After one root beer experiment, I decided I needed to try to make an old-fashioned style Root Beer. It doesn't use some of the more traditional ingredients(like burdock, or dandelion root, or hops), but it is made with sassafras for that distinct root beer flavor that everyone associates specifically with root beer.
7 tbsp. Sassafras root(chopped and dried)
1 tbsp. wintergreen leaves
1 tbsp. anise seed(crushed)
1 tsp licorice root
1 3 in. Cinnamon stick
1 6 in. vanilla bean
2 cups of cane sugar
1 cup of brown sugar
1.5 gallons of water
1/4 tsp. ale yeast
Fill a stock pot with 1 gallon of water, and a jar(or bottle) with 1/2 gallon of water. Place the 1/2 gallon of water in the refrigerator, and combine all the herbs and spices above in the stock pot. Bring to a simmer, and after about 25 minutes(10 minutes of getting up to heat, 15 minutes to steep). Stir in both sugars, add cold water from the refrigerator, and let cool to under 100 degrees Fahrenheit.(I allowed mine to go to about 85).
Scoop a cup full of brew into a small container, add 1/4 tsp. of yeast, and allow it to work for 5-10 minutes. Strain the brew into another container(brew bucket), then mix in the yeast water. It's ready to bottle.
It's only been about 24 hours since I've made my brew and it's already carbonated-this could be due to the larger amount of yeast or the warmer weather, but fair caution, this might carb up a little more quickly then the other batches have.
There will be a follow up soon enough.