Reliving My Youth

IMG_3929 Root Beer Making Supplies.JPG

This past weekend my husband and I did something that brought back memories of my youth, and also memories of us being young parents with three little boys.  What we did was decide it was time to brew some homemade root beer!

A couple things combined to make us decide it was time to give it a try again. My son built us this awesome rack to hold our brewing bottles of pop. We also are helping host a baby celebration for the upcoming birth of our newest grandson. We decided it would be kind of fun to have homemade root beer as one of the beverages.

IMG_3942 New Pop Bottle Rack


Somehow during the years, since we last made root beer, we had managed to bury the bottles and equipment in a back corner of the garage. My husband dug out the crates and boxes of bottles from that back corner, and I spent an entire afternoon cleaning, cleaning, and cleaning those bottles. I was never so glad to own a bottle brush, as that afternoon!

The bottles, themselves, brought back lots of memories for me. As a kid, my Aunt Jean always brewed root beer. We begged and pleaded with my mom to give it a try also. My siblings and I spent countless hours going through ditches, looking for glass pop bottles. (This was in the days before the nickel deposit for bottles….and long before pop cans.)

Once we had amassed enough bottles, my dad purchased a bottle capper and we were set to go. That root beer was some of the best around on a hot summer day. When we were kids; pop was a luxury and our folks didn’t purchase pop very often, so we savored every sip we took. It always had a slightly yeasty taste but we thought it was wonderful.

When our sons were small we inherited the bottles and the capper. Through the years we also gathered more bottles to add to the collection. The bottles ranged from 7 ounce bottles to 32 ounce bottles. It is kind of fun to see where those bottles come from. Places like Fort Dodge, Ia, Spirit Lake, IA, Sioux Falls, SD, Mississippi, and who knows where! It is rather like a collage of old pop bottles.

IMG_3939 Bottle Hodgepodge.JPG

Our sons fondly remember drinking ice cold homemade root beer on steamy summer days. My husband and I remember, not quite as fondly, the sound of a bottle blowing up in the middle of the night during the brewing phase.

The sound of a bottle blowing is slightly like hearing a cannon go off. At that time we lived on a different acreage and had the bottles brewing on their sides, on the steps in the upstairs stairwell. It took a long time to get the sticky, sugary root beer scrubbed off those stairwell walls. I do remember it smelled wonderfully to root beer for a long time.

This time my husband and I decided we should fill bottles in the garage as we could hose off the floor if we spilled too much. It worked great and was kind of a fun thing to do again. We ended up with 70+ bottles of root beer.

The real test will be at the end of this week when we do the taste test on a bottle. Hopefully, it is as good as we remember!  I have a feeling this is an acquired taste as this root beer always tastes a little yeasty. I guess there is a great reason it tastes that way; as yeast is what is used to carbonate homemade root beer.

I am hoping that the first sip will bring back memories of years past. Memories of time spent drinking root beer with cousins, time spent making root beer with our sons and new memories to be made with family and friends.

When I was looking for quotes on homemade root beer (and not finding any!) I discovered that August 6, 2017 is National Root Beer Float Day in the United States!  How amazingly cool is it that? That is the day of our baby celebration complete with homemade root beer for root beer floats.

“Life has an odd way of making things work out in the end.”

“…root beer floats are the stuff that toasts are made of.” 
― Sandra D. Bricker,
If the Shoe Fits

  I am editing this post to add the recipe I used.  I had a request to do that so here it is:

Homemade Root Beer
1- 2 ounce bottle Root Beer Extract (I used Schilling)
 5 gallons water
5 pounds white sugar
1 large teaspoon dry yeast
1 cup warm water
Put the yeast in the cup of warm water with 1 teaspoon of sugar
Mix the extract with the rest of the sugar
Pour the rest of the water into a large bucket (not metal)
Add the sugar/extract mixture
Add the yeast mixture
Stir well
Bottle in clean sterilized glass pop bottles.
Cap with bottle caps (can get these from bottling companies).
Put bottles on their side in a warm place for 2-4 days.
Move to a cool place to store.
Chill well before serving.




50 thoughts on “Reliving My Youth

  1. Al says:

    Very interesting and looking forward to how it tastes to you. Having said that, I must say now that root beer floats are the tool of the devil. Nothing that taste that good can be anything but evil. Oh hell, just enjoy and say 10 Hail Marys afterward!

    Liked by 1 person

    • thechickengrandma says:

      My husband, for some reason, does not share the joy of mixing root beer with ice cream! He always has them separately. I have given up trying to convert him these last 36+ years.
      I will definitely enjoy the floats! And yes….repent afterwards LOL.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. bcparkison says:

    I’ve never been to crazy for root beer but my husband loved Barks ( is that it …maybe not) Now homemade could be different. I once tried making homemade ginger ale but it wasn’t to good. Let us know how it turns out.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. samanthamurdochblog says:

    Interesting…um…are there actual roots in it? I made some marrow rum once…lol…sugar and yeast inside a hollowed out marrow, left to ferment. Not unexpectedly it exploded all over my mother’s cupboard! 😸😸😸

    Liked by 1 person

    • thechickengrandma says:

      We used an extract for this batch. I have a friend who made it with the herbs and bark but I didn’t have access to any. Schilling makes an extract and I have since discovered that there are other companies that do too!
      Laughed like crazy about your exploding marrow rum….I have no idea what that is but I do know that anytime you mix sugar and yeast and put in a closed container the potential for explosions is high.

      Liked by 1 person

      • samanthamurdochblog says:

        Yes…well…I know that now…lol!! Theoretically, the inside of the marrow was supposed to break down into the liquid…don’t know if you have marrows in the U.S.? Like big zucchinis…root beer sounds like dandelion and burdock here…😸🍻

        Liked by 1 person

      • samanthamurdochblog says:

        I didn’t actually witness it…suffice it to say there was a LOT of brown sticky liquid and marrow pieces everywhere!! 😸😸😸😸

        Liked by 1 person

    • thechickengrandma says:

      I will do that. I can edit the post to add it for you. (As soon as I find the extract box back and copy the recipe on the back), I wondered about doing that. Hmmm…what is root beer? I am not sure if you would call it pop or soda? It is like Pepsi or cola or soda like that.Only it doesn’t contain caffeine.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. susieshy45 says:

    A long time back once I tasted champagne and found it revolting. I added sugar to it to make it ( I felt it lacked for sugar)- and my cup ran over with – winey froth and though there was no exploding pop, it spilt all over the place. Did I mention this took place in an airport lounge and in front of a whole lot of classy people- not good.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. thecobweboriumemporium says:

    What a totally fabulous post! Loved all the memories and chat about yesteryears, today!

    I’ve never had a Root Beer. I think it’s a fairly new introduction to the UK and I’ve only seen it in the last couple or so years, and even then, only in a few of the larger grocery chains.
    Tesco’s stocks Bundaberg Root Beer – in bottles, – £4.50 for four bottles.

    There’s a little voice trying to make itself heard, saying “You won’t like it. Don’t try!” … and I think it’s right. I’m not a great drinker to start with (water and Tonic water are my drinks of choice) … and I don’t actually like the smell of yeast, so I think it’s a ‘no’ from this corner.

    But … if I were somewhere where it was being served, I’d likely ask for a little drop to be put in a glass so that I could try just enough to say I’d tried it. lol (what a scaredy cat I am! tsk tsk).

    GREAT post Chicken. Loved it.
    ~ Cobs. x

    Liked by 1 person

      • thecobweboriumemporium says:

        Hmmm….. ice cream! [imagine Cobs drooling in the same way Homer(Simpson) drools]

        Now you’ve said it …I feel like the two would make a great team and perhaps I really should give it a try.

        In the interests of Science, naturally. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      • thechickengrandma says:

        I think you should! And then you need to let me know what you think of the combination. I will warn you….when you pour the root beer over the ice cream it foams like crazy. So you need to pour a little at a time.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. kindergartenknowledge says:

    I am catching up on my reading…again! Let me first say this…I love, love, love root beer! I have never had homemade root beer and I really don’t know anyone who has made it! I cannot believe that you have kept all of those bottles…I like the 7-Up bottles! I didn’t recognize some of the other names! I can’t wait for Mike to read this post! He worked for Coca-Cola for about 20 years as an accountant…after having spent a couple of years at a CPA firm after finishing college. When we met, he was already working at Coca-Cola. I was truly practically addicted to I was thrilled! He left that job for his current (almost retired) position when two friends/ co-workers bought a company that supplied sanitizing equipment etc to soft drink bottlers. So…Mike is all about soft drinks and he needs to be at your house helping to drink that root beer! And so do I!

    There was a popular root beer stand near my house when I was growing up…K&N Root Beer. They served it in ice cold frosted mugs!! I need some right this minute! Great post and Cobs needs to try root beer right away!!

    Have a fun weekend…I have missed talking with you this week. I can’t seem to get caught up. Don’t forget that I am still your friend and that is all there is to it!!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • thechickengrandma says:

      Years ago I did a service project in a place called Cary, MS. (taught bible school for a few weeks). One weekend while we were there we went to the town of Rolling Fork, MS and cleaned up the lot of an old Coca Cola bottling company. They were going to make a school out of it. We were allowed to take home some bottles, crates and a vintage Coke sign from there. They were just going to dump all of it! Looking back I wish we had had room to take more home because some of those signs were so cool. We traveled there and back on a school bus…..good thing we were young!

      Liked by 1 person

      • kindergartenknowledge says:

        Those vintage signs are worth a lot of money! We have lots of new Coke items that Mike has bought here and there plus some old ones. We thought that we would have a game room and decorate it with the Coco-Cola stuff. We have a sun room, but no game room. A sun room with three skylights that break with every hail storm! They were there when we bought the house…don’t get skylights!!!!! The service project sounds very fun…I always loved teaching vacation bible school. Mike would have a fit to get the chance to clean out an old Coca-Cola Bottling Company!!! Are you talking about Mississippi or Missouri? Cary in Missouri is near Joplin…we go near there when we have driven from Tulsa (where our good friends live) to Big Cedar! Riding on a school bus on a long trip would be so uncomfortable! Yes…only for the very young. Not for the almost and slightly just past young that we are!!

        Liked by 1 person

      • kindergartenknowledge says:

        You were almost in Louisiana! That was a really, really long trip on a school bus! Do you have the signs hanging up? You could turn your school house into a retreat for you and put them up in there! I am still looking for a schoolhouse! You knew that I would obsess about that school house the moment that I heard about it!!!!! And the Coca-Cola signs! Maybe it is a good thing that we don’t live close…we would get into a lot of trouble! Fun trouble!

        Liked by 1 person

      • thechickengrandma says:

        We should live close….and yes it would be the best kind of trouble. I have a feeling we would spend time laughing so hard we snorted or could hardly catch our breath (the best kind of laughing)
        We have an unfinished upstairs bedroom that my oldest son made with a really high ceiling. We have a foosball table up there and I would love to finish the room and hang the sign in there along with an old carom board we have, a wooden chinese checker board from Lar’s grandma and other game and sign type stuff. I just have to decide what I want to do with the walls…..I want something creative. I may have to check Pinterest.

        Liked by 1 person

      • kindergartenknowledge says:

        What a great room! I wish that i had a space like that! I love high ceilings. We have a vaulted ceiling in our family room and our room. One problem…cobwebs in the corners are a difficult task to take care of. And they appear so quickly! I just can’t be bothered about dust! Sometimes…I am forced to work at it!! Anyway…I was looking at a house online this morning. I look at houses all the time. Anyway, the house has a guesthouse out back that is 800 square feet with a very small kitchen and bath. I would rent it out to a college student. Evidently, these people do not need the $$ from a rental, so they have turned it into a game room or sports room or something like that! So neat looking. I am going to look up the link on my tablet. I know…the computer, a tablet and my phone…I use all at once. I think that I might be bonkers! I am going to grow up someday. I am looking for the link…you have to see this room. And the house is beautiful too…way, way too expensive, but I am told it is reasonable for this particular area in Fort Worth. What do I know????.

        When you go to the link for the house, the guest house pictures are #23 thru #29.

        Liked by 1 person

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