From our December meeting at Ralph's house, we had a soda making demonstration and tasting. It was pretty easy, and came out great! This root beer is more similar to a "Barq's" than "Mug", but neither of these descriptions really do it justice. Below is the recipe and general brewing instructions. This is to make 2 liters, basically to put into an empty 2 liter soda bottle. Naturally carbonated from the yeast.
Ralph also showed off his homebrew setup and wine cellar, which were pretty awesome. Hope to get back and check out his setup in action soon!
Root Beer Recipe by Ralph Bucca (world famous homebrewer, and new member of the B.I.E.R. club!)
Ingredients: (for 2 liters Root Beer)
All are 1/2 tablespoon, except as noted. Brew and try, adjust to your personal taste
(1 whole) cinnamon stick
(1 cup) of sugar
(1/8 tsp) of dry yeast (bakers is just fine)
Steep all the spices (licorice, anise, sassafras, vanilla bean, burdock, cinnamon, and molasses) in a pint or two of water for about 30 minutes at a hot temperature, just under boiling. Something like you would use for your specialty grains, so, say, 150-160 degrees.
Add (1) cup of sugar (whatever kind you like, regular table sugar is just fine). And strain (if you like) the liquid into an empty 2 liter soda bottle. Top up the rest with cold water.
Pitch (1/8 tsp) of regular bakers yeast (or you could use actual brewers yeast if you wanted I guess) when the temperature of the brew is at room temp.
"Ferment" in a dark spot for about two days, or whenever the bottle is about as turgid as it would be if you bought it from the store. If you let it go too long, there's a good chance the bottle will explode. If it's summer time, it might take a little over a day (hotter, yeast work quicker), in the winter, it might take a few days. Just keep an eye on it.
When it's done "carbonating", stick it in the fridge to crash out the yeast and chill it. After you open it, you'll want to keep it in the fridge just like you would with any regular soda bottle. The bottom of the bottle will have the yeast and whatever else crashes out, just like a bottle conditioned beer.
All ingredients came from Glut (specialty shop) in Mt Rainer, MD
Homemade Root Beer Soda & Pop, Cresswell, Stephen Storey Books