Jeff's birthday is coming up, and he was hinting ever so slightly (hah!) that he wanted a homebrew kit. This is really exciting for me too, because I love making stuff that seems like is only sold on shelves. I ordered lots of stuff from amazon. Brewing bottles, kegs, root beer extract for sodas, and to get us in the hang of it, I got some Mr Beer's premix packs (Oktoberfest blend, and Hard Apple Cider). As soon as it got here, I couldn't wait anymore (it's a family issue, we're working on it), and I let him open it. With Jeff's stealth present guessing skills, it seems the only way to surprise this man is to give it to him two weeks early, haha!
Now that I've seen the ingredients in the premixes, I'm bummed I ordered them, because I could so easily make it myself!
Anyways, I gave making root beer a shot yesterday, and it was so simple! Unfortunately, I have to wait two weeks for it to be ready to drink, but my justification is that the first batch will be ready in time for Jeff's "real" birthday.
I went with a low sugar approach, but used agave nectar to do most of the sweetening. So... in a few weeks, we'll have two gallons of homemade root beer!
This is the homebrew brand extract I got from ebay. It came with the champagne yeast required, and a recipe that I tweaked.
1/2 tsp champagne yeast
2 oz homebrew root beer extract
2 cups raw cane sugar
2 gallons warm filtered tap water
and I didn't measure the agave nectar, just added it until it tasted sweet enough. You need a certain amount (a few tbs) of sugar per gallon though, so the yeast can thrive).
Dissolve the yeast in 1 cup of warm water for 5 minutes so that it's completely dissolved.
Mix the extract in a large pot with warm water and sugar/agave until completely, then add yeast mixture. Mix until dissolved.
Put in sanitized bottles and make sure they're completely sealed. Keep in room temp for 3-4 days, then move to cold dark place for the remainder of the week. For better flavor you can let it brew up to 2 weeks.
Are we there yet?