normal beer. Any thoughts as to what I may have done wrong? I left it at room temp for about 4 days, but room temp here in AZ is probably 78* or so. Was that too hot or something?

Thanks
Brian

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Old 05-23-2006, 08:21 PM   #2
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Hi stang, btw is that fastback or coupe?
I've never tried to make rootbeer before, but that looks like a pretty cool project. Thanks for the link . I really don't know why it didn't turn out for you, but I would look at two possibilities.
First, many homemade foods or brews do not taste like commercial products. Many of the craft brewed root beers or ginger ales will not taste like A&W, Hire's, Schwepps or Seagram's ect... You may want to try some of the craft or specialty brewed rootbeers to see how they compare with what you made.
Second, it may be possible that you didn't clean or sterilize your container well enough before containing and fermenting your rootbeer.
Ronjohn I believe is an advid homebrewer and may be able to shed some light on this. Keep on trying, you'll get it the way you like.
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Old 05-23-2006, 11:22 PM   #3
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Thanks JohnL

My car is a coupe by the way I built my 289 into a 347 stroker(shhhh....don't tell anyone ) and put a 5 speed behind it, lots of fun. It took me just about 5 1/2 years to restore it and I only have about 400 miles on it so far, lots of fun still to come.

Anyways, about the rootbeer. I am wondering if maybe I didn't keep everything as clean as I needed to.....I will try another batch and see if I cant fix the problem. The problem was that it tasted like skunky beer, I mean if it would have tasted like normal beer then I would have been all for it
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Old 05-24-2006, 02:16 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnL
Ronjohn I believe is an advid homebrewer and may be able to shed some light on this.

Yep, wait till Ronjohn comes by - no doubt he'll have all your questions answered. PS - very cool car, btw.
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Old 05-24-2006, 08:24 AM   #5
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Home made root beer, yum. Years ago my mom would make a batch and I can remember she kept it in a dark closet until it was ready.We would always ask her if it was beer yet. Never have made it tho.
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Old 05-24-2006, 11:09 PM   #6
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I have had the occasion to make, what are commonly called, soft drinks or pop. There are probably other generic English expressions to describe this drink. Commercial soft drinks are now shot with CO2 to make them fuzzy. Before they came so popular they were mostly for medicinal purposes, - sarsaparilla, root beer, coca cola (coca was the litter use of the coca plant – yes cocaine. what a marketing ploy)

From what I understand in your story, your temp was probably ok, but at that temp 24 hours or so would probably been enough. I didn’t look at the recipe you used but I imagine that it used yeast. Yeast turns sugars into alcohol. In the process it releases carbon dioxide (CO2) of a more natural type. I used to use Champaign yeast to make my soft drinks, this made for small, fine bubbles.

Hope this is of help…
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Old 05-25-2006, 11:05 AM   #7
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We made root beer all the time growing up. We did not use yeast to ferment it. We used dry ice instead. It was funner that way. We used root beer extract for flavoring.
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Old 06-02-2006, 10:52 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lady C
We made root beer all the time growing up. We did not use yeast to ferment it. We used dry ice instead. It was funner that way. We used root beer extract for flavoring.
Sounds very interesting. I wonder what the difference is between the different CO2's? I know that the champagne yeast I use to use made very small bubbles compared to the bubbles I see in commercial soft drinks (pop). I believe it is CO2 anyway?

Does someone know?
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Old 06-03-2006, 11:31 AM   #9
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Well, as an advanced homebrewer of 15+ years I will venture that your sterilization process would be the first place to look.

If you are going to ferment anything- be it beer, or soft drinks, you must be absolutely certain everything that touches the product, after the boil, is sanitary. I DID NOT SAY CLEAN, I SAID SANITARY.

The easiest way to make things sanitary is to clean first, then soak in a chlorine/water solution for at least 20 minutes, then air dry the container.

You must sanitize every thing that touches your product, not only containers, things like spoons, thermometers, funnels, etc.

Be sure to use the proper yeast. The incorrect yeast will lead to real problems.
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Old 06-03-2006, 11:46 PM   #10
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Way back in 1974/75, as a fresh high school graduate, I worked at a pop bottling plant. All comercially made soda-pop is made by combining sugar, water, and flavoing syrup together to form a thick syrup. Depending on the bottle/can size, a precise amount of this syrup is added to the container, followed by carbonated water. The container is sealed and shaken to distribute the syrup. The result is pop.

In the plant where I worked, the water was carbonated by passing filtered water through pressure chambers containing blocks of dry ice (frozen Carbon Dioxide). The water became carbonated as the carbon dioxide dissolved in the water under pressure.

Home-brewed rootbear is carbonated by the action of yeast organizms eating some of the sugars. As was stated above, this results in the fromation of both alcohol and carbon dioxide gas. As the gas is trapped, it dissolves into the water and creates a carbonated beverage, with alcohol in it as well. The same process turnes grapes into champain, and apple juice into apple jack.

Home made pop can also be made by adding very small amounts of dry ice to watered down and sweetened juices, or even to kool-aid type beverages. I did this as an experiment with one of my children. We washed out a 2 liter pop bottle, and its cap. We added grape juice, which had been watered down and sweetened until it tasted like a strong kool-aid. The we added jsut a sliver of dry ice and put the cap on.

As dry ice is much more dense than it is in its gasseous form, it caused the plastic bottle to expand quite dramaticaly at first. We were afraid the bottle would explode. So I let some of the gas pressure out by gently opening the cap until it escaped. The we put it in the fridge. My daughter was very impressed with the home-made pop. Of course she was a very young teen at the time.

Hope this helps and also gives you ideas on how to make your own carbonated beverages.

Oh, and the root bear flavor can be had by making a strong wintergreen tea, sweetened with brown sugar. Birch buds will also give you this flavor when made into a tea, as will sasafrass root. If none of these are available to you, then you can usualy find root beer flavoring or extract at the grocers.

And finally, you can just purchase sparkling water and add the flavoring syrup to it to make your own pop.

And as for the poster who said that he/she prefers the more natural cabon dioxide from yeast, I will categorically state that the gas is exactly the same whether it comes from biological activity (yeast), or from evaporating dry ice. There just is no difference in the gas. But with the yeast process, you get alcohol along with the carbon dioxide.

Seeeeeya; Goodweed of the North
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