Recipie Number: 1.0
Batch Number: 1
# of bottles: 8 (16oz clear EZ-Cap)
(From “Homemade Rootbeer, Soda, and Pop” by Stephen Cresswell (ISBN: 1580170528) page 32)
- 0.25oz Dried Sassafras Root Bark
- 4qts filtered water
- 2cups Granulated Refined Sugar (Unknown brand, it’s what I’ve had on hand)
- 0.125tsp Red Star Champagne Yeast
- 1- 5in plastic Funnel
- 1- large Stainless Steel Spoon
- 1- 4 gallon Stainless Steel Cookpot
- 1- 3in Tea Ball
- 1- 3 gallon Glass Carboy
- 1- Rubber Stopper
- 1- 1 quart Pyrex Measuring Cup
- 1- 1 pint Pyrex Measuring Cup
- 8- 16oz EZ-Cap Clear Bottles
- 1- Digitial Timer/Thermometer
- 1- Thermal probe for Timer/Thermometer
- 1- white Rubbermaid dishtub
- 1- Jet bottle washer
- 1- long Bottle Brush
- 1- bottle Clorox Unscented Bleach
I started by filling the cookpot 3/4 full with warm water and added 2oz of bleach to the water and then added all of the equipment except for the bottle washer, bottle brush, bottles, and carboy (and the timer too, but that’s because it probably wouldn’t work if we did). After all the tools were in, filled the water right up to the top. I let them soak for ~40min.
While those soaked I mounted the bottle washer in the washtub in the basement and rinsed out all the bottles and the carboy, and gave them each a swish with the bottle brush. I filled the carboy with warm water with about 1in head room and added 1oz bleach to the water and let it sit.
After rinsing the cookpot and it’s contents very thoroughly and setting the tools in the dish drainer, placed the cook pot on the large burner of the stove and added the Sassafras. After adding 2 quarts of filtered water, and the sugar, set the burner to 4. After stirring the mixture a little bit, covered the cookpot and let it warm and simmer for 25min. Realized that I forgot to put the Sassafras into the tea ball before I added it. Smacked forehead firmly.
I put the dishtub in the sink and filled it 1/2 way with warm water and 1oz bleach. After filling each bottle with warm water and placing them in the dishtub, filled the dishtub to the top with warm water.
When the timer for the cookpot was up, stirred it up a bit and took a taste. Quite sweet with a definite flavor of the sassafras, though somewhat weakly. Recovered the cookpot and moved it onto the left burner and turned off the stove. Let sit for another 25min.
Went down and emptied the bleach water out of the carboy and rinsed it very thoroughly. Put the stopper in immediately after rinsing and took it back upstairs with me.
While getting ready for the next step I noticed that the funnel I had was not going to work very well for pouring from the very wide mouth of the cookpot into the very small mouth of the carboy. Decided that we would dip with the 1qt measuring cup and pour into the funnel with the open tea ball used as a particle filter.
Emptied and rinsed the bottles very thoroughly and let them stand dry in the drainer.
Uncovered the cookpot and took another taste. The sassafras was flavoring much more strongly now, and it was still way sweet. We transferred the contents into the carboy as we had decided and added 1.5 quarts of cold filtered water. Took a temp reading: 106F – Too warm still. Added 2 Cups of refrigerated filtered water and took another temp reading: 101F. Stoppered the carboy and put it in the back hallway (where the air temp is ~50F) for 10min.
Added .25 cup warm water to the 1 pint measuring cup and put the yeast in. Swirled it up nicely and then let it rest.
Brought the carboy back in and the temp was now at 82F. Added the yeast and stoppered it again. Agitated the carboy thoroughly and then let it rest for 15min to let the yeast get working.
Filled each bottle to just over the bottom of the neck and closed each one and put them into the box they came in, just to be a bit safer. Hopefully if one of them goes grenade, the cardboard will at least slow the projectiles down somewhat. When I had been working in the basement, I had been noticing that the air temp was probably closer to 55F than it was to 65F and so we decided to leave the box in the kitchen overnight and then decide what to do with it in the morning.
Time of completion: 11:15PM CDT
Comments: Well, the funnel and filter screw up worked out okay in the end, but I am a bit worried about contamination from that step. I think I may see about investing in one of the siphoning systems to do the transfer from the cookpot to carboy, and carboy to bottle. Other possibilities are to find some sort of metal lip that an be attached to the cookpot to bring it down in girth a bit, as well as a larger funnel with a filter.
We actually ended up with a fair bit of liquid still left in the bottom of the carboy so I poured some and tasted it. It’s still a bit sweet, but I imagine the yeast will have something to say about that in the long run.
Other things to think about: an indoor thermometer for the area in the basement would be good so that I know exactly the temp so that I can have a bit more data about carbonation length/air temp relationships. I’m planning on checking carbonation at about 44 hours time to see how it’s turning out. I’m thinking that as cool as the house is in general, we’re going to need to go the full 72 at least to get the right level of carbonation, but we’ll see how it works out.