How can you make a Root Beerr?

Root beer is a very common beverage that can come in an alcoholic and non alcoholic versions. In the old days it was traditionally used as an herbal medicine. If yo look at the history of this soft drink you will see that there have always been mildly alcoholic variations. The medicinal properties of the original root beer were for the treatment of coughing or mouth sores. The mildly alcoholic version is made by adding sugar and yeast to the extract so there can be some fermenting. This will give you an alcohol percentage of about 0.4%, compare this with the more normal 4% in most beers these days and you will agree that 0.4% is mild.
It is not that hard to make root beer at home and when you start out with an extract and leave the mixing of your own flavors until later it will only be easier. Before 1960 most of the root beers were made with Sassafras tree roots, but then is was outlawed because it was deemed that this ingredient would cause cancer.
Nowadays making this type of beverage includes ingredients like wintergreen with vanilla, licorice, sarsaparilla and ginger mixed in. Using an extract on the other hand is the easiest way and the one we would recommend when you are starting out with this hobby. The preferred extract would be the type that is sold at most brewing outlets and not the type you can get at grocery stores. Get yourself a container that can hold about five gallons of water and in which you can put that to a boil but still have enough room to ad sugar and other ingredients.
The extract from the supplier will often have a recipe accompanying it which tells you how much needs to be added to the boiling, sugar holding, water. But once you start getting the hang of making root beer you will start to experiment a little and taste the mixture and add more or less extract as you go along.
Getting some bubbles in the mix
Maybe you would like your root beer with bubbles, this means that it needs to be carbonated, then you will have to put some yeast in the mixture. Often you will hear that you need to add champagne yeast but if you were to ask it some home made root beer makers with some more experience they will probably tell you to use ale yeast. The problem with champagne yeast is that it lives much longer under pressure which can cause your bottles to burst.
The fizz will get in there because the yeast will react with the sugar once it is added to the flavored mix. You should have some patience then it will take a minimum of 12 hours to get some good carbonation in the home made root beer. When the kick is not there you should let it rest for another 12 hours to ferment. Once this is done you are ready to bottle the beverage.
Always sterilize the bottle beforehand so you prevent any bacteria getting in. Keep the bottles chilled. Keep in mind that making home made root beer is a lot of fun and it's something you could do with all the family.

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