Monday, December 1, 2008

Blackstrap Root Beer 3

For my third root beer, I decided to stay with the original Blackstrap Root Beer and the Blackstrap Root Beer 2 recipes, but once again lightened the sugars and molassas while taking up the spices a another notch. This batch is brewed for the Seeds of Change Fair Trade Market hosted by Berry United Methodist Church in Lincoln Square. It is a wonderful time & place for buying handmade local & fair trade goods, enjoying homemade foods and treats, being entertained by entertaining entertainers, and mingling with the very best people around town.

The boiling spices smelled fantastic and a bit more intense, but I think it will be really good in the finished sweet soda. I also added a very small amount of vanilla extract to round out the spices. The true test of its goodness will be whether visitors at the Seeds of Change will like it. It will be served on draft and available for sale along side homemade chili, breads, cakes, cookies and treats.

Blackstrap Root Beer 3
Brewed 12/1/08
3 gallons

2.75 cup Organic Evaporated Cane Juice Sugar
2.00 cup Light Brown Sugar
0.20 cup Organic Blackstrap Molassas
5.00 Tbs Malto Dextrin

2.5 Cinnamon Stick, cracked, 30min
.30 oz Licorice Root, 30min
.50 tsp Grains of Paradise, crushed, 30min

1.0 tsp Cassia Buds, crushed, 10min

3.0 Tbs Root Beer Extract
.25 tsp Vanilla Extract

Spices boiled in 1 gallon water for 30 minutes. Turn off heat. Add sugars and extract. Chill in cold water bath in sink. Add to keg. Top off with chilled bottled or filtered water. Force carbonate. That's it.

Tasting Notes

This is it. It tastes very good. Scaling down the sugar was the right thing to do. Its not too sweet anymore, and the molassas isn't overpowering, but builds the complexity of the sugar taste. It seems like the level of sugar can go down while the richness of the molassas slides in for support. The level of spices has come out more, but I like it a lot because there's a good balance between the spice and the sarsaparilla flavor. I have a good feeling it will be tapped out by the end of the day at the Seeds of Change Market.

Now that this is a solid base for a solid root beer, now I can start to fiddle around with additional flavorings like orange, cocoa, herbs, other spices and perhaps dark fruits.


Travis said...

It's funny how blogging works, I was just thinking about rootbeer. Whats the turnaround on 3 gallons of rootbeer? I think it would be fun during the holidays to have some for the kids to try.

Ted Danyluk said...


I think you could potentially have it ready in 24 hours. Some people like their root beers flat, can you believe that? So a more mild carbonation might be nice for the first tapping, and you can always push more into it later.

I like 2 full days of 40 psi to ensure a pretty good carbonation, and perhaps adjust accordingly after that.

Ted Danyluk said...

Sure enough, it was tapped out at more than an hour before the end of the day. Everyone loved it.

For Seeds of Change - Spring 2009, I will definitely brew 5 gallons and have lots and lots of vanilla ice cream for some delicious floats!

Travis said...

Excellent! I am all about it. I am going to pick up some root beer and do some tasting to see what I want to taste in mine.

Anonymous said...

Sounds super tasty!, I just finished a 6 liter batch and included a 6 oz. addition of lactose--very creamy.

Sean said...

Just out of curiosity, if I wanted to scale this up to a full 5 gallon corny, would you recommend just scaling up all the ingredients? Would you avoid scaling up certain ones, and why?

Ted Danyluk said...

Sean, good question.

Soda recipes are like baking recipes. You can go ahead and scale it up proportionally.

When fermentation is involved, I think the proportional upgrade isn't so linear. But that's relative as well. I usually scale up/down for beer too.

Kyle said...

Hi Ted, your blog popped up when searching for root beer recipes and I shamelessly stole it for my own purposes :). I made some minor modifications (some star anise instead of all licorice, and small sugar changes), but it's basically the same. Thanks for the recipe and the great notes! I'm really looking forward to trying mine out once it's carbonated.

Anonymous said...

Any suggestions for substituting the Cassia Buds and Grains of Paradise? Cinnamon and cracked pepper?

I want to make this recipe this weekend, but my local market does not carry all of the ingredients.


Ted Danyluk said...

Greg, good question, thanks for writing in.

Yeah, I'd say adding healthy dosages of Cinnamon (finely crushed) and in place of cassia buds will be good. The cassia though does have a more intense "red hots" quality. Perhaps on clove might be good.

There is also an interesting heat in those paradise seeds, but no reason some black pepper wouldn't also be a good choice. I'd say go for it, and in the quantities I have here.

Because so much sugar is in these sodas, there is room for healthy spice additions to balance out the sweetness. Much like hops in balancing the taste in beer.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your reply! I also have to replace the licorice root, but I'm sure I can locate another form of licorice. My family has doubts about me making anything other than the standard extract, although my father agreed with your comment about the amount of sugar in sodas these days. My daughter finds sodas to be too sweet, too.

I decided to make 2.5 gallons of the regular root beer with Gnome extract, and I'll use the rest in your recipe version 3. I'll try using one clove and cracked black pepper in the recipe as you recommended, and I'll keep you posted.

Anonymous said...

Finally, a month after I planned to make the brew, I have time --- tomorrow. Tonight, I'm on a sanitizing spree. I'm planning on substituting pure anise extract for the licorice because I can't find it at the local market. Do you have a guess about how much pure anise extract I should use to replace 0.30 oz of licorice root in your recipe? Thanks.

Ted Danyluk said...

The root is found at your local whole foods or herb/tea/apothacary store. Anise is pretty powerful, and depending on the strength of the extract, not much. Maybe .5 tsp to get a sense of it (I'm talkin for a 3gal batch), and more if u think it might need it.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info. Unfortunately, I'd have to drive 2 hrs to get to the type of store you describe, or I would need to buy it online. I'll try a 1/2 tsp as you suggest and play around with it; thats the fun of brewing, right? Of course, I hope my bottles don't explode ... that kind of fun I like to avoid.

Anonymous said...

The recipe turned out rather well, even with all of the substitutions. Next time, I'll buy the recommended ingredients online. The root beer has a "beer" taste; and, a hint of honey --- that must be a result of the different sugars used. Thanks again for your help, and I'll try your recipe again before Thanksgiving.