Learning how to make homemade root beer is pretty easy. If you are looking for something a little more involved I suggest you try making hard cider which is a bit more complicated than homemade root beer but still far less complicated than learning how to make homemade beer. You can check out these articles:
How to Make Hard Cider
How to Make Your Own Hard Cider
Hard Cider: Tips, Recipes and History
Anyway enough about that. Lets get on to discussing how to make homemade root beer. First you will need to gather all the necessary ingredients:
1 Cup Sugar
1/4 tsp Yeast
1 tbl spoon Root Beer Extract
This will make 1/2 gallon of homemade root beer or about 2 litres. If you want to make a gallon batch just double everything (1 gallon is 3.79 litres.) As for the yeast, regular baking yeast works fine. Your homemade root beer will probably be a little better if you use brewing yeast, but I can tell you from experience that it doesn’t make much difference.
You need to mix all the ingredients together and put them in an airtight container. Empty 2 litre bottles work well for this. I don’t recommend old milk jugs since they don’t seal very tightly, but they will probably still work for your root beer. Gallon glass jugs work fantastic.
After you have mixed all the ingredients for your homemade root beer and sealed them in an airtight container you will need to wait a few days. Put your homemade root beer in a warm dark place. If it’s too cold the yeast will not produce carbon dioxide so you can’t put it in the fridge just yet. Closets work well. Wait about 3 days or until your container feels quite hard (if you are using a plastic bottle or jug.) After this amount of time the carbonation should be sufficient.
You can now put your homemade root beer in the fridge and it’s ready to drink as soon as it’s cold. If you taste it and it doesn’t have enough carbonation, you need to take it out of the fridge for another day or two. However you need to be careful not to leave your homemade root beer out of the fridge for too long. If too much carbonation builds up, the bottle will explode and make a huge mess!
A few more things to consider: First you can’t use sugar substitutes. Yeast can’t break sugar substitutes down and you will never get carbonation if you use them. Secondly, you need to drink your homemade root beer within a week or two. I accidently left a bottle of homemade root beer in the fridge for about 3 months in a Grolsch bottle….When I finally opened the bottle it had built up so much pressure that the swingtop blew completely off the bottle and hit the ceiling! Thank goodness it didn’t hit me in the face! So even when homemade root beer is sitting in the fridge, it is still fermenting just very slowly.
Have fun and happy brewing.