First try at root beer. I picked up some Homebrew soda extract from a local brewing store. I've seen quite a few different "how to make root beer" step-by-steps online. These vary in order of ingredients, water temp, and storing time. I decided to follow the instructions included in the package for my first try. I'm not experienced enough (read: at all) with this kind of thing to know if those differences matter.
The root beer took longer than the ginger ale by a couple of days.
When I strike out on these little experiments I try to be cost-minded. Is it really worth it to make my own root beer, even if it tastes better, than it is to just buy my favorite brand? Well, let's say that your favorite brand cost between $1.5 and $2.
The equipment costs are negligible. The off-brand pop you buy for the bottle. The funnel, if you don't already have one. I seriously hope you have measuring cups and spoons already.
It was 6.95 for a 2 oz bottle of soda extract, which is supposed to make about four gallons. This makes it about $.87 a two-liter. This price was comparable for the same brand on the internet, but I did find a few that looked cheaper even with shipping, and I've heard you can get it in bulk for much less. I can't speak for varying quality.
Water is free.
Disregarding the cost of supplies and testing, this means we can make a two-liter of root beer for around $1.04. Hot damn.