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Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Peace n Quiet, May 9, 2004.
My 12 yo son is looking for instructions on making birch beer. Has anyone here ever tried it?
home made soda is/are awesome. You can get alot of usseful things from www.eckraus.com like bottles, caps, labels, capper, and flavorings for different sodas. They also have a book on making soda, kinda spendy for a kid at $14.95, but probably worth it in time saved.
Also in my searches for the less expensive grain mills, they have the corona mill for less than most people around and the shipping is free on orders over $25.00.
There are other places that sell flavorings for soda as well. Ansd i spose if a person was determined they could boil down birch root, and flavor a soda too.
Generally champange yeast is used, and the culture is grown in 4 pounds of sugar, 5 gallons of water for 5 days, and bottled [drank] at that time, very low minimal alcohol [by product of yeast growth]. But it gets a person on the right track to lacto-fermentation and getting healthy and a good project fora science fair as well. A good read on Lacto-fermentation is at http://www.westonaprice.org/foodfeatures/food.html and is an overall great site for reading about sustainable agriculture.... ok not the question you posed, but still within the ball park albeit right feild!
Enjoy the soda making.... and drinking! tis the season
I've been homebrewing beer, mead and occasionally soda for 8 years now and I can tell you that 4 lbs of cane sugar in 5 gallons of water for 5 days with most champagne yeasts will get you something that's in the neighborhood of 3% alcohol. A bottle or 2 of that will definitely get a typical 12 year old tipsy.
Moorebeer.com has some soda-making supplies and information, too. Free shipping on orders of $50 or more, too. I'm not sure why you would need a grain mill to make birch beer. There isn't any grain in it.
You can use extracts with good success if you just want to try the whole thing out before dealing with making it from scratch.
I suggest fermenting with champagne yeast for no more than 3 days at room temperature. Aside from higher levels of alcohol, letting fermentation go on for too long can lead to exploding bottles. When beer is bottled in the traditional manner, there is a carefully restricted amount of sugar remaining to be turned into CO2 and alcohol. Just enough to give it fizz. But soda needs to have a lot of left-over sugar for taste and the yeast doesn't know when to stop. Seriously, those things are like glass grenades and you have to be careful. Once the desired level of carbonation is reached, put the bottles in the refrigerator. Unless you are using lager yeast (don't), the yeast will grind to a halt as long as its kept cold.
3% alchohol assumes you are letting it ferment to its limit and use up the sugar. With soft drinks you pitch the yeast at the time of bottling, and as long as you leave only a small air space, the air pressure will halt most of the fermentation. You can furthrer halt it by refrigeration which will also kill most yeasts. If exploding bottles is a major concern use plastic soft drink bottles, they are food grade, are designed for high pressure and if you want to you can even use them to bottle beer, but use the colored ones, since clear plastic allows in UV light.
Dear Peace n Quiet,
the simplest way i know is to find online or at a home brew store, some extract. you take an old two liter bottle, following the directions on the extract. put some sugar in the bottle, some bakers yeast, water and extract. let it sit on the counter till you can feel pressure in the bottle, like, two days, three or so max. put it in the fridge. then drink. this is the easiest soda.
the weston price site (someone else posted above) has a recipe at this exact link, if you werent' sure when you got there:
this guy's web site is awesome, he's got info on how to make all sorts of things with easy to use instructions
hes also got directions for ginger ale, cheese and more!!
Amen except for the bakers yeast. Disgusting! Use an ale or champagne yeast. It costs maybe $1 a packet. Most of the horror stories I've heard about homemade beer or soda that turned out badly involve bakers yeast. You want soda that tastes like bread? No, you don't.
thanks all... we'll be doing some more research at those websites you gave!
He was hoping to be able to make it using real birch-not extract, but it sounds like no one really does that??