Aging with Sassafras root?

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by fvernon, Jun 18, 2012.

  1. fvernon

    fvernon Savant (370) Wisconsin Mar 1, 2010

    Has anyone here tried aging with Sassafras root? I know, I know... it's got some chemicals in it that are known carcinogens, but given the extremely low content it'd take years of drinking the stuff to cause a problem.

    Anyway, I love the smell/taste and don't put much credence in the rumored health threats - at least not from the amount it would take to properly age a stout, baltic porter, or maybe a pungent west-coast style DIPA. Any of you try something like this out? If so, what has your experience been with various ounces/days of aging?
     
  2. great question.
    i am thinking of brewing a root beer beer and it would have sassafras in it.
    i was going to add it to boil with 10-20 min remaining (as per a root beer recipe i have). the quantity i'd need for 5 G of beer may be ridiculous.
     
  3. rocdoc1

    rocdoc1 Savant (405) New Mexico Jan 13, 2006

    Sassafras root contains the natural version of Xstasy- be careful with it. I didn't know that when we found some on a camping trip and made a delicious hot tea with it. I would probably use a commercial extract like Zatarains if I was going to brew a sassafras beer.
     
  4. WickedSluggy

    WickedSluggy Savant (435) Texas Nov 21, 2008

    You can make MDMA (Ecstacy) from safrole but usually it is used to make MDA (Eve)
     
  5. rocdoc1

    rocdoc1 Savant (405) New Mexico Jan 13, 2006

    Didn't know what it was that night but we sat on the bank of the pond feeding the mosquitos and giggling like idiots. A few days later I read that MDA is derived from sassafras root.
     
  6. fvernon

    fvernon Savant (370) Wisconsin Mar 1, 2010

    it's possible to purchase safrole-free sassafras... i wonder if you'd get any of the same flavor characteristics with that
     
  7. fvernon

    fvernon Savant (370) Wisconsin Mar 1, 2010

    starting a baltic porter brewed with blackstrap molasses and aged with bourbon-soaked vanilla beans and sassafras root today... it'll probably be a few months before i have a good update on how the sassafras aging is doing, but i'll give a shout-out when i know!
     
  8. Danielbt

    Danielbt Savant (380) Texas May 4, 2012

    How much sassafras root did you use? Did you go with the cut and sifted kind?
     
  9. fvernon

    fvernon Savant (370) Wisconsin Mar 1, 2010

    sorry it's taken a while to get back to ya... i used 3 strips of 3" x .5" fresh sassafras root that i toasted in my oven at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes (they turned a nice golden brown and took on more of a root beer than licorice smell) as well as 2 madagascar vanilla beans that i previously had used to make a bourbon vanilla extract (so they'd been sitting in a bottle of buffalo trace for about 9 months) and racked onto them from the secondary into a different carboy. keeping it in my lagering fridge at 55 degrees; i'm going to check at the end of october, but i'm guessing that it won't be ready until late november - so updates will be pretty few and far between while this one sits. it's either gonna be a hot mess or really tasty...
     
  10. fvernon

    fvernon Savant (370) Wisconsin Mar 1, 2010

    It's now been 4 months and I finally pulled the porter off the sassafras and vanilla into a keg. Its fresh, but the sassafras worked incredibly well - a lot in the nose right now, but it's a very smooth root beer/anise/licorice/woodsy-spicy thing going with the sweetness of the vanilla beans and smooth bitterness of the baltic porter. Once it has a month or so to calm down, I think we've got a winner.
     
    ditch likes this.
  11. rocdoc1

    rocdoc1 Savant (405) New Mexico Jan 13, 2006

    But does it make ya see stuff that ain't there?
     
  12. fvernon

    fvernon Savant (370) Wisconsin Mar 1, 2010

    nope! no non-alcohol-related effects to speak of. i'm guessing it would take a heck of a lot of sassafras to get that - more than anybody would want if you're just looking for an interesting aroma/flavor addition to a beer.
     

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