CHOW Root Beer

Sign up to save this recipe to your profile Sign Up Now ›
4 (22-ounce) bottles plus 1 test bottle (about 3 quarts) Easy
Total: Active:
47 Ratings 

Ingredients (12)

  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 (5-inch) licorice root, broken into pieces
  • 3/4 cup chopped dried sarsaparilla root
  • 2 tablespoons dried sassafras root bark
  • 1 tablespoon chopped dried burdock root
  • 1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
  • 3 heads star anise
  • 3 quarts distilled water (12 cups)
  • 2 cups lightly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 2 (1/8-inch-wide) strips of orange zest
  • 1/8 teaspoon ale yeast (also called brewer’s yeast)
Try Amazon Fresh
Nutritional Information
  • Calories451
  • Fat0.3g
  • Saturated fat0.01g
  • Trans fat
  • Carbs114.89g
  • Fiber0.77g
  • Sugar111.28g
  • Protein0.56g
  • Cholesterol
  • Sodium66.0mg
  • Nutritional Analysis per serving (4 servings) Powered by

Get fresh food news delivered to your inbox

Sign up for our newsletter to receive the latest tips, tricks, recipes and more, sent twice a week.

CHOW Root Beer

What to buy: Most of the ingredients are available in the bulk section of a good health food store or herbal medicine shop. Ale yeast is available wherever you buy bottling equipment.

Special equipment:
You can find cheesecloth at most grocery stores and kitchen supply shops.

A fine mesh strainer is a useful kitchen tool.

Use an instant-read digital thermometer for this recipe.

Don’t forget to design some personalized labels like ours from myownlabels.com.

Look for bottling equipment at a craft-brewing supply store. You can also buy the equipment online from San Francisco Brewcraft.

  • 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 large funnel
  • 1 (5-gallon) bucket
  • 1 bottle brush
  • 1 clean dish towel
  • 1- or 2-gallon clean glass jug with a screw-on cap (an old apple juice bottle works great)

Game plan:
Be sure to have your bottling equipment already in the sterilizing solution before you begin making your root beer.

This recipe was featured as part of our Make Your Own Soda Pop project.


  1. 1Split vanilla bean in half lengthwise. Place vanilla bean, roots, and spices in a medium saucepan filled with 2 quarts (8 cups) of the distilled water, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer mixture, uncovered, for about 15 minutes. Stir in sugar, molasses, and orange zest, and continue to simmer for 10 minutes more, stirring often until sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat and let steep for 30 minutes.
  2. 2Pour remaining 1 quart (4 cups) of distilled water into the clean glass jug. Line a fine mesh strainer with several layers of rinsed cheesecloth. Set the strainer inside the large funnel, and strain root mixture into the jug. Place the cap on and allow mixture to cool, aiming for a lukewarm temperature (about 70°F to 75°F). This will take several hours. Once mixture is cooled, shake vigorously.
  3. 3Combine yeast and 1/4 cup warm water in a small bowl. Let sit about 5 minutes. Add yeast liquid to the jug through the funnel, screw the cap back on, and shake vigorously. Now you’re ready to bottle the root beer.
  4. 4Place the 4 filled and sealed bottles and the test bottle upright in a cool spot at room temperature (about 70°F to 75°F) to ferment (we found that the bathtub is ideal).
  5. 5After about 48 hours, check the carbonation by sampling your test bottle. If it’s sufficient, place labels on the bottles and refrigerate them to halt the fermentation process; if not, let them sit for another day. We found that 3 days was perfect each time.
Load Comments

Recommended from Chowhound

You'll Have Zero Beef with These Delicious Veggie Burgers
Recipe Round-Ups

You'll Have Zero Beef with These Delicious Veggie Burgers

by Caitlin M. O'Shaughnessy | Interest in veggie burgers has been rising for a while now (along with the general surge in plant...

5 Guacamole Mistakes You’re Making

5 Guacamole Mistakes You’re Making

by Dan Koday | Guac seems simple, but there are many ways it can go wrong—hence, these tips on how to make the best...

Upgrade Your Taco Tuesday with These Fresh Fruit Salsas
Recipe Round-Ups

Upgrade Your Taco Tuesday with These Fresh Fruit Salsas

by Jen Wheeler | Looking for a way to liven up your Taco Tuesday—or any summer dinner? Want something more than a sauce...