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Not Your Father's Root Beer (10%) - Small Town Brewery

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Not Your Father's Root Beer (10%)
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52 Reviews
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Reviews: 52
Hads: 539
Avg: 4.33
pDev: 44.11%
Wants: 465
Gots: 148 | FT: 5
Brewed by:
Small Town Brewery visit their website
Illinois, United States

Style | ABV
Herbed / Spiced Beer |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: MasterSki on 10-29-2012

No notes at this time.
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Reviews: 52 | Hads: 539
Photo of Redrover
4.21/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On tap at Pints in Elmhurst. Served in a 9 oz snifter.

The beer is a mahogany-brown with a skim of off-white foam.

This smells like root beer. A bit of anise, liquorish and brown sugar. If I smelled it blind, I would never guess this is a beer.

The taste is like a very high-end artisanal soda. The root beer elements are extremely prominent and tasty. For a 10% beer there is virtually no alcohol heat. There is sassafras, vanilla and hint of toffee. This one could definitely sneak up on you. One of our group hardly ever drinks beer but liked this one so much she had two.

Mouth is pleasantly thickish with nice carbonation.

I could see this one as great dessert beer. In talking to the manager, he said this is one of their top five sellers which surprised me given their great tap choices but upon drinking it, I can now see why. Well Done!

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Photo of TheSleepyMonkey
4.75/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Lucky to try this at a tasting event in Memphis. I will simply echo what reviewers have said...this is ridiculous. I cannot believe this is 10% abv, I can't even believe its alcoholic. It tastes like really good craft root beer. Really sweet, not heavily carbonated. Wish I could buy this all the time, it's one of the most surprising beers I've ever tasted. Bravo.

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Photo of mfnmbvp
4.32/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle, with no apparent bottled on date present. I acquired this new oddity at the local beer store about a month or so ago and have been holding it down. My first encounter with this beer and this brewery. "Brewed by: Timothy A. Kovac and John J. Dopak, Wauconda IL 60084 for Small Town Brewery, LLC". Expectations are pretty high based on the hype surrounding this beer and it's current high ratings. My bottle lists a 10.00% abv.

Poured into a clear balloon snifter.

A - Naturally, it pours a dark cola brown; nearly opaque in the glass. About one to two fingers of foamy khaki head that leaves nice spotty lacing. It looks very good.

S - Wow, the hype is real- this thing smells like a straight up can of root beer poured into a glass. Caramel, vanilla, sugar, & some noticeable carbonation / mustiness.

T - Wow, again. Like the others have said, there isn't a trace of the high 10.00% abv noticeable. This thing doesn't even really taste like a 'beer' at all, more like just a straight up alcoholic root beer. Caramel, vanilla, sugar, & carbonation. A dash of cinnamon / ginger / other spices are noticeable also.

M - Feel is smooth and creamy. Sugary & sticky. Mildly syrupy. Light-bodied with good carb.

Overall, it's delicious. The beer itself isn't very complex, but there is no denying that it tastes like a regular fresh delicious root beer soda. I have never made a float before, but this one would be a more than ideal contender. An extremely unique and delicious beer drinking experience. I'm very curious as to how this is brewed and spiced, and I look forward to trying more from Small Town Brewery.

Small Town Brewery Not Your Father's Root Beer ---4/5.

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Photo of NRo
4.4/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Received this in an off-site trade from Chicago.

I really didn't expect to actually be like rootbeer - but this is more of an alcoholic root beer than it is a root beer-flavored beer.

Smell - Exactly like a can of any leading brand of root beer

Appearance -I would absolutely mistake this for soda

Taste: It tasted like a slightly "off" root beer - still more root beer than alcohol taste though, even at ten percent

Mouthfeel: Seriously exactly like soda. Light and carbonated

Overall: I love it. They need to make more of this and distribute it widely.

Aside from my tasting glass, I made myself a root beer float with some vanilla ice cream and it is a real throwback. It works perfectly. I highly recommend it.

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Photo of Imrickjamesbch
4.79/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

22oz bomber, love love it. Think barrel aged hint of bourbon sassafras root beer with teeth. Must go back to Kroger to get Jeni's vanilla ice cream for a 5-star float NOW. Starting to feel the coolness through my vertebrae now. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

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Photo of Vonerichs
3.99/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have to use 250 characters to describe it, so here goes nothing.

Root beer root beer root beer root beer root beer root beer root beer root beer root beer root beer root beer root beer root bee root beer root beer root beer root beer root beer delicious sweet root beer.

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Photo of dbc5
4.64/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours dark brown with an apparent soda-like carbonation and a not-so-dense, soda like head that recedes leaving a small froth over the top of my glass. Looks exactly like root beer.

S: Smells....like a root beer. Sarsaparilla, vanilla, creamy. The alcohol is not apparent, which should be noted. I wouldn't guess this is 10%.

T: Amazing! The bottle says this is a "dark amber ale" with spices. I'm very curious about the process for making this beer, because this simply tastes like the best craft root beer I've had. Not picking up a "base beer," but an extremely well crafted root beer. Alcohol doesn't come through in the flavor profile, which is again impressive given the alcohol content. The most impressive flavor component for me is the creamy vanilla that lingers on the tongue.

M: Medium body with a light carbonation on the tongue. Slightly thicker than your traditional root beer, which enhances the creamy flavor profile.

O: This is the best craft root beer I've had, alcoholic or not. So ridiculously creamy, which makes it stand above the rest. I'm not a huge soda drinker, but honestly, if this were available to me locally, I would go out of my way to have a few bottles on hand at all times.

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Photo of zookerman182
4.98/5  rDev +15%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Appearance is root beer
The aroma is 100% root beer.
Taste is phenomenal. I'm blown away by this "beer".
It's not heavily carbonated which is a good thing and the taste doesn't linger much.
But there's no mistaking that its root beer.
If I had to guess I would say it is 4%...but it's 10.
I need a never ending fountain of this.
Best beer I've ever had.

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Photo of homebrew311
4.5/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours brown with minimal head... Looks just like root beer. The nose is ridiculous... Is this really beer?? Smells like a nice creamy root beer. Heavy notes of vanilla, saspirilla, and birch come through. Literally nothing in here smells like there is a beer in there. No hop bitterness, no yeasty notes, nothing, and I'm totally okay with that! Taste is... Surprise surprise, root beer! A pretty heavy sweetness in the middle along with all the notes that a good root beer delivers. Mouthfeel is fizzy and somewhat viscous. Aside from a little hint of booziness at the end, this beer tastes identical to root beer. I can't believe that 10% of alcohol is hidden within this beverage. This could be dangerous!

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Photo of buschbeer
4.54/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I acquired this via trade from blue-dream. Thank you, sir. It was shipped to me in swing top bottles, securely fastened and taped. So, I will call it a growler for reviewing purposes. I poured it into a mug, as I thought a root beer should be served. It looks a lot like root beer. The head isn't quite as frothy as a root beer, but that is probably due to being pours into a bottle and shipped two states away. Basically, this looks and smells like a root beer. It smells exactly like it. As far as I can tell it tastes exactly like root beer. I am not a big root beer drinker, but the thought of a 10% abv root beer is appealing. The only thing that detracts, is that when it warms I get a little alcohol taste. As long as it is ice cold it is root beer all the way. It is not overly carbonated, but once again, that goes back to the pouring and shipping. Overall, it is fantastic. I wish I had some ice cream to make a float with it. Can you imagine a 10% ice cream float? I am definitely glad I got to try this. This stuff is scary as the drinkability and high abv make a highly potent combination.

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Photo of WoodBrew
4.43/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I tell you what...put this against any of the root beer brands in a blind taste taste...and watch out...you'll have a bunch of drunk adolescents!!! The beer was root beer in appearance....no head and no lace. The scent was root beer. The taste was...root beer. The mouthfeel felt like a slightly more body than a...root beer. Overall I thought I was drinking root beer...wait....maybe I was...who knows...I would hate to think the establishment was selling a glass of root beer for $8!

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Photo of stace
4.85/5  rDev +12%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

This did not taste like a beer, but oh my, does it taste like root beer. The alcohol is completely stealthy. Honestly, if you like root beer, this is simply a wonderful drink. I love it.

It mimics a good craft root beer in look, taste, smell, and mouth feel. The carbonation is refreshingly low. I recommend it.

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Photo of Hopheadjeffery
4.27/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

First tasted from draft at Beer Market. Tasted from draft at the Craft Beer Store for this review. Look is dark brown, thin quickly fading head, little to no lacing. Smell is a sweet, complex blend of anise, sassafras, wintergreen, nutmeg, cinnamon, licorice, vanilla and honey. Taste is very sweet with sassafras, molasses, cinnamon, vanilla and honey notes. Feel is syrupy and a bit flat befitting the style.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.07/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

On-tap at the The Clark St. Bar. Served in a frosted mug.

A - White foam settles to a thin collar and wisps. Loads of soda-like fizz and a bit of lingering lace. Dark brown body that is transparent at the edges.

S - Smells like root beer. Not sure what else to say here; quite convincing, with not much in the way of 'beer' flavor.

T - The taste again pretty much all root beer. There's perhaps a hint of alcohol present in the finish, but nothing excessive for the listed 10%. Drinks more like a soda than a beer.

M - Pleasant moderate carbonation. Smooth medium body, with a lingering sticky lingering soda texture. Alcohol is very well-hidden.

D - As far as hard root beer goes, this is a pretty good one. Curious what the base beer is, as I'm not sure I'd even guess there was 'beer' in here at all. In any case, enjoyed my mug and would order again; seems to be on-tap a lot in Boystown for some reason.

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Photo of Rado
4.71/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at Bigbys pour house in Illinois.

WARNING this is not a typical beer, dont rate this against your favorite IPA! Rate it for what it is..

WARNING again, this is deceptively easy to drink like pliney the younger, watch out

That said it tastes like one of the best root beers that you had growing up.

Appearance- black as night, super dark root beer brown/black

Mouthfeel - moderate and a little syrupy, delicate carbonation

Taste - rivals some of the best rootbeers, sweet with all the spice expectations of a true rootbeer, surprisingly balanced with little notice of alcohol

Overall - if I knew about this when I was younger I would be an alcoholic

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Photo of larryarms847
4.75/5  rDev +9.7%

Pours a dark chocolate brown with lots of carbonation coming up the sides of the snifter it was poured in. On tap at a local pub.

Spice, some chocolate, and the very unique smell of root beer, with plenty of booze on the nose.

Wowzers, the alcohol perceived on the nose is nowhere to be found in the mouthful. Beautifully crafted root beer flavors with spice perfectly hide the hefty ABV.

Mouthfeel is sweet and sticky, but plenty of carbonation provides enough bite to cut through like butter.

Overall, hands down the best hard root beer I've had to date, aside from their heftier Not Your Grandfather's variant ;)

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Photo of FindmybeerChris
4.56/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This stuff is dangerously good. It smells and tastes just like the root beer you grew up with. It's just sweet root beery goodness. There is no perceptible trace of alcohol while you're drinking it. By the second or third sip you might be wondering if you could get a scoop of ice cream to turn it into a full blown root beer float. You finish the glass and just as the nostalgia for the Americana of your youth is hitting you full force you realize 'oh snap this root beer packs a punch'. One more please, bartender.

BTW, I've been cataloging all known places that sell Not Your Father's Root Beer. You can find them at my site here :


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Photo of Gipsy_Danger
3.75/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Served in a snifter from a keg at Even Flow in Geneva.

Was uncertain what to expect from this. Had a shot glass sample beforehand and was intrigued so decided to try a full serving. It tastes exactly like a very sweet and very syrupy root beer. No alcohol presence in the nose. No alcohol presence at all, actually. Faint hints of licorice in the after taste.

Although impressive, must say that I am not a big fan. The syrupy sweetness is overwhelming about 6 oz in. The syrupy mouth feel also becomes very undesirable after a short duration.

Impressive and I'm glad I had it, but I have no desire to try it again.

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Photo of indiggio
4.95/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Just went out on a trip to Naperville, IL and co-workers took me out to WOB. They all suggested trying one of these, but knowing what I refer to as a "novelty beer", I shied away the first night. I stuck with some interesting IPAs.

The next night back at the same place, everyone was trying them so I broke down. I am so glad I did!!! Or maybe now I'm not so glad, because you can only get this beer out in IL from what they tell me.

This beer is remarkable. The look, aroma and finally taste is unbelievably identical to what normal root beer tastes like. It's just amazing.

What's also remarkable is that at 10%, there's just NO hint of the booze (and eventual slap to the back of the head kick) when drinking it. It would be SO easy to keep drinking this into oblivion (as one of our party did). Later visits had us limiting ourselves to 1 of these a night.

The only cons to this beer are its sweetness and it's mouthfeel, IMHO. You need to be OK with a sweet "beer" or ready yourself to the fact that what you're going to have is sweet. There is no hint of hops or bitterness or anything that you would expect from a regular beer.

The other is mouthfeel. To me, there's just not enough carbonation for my taste. A tad bit more bubbles and this thing would be perfect for the type of beer category it represents.

If you're ever in the Illinois area, seek out a place that has this beer. Search far and wide for you while you're there and try it. You may find yourself as happy (then sad) as I did.

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Photo of emerge077
3.12/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Is hard root beer really such a novel concept? I hear they make hard lemonade too...

Served in a 10 oz. snifter at Blackfinn in Mount Prospect.
Dark brown syrupy liquid with a bare skim on top, practically nonexistent. No lace or foam, likely due to the high abv. Brownish mahoghany edges, not much light getting through.

Aroma is intensely of root beer, licorice and sarsaparilla root, vanilla, slightly medicinal. I will say you can't really smell any booze here.

Taste is a different story. Cloying sweet cane sugar, licorice, sarsaparilla, nutmeg, angosturra bitters in the aftertaste. Sticky on the lips with low carbonation. It tastes like a splash of rum in a glass of root beer, and the alcohol is definitely obvious, especially if you have ever put a shot in a soda before. There's a perceptible medicinal alcohol presence, with an odd note of bitters in the aftertaste. Just because a ton of sugar covers up the burn, doesn't mean the alcohol doesn't contribute to the taste. Side by side with n/a root beer, the difference is distinct. That said, this would potentially make a good ice cream float, if you need a sugar fix.

Purely a novelty and nothing more. Tasted side by side with GI Root Beer, which seemed almost dry by comparison... which is weird because i'd always thought it was way too sweet on a fresh palate in the past.

File this away next to Four Loko, Lime-a-rita, and Mike's Hard Lemonade. Pass...

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Photo of JAramini
4.69/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

An "are you kidding me?!" beer.

Someone showed up with a growler of this at our homebrew club meeting. It was labeled "10% ABV Root Beer" and we all pretty well lost our minds for it.

Perhaps in a blind tasting you'd be able to tell this from a regular, non-alcoholic root beer, but, on its own, without a point of reference, this tastes exactly like a root beer without a hint of alcohol. I don't know what kind of magic is going on here but this is amazing.

The only real critique I could offer is that it's perhaps too sweet/syrupy, but this is an insane beer. If you get the chance to try it, do not pass it up.

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Photo of zaraspook
4.1/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4.5

Man its taste just like rootbeer. I couldn't between the taste of this. Very smooth with no after taste. Its even smells like rootbeer. Can't wait to taste the stronger one. If you have the change to try it and you like rootbeer you won't be disapponited at all.

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Photo of bankerdanny
4.91/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

If I didn't know it was alcoholic I might have thought this was regular root beer.

The carbonation is very light, and the beer is very sweet, as one would expect from a root beer, more A&W than say Barq's.

Be careful with it, it would be very easy to over indulge. I am thinking that it would be interesting to try as a float. You could call it a Drunken Cow.

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Photo of MickeyBeer
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this beer on tap at the Beer Market in Vernon Hills. It was poured into an 11oz snifter.

A- Very dark in color like a root beer should be. Almost no head whatsoever.

S- Sweet smell much like you would expect from any root beer.

T- Tastes like a really good root beer. Very sweet. At 10% abv the alcohol is hardly noticeable. Root beer taste and sugars cover it very well.

M- Very smooth and drinkable. Hardly feels like a beer or even an alcoholic beverage. Feels like a really delicious root beer in your mouth. Mouth feel is light and not like that of most dark beers.

O- This is a great beer that I look forward to having again. Very unique style that hardly tastes like a beer at all. I have found myself craving it since I tried it. This is a must try if you find it on tap.

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Photo of mychalg9
4.47/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A friend had a keg of this at his place so I tried a glass. Only had one because of how dangerously drinkable this stuff is. Wow! Smells like a root beer, but better, somehow. Taste is fresh root beer, maybe a little creamier, with some vanilla hints in there. No detectable alcohol whatsoever, which is what makes it so dangerous. This was definitely a hit at the party. Seek this out if you can. I will be looking to buy a 5 gal keg ASAP.

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Not Your Father's Root Beer (10%) from Small Town Brewery
94 out of 100 based on 52 ratings.