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Soft Root Beer Soda Recipe

Photo by Shutterstock/Brent Hofacker

The dominant flavor in this 1800s-style root beer is sassafras. This carbonated, nonalcoholic root beer tastes as sweet as modern commercial soda, but you can cut back on the sugar, if desired. For a more intense flavor, increase the amounts of roots and spices. The easiest way to package this volume of root beer is in three 3-liter plastic bottles and one 2-liter plastic bottle.

Fermentation Time

Fermentation Type: Alcoholic

Primary Fermentation: 2 to 3 days

Total Time: 2 to 3 days

Shelf Life: 1 month                

Yield: 3 gallons.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds cane sugar
  • 1 pound brown sugar
  • 1 ounce sassafras root bark (about 6 tablespoons)
  • 0.8 ounce sarsaparilla root bark (about 6 tablespoons)
  • 0.4 ounce licorice root (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 3 star anise pods
  • 2 vanilla beans, or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 11-gram sachet of Fermentis US-05 dried ale yeast

Photo by Shutterstock/Goncharuk Maks

Instructions

  1. To a 2-gallon or larger pot, add 1 3/4 gallons of water and begin heating. Stir in the sugars, and then add the sassafras, sarsaparilla, and licorice root.
  2. Bring the mixture to boil, boil for 8 minutes, and then add the star anise and vanilla, and boil for an additional 2 minutes. You should have 1 1/2 gallons of root extract.
  3. Place the lid on the pot and lower it into a sink full of cold water. Change the water every 5 minutes, until the pot is cool to the touch. Then, change the water one last time, and add 6 to 9 pounds of ice to the sink. Let the pot cool in the ice bath for at least 10 minutes.
  4. Clean and sanitize your bottles. Fill each halfway with cold water, and then siphon or funnel your root extract into the bottles, leaving 1 to 2 inches of headspace. (If you’re using a funnel, pour the liquid through a fine-mesh strainer to remove the solids.) Add about 1/8 teaspoon yeast to each bottle. Seal the bottles.
  5. Allow the root beer to carbonate at room temperature for 2 to 3 days. After the first day, squeeze the bottles every 12 hours; when they feel hard, refrigerate them. Cool for at least 3 days before drinking.

Visit Back to the Roots of Root Beer to learn about the origins of root beer, or make your own hard soda with our Hard Root Beer Recipe.

Published on Jun 16, 2020

Grit Magazine

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