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There’s three basic steps to making homemade root beer. First, you’ll start by making an herbal decoction by simmering the herbs in water until they release their aromatic compounds and other constituents. Then you’ll sweeten the brew and add a starter culture, so that it ferments. Lastly, you’ll bottle the root beer and let it culture.

As it ferments, all the microbes in your starter culture will consume the sweetener. As a result, your root beer will be fizz and bubble. And it’s a great source of probiotics, too.



Homemade root beer is easy to make, and is just about as simple as boiling water or making tea.

But, there’s a few things to keep in mind as you make this recipe.

  • Start with cold water. Tossing herbs straight into hot water may cause proteins in the herbs to seize, preventing the full release of their aromatic compounds and phytonutrients. Cold water eases this process.

  • Add the sassafras last. While most woody herbs need time to release their flavor, sassafras is deeply aromatic and its aroma dissipates quickly with prolonged cooking. So toss it into the pot toward the end of simmering for best flavor.

  • Switch up the sweetener. This root beer recipe uses unrefined cane sugar, but you can you can also try maple syrup, maple sugar, coconut sugar and honey. Just make sure you use a caloric sweetener so that the root beer ferments.

  • Add your starter only once the herbal mixture cools. If you add your starter to the hot herbal decoction, the heat will kill the wild bacteria and yeasts. So add the culture only when the decoction cools to room temperature.

  • Use flip-top bottles. Flip-top bottles effectively capture all the carbon dioxide that builds up during fermentation – which means a fizzy brew for you.

  • Pay attention to temperature in your kitchen. Homemade root beer will ferment faster in a warm kitchen, and more slowly in a cold one.


Root Beer Recipe

Sassafras, sarsaparilla, ginger and other herbs give this traditional, homemade root beer recipe its distinct, aromatic flavour. And it's naturally fermented, for lots of probiotics and plenty of fizz.

Cook Time

45 mins plus 2 days

Total Time: 2 d  and 45 mins

Servings: 8 servings (2 quarts)




  • Fill a large stock pot with 10 cups water, and then spoon in the sarsaparilla, ginger, licorice, dandelion, birch, and star anise. 

  • Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then turn down the heat to medium-low. Simmer for 30 minutes, and then stir in the sassafras bark, and continue simmering a further 15 minutes. 

  • Turn off the heat, stir in the sugar until it dissolves. Next, allow the decoction to cool to room temperature – about 2 hours.

  • Strain decoction, discarding the herbs. Stir in the ginger bug, and pour into flip-top bottles – allowing at least 1 to 2 inches of headspace in each bottle. 

  • Ferment the root beer at room temperature about 2 days, allowing more time during cold weather. Transfer to the fridge for 3 days to allow the bubbles to set, and serve cold over ice.

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Alternatives to Ginger Bug. Ginger Bug is a starter for fermented drinks made from ginger, water and sugar.


And it contains bacteria and yeast that culture homemade root beer and give it bubbles.  


Alternatively, you can also use an equivalent amount of kombuchajun tea or water kefir. You could also use fresh whey from yogurt or kefir. Alternatives to cane sugar.


You can use an equivalent amount of maple syrup, maple sugar, honey, coconut sugar or any other caloric sweetener.




 6 Servings

  • 1 1/2 cups water

  • 3/4 cup sugar

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Root Beer Extract

  • 1 bottle (1 litre) cold soda water


  • Bring water to boil in medium saucepan. Add sugar; stir until dissolved. Add Root Beer Concentrate; stir until well mixed.

  • Refrigerate until ready to serve. Slowly pour soda into root beer mixture until well blended and serve.

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