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How to Make Root Beer

A seasonal treat to keep you perky during all your autumnal activities, homemade root beer is easy to make with the right supplies. On a stove, you can make the drink base yourself with ingredients, and ferment it with yeast and molasses for flavor. Alternatively, you can use a store-bought root beer extract to mix with water and sugar, and allow it to cool down with dry ice.

EditIngredients

EditBrewed Root Beer

  • of water
  • 1/4 oz. (7.08 g) dried sassafras root bark
  • 1/4 oz. (7.08 g) dried birch bark
  • 1/4 oz. (7.08 g) dried sarsaparilla root
  • 1/8 oz. (3.54 g) of dried licorice root
  • A piece of unpeeled ginger, sliced thin
  • 1 vanilla bean, split
  • of molasses
  • 1/8 tsp. (0.6 g) of active dry yeast

Makes

EditRoot Beer Extract Method

  • of cold water
  • of granulated sugar, depending on how sweet you want it
  • of root beer extract
  • of dry ice, broken into pieces

Makes

EditSteps

EditBrewing Root Beer

  1. Boil and infuse the aromatic ingredients to create your flavor base. In a medium sized pot, add 1/4 ounce (7.08 g) of sassafras root bark, 1/4 ounce (7.08 g) of birch bark, 1/4 ounce (7.08 g) of sarsaparilla root, 1/8 ounce (3.54 g) of dried licorice root, a piece of ginger, and 1 split vanilla bean. Pour of water into the pot, and then bring it to a boil.[1]
    Make Root Beer Step 1 Version 3.jpg
    • Wait for the bubbles to just begin rising to the surface, but don’t keep it boiling after that.
  2. Remove the mixture from the heat and allow it to infuse for 2 hours. After it’s reached a boiling point, remove the pot from the heat and place the lid onto it. Leave it to cool down and infuse for a 2 full hours.[2]
    Make Root Beer Step 2 Version 3.jpg
    • Steep the ingredients in the mixture without stirring them.
  3. Filter the liquid through a cheesecloth-lined sieve. Place the sieve over a container you can put the mixture into, and pour it through the filters. Once in the container, add an additional of filtered water, and stir thoroughly until it’s mixed together.[3]
    Make Root Beer Step 3 Version 3.jpg
    • After adding the extra water, allow it to cool to .
    • Be sure to clean the container you’re filtering the mixture into beforehand with soap and hot water.
  4. Add molasses and yeast to the mixture and let it ferment for 15 minutes. Stir in of molasses and 1/8 teaspoons (0.6 g) of active dry yeast into the root-infused liquid and place a cover on it. Set it aside, and allow it to ferment for 15 minutes.[4]
    Make Root Beer Step 4 Version 3.jpg
  5. Pour the root beer into clean, dry soda bottles. Use a funnel when adding the root beer to the bottles to avoid spilling. Fill the bottles to below the cap to allow for a pocket for the carbonation.[5]
    Make Root Beer Step 5 Version 3.jpg
    • Clean out the bottles with warm soapy water, and allow them to air dry before pouring the root beer in them.
  6. Leave the bottles out at room temperature to ferment for 12 hours. Screw on the lids of the bottles tightly, and set them out on your kitchen counter or table overnight to allow them enough time to ferment.[6]
    Make Root Beer Step 6 Version 3.jpg
    • Set the bottles upright instead of laying them on their sides.
  7. Chill the homemade root beer for 2-5 days to increase its flavor. After letting them sit at room temperature, place the soda bottles in your fridge to cool for several days. After 5 days, the yeast will have broken down the molasses for a milder flavor with a slight alcohol content.[7]
    Make Root Beer Step 7 Version 3.jpg
    • For a stronger molasses taste, remove the root beer from the fridge after 2 days.
  8. Open the root beer bottles carefully before serving. Gas will have built up inside the bottles that may cause the root beer to erupt out if you shake it too much while opening it, or open it too quickly. Wait for the gas to stop hissing before continuing to turn it. Once you have it open, serve your root beer over ice.
    Make Root Beer Step 8 Version 3.jpg
    • To store, simply place the lid back on the bottle and secure it tightly again. Drink the remaining root beer within a couple of days of you opening the bottle to enjoy it before it goes flat, or loses its flavor.

EditMaking Root Beer with Extract

  1. Mix cold water, sugar, and root beer extract in a large pitcher. Use of cold water, of sugar depending on how sweet you’d like your root beer, and of root beer extract in a large pitcher. Stir the ingredients together until the water and extract have mixed well, and the sugar is fully dissolved.[8]
    Make Root Beer Step 9 Version 3.jpg
    • Taste the mixture to see if more sugar or extract needs to be added.
  2. Cool the drink down with dry ice. Drop of dry ice chunks into the pitcher and mix it together with a spoon to cool it down and keep it from sticking to the bottom. Upon contact, the root beer mix should bubble, and the dry ice fog will spill over the side of the pitcher.[9]
    Make Root Beer Step 10 Version 3.jpg
    • Wear insulated gloves or use tongs when handling the dry ice.
    • Add the dry ice to the pitcher in a well-ventilated room to avoid inhaling its fog.
  3. Continue stirring until the dry ice is mostly melted. Use the spoon to continually keep turning the ice around in the pitcher, cooling down the root beer. Keep this up until the dry ice is nearly dissolved, which should take around 10-15 minutes.[10]
    Make Root Beer Step 11 Version 2.jpg
  4. Serve the root beer with a ladle. Be careful to avoid placing any remaining large pieces of dry ice in the cups so others won’t burn themselves with it.[11]
    Make Root Beer Step 12 Version 2.jpg
    • Feel free to enjoy in front of a leaf-strewn yard, an open fire pit, or while greeting trick-or-treaters on Halloween.

EditTips

  • When brewing root beer, artificial sweetener cannot be used to replace the sugar. Actual sugar (in this case in the molasses) is required for yeast to generate carbon dioxide which carbonates the beverage. Without sugar, there is no carbonation. You might experiment with less sugar and add a substitute to make up for the lower sweetness. You can add 1/4 oz. (7.08 g) of corn sugar (dextrose) or cane sugar to carbonate the soda and sweeten with a substitute.
  • Use bottled water instead of tap water to guarantee better freshness.
  • There will be a sediment of yeast at the bottom of the bottle, so the last bit of root beer will be turbid. Decant carefully if you wish to avoid this sediment.

EditWarnings

  • There might be alcohol in this homemade soft drink. The alcoholic content which results from the fermentation of this root beer has been found, through testing, to be between 0.35 and 0.5 %. Comparing this to the 6% in many beers, it would require a person to drink about of this root beer to be equivalent to one beer. For people who cannot metabolize alcohol properly or have religious prohibition against any alcohol, consumption should be limited or avoided.
  • Do not leave the finished root beer in a warm place for long. After a couple weeks or so at room temperature, especially in the summer when temperatures are high, enough pressure may build up to cause the bottle to explode!!

EditThings You'll Need

EditFor Brewed Root Beer

  • Cheesecloth
  • A sieve
  • A funnel
  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • 4 clean, dry plastic soft drink bottles with cap
  • A pot with a lid

EditFor Root Beer Made with Extract

  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • A pitcher
  • A Styrofoam cooler to store the dry ice
  • A big spoon to stir with
  • A ladle to serve
  • Cups
  • Gloves or tongs to hold the dry ice

EditRelated wikiHows

EditSources and Citations

EditQuick Summary


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