Not Your Father's Root Beer (10.7%) | Small Town Brewery

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Not Your Father's Root Beer (10.7%)Not Your Father's Root Beer (10.7%)

Brewed by:
Small Town Brewery
Illinois, United States

Style: Herbed / Spiced Beer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.70%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Not Your Father’s Root Beer 10.7% ABV iteration marks the third nationally distributed product from Small Town Brewery after last year’s rollouts of Not Your Father’s Root Beer 5.9% and Not Your Father’s Ginger Ale. Until now, this higher strength version of Not Your Father’s Root Beer has only been available in limited quantities in the Chicagoland area.

Added by MasterSki on 10-29-2012

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Reviews: 82 | Ratings: 722
Photo of emerge077
3.12/5  rDev -23.7%
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 mothman
3.9/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

It looks, smells, and tastes like root beer. Tough to drink more than one. Too sweet for me but I do enjoy it. Definitely worth a try if you like root beer.

This stuff tastes identical to the 5.9% just a bit stronger and more beer like.

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Photo of superspak
4.2/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle into tulip glass; no bottle dating, but is a recent release. Pours crystal clear very dark brown color with a 1-2 finger dense khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation retaining the cap. Aromas of big caramel, brown sugar, maple syrup, molasses, vanilla, wood, cola, mint, nutmeg, licorice, light cocoa, toasted bread, and herbal/spice earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of dark malt and spice notes; with great strength. Taste of huge caramel, brown sugar, maple syrup, molasses, vanilla, wood, cola, mint, nutmeg, licorice, light cocoa, toasted bread, and herbal/spice earthiness. Light-moderate herbal bitterness and spiciness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, brown sugar, maple syrup, molasses, vanilla, wood, cola, mint, nutmeg, licorice, light cocoa/toast, and herbal/spice earthiness on the finish fora while. Fantastic complexity, robustness, and balance of dark malt and spice flavors; with a great malt/bitter/spiciness balance and zero cloying sweetness after the finish. Light dryness from bitter/spiciness as well. Medium carbonation and full body; with a very smooth, creamy/silky, lightly slick/sticky balanced mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is well hidden with only a light warmth lingering after the finish. Overall this is an outstanding spiced beer. All around awesome complexity, robustness, and balance of dark malt and spice flavors; very smooth and dangerously easy to sip on for the big ABV. A highly enjoyable offering.

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Photo of dbrauneis
4.01/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a clear very dark cola brown in color with light amounts of active visible carbonation rising slowly along the edges of the glass and hints of dark amber highlights. The beer has a finger tall very thin fizzy creamy light beige head that reduces to a medium to large sized patch of thin film and a thin ring at the edges of the glass. Light amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate to strong aromas of root beer (sarsaparilla, wintergreen, cola, and vanilla). Hints of alcohol are present as the beer warms up.

T: Tastes just like root beer, sweet and spicy herbal flavors (sarsaparilla, wintergreen, and cola) with a light note of vanilla in the finish. No bitterness is present. Just the slightest hint of alcohol in the finish as the beer warms up

M: Medium bodied with moderate to heavy amounts of carbonation.

O: The mouthfeel, aroma, and taste of this one really mimic a root beer and as someone that likes root beer, I'm impressed. Alcohol is well hidden and this one is I be it would make a great root beer float (dang it for being out of vanilla ice cream).

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Photo of TMoney2591
4.52/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Served in a snifter at the Beer Market in Lincolnshire.

Finally putting down my thoughts on the 10% version of this ridiculousness. It pours a nearly opaque black-brown topped by a finger of light sandy tan foam. The nose comprises light molasses, mild wintergreen, cola, and even a bit of cocoa and maple syrup. Frankly, it smells like root beer. Yup. The taste brings in more of the same, a traditional-tasting root beer with a slight intimation that there might be some alcohol back there somewhere. Imagine your uncle (not the creepy one, though) surreptitiously spiking his own soda during an otherwise boring family party, then possibly (you're not entirely sure, though) doing the same for you, despite your youth. Yup. The body is a fluffy medium, with a moderate carbonation and a sorta/kinda drying finish. Overall, a damn tasty beverage, one that combines my love for a well-made root beer with my love for a good-tasting beer. I can't say this vehemently enough: GET SOME!

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Photo of woodychandler
3.89/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Here we are on another New Beer Sunday & since everything that I have planned for today comes in a 22-fl oz bottle format, mine will be New Bomber Sunday. I procured this at The Friendly Greek Bottle Shop when it was widely released & set it aside for a moment when the spirit would move me to open it. I guess that today is the day!

From the bottle: "Limited Edition Brew"; "We like to think of it as a dark spiced ale with vanilla and honey."; "Best served chilled or poured in a glass over ice."; "We know you'll enjoy it ... we do."

Once I Pop!ped off the cap, I began a moderately gentle pour as 22-oz is a LOT of liquid to have get out of control. Believe me, that kind of stupidity once caused me to have to purchase a new computer. 8=( It foamed up pretty good, initially, which was cause of alarm until it fell back to for a finger of dense, light-tan head with good retention. Color was Dark Brown to Very Dark Brown (SRM = > 27, < 34) with NE-quality clarity & garnet highlights. Nose smelled very much like root beer pop, but it came off as really sweet for my taste. Mouthfeel was big, full and creamy, VERY evocative of root beer pop. How does one describe root beer? It has an herbal, root taste, along the lines of sarsaparilla or birch and in this case, the vanilla was also easily discernible. The only thing marring (?) the illusion for me was the burn of the alcohol on the tongue. I realize that it is a relatively high ABV beer, but it was not doing anything to hide it, either. Finish was initially quite sweet, with the sugariness of the honey & the taste of the vanilla really leading the charge, but on the extreme finish, it had a dry warmth as the alcohol seemed to burn in my sinuses. It was a curiosity more than anything else for me, but having satisfied my curiosity, I probably will not be returning to it.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
3.37/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Dark cola / stout body with a thin beige cap. Aromas of vanilla, cola, booze, honey. Like the 5.9% version, but the alcohol is all jacked up in this variant. Sweeter and boozier. Sticky palate. Best shared several ways.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.5/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

650 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Deep brown. Medium khaki head. Thin collar.

Smell - Smells like root beer. Lots of sugar. Vanilla. Has a vanilla extract aroma.

Taste - Sweet. Lots of spices. It's root beer. A little malty in the back. Lots and lots of vanilla.

Mouthfeel - Medium heavy. Medium low carbonation.

Overall - It's loaded with vanilla. It's just root beer with alcohol. Way too sweet for me.

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Photo of WoodBrew
4.43/5  rDev +8.3%
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'll have a bunch of drunk adolescents!!! The beer was root beer in 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 MasterSki
4.07/5  rDev -0.5%
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 Hopheadjeffery
4.27/5  rDev +4.4%
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 GreesyFizeek
3.96/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bottle purchased at Nathaniel Square Corner in Rochester, NY.

This pours a pretty dark brown and syrupy looking color, with a nice foamy head, and a little bit of lacing.

Smells like alcoholic root beer- what did you expect? There's tons of vanilla, and typical root beer spicing, licorice, sugar. It smells like diabetes in a glass- in a good way (?).

It's hard to determine whether or not this is better than the 5.7% version. It's thicker and creamier than that version, and for the first 8 oz or so of this bomber, it's more enjoyable. So much vanilla, creamy and sweet, with the unmistakable root beer (syrup) taste to it. However, as it warms, and you get further it, it gets tiresome. 22 oz bottles of this are really quite silly- no one needs that much of this beer. As the beer warms, the booze shows a little bit, and makes the whole thing a bit medicinal. It gets too sweet, and almost cough-syrupy, with a slight menthol type taste coming out. I could not finish the bomber, which is too bad, because I really did enjoy the first 8 oz or so of it.

This has a very syrupy mouthfeel, with a lower level of carbonation.

Certainly interesting, and there's nothing like it. I could only drink very small amounts of this, though, 22 oz is absurd.

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Photo of kscaldef
3.36/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I have severely mixed feelings about this beverage. It's delicious. It certainly tastes just like root beer. But, perhaps too much so. To be honest, it tastes like they brewed the most flavorless beer possible, then just added root beer syrup to it. Or as they admit on the label "vanilla extract, natural and artificial flavors, and caramel coloring".

I'm not opposed to brewing with adjuncts, but this might as well just be a can of soda with a shot of vodka added. And, yes, I'm dinging it on appearance for using artificial coloring.

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Photo of barnzy78
3.58/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at World of Beer - Naperville, IL
A - dark brown-mahogany body with zero head
S - root beer
T - tastes like root beer initially; vanilla and spicy, very sweet, but the spices ride out the finish a bit more than I'd like. It's a bit odd; it might be the heavy alcohol with the spices combination that's not working for me
M - full body, lower carbonation, spicy finish
O - overly sweet, very boozy, not particularly what I want to drink when I want a beer. It is good for what it is, but I doubt I'd get it again.

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Photo of rjp217
1.99/5  rDev -51.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.5

Cheap boozy syrup in my opinion. I could barely stomach it not because of the sweetness (it's less sweet than the 5.9) but because the schnapps like booze. I don't really get the root beer, it's just high ABV syrup. This is a pretty controversial "beer" and I can see why. You're either gonna love it or hate it.

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Photo of mynie
2.68/5  rDev -34.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

On tap at some joint outside Schaumberg.

It's a more alcoholic, and sweet, version of their lower ABV rootbeer. Same cloying sweetness, same pretty good spice profile, only with a little bit of a booze burn on the finish.

I really don't know what to make of these guys. They're doing a better job of making alcoholic rootbeers than Sam Adams or Sprecher, so that's worth something. But I brewed enough to realize 1)that I suck at brewing, and 2) it's relatively easy for a not that great a brewer to make a decent brew if they're willing to go eXtreme. And this is the eXtreme-iest beer-like product I ever did quaff. So much so that I do not think it should be categorically considered beer. There's still some amount of craft here, and it's okay to appreciate that, but there was a craft to Zima that set it apart from Smirfnoff Ice and Skyy Blue (seriously, not kidding, it was way better than those). I don't mean that as an insult--I actually liked Zima, for what it was--but I think we're getting into weird territory in reviewing this as beer.

Does that mean it's bad? No. But viewed as a beer, by beer standards, it falls short. It's far too sweet. It's not complex beyond it's rather simple SWEET + BURN formula. By all means, drink it and enjoy it, but it's not good by beer standards.

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Photo of scottfrie
2.92/5  rDev -28.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

22oz bottle split into two 10oz tulips.

A: The alcohol is noticeable from the pour as this pours much more viscous and heavier than the original. The head is not as soda-like and fizzy either. Wispy lace was left down the glass.
S: Vanilla and cola-like notes dominate the nose along with hints of licorice, sarsaparilla, and volatile booze.
T: Rough booze up front followed by root beer flavors, mostly vanilla, sarsaparilla, and caramel. I get a touch of wood, mint, and licorice, and the finish is full of spices. Tastes a bit like if you add vodka to root beer. It’s not as sweet as the original, but it’s also not as smooth or enjoyable. The aftertaste is blend of sickly caramel and medicinal flavors. Actually I’m getting the medicinal note throughout the entire flavor. Definitely more beer-like overall.
M: Viscous and syrupy body is similar to that of root beer except with a heavy alcoholic slickness. Carbonation is toned down too from the booze; definitely not as soda-like as the original. The alcohol is “hot” at first, but it is rough around the edges and distracting. As the beer warms, the booze has a warming finish and becomes a chore to drink.
O: If you like the six-pack version, don’t buy this. As a beer, it’s pretty rough. As an alcoholic root beer, just go get some vodka and make your own.

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Photo of Dope
4.24/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Dark cola brown pour. Small light brown head that dissipates quickly and leaves little lacing.

S: Smells like root beer. Strong and sweet.

T: Root beer, of course. Very sweet, very heavy on the vanilla.

M: Heavy and sticky.

O: Not a lot to say, it tastes like the original but just twice as sweet, heavy and alcoholic.

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Photo of DoubleSimcoe
4.41/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I thought I would hate this, but l loved it. It tastes like the best root beer ever, well crafted, artisanal, with all the right spices... but it is a beer. A 10% beer.

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Photo of tbryan5
4.04/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A- Pours a dark, dark. brown. Almost black with a fizzy cola like head.
S- Sassafras and root beer.
T- Very sweet and kind of wood like. Just a little booze on the end.
M- Low carbonation and very slick. Medium body.
D- As good or better that the original. Couldn't finish a bomber of it because of how sweet it is.

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Photo of buschbeer
4.54/5  rDev +11%
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 Keananmichael5
4.39/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I love this beer so much! This one is so much better then the 6% also. The taste is not as sweet as the 6% which makes it more drinkable and balanced.

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Photo of Kevinpitts
4.5/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hard to compare this to beers on this site. That said, if you like root beer, this is great. Better than the 5.9% version. This version tastes more like root beer and isn't cloyingly sweet like the other version. Very good IF you like root beer.

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Photo of mfnmbvp
4.32/5  rDev +5.6%
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 Treyliff
4.18/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22oz bottle poured into an oversized wine glass

Appearance looks lie root beer with a foamy off white head that eventually disappears. Smells very similar to the 5% version, perhaps a bit more sassafras in the aroma and more alcohol. Flavor follows the nose and adds a bit more sassafras root flavor, alcohol is more noticeable. Medium bodied with foamy mouthfeel and finish. A tasty root beer that still manages to hide the alcohol pretty well, but not as drinkable as the 5.9% version

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Not Your Father's Root Beer (10.7%) from Small Town Brewery
4.09 out of 5 based on 722 ratings.
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