homemade root beer version version two

Time for a second version to test out and see how it is.  This one is lighter on the roots and includes more herbs for flavors.

  • 1 gallon water
  • 1 tablespoon sarsaparilla root bark
  • 1 tablespoon sassafras root bark
  • 1 tablespoon birch bark
  • 3 star anise pods
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed ginger
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried spearmint
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/8 teaspoon yeast
Herby goodness.  I am glad there is a local company that has all of these.
Herby goodness. I am glad there is a local company that has all of these.

what to do:

  1. Combine water, sassafras, sarsaparilla, birch, mint, star anise, ginger, and vanilla in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, and reduce to simmer for 10 minutes. The remove pot from heat, cover, and let steep for 2 hours.
  2. Strain the root beer tea through a fine mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth into large pot. Add the brown sugar and molasses. Stir until mixture is integrated, then cover.
  3. Let cool to 75°F, then stir in yeast and let it sit for 15 minutes. If you don’t let it cool you can kill the yeast when you add it to the root beer.  Fill up some cleaned and sterilized plastic bottles with mixture, leaving 2 inches of space at top. Screw on caps. Keep bottles at room temperature for 36 hours, then open a bottle slowly and carefully to see if it is carbonated (or squeeze to see how firm the bottle is).
  4. Place bottles in the refrigerator for 2 days before drinking. This will allow the yeast to drop to the bottom of the bottle.

rating for this batch:

  • Color: Nice dark color,  just a little lighter then commercial root beer
  • Aroma: Smells great, not as rooty as batch one i tried
  • Flavor: Delicious, I should have made a bigger batch
  • Rating: This is the best so far.  5/5

This is going to be a keeper recipe.  Staci thought it was good and she only tried it while it was still warm and not carbonated.  Next will need to be a big batch, bottle them to carbonate, and then heat pasteurize so they don’t blow up on me. My 7 year old might even like this one.

homemade root beer version 1

Since making root beer using extract, which was entirely imitation flavored, I have wanted to try my hand at making real root beer with actual roots. After searching a bit for recipes I found this one for a root beer called old prospectors root beer.  It had the least amount of ingredients in it for the brew. The original amount it made was for a 5 gallon batch so I reduced it for a one gallon batch. If it wasn’t to my liking I didn’t want to be stuck with a huge amount to dump down the drain.

Ingredients:

  • 1 oz. dried sarsaparilla root
  • .5 oz. dried burdock root
  • .5 oz. dried yellow dock root
  • .5 oz.dried spikenard root
  • .25 oz. (28 g) hops (your choice)
  • 1.5 cups dark brown sugar
  • yeast to carbonate (or you can force carbonate if you have the equipment)

Step by Step
Simmer herbs in water for 30 minutes.  Then add your sugar and stir until dissolved and let sit and cool. When cool, pour into clean, sterilized two liter soda bottles.  Add in your yeast (1/4 tsp) and let sit at room temperature until the bottle is hard like you would get in a store-bought soda.  This normally only takes a couple of days, but it can be faster I have had ginger ale carbonate in less than a day before.  I just used bread yeast to carbonate this batch.  But in the future if I find the perfect mix I like I will use a beer yeast to carbonate.  Bread yeast will give an off flavor if left too long in the bottle.

After to bottle has carbonated you have to refrigerate it to slow down the yeast.  If you leave it out they keep fermenting the sugars and you will have a bottle bomb and sticky mess everywhere.

rating for this batch:

  • Color: nice dark color just like root beer should look
  • Aroma: Smells a little bit like root beer, but with a lot of burdock smell to it.
  • Flavor:  Root beerish with heavy on the root.  Staci called it earthy in flavor (that throws me off because I use earthy to describe mushroom flavor)
  • Rating: Overall it is not bad I am going to give it a 3 of 5.  The burdock overwhelms the flavor of the sarsaparilla and makes it more of a burdock flavor.  Which is not bad but I think I will keep looking for my ultimate rooty recipe