4 large (22-ounce) dark glass crown cap or bail-top bottles
4 bail tops (if using bail-top bottles)
4 new metal crown caps, plus more for mistakes (if using plain bottles and caps)
1 wing bottle capper (if using plain bottles and caps)
1 small plastic water bottle (around 16 ounces)
1 small funnel
1 (5-gallon) bucket
Clean dish towel
Note: You’ll have to choose which type of bottle you want to use. The bail-top bottle is our favorite; it has holes on the sides for attaching a rubber bail-top closure à la Grolsch beer. You can also buy plain glass bottles with metal crown caps, like the ones you get in the grocery. If you decide to use plain bottles, you’ll need to get caps and a wing bottle capper.
Begin by sterilizing all the equipment. Rinse everything in really hot water and scrub the inside and outside of the bottles with the bottle brush. If you’re using the bails, attach them now.
Fill the 5-gallon bucket with hot water.
Submerge your bottles and equipment.
Stir in about 1 tablespoon of unscented bleach. Let the bucket sit while you prepare the brew, at least 30 minutes.
Remove your now-sterilized bottles and equipment from the bleach solution, and rinse them well under hot water.
Use the small funnel to fill the 4 large glass bottles and the small plastic bottle (this will be your test bottle; see our CHOW Root Beer recipe), making sure to leave an inch of headspace at the top.
If you’re using bail top bottles, you’re almost done; just place the stopper over the top of the bottle, push the clamp down firmly, and it’s sealed. If using the plain bottles and metal crown caps, place a clean cap over the bottle’s opening. Put the capper over the cap, and press down evenly and firmly on both levers. Lift off. Your soda is now bottled and ready to ferment!