Friday, September 21, 2007

Strange Brew

You may recall that in August I received a present from my brother, Mark, of a do-it-yourself root beer kit. Well, last weekend I decided to break it out and try to make my own root beer. I figured that, at the least, it would be good for a few laughs. It turns that making your own root beer produces a product that is different from store-bought product in some noticeable ways. For instance, store-bought root beer is generally force-injected with carbon gas to produce the carbonation. Home-brewed root boot, on the other hand (at least, the stuff made from the Mr. Root Beer kit), is carbonated through natural fermentation of the sugar in the brew. See, you put yeast in it. Yes, yeast. And many of you will naturally figure out that the fermentation means that you are making alcohol. Yes, mom and dad, I am making alcoholic beer in the basement. Granted, the alcohol content will generally come out to 0.5%, which is essentially nothing, but I still found that kind of fascinating.

Actually, I should state that my root beer should have had 0.5% alcohol, but I think I did something wrong, because I am not really seeing much carbonation forming. Granted, I did have problems getting all of the ingredients to properly dissolve, and I don't think the water I used was hot enough to get the process started right. This doesn't mean that my root beer is bad, mind you; it's just really flat. Like what happens if you leave an opened 2-liter in your fridge for 2 weeks. It still makes a decent root beer float, though.

Next time (I have enough materials to make another gallon of beer), rather than mixing the yeast into the entire mixing bowl, I think I will quarter the amount and not add it until the bottles have been filled. This way I can make sure that the amount of yeast in each quart bottle is equal, as I think that might be the problem I had the first time around. One bottle seems to be fine (nice gas pressure build up), while the others show no carbonation activity at all.

1 comment:

Christopher said...

Ha ha! My brother the brew-meister! That is oddly fascinating, though. One of my old coworkers at Boeing was a fairly avid home-brew guy, who once explained the whole process; one time we were on an Air Force base and he was giving pointers to the guys in charge of the squadron bar about pressure and CO2 mix ratios...