Friday, September 11, 2009

Root beer

We've done ginger beer a few times, using lemons and fresh ginger. It's wonderful and not very complicated at all. I think you can use large plastic soda bottles to bottle it, but for us half the fun is filling and capping all those non-twist-off Corona beer bottles we've been hoarding for years. They've held lagers and ales and most recently batches of ginger beer. Thanks to my friend Rosalie for turning us onto ginger beer!

Today we tried root beer. Traditionally sarsaparilla root was used to make it, but for most of the last century "root beer" has been made from natural and artificial flavours. While we have wild sarsaparilla (sometimes used as a substitute for the Central American variety) growing on our property the kids really just wanted something fun that was similar to, though less sweet than, commercial root beer.

So we started at the beer & wine supply store. We found a bottle of root beer Royal Old Fashioned Soda Extract and basically just used the recipe on the back. We mixed 8.5 Litres of water with 1 kg of sugar. Then we dissolved 1 tsp. of beer yeast in 250 ml of lukewarm water, then pitched that in. Washed and filled the bottles, then capped them. To allow the yeast to develop these bottles stay undisturbed at room temperature for 10 days, and then go to a cool dark location (the shop) until we're ready to drink them.

This root beer will be slightly fizzy, more like beer than soda. If we want more of a fizz, we can use sparkling wine yeast.

Taste test in a couple of weeks!


  1. how cool is that???

  2. That is funny! Guess what we are doing this weekend! Have you seen the book Homemade Root Beer, Soda, and Pop by Stephen Cresswell? Great historical recipes and and tidbits. We are starting with root beer.

  3. Cool, Brit, no I hadn't heard of that book, but it sounds right up my alley. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Anonymous8:47 p.m.

    Yah, we're doing this too. Maybe the season?


  5. I have to be really honest, and say that tasting root beer for the first time was the only disappointment of our trip to BC. Perhaps you have to be born in Canada/America to appreciate it? :-) Like the Scottish national soft drink, Irn Bru.

  6. Wow! So interesting! My son, whom adores rootbeer would love this!

  7. We grew up with homemade root beer (bottled in the old glass "stubby" bottles) and Loved it. The last time my mom made it about 15 years ago it was too hot in the cabin and most of the 6 dozen bottles exploded in the laundry room. Very sad and we haven't done it since but my boys keep asking about it so I must try it again. I'm planning on trying nettle beer this week so maybe that will set off the brewing bug again. ;-)


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