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Homemade Root Beer

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Root beer also known as sarsaparilla is a complex and delicious, old-fashioned, home-brewed root beer that has deep, intermingling notes of roots, bark, and spices, set against a background of molasses. There is no one recipe for this popular old-time beverage.
  Sassafras 1⁄4 Ounce, dried
  Dried birch bark 1⁄4 Ounce
  Sarsaparilla 1⁄4 Ounce, dried
  Licorice 1⁄8 Ounce, dried
  Sliced ginger 1 Inch, unpeeled
  Vanilla bean 1
  Water 2 Quart

Place all above inredients into a medium pot and bring to a boil.

Remove from heat, cover, and let steep for 2 hours.

Strain root-infused liquid through a cheesecloth-lined sieve into a plastic container that has been washed well with hot, soapy water. (Discard solids.)

Add 2 qts. filtered water, stir well, and let cool to 75°.

Meanwhile, wash four 1-liter plastic soda bottles with hot, soapy water.

Rinse well and air-dry.

Stir 2 cups molasses and 1⁄8 tsp. active dry yeast into the root-infused liquid; cover and set aside to let ferment for 15 minutes.

Using a funnel, pour into bottles, filling to within 2" of top but no higher.

Screw lids on tightly; set aside at room temperature to let ferment for 12 hours.
Chill for 2–5 days.

The root beer's character will slowly change: after 2 days, it will taste strongly of molasses; at the end of 5 days the yeast will have eaten up more of the sugary molasses, creating a milder and slightly alcoholic beverage.

When it's ready to drink, open bottles very slowly, easing the caps open little by little, to let any excess gas escape gradually. (Yeast produces a high level of natural carbonation that makes for a very fizzy drink.)

Serve over ice.

Makes 4 liters.

Recipe Summary

Preparation Time: 
20 Minutes
Cook Time: 
60 Minutes
Ready In: 
80 Minutes
One of my favourite treats growing up was a "brown Cow". Region appears to dictate the name and contents of this cold, sweet drink. Known as a root beer float, a black cow, a brown cow, and a sassy cow, this all-American favorite is a snap to make. Rootbeer poured over a scoup of vanilla ice cream, served with a long spoon. You can add chcolate syrup and whipped cream as you wish. Charles Hires, a Philadelphia pharmacist isd credited with discovering a recipe for a delicious herbal tea while on his honeymoon. The pharmacist began selling a dry version of the tea mixture and also began working on a liquid version of the same tea. His was a combination of over twenty-five herbs, berries and roots to flavor a carbonated soda water drink. It was first introduced to the public at the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial exhibition. The Hires family continued to manufacture root beer and in 1893 first sold and distributed bottled root beer. Charles Hires and his family certainly contributed greatly to the popularity of modern root beer, however, the origins of root beer can be traced further back in history. Root beer has its origins in what is referred to as "small beers." Small beers are a collection of local beverages (some alcoholic, some not) made during colonial times in America from a variety of herbs, barks, and roots that included: birch beer, sarsparilla beer, ginger beer and root beer. Ingredients in early root beers included allspice, birch bark, coriander, juniper, ginger, wintergreen, hops, burdock root, dandelion root, spikenard, pipsissewa, guaiacum chips, sarsaparilla, spicewood, wild cherry bark, yellow dock, prickly ash bark, sassafras root*, vanilla beans, hops, dog grass, molasses and licorice. Many of these ingredients are still used in root beer today along with carbonation. There is no one recipe. Another famous brand of root beer is A & W Root Beer, now the number one selling root beer in the world. A & W Root Beer was founded by Roy Allen, who began marketing root beer in 1919. Birch Beer is another tasty root beer drink. "BOYLAN'S ORIGINAL BIRCH BEER" is the most locally loved soft drink of its time. Rich with history, Boylan's Birch Beer started in a apothecary in the early 1890's and developed into the most popular flavor of The Boylan Sodaworks. *In 1960, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration banned sassafras as a potential carcinogen, however, a method was found to remove the oil from sassafras. Only the oil is considered dangerous. Sassafras is one of the main ingredients in root beer. I will do a complete root beer blog and link to this recipe.

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Homemade Root Beer Recipe