Well, hello all! I'm so glad to have found this place. I've read it just about up and down and am impressed by how warm, friendly, and helpful the discussions are -- certainly a rare find among web forums anymore. So hello!
I thought I'd be polite and introduce myself. It hardly seems polite to walk into your online house and start yelling questions! My name is Cam. I'm a homebrew noob, I suppose. I've done a bunch of reading and a little trying. Can't wait to produce a root beer that tastes great and share it with my friends and family. I'm from Southern California. I'm recently married (about a year and a half) and, though I'm a bit old to have just done so, just graduated with a B.A. in philosophy. I start grad school in the fall.
Onto the 'noob-ish' help bit. So, I've tried two batches of homebrewed root beer. I'm brewing in a 1-gallon glass jug. My recipe, I think, is okay to begin with. I'm just using Zatarain's extract to get used to the brewing/fermenting process. Eventually, I'll strike out into my own extracts. I just wanted to avoid - since I'm JUST starting - pouring my money into a bunch of roots, oils, and barks only to end up with flat, weak tea
Anyhow. Two batches. The flavor has been almost good. The first batch was flat, but I think it was on account of opening the jug every 12 hours to test the carbonation level. The second batch I kept my grubby paws off until testing time. 4 days in a tepid dark place, 1 night in the fridge. The flavor is getting there, but not quite desirable. Here's the recipe I used:
1 Tbsp extract
1/2 C table sugar
1/2 C light corn syrup
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp (dry) ale yeast
Enough filtered water to make a total 1/2 gallon brew
There were two less-than-desirable properties of my brew. 1) It was not sweet enough. I reckon that's easy to remedy -- add more sweet stuff. 2) The yeasty taste was off-putting.
So, what do y'all recommend? Is it possible to carbonate with yeast without the brew tasting, y'know, yeasty? Any neutral-tasting yeast? Am I forced to force carbonate? I will, if that's what necessary. But brewing is just so much cooler, especially with this old whiskey jug
For my next batch I'm considering making a full gallon (less air space to fill with CO2, so hopefully a quicker carbonation). But I don't know what to do about the yeast. I'd love it to taste less yeasty, but I fear that adding more sugar and/or yeast will only encourage yeast proliferation and result in more yeasty flavor, but less sugar and/or yeast will decrease yeast proliferation, but require longer fermentation and result in more yeasty flavor.
Sorry to have been so needy from the get-go, fellas
. But thanks for all the information that's here. I hope to someday be a contributor and not just a burden!