Sunday, March 11, 2007

Root Beer Remixed

So, I decided to make root beer again. The first two times I made it I used yeast for the carbonation, which gave nice bubbles, but had a little bit of a yeasty flavor.

This time I sweetened the batch with maple syrup (and a little sugar), and I tried carbonating the bottles with dry ice. A guy at work talked about how he did that for his beer and it worked really well. In fact, he wasn't using yeast for carbonation any longer.

I grabbed some dry ice from the store, mixed up my brew, and dropped some small chunks of frozen CO2 in the bottles. The guy had said pea-sized chunks worked well.

I'm here to say, bull-sh*t. A pea-sized chunk of dry ice in my 16 ounce bottles blew the cap right off. I've got the nice, sturdy glass bottles with the wire bale swing-top cap. While testing one of the early bottles out, I popped the top and the entire wire bale mechanism shot off the bottle and hid under the cupboards. Needless to say, I was a bit spooked. My sunglasses and yellow fabric gloves weren't going to be enough to protect me against that danger.

I popped the couple of bottles I'd already done to let them de-pressurize (two more bales came flying off. And I looked for even smaller chunks of ice. The "right" size appears to be about the size of a cooked lentil. We'll see tomorrow. I'll be opening them with a towel over the top to keep from breaking something.

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