Root Beer Recipe From Scratch

By Brian Lemay 73 comments

welcome friends since we started making
pop a lot of people have been asking for a root beer and I’m about eight
variations in at this point and I think I’ve got something that works pretty
well so I’m gonna show that one to you today in this pot I put 1 liter of water
and some ginger that I have chopped up fairly fine
now you could grate the ginger if you wanted to just to extract it a little
bit more flavor and I’m going to put in one cinnamon stick and yes I know this
isn’t true cinnamon this is cassia if you can get true
cinnamon use it but I think the cassia actually brings the punch to this that
we’re looking for so I put this in a pot and I’m going to bring this up to a boil
and I’m gonna boil it for two to three minutes to extract as much flavor as I
can from those two ingredients now we’re gonna talk about the roots since this is
root beer now this is sassafras and sassafras is the major main flavor
component in root beer and I saw a lot of root beer recipes out there on the
internet and in books where this was the only ingredient beyond sugar and water
relied extremely heavily on this one flavor and I thought it made a pretty
good tasting beverage but I wanted a little bit more complexity so I started
looking at other recipes that added other roots and the next most popular
route is sarsaparilla and if you watched a lot of old westerns you would know
that the cowboy would go in and he would ask for a sarsaparilla and that is a
variation on root beer that is only made with the sarsaparilla root and I like
the flavor of both of these next flavor component thing going to use is licorice
root you know what licorice tastes like that sort of anise seed dark sweet
flavor and then I’m gonna put in some wild cherry bark now other components
that I saw in a lot of recipes and I tried and I didn’t like was birch bark a
lot of people put in burdock root or dandelion root or all three of those and
I thought they brought kind of a an extra bitterness that I didn’t want
in my root beer so that’s the combination of roots that I landed on
and I would suggest that if you’re going to make root beer go out and look at all
of the recipes and take each of the individual roots and make a cup of hot
tea with it put in a little bit of sugar and taste
it just so you can get an idea of what that individual root tastes like and
what it’s going to bring to the eventual end product I think that’s very
important to sort of understand what all of the components are and I’m also
giving you this by weight I came across a lot of recipes that said to use a
tablespoon of this and a tablespoon of that and that’s great but not all of
these roots are ground to the same way or chopped the same way and so you would
get a big variation in the amount of flavor that you’re going to get in the
end result which isn’t good either weight is always going to give you the
same amount of flavor so this has come to a boil it’s boiled for a couple of
minutes I’m going to turn it off I’m going to take it off of the heat and I’m
going to add these in I’m gonna give it a stir and then put the lid back on and
I’m gonna let that steep for 15 to 20 minutes just to extract the flavors now
this is where I diverge from a lot of the recipes that I found I tried it by
putting all of the roots in and boiling it like I was told for 10 15 20 minutes
and then letting it steep for 2 or 3 hours and I found that it extracted an
astringent see almost a bitterness well a lot of tannins that caused an
unpleasant feeling in my mouth that I just didn’t like a flavor that I didn’t
like it wasn’t bright and it wasn’t cheerful like a root beer should be and
I found that if I never boiled the roots if I boil the water and then add the
roots and only let it steep for 15 to 20 minutes you’re going to get really nice
bright flavors without sort of the tannic astringency so we’re gonna let
this go 15 20 minutes and then we’re going to strain it out okay smells amazing now we need to
filter out the solids and this is a very important step if the solids stay in too
long they will continue to release their astringency and over time it’ll start to
taste really dull so we need to strain them out and we’re gonna use a fine mesh
strainer to get the big bits out look at that color great now that we’ve got the big bits
out we’re going to strain it through a coffee filter now I have used paper
coffee filters I’ve used double thickness paper coffee filters I’ve used
double thickness paper cup four filters with this micro mesh filter and I found
that the micro mesh filter on its own gets just as much as the paper filters
or any combination thereof so we’re going to pass it through the coffee
filter great now I’m gonna put a lid on this and I’m going to chill this as
quickly as possible in a cold water bath I’m going to bring the temperature down
fast and that’s going to help whatever is left in here to precipitate out
it’s almost as effective as a filter and in some ways it’s our second or third
method of filtration and as soon as that’s done we’ll move on okay now that it’s chilled down we need
to sweeten it and we’re going to use two different types of sugar but first we’re
going to very carefully pour the chilled liquid into this pot and you don’t want
to swirl it you want to pour very carefully because at the bottom there’s
going to be quite a bit of sediment left and we don’t want to transfer that to
the pot okay what’s left in there is sediment
and that will just make the drink bitter we don’t want that now next in is the
sugar we’re using two kinds of sugar and I found that sugar for pop making seems
to be very vexing to a lot of people the first thing I’m going to put in is brown
sugar and we’ve got this on a medium-high heat
and we just want to bring this up to a low simmer so that we can dissolve the
sugar into the liquid we don’t wanna bring it to a boil again
because that could introduce bitterness just a low low simmer and I’m using
brown sugar a lot of the recipes that I found use brown sugar or molasses or a
combination of brown and white sugar or just white sugar or white sugar and
molasses it was all over the map and I think it comes down to the flavor
profile that you’re looking for I’m looking for that little bit of caramel
flavor that comes from the brown sugar so I’m using all brown sugar as the
sweetener if you want to use another sweetener a non sugar sweetener like
stevia I’m sure that’ll work I don’t know what the proportion would be this
is something that you can play with and make it as sweet or not sweet as you
want but know this if you’re going to do this as a naturally carbonated root beer
which is part of the process that we’re going to move on to stevia won’t work
the yeast needs sugar so as this comes up the temperature I’m
gonna put in lactose and obviously if you’re lactose intolerant you’re not
going to put lactose in I’m gonna put lactose in for a bunch of different
reasons I use it in actual beer brewing down in the brewery and as much as it’s
a sweetener it’s not gonna bring a whole lot of sweetness to this drink
and so the lactose is going to do a few things for us the first thing it’s going
to do is it’s going to give that nice white creamy frothy foamy head that we
all associate with root beer as it spills over the top of the glass in all
of the advertising the second thing it’s going to do it’s going to create a nice
unctuous mouthfeel a really luxurious kind of stays in your mouth mouthfeel
that we all associate with root beer and as much as I said that it’s not going to
add a lot of sweetness if you end up doing a natural ferment or naturally
carbonated version with the with the yeast yeast don’t eat or the East that
we’re using anyway these that we’re using won’t eat the lactose or milk
sugar which will in the end help to preserve some of the sweetness okay I
think everything is dissolved and we can pour this into this glass container and I’m just going to let this cool before
we move on to the next step now there’s one last ingredient and that is vanilla
extract now we’re gonna put in about a tablespoon
I found that anywhere between a tablespoon and a tablespoon and a half
gets you where you want to be and a lot of people are gonna ask if you could use
vanilla bean and I’ve tried it with vanilla beans I’ve tried it with double
vanilla beans I found that by the time i steeped the vanilla bean to get the
flavor I wanted I pulled out too much astringency from the roots and so the
best way to get that vanilla flavor is with the extract that I found and you
give it a try if you want to try it at home please do so that’s all mixed
together now we’re gonna diverge this is your root beer syrup and you mix one
part of this with three parts of carbonated water and you get a root beer
pop just like you would at the corner store I’m also going to do a version
where we ferment it with our ginger bug our wild ginger bug so in here I’m gonna
put about five hundred mils just like that and the rest is going to go into
this jug okay now for the naturally fermented or
naturally carbonated ginger beer I’m going to use about a third of a cup of
my ginger bug and my ginger bug is is pretty active it’s in good shape and I
think that should be enough to get us where we’re going so I’m gonna put that
in and I know from previous test that this yeast is only going to give me
somewhere between one and a half and two percent alcohol by volume when it what
it ferments out I’m just gonna putting a little bit more I think a little bit of
the yeast settled in the bottom and so I want to put some more in okay stir that
in now I’ve got flip-top beer bottles these are really strong actual beer
bottles that will take the pressure there cleaned and sanitized yes of
course I’ve sanitized my bottles and we just stir in the ginger bug to make sure
that it’s evenly distributed and then we just pour it into the bottles now when
you pour it in you want to leave enough headspace for the expansion of gas while
these ferment so I just bring it up just a little bit past the shoulder and that
should be fine close it up and move along okay so last one seal it up I’ll
leave these on the counter for two maybe three days to allow them to ferment and
carbonate and then I’ll stick them in the fridge and I’ll see you in a few
days and we’re gonna do a tasting of both versions okay so there is carbonation so this is
root beer two ways this is the syrup that I’ve mixed with carbonated water
and this is the one that we put the ginger bug in is it carbonated mmm not
so carbonated light carbonation so I should have left it on the counter
longer oh but when you give it a moment yeah
it is it is carbonated so that was three days on the counter before I put it in
the fridge maybe four days would have been better no so let’s taste it
color is different yes okay so I’ll try this one first I’ll try this one first it’s a very pleasant flavor I think that one’s more rootbeer II
completely different our thing that we drive missing root beer I would say that
one this one always a very pleasant flavor it’s just super I think the so it
seemed to me the fermentation with the ginger bug okay has taken some of the
chop flavors off the ones that use that are there that initial oh this is root
beer that I’m drinking oh that’s that’s a lovely root beer that’s full-on root
beer isn’t it this is this is something that you would but that’s quite their
book it’s very refreshing and pleasant I mean some more bubbles would be nice
they’re both great in their own way so dare two more on the counter in order to
ferment that to bring up the level go ahead I was gonna say we did a bunch of
did we do multiple different days in this no I just put it over for three
days and said three days should be okay so probably so I’m gonna I’m gonna pull
the rest of the bottles out of the fridge heat them up again and just let
them come to room temperature go for a couple more days and then put them back
in the fridge which is something you can do to test your fermentation as you go
along anyway so this is a very basic root beer recipe and there’s so much
more that you can add to it as you as you look at the labels of other root
beers there’s so many other things that people put in it other than just the
roots so there’s aniseed or I mean like they’ll put in a whole bunch of other
things and we put licorice root in here so the anise seed would bring that
licorice flavor up yes it would sort of enhanced that but I think that is sort
of the classic root beer flavor that most people mm-hmm now we need to test
it against other root beers so I’ve got a half-dozen other root beers and we’re
gonna do we’re gonna do a taste-off between all of them so come on back and
and see that video and give this recipe try thanks for stopping by
again soon you


Glen & Friends Cooking

May 5, 2019, 4:01 pm Reply

Thanks for watching. If you liked it – subscribe, give us a thumbs up, comment, and check out our channel for more great recipes. Please click that share button and share with your friends on Reddit, Twitter, and Facebook.
^^^^Full recipe in the info section below the video.^^^^

I’m Only A Man And I Will Die Some Day

Jun 6, 2019, 6:05 pm Reply

"A pleasant flavor, but it's not rootbeer" "Very refreshing and pleasant"

Financial opportunity detected.

Sir Doctor

Jun 6, 2019, 7:33 pm Reply

When you're testing and refining a recipe like this one, do you always make full batches with the same quantities of ingredients as shown in your final video?


Jun 6, 2019, 7:27 pm Reply


Alex Bowman

Jun 6, 2019, 11:31 am Reply

No bug yeast. Just use a few grains of bread yeast in each bottle.


Jun 6, 2019, 5:36 am Reply

I'd love a root beer pop from the corner store.

Tom Crowell

Jun 6, 2019, 4:52 pm Reply

Your recipe in the description still has birch bark listed in the making but not the ingredients.

eric prado

Jun 6, 2019, 7:11 pm Reply

Can you try to make Dr Pepper I’ve always wonders what’s in it. thank you from Vegas

James Rocco

Jun 6, 2019, 2:26 am Reply

Get some Henry Weinhardt root beer. Thank me later. 🙂

Scott Stalcup

Jun 6, 2019, 1:41 pm Reply

Thank you for explaining the base syrup. Big fan of maple syrup root beer and it's becoming the proverbial hen's teeth on store shelves. This gives me room to boogie.

Stephen Micalizzi

Jun 6, 2019, 3:58 pm Reply

The real question is, how does your recipe fair in a root beer float?

Orion Venero

Jun 6, 2019, 7:14 pm Reply

Glen, you should try birch beer.

Gunk MasterFlex

Jun 6, 2019, 5:40 am Reply

somebody get this man on VICE!

Connor Stiles

Jun 6, 2019, 6:28 am Reply

What kind of stove is this guy using!!!???? It's like built into the counter

Eric Laursen

Jun 6, 2019, 1:34 pm Reply

Killer videos. For Sure. Thanks for making such articulate && personable videos!
You deserve a metal for either (a) editing out a severe amount of belching or (b) NOT burping after tasting.

I Made the root beer per your video a few times && I'm currently satisfied with ….:

Recipe Mods
– Cut the recipe in half (for trial && error testing): ingredients && water both 1/2
– Steep for ~10 minutes -> Any longer and the astringency became unbearable. Maybe this is due to the change in ingredients?!
– I use Goat Lactose instead of cow lactose (I'm "lactose intolerant" but wanted to see what the deal was with that in the recipe!)
– use a Sodastream ( The video does note that perhaps not enough bubbles will be introduced, but this seems to be ok for me for now -> I don't have a full carbonating setup )
– mix about 1/4 syrup to 3/4 bubbly water ( I think thats the ratio recommended )

Results ->
– the foam goes CRAZY && grows for a full minute. Not NEARLY as subtle as the video
– Tasty!!! Very nice!!
– I'm going to add some molasses (couple tablespoons at first) && remake && update this comment if I can 🙂

TR Cross

Jul 7, 2019, 8:48 am Reply

Love this video and the whole soda pop series! Has anyone tried this recipe using brewers yeast rather than ginger bug? Wondering how much to use.


Jul 7, 2019, 7:58 pm Reply

For your sarsaparilla did you use the indian or mexican root? I see on herbco there are 2 types and wasnt sure if it would make a big difference or not. Awesome vid!


Jul 7, 2019, 12:46 am Reply

Someone on a kombucha group on fb, about making Dr. Pepper in a batch of k. I found that on pinterest and there was post about adding 4 prunes and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Wild cherry bark has amydgalin that turns in cyanide in our systems. It is much better to just steep tea, too.

Nick Rex

Jul 7, 2019, 10:20 pm Reply

I’ve often used teaberry (wintergreen) leaves along with sassafras root before.


Jul 7, 2019, 3:52 am Reply

AHA!!! Caramel comes from melted white sugar. Butterscotch comes from brown sugar.


Jul 7, 2019, 1:59 am Reply

I'm going to be making this in the next few days, just got all the ingredients.

don darkest

Jul 7, 2019, 2:28 am Reply

im addicted to watching these videos for some reason


Jul 7, 2019, 12:38 am Reply

A root beer float is one of my favourite deserts. Got a funny thought: Red Green trying make one of these recipes in his shop.

Diaper lover And basketball player

Jul 7, 2019, 9:23 am Reply

Glen and friends cooking what about Mountain Dew


Jul 7, 2019, 5:26 pm Reply

Hi Glen, hope you are fine. Nice videos!
I have a question, is this sassafras safrole-free or not?

Waylon Square

Jul 7, 2019, 11:28 pm Reply

Have you ever been watching tv then look back at your phone and scroll threw like your going to find comments about what was on.

Will Wade

Jul 7, 2019, 8:54 am Reply

I don't like the carbonation. I usually open my sodas and let them go flat before drinking.

Hydden N. Plainsyght

Jul 7, 2019, 12:43 am Reply

My question is; when you said 'taking off the top flavors,' I am wondering if the flavor is more similar to say, cream soda?

Hydden N. Plainsyght

Jul 7, 2019, 12:48 am Reply

BTW – my favs are: A&W, Frostie, Hires, Mug, and Dads… those are my Top Five Picks.


Jul 7, 2019, 5:57 am Reply

I remember in 7th grade science, my teacher took us out behind the school to find a root (I think it was burdock), and it tasted pretty close to rootbeer already. I remember her saying they took it (or maybe one of the other roots) out, because it was thought to have caused cancer, and that's why the artificial flavors are used… as if that's any better.

Sir Doctor

Jul 7, 2019, 7:53 pm Reply

I made a batch of this exactly as laid out by the recipe and it is one delicious root beer!

I also made a second batch that was sugar free, using a monk fruit/erythritol blend that's 1:1 with sugar in terms of baking and such. The color was a bit lighter and just slightly different tasting, but still very good as well. One thing I noticed though is that the monk fruit somewhat came out of solution after a few days in the fridge and recrystallized on the bottom of the jar. I'm also not sure how long the sugar free version will keep compared to the brown sugar version.

Overall though, both versions were great. Thanks for sharing another great recipe.


Jul 7, 2019, 2:40 am Reply

I can't find sassafras in my stores


Jul 7, 2019, 11:20 am Reply

muwrthfeel… luv it


Jul 7, 2019, 5:30 am Reply

Is it a&w root beer?

John Foley

Aug 8, 2019, 2:11 am Reply

Is it weird how much I like how he says unctuous mouthfeel?

stockart whiteman

Aug 8, 2019, 1:31 am Reply

I gotta say that as much as i love root beer i prefer birch beer.

hilldwler 420

Aug 8, 2019, 3:24 pm Reply

How come Canadians murder the long ō sound? Aboot

Horst Tristan von Wittenbach

Aug 8, 2019, 10:09 am Reply

Unfortunately, sassafras is not allowed in the EU since safrol is needed to make MDMA…

Yves-Andre Schaeffer

Aug 8, 2019, 11:16 am Reply

So I’ve just bought the various roots etc to try this out.
I’ve always been intrigued by root beer. It’s not really a thing in the UK. I’m especially intrigued by the sarsaparilla of silver cowboy fame.

One, perhaps silly, question I do have is regarding the ginger bug to produce natural carbonation, that I can’t find an answer to. Does it make the drink actually taste of ginger? I ask as I simply can’t stand the taste of ginger in anything.
If it does taste of ginger, I see that turmeric bug is a thing too. Any experience of using that as an alternative?

Keep on making these lovely informative videos.

Pamela Magre

Aug 8, 2019, 6:30 pm Reply

How long can you keep the root beer sirop version?

Josh Wallis

Aug 8, 2019, 5:20 am Reply

Thank You for this. My wife lives rootbeer!

Charlie Ennis

Aug 8, 2019, 5:45 pm Reply

And how much sugar was that mountain of brown sugar? 🤨

Adam B

Aug 8, 2019, 6:20 pm Reply

Says “saRs-pa-rilla” “sassparilla” but then he says “a-ni-sey” “anis-ey”

WTF linguistically

Rohan Sully

Aug 8, 2019, 12:31 pm Reply

In Australia, we mainly go with
Bundaberg Sarsaparilla

Zahid Ali

Aug 8, 2019, 3:02 pm Reply

Hello! How are you? How could we prepare non-alcoholic beer? And how much time or days it takes to turn into alcohol?

Zahid Ali

Aug 8, 2019, 3:02 pm Reply

Hello! How are you? How could we prepare non-alcoholic beer? And how much time or days it takes to turn into alcohol?


Sep 9, 2019, 5:31 am Reply

Love your vids man. I love root beer so much (i call it super water) and i will attempt to make my own once i get ingredients in a few days. Wish me luck!


Sep 9, 2019, 10:00 am Reply

m o u t h f e e l

Greg Faulkner

Sep 9, 2019, 1:35 am Reply

How is it with ice cream? A Rootbeer Float.

shane hammons

Sep 9, 2019, 12:03 am Reply

I might be off track here, my 8 year old had me look up root beer and they quit using sasafras I am sure I am spelling it wrong because it kills your liver and some other medical problems.


Sep 9, 2019, 10:58 am Reply

Isn't brown sugar just white sugar mixed with molasses anyways??


Sep 9, 2019, 11:09 am Reply

So 3 days with the ginger bug did not produce much carbonation. Yet when making ginger beer, 2-3 days was perfect. So perhaps it was how much of the ginger bug you used? Or perhaps the strength of the ginger bug varied from the ginger beer batch you made? Is there a way to test the ginger bug ahead of time to know how much and how long to allow it to ferment?

Kurtis Knopf

Oct 10, 2019, 5:07 pm Reply

Is it possible to replace the sugar with DME so it has more of a beer feel to it?

Knuckles Dragon

Oct 10, 2019, 6:44 pm Reply

Try replacing some of the brown sugar with a little maple syrup. You'll be amazed at the enhanced flavors.

serif the god of insanity

Oct 10, 2019, 6:25 am Reply

Downloading this Justin case of an apocalypse. That way I can make entire barrels of rootbeer to sell to other survivors, people will pay good for a taste of normal life in that kinda situation

Pat Murphy

Oct 10, 2019, 12:56 am Reply


Chiyo Chichi

Oct 10, 2019, 9:43 am Reply

You could boil the roots, by adding a bit of salt afterwards, since salt dismantles usually quite well some bitterness

Hon Estman

Nov 11, 2019, 10:04 pm Reply

Thank you ! I LOVE ROOTBEER! all by its self is great, and when I want a float I add Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla! that may not be gourmet enough for many, but its what I grew up with and I still love Blue Bell. I ought to get some free ice cream outa this for the plug, but I'm not holding my breath on that one. Cheers and peace. May God bless you (?)

Mansour Almansour

Nov 11, 2019, 6:20 pm Reply

Does herbco ship to Saudi Arabia, if not are those roots available on Amazon


Dec 12, 2019, 9:55 am Reply

After watching several of your videos over the past few months I’ve now adopted a new hobby. Thank you for the inspiration!

Andrew Fitanides

Dec 12, 2019, 2:07 pm Reply

Have you tried honey in any soda recipe?

Matthew Rivera

Dec 12, 2019, 4:03 am Reply

Is sassafras dangerous or not? Maybe just when eating the root itself. I know it’s main use now is for medicine but i also heard that it can cause cancer in the liver.

Keith Wayne Jones

Dec 12, 2019, 4:28 pm Reply

pretty similar to making beer actually. hence the name i suppose


Dec 12, 2019, 7:22 pm Reply

Thank you for the video, I learned things I never knew before.

kucing betelur

Dec 12, 2019, 3:26 am Reply

Root beer a&w bau balsem

ALBeau Scorpio

Dec 12, 2019, 9:05 am Reply

Use glycerine instead of lactose….

Joel Meyer

Jan 1, 2020, 4:10 am Reply

If I don't have a mesh coffee filter, am I okay to use a paper filter?

David Jackson

Jan 1, 2020, 6:39 am Reply

Are you selling any of your flavors? It is interesting to watch, but I don't want to actually do it myself.


Jan 1, 2020, 4:55 am Reply

Unfortunately, in America at least, Sassafras root (or at least the safrole) is banned by the FDA for being a potential carcinogen. I personally don't agree with the ban but there's not much I can do.

Sprite fan 2000

Jan 1, 2020, 12:32 am Reply

I love root beer

Grinning Guise

Jan 1, 2020, 4:02 am Reply

He calls it POP, Midwest roots?

Donald Sims

Jan 1, 2020, 1:00 pm Reply

As a recovering alcoholic, I would prefer the Root Beer and the Ginger Beer without the alcohol. How do I accomplish this?

Jeffrey Richardson

Jan 1, 2020, 3:15 pm Reply

gregorys thirsty
jodys next door mystery
welchs history

ET Himself

Jan 1, 2020, 6:06 am Reply

Stevia – 6 – 8 drops/cup then add sugar to taste, to cut the carbs. Carbonation = Sodastream machine, no mess, no fuss

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