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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, Equipment and just outdoor cookin' in general, hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures... but stay on topic. And watch for that hijacking.


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Unread 01-28-2013, 08:06 AM   #1
rubbbq
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Default Homemade root beer....

You know what goes really well with smoked BBQ?

REAL, fresh brewed root beer! I just brewed my first batch yesterday. Anyone brewing root beer?

Most people have never had REAL root beer, as the FDA outlawed brewing of root beer with its primary ingredient - sassafras - in 1960.

Story goes: during prohibition, many beer companies started making adult sodas and "root/herb" beers that didn't have alcohol, as brewing alcoholic beverages was illegal. Root Beer became very popular, as it was distinctively different from brand to brand, using fresh barks, spices, herbs, and other unique ingredients that made it very different from colas. After prohibition, many beer companies continued brewing the popular beverage; Root beer became very popular from the 30's-50's. It was so popular, it started taking major market share away from the larger Cola Companies. So, rather than playing fair, the larger (coca) Cola companies "lobbied" (aka bribed) the FDA to do a study on sassafras, the main ingredient in root beer. They fed a sh*t ton of the stuff to rats, and some of them got sick. The toxicity level in the rats was equivalent to a human drinking 7 gallons of root beer every day for 5 years, but they used the manipulated data to outlaw brewing with sassafras, and many root beer companies shut down. Coca Cola wins..

All modern root beers contain other ingredients, or imitation sassafras flavors, but it's still illegal to brew root beer with sassafras...however, it's not illegal to buy it (further shows the study was a croc)

I made some fresh root beer yesterday by steeping fresh sassafras bark with sarsaparilla bark, winter green, raisins, and vanilla bean.

I added sugar to the mix over high heat, and simmered for about 40 minutes to make a syrup. I strained the mixture through a colander, then a cheese cloth, to remove all the bark - pure, real root beer extract!

I added a little of the extract to carbonated water and ...presto: Fresh Real Root Beer!

I'm going to keg it, and serve it my restaurant - it has such a unique flavor and tastes MUCH better than any store bought root beer. You can actually taste the root and spice flavors...and it wasn't hard to make





just realized I didn't take any pics of the finished, frosty mug of root beer! I'll get another pic next time I'm at the office of the finished product - but share your stories and recipes if you'd tried this or PM me for a detailed recipe
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Unread 01-28-2013, 09:47 AM   #2
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My Granny used to make it I remember popping a top on a bottle of that spicy creamy goodness as a young boy. I have made it a few times using the extract but it is no where close to the scratch homemade stuff. Thanks for bring back a fond memory!
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Unread 01-28-2013, 09:52 AM   #3
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Can you share the recipe please?
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Unread 01-28-2013, 10:15 AM   #4
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+1 on the recipe! And if you share it I promise to eat at your place next time I'm in town ;)
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Unread 01-28-2013, 10:19 AM   #5
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That's awesome. I'd love to give this a go.
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Unread 01-28-2013, 10:59 AM   #6
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I didn't even know you could make your own root beer...shows how much I know. I would agree with the rest though, a recipe would be great! How do you think that root beer would go with some homemade ice cream? Is carbonated water the stuff you buy in a bottle? Sorry, my family was more of a baker family (cookies, cakes etc.) so I was pretty sheltered. Now at the age of 29, I am trying to break out!
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Unread 01-28-2013, 11:20 AM   #7
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Unread 01-28-2013, 11:27 AM   #8
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Boil 1 1/2 cups water, pour over 3/4 cups chopped raisins.

In a brew pot (cleaned and sanitized large kettle), bring 1 gallon of water to about 200 degrees...just below boiling. Add 3/4 ounce sassafras root, 3/4 ounce sasparilla root, and 3/8 ounce winter green. Add 1/2 chopped up vanilla bean, and 7 1/2 cups sugar. Simmer for 40 minutes stirring here and there, then dump "raisin water" into brew pot.
Strain water through colander, then strain through cheese cloth to get out remaining roots.
Let rest, covered for about 30 minutes, then "can" the extract in 1 quart jars (5).

To make 1 gallon of root beer, combine 1 q extract with 3 q soda (carbonated) water, warm to combine, chill to serve.


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Unread 01-28-2013, 04:15 PM   #9
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Wow, now there is an American taste that does not travel well!
We have Vegemite and you guys have root beer and cherry cola
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Unread 01-28-2013, 04:26 PM   #10
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If you use malt syrup and a little yeast, you have root beer ale.
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Unread 01-28-2013, 05:12 PM   #11
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This site never ceases to amaze me with all the knowledge here. My son loves root beer, just the stuff in glass bottles, not plastic. We get that for him for special occasions. I think this would be great for a "dudes" day for us, Q'n and makin root beer. Can't wait. Thanks for the post!

Now to just find the ingredients. Other than the obvious internet sites, what type of store would carry that stuff?
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Unread 01-28-2013, 05:16 PM   #12
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That's awesome! I've seen things advertised for making root beer from time to time but never gave it much thought. I can see some fresh root beer in my future. Thanks for sharing!

Quote:
Originally Posted by buccaneer View Post
Wow, now there is an American taste that does not travel well!
We have Vegemite and you guys have root beer and cherry cola
And I will gladly keep our root beer and cherry cola and you can keep your Vegemite.

I was lucky enough to travel to Australia about 12 years ago...our hosts said we just had to try Vegemite..so we did, and I was not happy! One guy loved it but most did not enjoy it!
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Unread 01-28-2013, 05:41 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bo_b_q View Post
That's awesome! I've seen things advertised for making root beer from time to time but never gave it much thought. I can see some fresh root beer in my future. Thanks for sharing!



And I will gladly keep our root beer and cherry cola and you can keep your Vegemite.

I was lucky enough to travel to Australia about 12 years ago...our hosts said we just had to try Vegemite..so we did, and I was not happy! One guy loved it but most did not enjoy it!
DEAL!!! I have thought a lot about why it is Americans in particular that don't enjoy the taste. I watched a vid where Aussie teachers gave young kids in a Scandanavian country a chance to try it on toast and almost all of them loved it, Indians and Japanese people like it too. I think it may be the average sweet tooth that is the general taste in America. I know I had great difficulty with everything being so sweet, and lots of recipes I get from The USA I just don't use any of the huge amounts of sugar in them. I think that must be it, the salty savory taste of vegemite must be too much. Ya poor guys Sorry OP. End Hijack
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Unread 01-28-2013, 06:20 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buccaneer View Post
Wow, now there is an American taste that does not travel well!
We have Vegemite and you guys have root beer and cherry cola
Buccaneer,
Got to disagree with you there mate.

Can't stand the taste of vegemite. And I am an Aussie!

And it is not just the excessively salty taste. The wife accuses me of having too much salt in my cooking, even though she always loves the flavours when I cook, and I am asked to check the seasoning. There is just something NOT right about the taste and smell.

Root beer on the other hand is something I love. Agreed, there are some brews which are excessively sweet, but if brewed well, the taste is divine.

Edit: I will have to give this a try. But sourcing sassafras root may be an issue. Is there much difference between the root and the bark?

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