Thursday, December 04, 2008

Ever made your own root beer, ginger ale, etc.?

Two things converged to get me to look at a page that tells you how to brew your own root beer or ginger ale:
  1. I read Little Britches last week while on vacation. And Ralph Moody, the author, aka "Little Britches," mentions drinking birch beer as a boy of 8. . . . Somehow, I know, that is a soft drink but made in a more "natural" way than the kinds of soft drinks we buy in the grocery store today.
  2. I was introduced to yesterday and stumbled upon the referenced "How to" article.
So when I saw the article, I followed the link.


. . . May I urge you, however: read the follow-on comments where you'll learn (from the original author),
When I made this as a college student with my younger brother, . . . I never particularly cared for the end product as it had a distinctive yeasty taste and I much preferred to drink the store-bought product instead. The same with the grape wine that my brother and I made - it also had a yeasty taste. Although, the cranberry wine (using Ocean Spray Cranberry juice) had a very good taste.
And (from a respondent),
Try a champagne, montrachet or ale yeast (not a lager yeast) and say goodbye to yeast bite:)
And (again from the original author),
I didn't include information on sassafras in the article since root beer extract has been bottled and sold commercially by Hires and others since the late 19th century and can be found in most grocery stores. Prior to selling the commercially bottled extract on store shelves 19th century pharmacists used to mix and sell the syrup on request. Also, all of the 19th century recipe books that I checked called for using syrup to make root beer.

Finally, while ginger root can usually be found in grocery stores, one has to go looking for sassafras in the woods. Also, ginger extract is not as common in stores as the root beer extract and one must either go to a specialty store that deals in brewing supplies or go on the web to find the ginger extract. Cook books from the 19th century forward also contain recipes for ginger ale using both the extract or the ginger root itself.
. . . Among other things!
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