I've rambled on about this before, and normally it's a last minute thing. HomeMade Root Beer needs a full week or so to carbonate properly. In previous years, I often got around to making it just in time. This year I had it ready by December 1st or so. The downside (isn't there always one?) of course is that the first batch is almost all gone. No big problem, I'll make another one.
Fortunately, a good friend gifted me with a nice green milk crate of 16 large reusable bottles. That made the second batch a much easier undertaking since the extra bottles meant I didn't have to wait for the first batch...not that I had to wait long :)
I did have a slight issue with the bigger bottles though; see the red circle in the picture above, where the bottle is touching the metal shank of the capper. I was a little hesitant to apply pressure, thinking it might smash said precious bottle. I got around it by using a different capper (it pays to have more than one of most things) that did not have that block of wood attached to the base. I could have removed the block, but that's work :)
Anyway, the first batch is all but gone, and the second will be ready to drink by the weekend. My prediction is that at the rate it's being inhaled, I'll need a third batch before Christmas day, not a bad problem since I'm one of the guilty parties...belch !!
The old standard was HIRES Brand extract, but that seems to have vanished. For the last few years, all I've been able to find is this ROYAL Brand. However, it seems to taste just as good. This year it's gone up to about 6 dollars a bottle. Add a bag of sugar, yeast, and bottle caps, and the cost is between 10 and 15 dollars.That;s not really "cheap" when decent President's Choice Draft Root Beer can be had for 50 cents a litre. Then again, it's not about the money :)
MERRY CHRISTMAS !!