13-in. piece of vanilla bean, split lengthwise (optional)
8 cups water, divided
1 cups sugar
1 pinches ale yeast or active dry yeast
2 teaspoons warm water
Traditional Root Beer Directions
Add the roots, vanilla bean (if using) and 4 cups of the water to a pot. Bring to a boil, uncovered, then reduce the heat to a simmer for 15 minutes.
Strain out the roots and add the sugar to the hot liquid.
Pour half of the concentrate into a 1-quart SodaStream bottle (or another plastic bottle) and the other half into a swing-top bottle or Mason jar. Pour 2 cups of cold water into each bottle.
Dissolve the yeast in the warm water (no hotter than 110°) and split that mixture between the bottles. Cap the bottles tightly and let them sit at room temperature.
Check the carbonation level at 48 hours by squeezing the plastic bottle (the bottle should be completely hard and the contents fizzy when opened). Place the bottles in the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks.