View Full Version : Honeyed Root Beer Bubbles?

Angelic Alchemist
09-17-2009, 01:56 AM
I've been making mead since last summer with moderate success/beginner's luck. I decided to try and make some honeyed root beer for fun and seem to have failed despite following the instructions I was given. Here's the recipe I tried:

2 lbs Buckwheat Honey
2 lbs Hawaiian Raw Cane Sugar
1 lb Mexican Brown Cane Sugar
4 Gallons of Distilled Rain Water (I'm really OCD and distill my own)
1 T Vanilla Extract
2 oz. "Root Beer" Extract/Flavor
1 Packet Dry Yeast (I used premire cuvee because I like the neutral flavor)

I pasteurized everything except the yeast at 180F+ degrees for 20 minutes. Then I cooled the wort to 105F degrees, pitched the yeast, filled 3L screw top bottles and capped them. They got hard quickly so I put them in the fridge, though I was displeased with the low effervescence when I checked them the next day. Then I moved them back and forth between the counter and the fridge, cracking the caps when I thought they'd explode, until they fermented to the point where I could taste the alchohol and realized the project was going in a direction I didn't want. The flavors are there but it never got the fizz I wanted despite multiple adjustments and consultations with the local experts.

My two questions are:

1. Is there something interesting I can do with this wort? Anyone have a good recipe? It's in a 5 gallon bucket now with an airlock on it. I checked the Sp.G and it's 1.04, though I did not get an OG since I didn't anticipate making an alchoholic beverage. Can I make funky root beer mead coolers, or will that be awful? I figure the premire cuvee will ferment to dryness and I'll have to back sweeten the batch once I treat it with K sorbate. Suggestions? I'd hate to throw out such nice ingredients.

2. How can I get better fizz next time I attempt to make soda? Maybe this is appropriate for a different thread, but I'd also be interested in learning about getting good bubbles in short meads and honeyed champagnes, or even honeyed beers? I'm new. Guide me. ;)

Medsen Fey
09-17-2009, 09:44 AM
Welcome to GotMead Angelic Alchemist!

To make a carbonated soft drink I think you were doing everything right up to the point where you kept cracking the caps and checking them. When you try this again, put the PET bottles in a plastic bucket with a lid so that if you do have a bottle failure, you'll have a contained mess to clean up that won't be a big deal. Then wait until the bottles are really hard - I usually keep a 2L bottle of Coke for comparison. When the bottles are as hard as the Coke bottle or a little harder, I put them in the fridge.

At that point I wait. Cold liquid dissolves more CO2 but it still takes a little time. Generally I expect that to take 2 or 3 days. However, I will usually leave them standing there longer to allow yeasty sediment to settle. When I open them, they seem carbonated enough for me.

As for your second question, I don't have a good answer. I suppose you could let it finish out and then taste it and backsweeten. I reckon you could also sweeten some and rebottle in a PET bottle for a "hard" root beer. I'll be interested to here what you do with it.


Angelic Alchemist
09-17-2009, 04:51 PM
Okay, so the soda bottles are supposed to get really hard to the point where it's scary (at least, to the inexperienced soda maker), and blow outs are not uncommon. What about kegging/putting honeyed sodas on tap? I'm completely naive to that entire dimension of homebrewing. Is it difficult/expensive? Are there any special considerations to take into account with honey versus regular, sugared sodas?

It's too bad I don't live in an area where home distillation is legal. I could theoretically just dose the wort with a ton of sugar, ferment it out and distill it into a root beer liquor.

Medsen Fey
09-17-2009, 05:28 PM
Okay, so the soda bottles are supposed to get really hard to the point where it's scary (at least, to the inexperienced soda maker), and blow outs are not uncommon. What about kegging/putting honeyed sodas on tap?

I've never seen a blow out, but then, I haven't done this often. I don't think a blowout is likely - think about it for a minute; soda bottles are designed to keep a highly carbonated beverage contained even though you may leave them in the back seat of your car on a hot summer day. Still, by putting them in a 5 gallon plastic bucket with a lid, I know that when the day comes that I get unlucky, at least Little Wifey won't be steaming mad. :mad:
And besides, the Fusel Shack gets sticky enough during summer without that kind of mess.

Kegs work great. You don't even have to use yeast (though you can). You can just mix up the solution and force carbonate it. Clean and easy.

Angelic Alchemist
09-17-2009, 05:55 PM
The bucket thing is a great idea. If I had a free bucket, I'd do it right away. I'm glad to report that there are no hubbies/wifeys at my humble condo. It's just me and the cat, thank God. Though, I'd prefer to preserve my floors even though I have no one to report to should a bottle go bust.