Homemade root beer is flavored using an extract made from the root of the sarsaparilla plant, a trailing tropical vine, of the Smilax genus, that grows in America. The recipe below is typical of soft-drink recipes of home brews.
Root Beer Recipe
4 pounds granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon dry baker's yeast
5 gallons lukewarm water
1 cup lukewarm water
2 ounces root-beer extract
Put the sugar in a 10-gallon plastic pail, and pour in the root-beer extract. Mix thoroughly, to distribute the extract as equally as possible through the sugar granules. Mix the yeast in the cup of lukewarm water, and allowit to stand for 5 minutes. (Don't use more yeast than the recipe defines; if you do, the drink would be unpalatable and excessive gas pressure could develop in the bottles.) Pour 4 3/4 gallons of lukewarm water from the tap into the pail to dissolve the sugar. If stronger flavor is wanted, reduce the sugar to 3 1/2 pounds and the water to 4 gallons. Add the yeast mixture to the sugar mixture, and mix well. The next step is to siphon the beer into a 5-gallon carboy. Allow the mixture to rest for an hour so that any sediment (which could affect the beer's flavor) would settle. Then, using the siphon hose or a bottle filler, fill 12-ounce carbonated-beverage bottles to within 1/2 inch of the top; more air space could cause spoilage. Seal the bottles using a hand capping machine and crown bottle caps.
Store the bottles on their sides in a warm place away from drafts till you see bubbles forming. Root beer should be ready to drink approximately 5 days after bottling (longer in cool weather). After 5 days, place a bottle in the refrigerator; chill thoroughly, and taste the root beer. If the carbonation is suitable, put the other bottles in a cool place with an even temperature. Just prior to serving, refrigerate for a short time to make the root beer very cold and to prevent excess foaming. When home-brewed beer is served, fill the glasses or the pitcher in one pouring to avoid agitating sediment.
Makes about 5 gallons, or approximately 50 (12-ounce) bottles