Welcome to the Root Beer Rundown. Over the last few years, I've had a lot of fun drinking a lot of root beer and posting my root beer reviews for your reading pleasure. Use the tools on the right to see the complete history of my reviews, find all the brews within a given scoring range, or simply search for your favorite brew to see if it's one I've reviewed. I always like to hear what other root beer lovers like and dislike about different brews, so feel free to sound off in the comments of the reviews. I've also provided some links to a few other great root beer resources. Let me know if I've missed any so I can add them to the list. Enjoy the site!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Renzy Roo Brew -- 3rd Home Brew Attempt

We made another attempt at brewing our own root beer tonight.  This is our 3rd attempt at this.  The first time we tried it, the brew turned out just a little below "okay".  Something just wasn't right with it, but I couldn't put my finger on it.  We made a second attempt a few months later, and that one was just plain awful.  It didn't carbonate much at all, and tasted bad to boot.  We used different root beer extracts in the two batches, so that may have accounted for some of the difference in tastes.

So, it has been a couple years since we last brewed our root beer.  The main problem was that our garage refrigerator died about 18 months ago.  Without a garage fridge, we didn't have anywhere to store our brew since our kitchen fridge is always jam packed.  We now have a new fridge in the garage, so it was time to dig out the old recipes and try a new root beer extract.

This time, we went with Zatarain's extract.  I knew those folks made rice mixes, but I didn't know about the extracts.  I pulled out my notes from our first two attempts, and did a little research online to come up with a recipe to try this time around.  The extract bottle was for a 5 gallon batch, but that was more than we wanted to make.  The online research helped me determine how much extract and sugars I should use for our 2 gallon batch.  After a visit to our local home brew shop to pick up a few supplies (and a little advice from the store owner) and then a trip to the grocery store, we were ready to go.

Getting the supplies ready.

The brewmaster, hard at work!

Adding the activated yeast.

We did our best to keep things sanitized and do things at the right temperatures, in hopes of not messing up the carbonation and the flavor.  We'll know in a few days how things went.

One of the best things about this project, was that it was something my son and I could do together.  Besides having fun, he got a quick lesson on the magical powers of yeasts and another lesson on siphons and hydrostatics.

Our two gallon batch yielded 15 bottles.  Fourteen were the heavy glass, flip-top beer bottle type, and one was a plastic soda bottle.  The plastic bottle is our test bottle that we'll use to check the carbonation level in a couple days.  Once that bottle gets really hard, we'll know we've got enough carbonation.  Then we can move all the bottles to the fridge to kill the fermentation/carbonation process.  After a few days of chilling, we'll be able to sample the brew.  

Here is a close up of the finished product, including our custom label:

I'll let you know how it all turns out once we've had a chance to try some.  Keep your fingers crossed!

Has anyone else out there tried to brew their own root beer?  Any wild success stories or epic failures?  Any advice for a couple novices like us?

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