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All the recipes for root beer end with, bottle up your root beer in a plastic bottles. Put it away and monitor the bottles when they become hard they are ready, 2-3 days. Put them in your fridge to kill or make the yeast go to sleep, Enjoy !

What if I don't have a fridge or enough space in the fridge. How can I make root beer that I can keep at room temp ?

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See this answer about pasteurization. Let the root beer carbonate in the bottles until firm, then pasteurize. –  Tobias Patton Feb 28 '13 at 23:10
    
That sounds good, I was thinking using glass bottles, i can have one or two plastic as well to gauge the firmness. Is that how it's done at the factory, do they pasteurize before sending it out ? –  orn Feb 28 '13 at 23:42
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Commercial root beer is force carbonated with pure CO2. No yeast, so no requirement to kill the yeast. –  Tobias Patton Feb 28 '13 at 23:59
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1 Answer

up vote 3 down vote accepted

There are a few alternative methods:

  • You can force carbonate by using a CO2 tank. This may be expensive if you don't already have the equipment. (I make soda, but only because I had the equipment from beer brewing!)
  • Using potassium sorbate to stop the yeast propagation (but not fermentation - existing yeast will still continue to ferment.) Apart from the lack of control, that would mean opening each bottle and adding something, which might cause the soda to foam over and/or reduce the level of carbonation.
  • Heating to pasteurize - most yeast will not survive above 40-45C, so raising the temperature to that point may help stall fermentation. However, this will also greatly increase the CO2 pressure in the bottles, possibly above their breaking point. Only try this with plastic bottles.
  • A final option is using artificial sweeteners. Some artificial sweeteners are unfermentable, such as Stevia. You use the artificial sweetener for the sweet taste, and just enough real sugar to get carbonation (about 10 grams per liter). I have not tried this so can't tell you how it will taste. The yeast will ferment the real sugar, to make CO2, but will not ferment the stevia. You can use 1/4 as much yeast as given in the recipe when trying this method.

As you can see, putting the bottles in the fridge or storing in a cool cellar is the simplest option!

When making soda, I would advise against using glass bottles at least for the first couple of times, since the co2 pressure can become very high, and can lead to exploding bottles.

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I bottled in plastic, after a few days when the bottles were firm and apparently carbonated. I did put them in a hot pot 150-160F for 15 minutes. The smaller capped bottles did better than the bigger ones. All of them bulged and looked like they were about to explode. Some of them started hissing / leaking on the caps. I relieved the pressure on some of the bigger bottles as the caps were looking like they were going to shoot off. Then cooled them down and able to keep at household temp. –  orn May 14 '13 at 16:53
    
Why did you put them in a hot pot? That would increase the pressure several times. –  mdma May 14 '13 at 17:09
    
See above ->> Heating to pasteurize –  orn May 14 '13 at 22:40
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