Homemade Root Beer

Written by Jeremy Horelick
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There are few treats as satisfying as homemade root beer, which is the product of your own hard work and some contributions from Father Time. Just as millions of adults draw great satisfaction from home beer brewing, so too can they (and their little ones) craft their own family-friendly drinks from scratch--or almost from scratch. As with beer making, root beer brewing works best when a handful of ingredients are left to the manufacturer instead of the consumer.

This shouldn't dampen your pioneering spirit, though. Start out by following the instructions carefully. Then, once you master the art of working from packets and pre-measured extracts and sugars, you can begin to explore growing your own plants and vines. For most people, the thrill of making homemade root beer is concocting a drinkable final product, not slaving away in the fields to ensure that roots are photosynthesizing according to schedule. Of course, some people do have a lot of time on their hands.

Making Homemade Root Beer

To get started with your own homemade root beer, all you'll need are a couple of clean two-liter bottles, preferably plastic. Glass will work too, but there's an added risk that the pressure from the fermentation process will shatter the container, so plastic is really preferable. Everything else, from the bottles and caps to the cleaning agents and siphons, should be contained in your kit.

The first step is to add the sugar and the yeast with the extract and dump it all into the water. Once you close off your solution, you'll want to let it brew at room temperature for several days in order to allow the yeast to work its magic. Here, trial and error will serve you best, as some people prefer overbrewed drinks while others are partial to underbrewed varieties. There's no such thing as the "perfect" batch of root beer, just whatever you find most pleasing. Once you're done brewing, it's best to let the root beer cool in the fridge for a week to 10 days before serving.

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