hist-brewing: Root Beer

Dennis W. Mattison (LittleWolf) mattison at webovision.com
Thu Jul 13 20:29:57 PDT 2000


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Sorry for butting in...

Saffrol, in Sassafras, is a known carcinogen, and thus is not legal to use in
root beers which will be sold.  However, the reason to why saffrol was
declared
a carcinogen is still a little iffy even though it has never been questioned.
Like everything else the FDA tests, the test of saffrol was to give laboratory
mice sassafras in large quantities over a long period of time.  In doing so,
they found that the laboratory mice were more susceptible to cancer than the
control mice.  Therefore, ignoring the fact that the average human does not
consume such large amounts of saffrol on a daily basis from drinking root
beer,
they declared it a carcinogen and thus no product can contain it, and all
sales
of the sassafras bark must contain a warning which states its known carcinogen
status.

However, ignoring that warning, and possibly subjecting yourself to cancer,
you
can buy and use sassafras in root beer so long as you do not sell the root
beer.  I have made several batches of root beer, and I always find the root
beer made with sassafras is always better tasting than the commercial (fake)
stuff.

However, possible substitiutes include birch bark, ginger, and (believe it or
not) raisons.  I have a book available from most homebrew shops
(unfortunately,
I cannot find it at the moment, but I believe it is called Brewing Root Beer,)
which is very good at covering the legal issues of sassafras and the
substitutes.

The commercial extracts always taste too "medicinee" for my liking.

- ---
Dennis W. Mattison
(a.k.a. LittleWolf)
 homepage=www.webovision.com/mattison, hobbypage=www.darkdungeonsbrew.com
This message is signed. Please check the signature to assure its validity.

- -----Original Message-----
From: owner-hist-brewing at rt.com [mailto:owner-hist-brewing at rt.com]On
Behalf Of EFOUCH at steelcase.com
Sent: Thursday, July 13, 2000 5:39 AM
To: toddlintown at mediaone.net
Cc: hist-brewing at pbm.com; EFOUCH at steelcase.com
Subject: Re: hist-brewing: Root Beer


Yes, saffrol, I think it is, is a suspect carcinogen.
At what concentrations?  What exposure time?  What isn't a suspect carcinogen?

I wanted to try one original batch, to see what the real stuff was like.  I
have made a few using commercial extracts, and tweaked them here and there
into a pretty decent facsimile.

What would be a reasonable replacement for sassafras?  Birch bark?

Eric Fouch
PDT&L
4-2408

- ------------------( Forwarded letter 1 follows )---------------------
Date: Thu, 13 Jul 2000 07:18:30 -0500
To: efouch
Cc: hist-brewing at pbm.com
From: toddlintown at mediaone.net
Sender: owner-hist-brewing at rt.com
Subject: Re: hist-brewing: Root Beer

As I recall, sassafras roots are no longer used in the
production of root beer in the U.S. About 30 years ago or
so, they were determined to be carcinogenic (cancer
causing). You might want to verify this, but I believe this
info is correct.

Bob

EFOUCH at steelcase.com wrote:
>
> I have a 1912 recipe for root beer using dandelion roots, sassafras roots,
> and/or burdock roots.
>
> My question is, does it matter when these roots are harvested?  Would there
 be
> a difference with roots harvested in spring as opposed to roots harvested in
> summer/fall?
>
> Thanks
>
> Eric Fouch
>
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