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When it comes to making fermented sodas at home, the first flavor that usually comes to mind is homemade old-fashioned root beer. Root beer is a classic fermented drink that's brewed with a combination of earthy roots and luscious spices to create a smooth beer-like non-alcoholic soda. Making homemade fermented root beer is actually quite simple! Whether you are a fermentation expert or a complete novice, you can whip up a batch of authentic root beer soda in less than 48 hours--without complicated brewing equipment.

While there are many root beer recipes online, this recipe focuses on creating a creamy, sweet, naturally fermented soda with no bitter taste. The star flavors of this homemade root beer are sarsaparilla root, sassafras, and licorice (with hints of vanilla, cinnamon and star anise for balance). I don't use roots like dandelion or burdock in this root beer recipe because I find those flavors to be too bitter. My goal with this recipe is to create a deliciously chuggable root beer that doesn't have a medicinal taste.

To make an authentic old-fashioned fermented Root Beer, we'll use a Ginger Bug soda starter culture. A Ginger Bug is a culture made from ginger root that quickly ferments any sweetened brew in less than 48 hours. Ginger Bugs work exceptionally well for root beer because they work fast, create a lot of fizz, add a subtle hint of ginger flavor to the root beer, and provide a blast of gut-friendly living probiotics to your soda.

Don't have a Ginger Bug? Check out our Ginger Bug Starter Kit! The kit contains everything you need to create your own living Ginger Bug culture. A Ginger Bug culture can live indefinitely with proper care, so you'll only ever need one Ginger Bug to make unlimited fermented sodas.

Don't have root beer spices on hand? Check out our Classic Root Beer Soda Spice Kit. This kit contains a special artisan blend of delicious root beer spices. The flavor is more complex than this root beer recipe and incudes many more exotic spices. It's made with sarsaparilla, birch bark, licorice, wild cherry bark, star anise, cinnamon and other spices.

Fermented Root Beer Recipe

Time Needed: 2 days


1/2 Cup Active Ginger Bug Soda Starter
8 Cups Cold Filtered Water
3/4 Cup Sarsaparilla Root
2 Tablespoons Sassafras Root
1/2 Tablespoon Licorice Root
1 Cinnamon Stick
2 Star Anise Pods
1 Cup Cane Sugar
6 Tablespoons Vanilla Extract

Specialty Equipment

Swing-Top Glass Soda Bottles
Muslin Cloth Jar Cover
Half Gallon Glass Jar

Root Beer Recipe Directions

Step 1: Boil Your Roots

Pour half of the filtered water into a heavy pot. Add sarsaparilla, sassafras, and licorice root. Bring to a boil, cover pot, reduce heat to a simmer, and allow the mixture to simmer for 30 minutes. 

Step 2: Steep The Spices

Turn off the heat and add the cinnamon and star anise pods to your hot brew. Cover and allow the brew to steep for 15 minutes.

Step 3: Strain & Add Sugar

Strain your root beer brew into a half-gallon glass jar. Add cane sugar & vanilla extract. Stir to combine until the sugar is fully dissolved. 

Step 4: Cool & Add Ginger Bug Starter

Add 4 cups of cold filtered water to your root beer mixture. You should have about 2 inches of headspace remaining on your jar. If your liquid level is much lower than that, add more cold water until you have about 2 inches of headspace. 

Allow your mixture to completely cool to room temperature before adding your Ginger Bug Soda Starter culture. Once cooled, add your Ginger Bug.

Step 5: Cover & Ferment

Cover your root beer with a breathable muslin cloth. Place the jar into a dark, warm location and allow to ferment for 24 hours.

Within 24 hours, you should see a bubbly foam form on the top of your root beer soda. Depending on the room temperature, this may happen before 24 hours has passed. As soon as your root beer is nice and bubbly, proceed to Step 6. 

Step 6: Bottle Your Root Beer Soda

Once bubbly, pour your root beer soda into swing-top glass bottles. Place your swing-top bottles back into a warm, dark location for another 24 hours. During this time, your soda will naturally produce carbonation via fermentation and create a fizzy delicious foam top.

Step 7: Refrigerate & Enjoy Cold!

After 24 hours, place your swing-top bottles into the refrigerator and allow your soda to completely cool before enjoying.


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