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I am looking to make a root beer which is both healthy and (to some degree) tasty.

I have tried twice to make root beer using this recipe:

http://wellnessmama.com/11392/homemade-root-beer/

The first time was barely drink-able, I had let the ginger bug ferment too long I believe. (I don't drink, but I felt it was fairly alcoholic for a root beer).

The second time was OK, perhaps further iterations will improve but I did everything right as far as I could tell. I think it may be the recipe rather than the method.

Does anyone have a recipe that would make a good substitute? Or perhaps feel that this is a good recipe but that maybe I made some errors? That would be appreciated.

Ideally I would like to make a Doctor Pepper type recipe, but I am starting with root beer and working my way there.

Any input would be appreciated. Thanks!

  • Define healthy. Do you want a therapeutic or medicinal Root Beer, or just a low sugar or low calorie Root Beer? – rbreier Nov 14 '16 at 14:52
  • @rbreier Hello, thanks for the question, it's fair. I am looking for something you could potentially drink on a daily basis (so low sugar and low calorie would be good) with less artificial stuff then you find on the shelves. I like the fermentation aspect for health, but I understand it might undermine the taste (for some people). I don't expect it to taste like the stuff off the shelves, but an enjoyable taste, even if it's acquired, would be great. – pcaston2 Nov 14 '16 at 20:18
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  • 1⁄4 ounce dried sassafras root, bark (optional)
  • 1⁄4 ounce dried birch bark
  • 1⁄4 ounce dried sarsaparilla root
  • 1⁄8 ounce dried licorice root
  • 1.5 inch piece gingerroot, grated
  • 1 split vanilla bean
  • 4 quarts water
  • 1 cups molasses
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1⁄8 teaspoon active dry yeast.

(optional: 1/2 a jalapeno chili pepper, for some extra anti oxidants, and make the flavors pop)

Heat half the water, and add all spices, then bring to a boil. As soon as it it boils, remove from heat. You don't want to extract too much tannins from the woody parts of the spiced roots.

Let this steep for 90 minutes. Strain through cheese cloth into bucket or other vessel where you will ferment.

Add the cold water, molasses, and honey. the colder it is, the better. You want to bring the temperature down to about 64F. If you can, shake it up a bit, and get some oxygen in there.

While you wait for the temp to drop, hydrate your yeast. Take some water of 65F and sprinkle the yeast on top. do not stir. Let it stand for 10 minutes. Gently swirl the rest of the yeast onto the liquid. Once the liquid is cool enough, pitch the yeast. Leave container with your liquid in cool dark place for 6 days. Cool, being roughly in the region of 64-66F.

Voila. If it seems like fermentation has stopped, you can add 4 teaspoons of white sugar, then bottle.

Not much sugar will remain. Not from the honey, molasses, or sugar. The yeast will consume most of it, and there is not enough sugar in this recipe to make it highly alcoholic.

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  • Awesome, thanks. I will have to try this. I think I can find most things (I'm not sure where to get birch bark, aside from maybe trees, are they optional?). I used a ginger bug previously, I'm new to yeast. Are there different kinds? I know molasses comes in different varieties, I used the same stuff I used in ginger bread cookies last time, I assume that is okay. Last time I put all the ingredients in a (cotton?) bag while bowling to make it easier to strain and to reuse the ingredients. Is that problematic, does it reduce the flavor? – pcaston2 Nov 16 '16 at 23:02
  • About the yeast, how much water am I putting it in? Do I take the yeast out of the water and add it to the other water? Do I put the yeast and water in with the liquid? Do I take the yeast out and put it in with the liquid, without the water, for 6 days? I'm sorry I'm asking to have it spelled out but I want to make sure I get it right. Thanks! – pcaston2 Nov 16 '16 at 23:07
  • Use about 100ml of water. the yeast will disolve, and water will turn a light creamy coffee colour. You pitch all of this liquid into your root beer. – Ben Fourie Nov 22 '16 at 7:36
  • Using the bag is a cool idea. We call it a Brew in a bag. BiaB for short :-) I think the birch is pretty important, but you will have something very drinkable still if you leave it out. I found some dried bark at a health shop. Only problem with these health shops is that they tend to overcharge for everything. You molasses should be fine. As long as it does not have a lot of preservatives. The problem with preservatives is that it kills or inhibits the yeast from going to work. – Ben Fourie Nov 22 '16 at 7:40

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