Hard Root Beer

I have made root beer before using recipes from wellness mama’s and nourished kitchen’s.

But I have long wanted to make hard root beer. I looked at Mother Earth News but decided instead to use Saveur’s. I added 3/4 teaspoon of wintergreen and fresh birch bark from one of our trees. I used 1 cup of sorghum molasses I brought back from Jackson, TN and 1 cup of regular molasses. The vanilla bean was surprisingly expensive to buy in the store. Here is the concoction cooking.

Once it had cooled I added Lalvin EC1118 yeast to the strained liquid and put it in a 1 gallon carboy.

The yeast then went crazy on the molasses. I should have made a video.

When the fermentation slowed and the SG was 1.018 I bottled it adding some honey to each bottle. I put the bottles in the fridge 3 days ago.

And today I had my first cold hard root beer this afternoon after a long long of animal chores and gardening.

It was good. You can definitely taste the molasses but not the alcohol. Tom thinks it tastes more like sarsaparilla than root beer. Either way I like it.

I also started a batch of Sima today so it will be ready for May Day or Vappu as the Finns call it. I used the spruce’s recipe again. Here it is cooking up.

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7 Responses to Hard Root Beer

  1. Jeanne says:

    I’d love to try your hard root beer. It looks really good! We used to make regular rootbeer, which was really yummy. Our kids loved it. You have to have really good water to make it really tasty!

  2. Michelle says:

    I always thought sarsaparilla was the old-fashioned name for root beer; what’s the difference?

    • Donna says:

      The history of root beer is actually a fascinating one. Here is one explanation of the differences from Root Beer Respect. It is basically the root used. “Root Beer Root beer is a carbonated soft drink which was originally made using the root of the sassafras plant. Safrole, the oily liquid extracted from the root-bark of sassafras plants has been banned by the FDA as a likely carcinogen and is no longer used in U.S. based root beer. In addition to sassafras, other root beer flavorings include vanilla, wintergreen, licorice root, sarsaparilla root, nutmeg, acacia, anise, molasses, cinnamon, clove, and honey.

      Sarsaparilla Sarsaparilla is a carbonated soft drink originally made from the native Central American plant smilax ornata. In Spanish the plant is known as zarzaparrilla. Associated with the Old West, sarsaparilla was popular in the United States in the 19th century. Sarsaparilla is now generally made with artificial flavors and is considered a type of root beer.

      Birch Beer Birch beer is a carbonated soft drink made from herbal extracts of birch bark and birch sap. Birch beer comes in a variety of colors based on the species of birch tree. Colors include brown, red, blue, and clear (white). Birch beer is most common in the Northeastern United States.”

  3. Denise says:

    thanks for the rootbeer history- that was really interesting. I’ve always loved rootbeer, but never gave a lot of thought to where the flavors came from!

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