Homemade Root Beer

Getting ready for summer, with a homemade batch of root beer. Here’s how you can do it too.

Heck yeah!  I’m getting off to a great start on my Summer Bucket List.  I’ve already finished one of the books on my list and started on the second.  My flower garden has sprouted and this weekend I made my first batch of Root Beer…

I finally did it.

root beer glass

I used a recipe from a book called Homemade Rootbeer, Soda & Pop by Stephen Cresswell.  I bought the ingredients at Steinbart Co.  The thing about brewing soda is that it’s really similar to brewing beer.  You use a lot of the same supplies: funnels, filters, bottles, bottle capper, and sanitizers and since my husband is a beer brewer I already had all of the supplies on hand.  Without that, a batch of soda might have been a pretty expensive undertaking.

root beer sanitation

root beer ingredients

So the most difficult part of making soda, as is the case in beer brewing, is sanitation.  You have to sterilize everything. The bottles, funnels, jug, strainers and spoons.  We have a huge bucket for sanitizing, so I just washed everything then put it all in the bucket until I was ready to use it.  Here’s the basic process for making root beer: simmer sassafras in water  for 30 minutes, cool for 30 minutes, strain into one gallon jug, add water and yeast, shake, and  bottle.  Let it sit in a warm place for two days.  After two days, open a bottle to check for carbonation.  If there’s enough, put the bottles in your fridge, if not, let it sit for another day.

root beer jug

root beer bottles

My root beer turned out… OK.  It’s a little weak.  The color is too light and it tastes pretty watered down. I think the Sassafras I bought was Sassafras bark, next time I might try Sassafrass root instead.  But I’ll have to track it down on the internet.

So if you want to give it a try here’s the recipe:


Adapted From Homemade Rootbeer, Soda & Pop by Stephen Cresswell
Makes 11 12-oz bottles

1/4 oz Sassafras Root Bark
1 Vanilla Bean
3-4 quarts water
2 Cups sugar
1/8 teaspoon ale yeast (and 1/4 cup lukewarm water)

1) Flavor the water: Combine the root bark and vanilla bean with 2 quarts water in a large pot.  Simmer, covered for 25 minutes.  Still covered remove from heat and let cool for another 25 mintues.
2) Proof the Yeast:  Pour 1/4 Cup of luke warm water into a small bowl, add the yeast and stir.  Let sit for several minutes.
3) Strain into the jug:  Pour 1 quart cool water into the glass jug.  Using a large funnel and strainer pour the warm sassafras liquid into the jug.
4) Adding Water: Aiming to make the temperture of the liquid in the job 70-76 degrees, Add enough water to leave 2 inches of headspace.
5) Agitating: Place the cap on the jug and shake.
6) Add yeast: Remove the cap and add yeast with its water.  Cap again and shake, this time leave capped and let sit for 15 minutes.  In the meantime start removing the bottles from the sanitizing solution and rinsing with cool water.
7) Topping off: Top off the jug with water, cap loosely and bottle immedietly.
8)  Bottling:  Using a funnel, fill each bottle from the jug.  Then using a bottle capper, cap each bottle.  Check after 48 and 72 hours.  When the carbonation seems right, put in the refridgerator.  Fro best flavor wait a few days before drinking, this lets the yeast settle.




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