View Full Version : Sparkling Rootbeer Mead

07-19-2005, 09:36 PM
Been kicking this idea around for a couple of days now, so I thought I'd through it out and let some of you kick around a bit too.

3 lb nutral honey
1 oz Gnome rootbeer extrac (makes 1 gal of rootbeer)
1/2 t. Irish Moss
1/2 t. supperfood plus
water to make 1 gallon.

heat, boil, pasturize what ever works, cool blend aerate pitch wait.

What I haven't a clue about is at what point you would bottle, so it would carbonate and still be sweet, without having the bottles burst. It would be risky to let them condition a week then refrigerate to stop fermentation.

Guess you could bottle in plastic soda bottles?


Could also filter to stop fermentation and force carbonate prior to bottling.

07-20-2005, 02:54 PM
That could be interesting.
I tasted a honey rootbeer before. In which case, you only ferment until carbonated (2-3 days or until your plastic bottles get rigid), then refrigerate immediately. Enjoy after a couple of weeks once the flavors have had time to blend.
I think they used 2# honey/gal.

07-20-2005, 03:43 PM
20 oz. plastic soda bottles may be the way to go. Fill them when the mead is just a little sweerter then you want it, then refrigerate when they get hard.

I'm going to to 2 test batches this weekend. One fermented with the rootbeer extract, and add the extract to the other right before bottling. Think I'll use an Ale yeast.

Know of a source for new plastic soda bottles?


07-20-2005, 03:53 PM
Some LHBS sell PET rated bottles, but not in those sizes.

I just scrounge mine from my pop-drinking friends.

07-20-2005, 03:56 PM
Ditto. Recycling used soda bottles is no problem so long as you sterilize them as normal.

Keep us posted,

07-20-2005, 10:02 PM
I did find this, 16oz. PET bottles with reusable screw caps 24 bottles per case $19.95 @ http://www.leeners.com/sodapop.html the only source I could find for new plastic bottles.


07-26-2005, 11:57 PM
why not use real sassafras and yuca root instead of an artificial extract? This would lend both a richer and more authentic taste. And hey, safrole isn't THAT toxic ;) ;) jk you won't get sick or anything from it.

07-27-2005, 09:36 AM
To the best of my knowledge gnome extracts are not artificial, and if they are I'm sure theres an extract out there that is not.

I'm opting to use an extrac for the rootbeer because I don't want to take the time to test the dozen or so recipes I have for making rootbeer from scratch to find one I like (not into making soda). Same reason some home brewers use malt extrac rather then all grain mash, it's easier.


07-28-2005, 11:48 AM

What's your planned timeline for this? (Just curious how long you're expecting it to be, from start to bottling to drinking...)


07-28-2005, 01:35 PM
1 or 2 weeks at the very most from pitching to bottling, I expect. Not sure exactly haven't made this before.

Going to use an Ale yeast, let it ferment until the brix is at 4 or 5, rack to a bottling bucket and bottle in plastic. I'll put the bottles in the frige as soon as they are hard, probly a day or 2.

08-02-2005, 04:30 PM
Tested 3 rootbeers yesterday, sweetness averaged 15 Brix. Looks like the must need be 23 - 25 Brix at the start to get a 5% - 6% ABV rootbeer that will be that sweet.

The last three batches I started had hit 7% - 10% in less then a week, should get the PET bottles before pitching the yeast just in case it's ready to bottle a couple of days after pitching the yeast.

What I'm wondering, how dirty (yeasty) is this likey to be bottling straight from the primary?

Might it be a better idea to bottle to 2 liter bottles, then into 16oz. bottles after 1 or 2 weeks refrigeration?

Depending on how this gallon turns out, I may make a larger batch, ferment it dry, back sweeten and force carbonate.


08-06-2005, 03:13 PM
It may be a silly question, but...

If I wanted to make a gallon batch, but approached it this way, I wonder what would happen?

suppose i take 1/4 gallon water, boil it, and set it aside.
add 2-3 lbs of clover honey, stir and let it sit for 15-20 min.
add 1.5 tsp root beer extract (enough for a 1/2 gallon batch).

pour another 1/4 gallon water (cold) into the must.
rehydrate 1-2g ale yeast (if an 11g packet is good for 5 gal, 1-2g is good for a gallon?).
when the temp is around 70-75, pour the must into a gallon jug, and pitch the yeast there.
aerate well.

Let it ferment for a full week.

at the end of the week, grab a bottling bucket and pour 1/2 gallon water and another 1.5 tsp root beer extract into it.
rack the must onto the water/extract mixture.

what i'm trying to think out, here, is how to get a reasonably "hard" root beer (i.e., not stop fermentation too early), but still have enough yeast to carbonate, and have a non-fermented root beer taste alongside.

does this sound like trouble, or does it sound remotely like it might work?

08-08-2005, 11:14 AM
Just freshening up the thread, since it seemed to get lost over the weekend...

Any thoughts? Does my idea sound feasible? Or is it death on a stick?



08-08-2005, 12:48 PM
Sounds like a lot of trouble to me.

Why not ferment a gallon of must to the ABV & Brix your after then add the extract at time of bottling. The bottles are going to be a day or three building up pressure before they go in the fridge, then at least a week in the cold before its ready.

One more thing, I'm pretty sure once the bottles have been put in the fridge to stop fermentation, they will need to be kept cold to prevent bursting.


08-08-2005, 01:33 PM
Hey Merry,

I'm pretty much with Dmntd here. I'm kind of a path of least resistance guy in this case. It seems much more labor-wise to ferment it to where you want it to be, hit it with the extract, bottle and cap it. You'll get a modicum of secondary fermentation that will integrate the extract flavor as the liquid is carbonating in the fridgamarator.



10-03-2005, 10:17 PM
It seems much more labor-wise to ferment it to where you want it to be, hit it with the extract, bottle and cap it. You'll get a modicum of secondary fermentation that will integrate the extract flavor as the liquid is carbonating in the fridgamarator.

Just getting around to it, and i just noticed.. you both recommended adding the root beer flavoring in secondary. any reason? would adding it in primary be bad?

10-04-2005, 05:45 AM
Hey Merry,

In an earlier post you stated, "what i'm trying to think out, here, is how to get a reasonably "hard" root beer and have a non-fermented root beer taste alongside."

Making a half gallon of must, fermenting it, then cutting it with a half gallon of water at bottling "IMO" would make for a root beer flavored, watery mead.

Your thoughts of putting extract in the must then adding the ballance at bottling might produce a mead with more depth and character, that seems like a good idea to me.

In fact having just read your method post again, has me rethinking my approach.

O.G. > 1.128
7 lb. clover honey
1 t. root beer extract
1 t. superfood plus
Spring water to make 2 gallons
F.G. > 1.042 (at bottling)
2 t. extract added to bottling bucket

This shoud render a mead thats roughly 12% abv/10 Brix residual sweetness and a strong root beer flavor. Again, the bottles need to be checked daily and refrigerated as soon as they are hard.


10-10-2005, 08:10 PM
Well, I've (finally!) started my root beer mead...

~1 lb dutch gold orange blossom honey
1.5 tsp root beer extract
water to 1/2 gal
~2g munton's ale yeast

rehydrated the yeast. added extract to must. aerated the must. pitched yeast.

next morning, i added ~3/8 tsp energizer & ~3/8 tsp nutrient. aerated again.

i've got it in a 1 gal jug, and i think i'm ok.. there's a slow bubbling going on.

i'm thinking i let it ferment out, then rack onto some priming honey; bottle to 1/2 liter PET bottles, and let stand until the bottles go firm, then refrigerate.

don't have any firm ideas about the amount of honey to add... i want carbonation as well as a little bit of residual sweetness (although probably less sweetness than commercial rootbeer). what do yinz think?

10-17-2005, 09:55 AM
Well, after six days of fermentation, I bottled my root beer mead on Saturday. It was at 1.044; assuming I started at 1.070 (1 lb honey in a 1/2 gal batch), that should put me at about 3.3% ABV for the batch.

I tasted a sample before bottling -- good root beer flavor, and a discernable alcohol presence. The two flavors didn't really meld, though -- i tasted root beer in the attack and alcohol in the mid... hmm...

I was kind of surprised at the final gravity -- I was really assuming that my mead would be more dry after six days of fermenting. To tell the truth, I thought that I'd have had to backsweeten. I'm guessing the beer yeast worked more slowly, or was less able to ferment the honey's sugars as efficiently as compared to a strain meant for wine?

In any case, since it was just a 1/2 gallon test batch, i ended up with 3 full bottles and one 2/3's full bottle. Checked them this morning, and they'd hardened up nicely, so I put them in the fridge.

At this point, I'm planning on letting them sit in the fridge until the weekend, to give the yeast a chance to go dormant. (Will they fall to the bottom of the bottle, then, and clear the mead a bit?)

Would ya'll think that letting it sit in the fridge for a while (1 week? 2 weeks? more?) would give it a chance to mellow and let the flavors come together a bit? or should I take a "drink it if ya got it" approach?


10-17-2005, 10:25 AM
Most say, the longer you let it age the netter it gets. Those bottles need to stay in the 'fridge until your ready to drink them, the same as root beer carbonated with yeast. Fermentation will most like resume if the bottles are allowed to warm.


10-20-2005, 11:12 AM
Tasted my rootbeer mead last night. It seemed good to me -- strong rootbeer flavor. (So strong, in fact, that it was difficult to discern a distinct honey flavor.) Carbonation was sufficient. I probably could have used irish moss, though -- it wasn't necessarily "clear", although i'm not certain that it detracted from the mead too much.

As I started trying it, though, i realized that i was going to have a hard time evaluating it... you see, i don't drink "normal" sugared soda! so, it was difficult figuring it out, given that i normally drink diet pop...

it had a nice root beer flavor in the attack and mid; in the finish, though, there was an extra little kick of flavor. At ~3.3% ABV, I didn't catch (nor had I expected to catch!) an alcoholic flavor... this might be an interesting "stealth" drink for folks who normally like sweet alcoholic drinks without a noticeable "kick". Of course, since I don't remember what "real" root beer tastes like, I may be confusing the extra burst of flavor with what a normal root beer finish should be...

If I remember, I'll post a pic of the label (when I finish it, hopefully tonight).

I might do this again this weekend, in about a 3 gallon batch, for a halloween party.

For future experiments, I'm thinking about varying the amount of root beer extract (to allow a honey flavor to stand out a little), changing to a wine yeast (to allow better attenuation), adding irish moss, and/or monitoring the SG a bit more carefully as it ferments. This one was a bit too sweet for me in the end... i think that, if I'd have gotten it down to the semi-sweet range, I'd have enjoyed it more.


p.s., btw... the 1/2 L PET bottles can be re-used (one time only), can't they?

10-20-2005, 04:46 PM
I reuse my PET bottles all the time for my beer, so I dunno bout that. Course I could be bollocksing things up and not even know ;)

This sounds tasty! I'll have to give it a shot someday

10-20-2005, 04:47 PM
Hey Merry,

Very cool. The only thing I've read about PET bottles is that the caps shouldn't be used more then 2 or 3 times. I can't see any trouble with reusing the bottles, one of the other forum members may know better.