rootbeer concentrate

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kennyb
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2009/10/13 18:54:36 (permalink)

rootbeer concentrate

what is a good rootbeer concentrate to mix with water for old fashioned rootbeer?
#1

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    bartl
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    Re:rootbeer concentrate 2009/10/14 12:02:13 (permalink)
    OK, when you say "root beer concentrate", you have to be more specific. Back in the 1970's, I did some experimentation with home-brewed root beer. I made birch beer from scratch (using a recipe from a late 19th century cookbook I found in a library), and made root beer using Hires extract. But both required adding sugar, yeast, bottling, and fermentation.

    I'd like to say that the birch beer (for which I carefully harvested young branches from sweet birch trees, cleaned them, and extracted their essence) was better, but, actually, the Hires was better to my own palate; it tasted like familiar root beer with a better carbonation and a pleasant yeasty bottom note.

    As far as "add water and get root beer", I remember Wylers had a root beer mix back in the early 70's, and, of course, Fizzies are being brought back every few years, but I believe that you are looking for something GOOD.

    Bart


    #2
    Tony Bad
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    Re:rootbeer concentrate 2009/10/14 12:05:14 (permalink)
    A local home brewing (beer) and wine making supply store had a few different extracts that I tried. Might want to see what is available locally or online from any such stores.
    #3
    NC Cheesehead
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    Re:rootbeer concentrate 2009/10/14 12:51:16 (permalink)
    Better yet, why mess around and try this....

    http://www.sprecherbrewery.com/soda.php
    #4
    mayor al
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    Re:rootbeer concentrate 2009/10/14 12:54:39 (permalink)
    A generation back we made batches of Root Beer using the HIRES extract available then in our local market (Upstate NY). We bottled the stuff and even bought a 'Capping Device' to set the caps on firmly. This was before the screw-top became common. Stored for a week or so the stuff was pretty good except for two things. If not mixed totally before bottling the yeast would settle in some of the bottles and give the yucky yeast taste to those bottles. The second, and more important item, was the storage temperature of the bottles during the 'aging period'. We had several 'accidents' when bottles exploded from a combination of over carbonation and too much heat in the storage area.....Making Root Beer in the Summer became a real challenge ! When one of my kids got cut on broken glass our Root Beer making days came to a halt. (@1972)
    #5
    NC Cheesehead
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    Re:rootbeer concentrate 2009/10/14 13:50:19 (permalink)
    Mayor,

    That is a funny story.  Reminds me of the times when my Dad brewed his own beer and aged his own wine out of "experimentation."  I remember a few blown up bottle experiences as a kid back in the late 60's/ early 70's.  I remember the one time when my mom and dad got into it because a blown bottle wrecked the crock of dill pickles my mom had going in our root cellar.  We still laugh to this day.
    #6
    schwabpg
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    Re:rootbeer concentrate 2009/10/14 14:02:32 (permalink)
    NC Cheesehead

    Better yet, why mess around and try this....

    http://www.sprecherbrewery.com/soda.php


    Last time I looked at a bottle of their rootbeer, it still had HFCS.  I don't want to get into that particular discussion here, just wanted to point out that it's not quite so "old fashioned" as the description claims.  There are some root beers still made with cane sugar though, including Boylan's and Virgil's.

    I believe Zatarain's still makes a root beer extract.
    #7
    CCinNJ
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    Re:rootbeer concentrate 2009/10/14 14:38:01 (permalink)
    #8
    NC Cheesehead
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    Re:rootbeer concentrate 2009/10/14 14:50:46 (permalink)
    schwabpg

    NC Cheesehead

    Better yet, why mess around and try this....

    http://www.sprecherbrewery.com/soda.php


    Last time I looked at a bottle of their rootbeer, it still had HFCS.  I don't want to get into that particular discussion here, just wanted to point out that it's not quite so "old fashioned" as the description claims.  There are some root beers still made with cane sugar though, including Boylan's and Virgil's.

    I believe Zatarain's still makes a root beer extract.


    Yeah, I am afraid you are right.....  I have not had Sprechers for a couple of years.  The last last time I drank it, it was real sugar cane being used that I can remember.  What a shame they are using that crap.  Sorry but thanks for bringing that to my attention.  You have my agreement there.  HFSC from my understanding is more expensive than pure cane sugar now due to the ethanol demand.  Why haven't soda companies gone back to what was better in the first place?  This should be an interesting conversation....

    Note: I edited this note because what I meant to say was that the demand for corn is high due to ethanol consumption so one would expect the prices of sugar to be lower.  So why wouldn't sugar which tastes is better based on most people I have read on this website be the one being used? I remember the soda's which used real sugar in the 60's and 70's.  Sugar is much better than HFCS!



    post edited by NC Cheesehead - 2009/10/14 14:58:37
    #9
    bartl
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    Re:rootbeer concentrate 2009/10/14 17:17:29 (permalink)
    mayor al When one of my kids got cut on broken glass our Root Beer making days came to a halt. (@1972)

    I just did the math; that was the same year I did my root beer experimenting (I also made strawberry wine from a bumper "crop" of wild strawberries; same 19th century cookbook).

    Bart


    #10
    tiki
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    Re:rootbeer concentrate 2009/10/14 18:19:33 (permalink)
    schwabpg

    NC Cheesehead

    Better yet, why mess around and try this....

    http://www.sprecherbrewery.com/soda.php



    I believe Zatarain's still makes a root beer extract.

     yes indeed they do---just bought some this morning as a matter of fact!


    #11
    kirstine
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    Re:rootbeer concentrate 2009/10/14 18:54:25 (permalink)
    I bought the Zatarain's extract a while ago, it tastes decent although I never made much use of it as I never could get my root beer batches to carbonate! :(
    #12
    kennyb
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    Re:rootbeer concentrate 2009/10/14 19:01:38 (permalink)
    what i mean is, is there like a gallon of rootbeer syrup that you pour into a 5 gallon cooler and ad water to make rootbeer?
    #13
    kirstine
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    Re:rootbeer concentrate 2009/10/14 19:09:22 (permalink)
    kennyb

    what i mean is, is there like a gallon of rootbeer syrup that you pour into a 5 gallon cooler and ad water to make rootbeer?

     
    To make a flat root beer? You can probably do that with the extracts we mentioned, dunno how it would taste though.
     
    I found this off Google:
     
    http://www.mccormickgourmet.com/productdetail.cfm?id=6033

    #14
    kennyb
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    Re:rootbeer concentrate 2009/10/14 19:50:41 (permalink)
    i've seen the rootbeer people at fairs dump a gallon of mix in a igloo cooler and fill with water. it was flat, no carbonation. very good though. just wondering if anyone knew of a brand?
    #15
    CCinNJ
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    Re:rootbeer concentrate 2009/10/15 07:01:13 (permalink)
    CCinNJ

    Hires Big H...
     
    http://www.hiresbigh.com/shop/html/Category-1-0.html
     
    Gnome...
     
     http://gnomesoda.com/


    You could contact both and ask if adding water without co2 will work....for your desired effect.
    #16
    seafarer john
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    Re:rootbeer concentrate 2009/10/15 11:15:19 (permalink)
    We haven't made root beer in at least 35 years - not since the boys were small children. But, as I remember the extract was always available in our local Grand Union supermarket (it may have been Hires). 

    If I remember correctly it was  simple mix of boiled water, extract, sugar, and baker's yeast that we bottled up warm and placed in the sun for a day or so, then stored in our cool cellar for a few more days before drinking the stuff. If we didn't finish up drinking a batch in about two weeks the bottles started popping off their caps - but by that time the stuff had become too "beery" for the kids to enjoy so we threw it out. 

    Cheers, John 
    #17
    mayor al
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    Re:rootbeer concentrate 2009/10/15 13:40:16 (permalink)
    Yep John, that's what we did as well. The Yeast activated the 'carbonation/fermentation' process.  Our problem was the storage of the stuff for more than a couple of days, and the lack of a 'wine-cellar' cool basement. Thus we started to see the caps (and necks) fly off the bottles within 4 or 5 days. The kids learned to leave an inch of Root Beer in the bottom of the bottle rather than drain it all...to avoid the leftover yeast particles.
    #18
    marzsit
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    Re:rootbeer concentrate 2009/10/16 04:21:17 (permalink)
    natural carbonation in bottled homemade soda is too unpredictable.. better to force carbonate in a keg, then bottle using a counter-pressure filler setup. no exploding bottles and no yeast residue that way.......
     
     root beer doesn't have to be carbonated, but it won't taste 'right' due to a lack of carbonic acid from a lack of co2... in that case, add a little lemon juice to the mix and it should taste ok.
    #19
    marzsit
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    Re:rootbeer concentrate 2009/10/16 04:24:33 (permalink)
    kennyb

    what i mean is, is there like a gallon of rootbeer syrup that you pour into a 5 gallon cooler and ad water to make rootbeer?


     sure, just get a bib of rootbeer soda syrup from your local cash-&-carry and mix 1 gallon with 5 gallons of water. it will probably be sweetened with HFCS if you're into that..........
    #20
    kennyb
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    Re:rootbeer concentrate 2009/10/18 19:49:53 (permalink)
    i'm alittle confused now. i found a syrup mix that mixes with water to make 5 gallons. they said it needs to be carbonated with co2. now, i have the 5 gallon corny kegs and a co2 set up. if i mix a batch up, how does just the co2 carbonate it? i sell lemonades and we pump the syrup mixture out of the kegs with the co2 and it isn't carbonated? anyone help on this? thanks, kenny 
    #21
    kennyb
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    Re:rootbeer concentrate 2009/10/21 18:29:20 (permalink)
    anyone?
    #22
    bartl
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    Re:rootbeer concentrate 2009/10/23 19:07:54 (permalink)
    OK, now that I know what you want, probably check out this place:
    http://www.sodaclub.com/

    I've had their products at demos. In terms of cost (at least those buying retail), it ends up between the CO2 cartridges and the syrups, about the same as the supermarket brands (about 45 cents per liter). However, when you add in the initial investments for the maker and the bottles, it's no bargain.

    On the other hand, with the prices of soda jumping, the fact that you can control the carbonation level and that the syrups they sell taste pretty damned good, at least to me (and they have a good line of diet flavors made with sucralose), then you would probably find them worthwhile.
    #23
    marzsit
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    Re:rootbeer concentrate 2009/10/23 23:09:28 (permalink)
    kennyb

    i'm alittle confused now. i found a syrup mix that mixes with water to make 5 gallons. they said it needs to be carbonated with co2. now, i have the 5 gallon corny kegs and a co2 set up. if i mix a batch up, how does just the co2 carbonate it? i sell lemonades and we pump the syrup mixture out of the kegs with the co2 and it isn't carbonated? anyone help on this? thanks, kenny 

     co2 will dissolve into water all by itself, depending on time, temperature and pressure. if you were to mix up your rootbeer syrup with water in a keg, then place the keg someplace cold around 36-40F (like a walk-in cooler or large refrigerator, the keg must remain upright..) with the co2 gas connected at 40-50psi, in 4-5 days the contents of the keg will become carbonated. the process can be sped up by shaking the keg, which some people do, but shaking 5 gallons of liquid isn't easy.......... you dispense using the same type of tapping equipment that the homebrew beer guys use, except that you need about 20' of 'beer line' instead of the usual 5-10' used for beer, to prevent excessive foaming (the longer tubing equalizes the dispensing pressure so the co2 doesn't come out of suspension, causing foam)
     
      i've made plain seltzer, coca cola, pepsi, various brands of root beer, all the same way. commercial soda syrups usually state the mixing ratio on the container, 5-1 for most, 5.5-1 for diet syrups.
    #24
    FriedTater
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    Re:rootbeer concentrate 2009/10/30 22:03:23 (permalink)
    kennyb

    i'm alittle confused now. i found a syrup mix that mixes with water to make 5 gallons. they said it needs to be carbonated with co2. now, i have the 5 gallon corny kegs and a co2 set up. if i mix a batch up, how does just the co2 carbonate it? i sell lemonades and we pump the syrup mixture out of the kegs with the co2 and it isn't carbonated? anyone help on this? thanks, kenny 


    Kenny, re-read msg. #24 by marzsit. Hes on the money, but you can carbonate faster by hooking up your CO2 to keg, turn to about 35# pressure, sit down and lay the keg on your lap and roll it back and forth for 10 or 15 minutes. This makes the root beer carb faster. Also, the cooler the mixture, the better it carbonates. I use Zartians root beer extract, with 3 pounds pure cane sugar and 2 pounds light or dark brown sugar.
    Some one mentioned adding lemon juice to the mix, I`ll have to try that.
    Hope this helps.
    #25
    FriedTater
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    Re:rootbeer concentrate 2009/10/30 22:05:38 (permalink)
    kirstine

    kennyb

    what i mean is, is there like a gallon of rootbeer syrup that you pour into a 5 gallon cooler and ad water to make rootbeer?

     
    To make a flat root beer? You can probably do that with the extracts we mentioned, dunno how it would taste though.
     
    I found this off Google:
     
    http://www.mccormickgourmet.com/productdetail.cfm?id=6033


    I talked to the folks at McCormick a month or so ago. I understand they are doing away with their root beer extract.
    #26
    kennyb
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    Re:rootbeer concentrate 2009/11/01 11:50:11 (permalink)
    helps very much. i will be trying some. thank you, kenny 
    #27
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