Sneaky Snake Root Beer

This year for our family Thanksgiving I wanted to attempt to make root beer. I had Glenn Peterson’s recipe in hand and I also fruitlessly pursued another recipe, but I’m not really sure how different root beer recipes can get.

Glenn’s recipe was a little vague on a couple things, but it goes like this:

Recipe for homemade root beer (X 2 for 10 gal water cooler)
4 lbs. sugar
3 ½ gallon water
1 bottle Root beer extract
1 bottle Root beer flavor
4 lbs. dry ice.

Add 4 lbs. sugar to 3 ½ gal water. Stir until sugar dissolved. Add 1 bottle root beer extract and 1 bottle root beer flavor. Stir until mixed. Add 4 lbs. of dry ice ½ to 1 hour before serving. Use gloves when working with dry ice. Dry ice will cause the container to look like a witches’ caldron. Do not stir nor put a lid on container. When “steam” from the dry ice disappears, root beer is ready to drink.
This recipe was shared with Glenn while in the Army. He started sharing it with Pack 150, Madrid at the Blue & Gold Banquets/ Crossovers and Arrow of Lights Ceremony from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts.

Glenn’s widow Tamara shared the recipe with me a couple years ago.

The one thing I didn’t know is how much is 1 bottle of root beer extract and how much is one bottle of root beer flavor. I compared it to other root beer recipes and determined Glenn’s recipe calls for a 2 oz bottle of each. I changed his recipe slightly. I used 1 4 oz bottle of Shank’s root beer extract.

Johnathan and Logan assisted in the making of my first batch of what I am calling Sneaky Snake Root Beer. Here are some pictures:


Thanksgiving - 2022

Thanksgiving - 2022

Thanksgiving - 2022

Thanksgiving - 2022
Logan is wearing some of my Mom’s old dish gloves.

Thanksgiving - 2022

Thanksgiving - 2022

Thanksgiving - 2022
This is one of my favorite family pictures ever.

Thanksgiving - 2022

Thanksgiving - 2022

Thanksgiving - 2022

Thanksgiving - 2022

Thanksgiving - 2022

I decided on the name for my root beer on Saturday while cruising around Monroe County with Teresa. I was originally going to name it after Naima sorta and call it something like Gold Dog Root Beer, so I could put her mug on the bottles. However, I decided to name it after an old family memory. Maybe I was feeling nostalgic because Thanksgiving this year was obviously bittersweet at it was the first major holiday we’ve had without Mom. But I decided to base the name off the Tom T. Hall song “Sneaky Snake”.

When I was a kid and we would go down to my Dad’s darkroom, the music was mostly provided by his 8 track collection. My favorite of his 8 tracks was blue. It was Tom T. Hall’s Greatest Hits Volume II. I can’t swear that it was Volume II, but it was pretty close. My favorite song on this 8 track was “Sneaky Snake”. I still love that song, even though next to nobody outside of my family seems to appreciate its greatness.

The lyrics are:

Boys and girls take warning
If you go near the lake
Keep your eyes wide open
And look for sneaky snake
Now, maybe you won’t see him
And maybe you won’t hear
But he’ll sneak up behind you
And drink all your root beer

And then sneaky snake goes dancing
Wiggling and a-hissing
Sneaky snake goes dancing
A-giggling and a-kissing
I don’t like old sneaky snake
He laughs too much you see
When he goes wiggling through the grass
It tickles his underneath

Well sneaky snake drinks root beer
And he just makes me sick
When he is not dancing
He looks just like stick
Now he doesn’t have any arms or legs
You cannot see his ears
And while we are not looking
He’s stealing all of our beer

And then sneak snake goes dancing
Wiggling and a-hissing
Sneaky snake goes dancing
A-giggling and a-kissing
I don’t like old sneaky snake
He laughs too much you see
When he goes wiggling through the grass
It tickles his underneath

So this is what the label on the bottle should look like, or would look like if I could get it to print correctly:



I’m definitely not a graphic designer, but I do like the picture part. The picture of the snake is from about 10 years ago, when I found a snake in Shorty and Doris’ flower bed. I photoshopped it up a bit though.

I might not explain everything about this under normal circumstances, but my nearly professional labeler Elizabeth is concerned that people might think it is name after the “I’m a Snake” guy of YouTube fame. It definitely is not. So don’t even try thinking that!

I have a few bottles of Batch 001 left. I’ve earmarked a few for December Movie Night. And the rest, well they might go to Elizabeth’s progeny. They apparently are big fans of Sneaky Snake Root Beer!

I’m going to continue to experiment with the recipe. Try different brands of extract. Try Glenn’s original recipe. I want to try mixing in some vanilla at some point too. I definitely need to figure out a way to capture more carbonation. I’m not sure how to do that yet, but I have some theories. Batch 001 will be followed by Batch 002 and 003 and so on and so forth more hopefully.

2 thoughts on “Sneaky Snake Root Beer”

  1. Wow, Glenn would be tickled that you made his root beer. Will look up where we bought Root beer extract. For some reason, I remember a small local shop in downtown Ames on north side near American Legion bldg.

  2. I look forward to hearing if you figure that out. Glenn was such a good guy!

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