Alright well so far I've experimented with about 3 batches of Root Beer and 1 batch of Orange soda. Using the extract from the Rainbow Homebrew people I've managed to make 3 sets and kept notes on what's gone right and wrong. I'll give a short synopsis to help give an idea of what I've made but if you want to skip it just go down to the question after the notes.
Made 1 Gallon of Root Beer with 2 cups white sugar and yeast as per instructions inside box. Going against rules of not using glass - I put the mix in a sterile ice cream tub (neat how they make em in 1 gallon & 1 quart sizes) and then went ahead and bottled it and let it sit for 3-4 days. !Sadly I didn't have a thermometer at the time and thought the yeast water was lukewarm... at 140+ degrees Fahrenheit. So it took much longer to carbonate and inevitably came out with a very "synthetic" flavoring... Yeast was Champagne yeast by the way.
Lessons learned and Thermometer in hand I re-did the same recipe with much happier yeast and made it simpler. Although both times I used plain old store bought Table sugar it seemed to lack a drink ability and tasted much like the Root Beer candy... so I did some looking into Malto Dextrin to see how that would go.
Leading into my most recent Third Batch:
This recipe: Homemade Root Beer Recipe
It called for Table Sugar and Dark Brown Sugar - I substituted Corn sugar and Light Brown Sugar(LBS). (Corn Sugar had a different consistency and slightly different taste so I thought it would be worth a shot) and the LBS was because I didn't have Dark on hand. After mixing this all up and again bottling it for 3-4 days and letting it sit - I popped the top on one and tried it, it tasted much different than the other two but had an almost "yeasty" flavor (if that's the correct way to describe it) and the second one I tried reminded me of a Diet Root Beer flavor. I wondered if it was because of the less sweet Corn Sugar or if the LBS is also lighter than a Dark Brown... It still had that punch of carbonation as well... it tastes less Synthetic and less like Candy but it still has that crisp almost yeast hit. I'm thinking of trying what I think is an Ale yeast..
**Needless to say: I'm looking for flavoring advice, I know my examples are all over but I'm looking to add a creaminess slightly like A & W has. Right now all the root beer I have is ... tolerable - It's not delicious but it's not "repulsive" to others - everyone just kinda hits it a few times.
The extract is almost my only option for store bought cause that's all the local brew store has.