Cast of characters: Sugar, rootbeer extract, and yeast.

Cast of characters: Sugar, root beer extract, and yeast.

It’s raining again today, and Thing 1 and Thing 2 have no school The teachers have an in service day, which means I have been trapped in the house with two energetic kids. To keep my sanity and give them something to do, we’ll tackle a few projects in the kitchen. Up first: make root beer.

This is a much simpler process than making beer. First we sanitized a gallon jug and four 1-liter bottles (saved from seltzer). Then I bloomed 1/2 teaspoon of yeast in a little warm water. After that, 2 cups of sugar go into the gallon jug along with enough hot tap water to fill it half way. On goes the cap, and the jug gets shaken until the sugar is well dissolved.  Next I added 1 tablespoon of root beer extract (which I bought at the brewing supply store) and a little cool water.

Before pitching the yeast in with the sugar, I checked the temperature of the sugar water to make sure it wouldn’t kill my yeast. It was fine, so I poured the yeast into the jug and topped it off with enough water to make a full gallon. This got another good shaking, then it was poured into the four prepared bottles, which were sealed tightly with their screw on caps.

I’ll leave these on the counter and check the bottles every day or so to see how the carbonation is going. a simple squeeze test of the bottles’ firmness tells me how it’s going. Once the bottles are rock hard, I’ll pop them into the fridge to chill (and stop the yeast). And then it’s soda time.

We tried this all once before and it failed. It might have been that the mixture was too warm when we pitched the yeast, or it could have been that the yeast I was using wasn’t viable. This time I worked from a trusted supply of yeast and checked the temperature before pitching, so I expect better results than the flat, but tasty, cola I wound up with last time.