Brewer Patriot Collection - 1790 Root Beer Brew | Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)

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Brewer Patriot Collection - 1790 Root Beer BrewBrewer Patriot Collection - 1790 Root Beer Brew
203 Ratings
Brewer Patriot Collection - 1790 Root Beer BrewBrewer Patriot Collection - 1790 Root Beer Brew

Brewed by:
Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
Massachusetts, United States

Style: Herb and Spice Beer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Named after the year when hard root beers soared in popularity with colonial drinkers, the brew features ingredients such as blackstrap molasses, sassafras root bark, dried wintergreen, and licorice.

Added by Todd on 06-03-2006

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 203 |  Reviews: 183
Reviews by SuperSpy:
Photo of SuperSpy
2.52/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

The beer is brown and cloudy with a rocky off-white head that left behind some nice lacing. Plenty of particulate matter getting jostled around by the rising CO2 bubbles.

The beer smells of licorice, but the taste is of A&W and dirt. I'm not sure if I like this or dislike this though. I pick up licorice, wintergreen, and a very earthy flavor that I can only compare to dirt. The aftertaste isn't pleasant either. Again, I don't know if I 100% like or dislike this. As my roommate put it, it's a lot like tasting beer for the first time. The initial taste turns you away, but you keep coming back to it.

I wouldn't recommend this to anyone. I have homemade rootboot that got wild yeast in it and it tastes better than this.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
3.1/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

The beer I was the most skeptical in the Brewmasters Collection pack and now I can see why.Poured adull amber with a thinner but well retained white head,very unique qromas definently not anything I have ever come across in any brew I have had to date,wintergreen and sasparilla dominate with some medicinal-like qualities.I have to say to start up front I liked it but after a few sips I noticed the cloying sweetness and the over the top medicinal flavors creeping in the wintergreen flavors are unique and somewhat pleasing but whole bit of different roots and vanilla sweetness was a bit much to overcome.Well I am glad I tried it,it seems like it could be a cold weather soother but thats about it I wouldnt drink again for any other reason.

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Photo of orbitalr0x
3.12/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

The 1790 Root Beer Brew pours from the 12oz bottle into my tulip glass an opaque, somewhat murky dark brown with red accents and a half inch of bubbly light tan head on top. The aroma is suprisngly nice and akin to many handcrafted herbal root beers I've tried in the past. Sassafras jumps out with a slightly roasted maltiness. As I swirl the glass and inhale the wintergreen comes out more. Licorice root is there with a touch of vanilla as well. A bit grainy, but overall I enjoy the intense herbal aroma of this one.

First sip brings a wall of molasses laced maltiness that's followed by an herbally one-two punch of sassafrass and wintergreen. Flows down with a bit of toastiness, a hint of vanilla and plenty of licorice in the mix as well. Sort of a stingy herbal bitterness on the finish. Well, unlike the aroma the flavor ends up being more of an herbal assault and the root beer ends up getting lost. I could see this being brewed up in a big black cauldron somwhere. Ultimately it's just too much with each sip making me less excited to take the next.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with sturdy carbonation and a bit of a syrupy quality, presumably from the molasses. The drinkability here is basically nil. One bottle is more than enough (maybe even too much) for one person. An interesting, unique experiment all the same, but not a brew I could ever really say I'd want to have again. Guess I'll just have to wait for the next Sam Adams special release!

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Photo of blitz134
2.58/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

My first of the series...been in my cabinet for about a month and while doing a reorganization I decided I need to start working on these...I know they have gotten mixed reviews...but I was more interested for the historical nature of the set...

Truthfully there isn't much to complain about with the appearance, its a somewhat clear bodied brew, caramel in color, with a nice thick off-white head on top that really stays for a while. Lots of floats recirculate in the glass with the massive amount of carbonation in this.

The aroma is definately unique, stuff I'm not all that familiar with. Definate notes of sassafras, reminds me of tasting the seed pods on trees I have found in the woods, and definate hints of the wintergreen come through, kind of a spearmint edge. A little caramel malting as well.

Interesting...wish I could leave it at that. This has more sassafras than what I'm used to in a root beer. So...tons of sassafras with a strange spiced concoction mixing in with it. Its just a lot different than what I expected really. Is it bad?...hard to say...just not what I'm used to, so its hard to slam it too hard for that, there are plenty of things I didn't like when I first had them (beer for instance...and we see where that went).

Mouthfeel is thin to medium bodied, kinda creamy in a lot of ways. I expected it to be a bit more crisp from all of the carbonation bubbles I saw.

Drinkability...yeah...I'd give it a 4.5 for "undrinkability". This is just out of the realm of what I'm used to. A bit too over the top, my guess is that the sassafras might not have been the main focus in these beers in the past, it needs some more typical beer characteristics to make this one something I would even consider again.

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Photo of chOAKbarrell
3.45/5  rDev +31.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Reddish brown color with an enduring head. The first smell that strikes me is wintergreen, making me think of toothpaste. There's another spice under the wintergreen that has an almost smokey quality to it. Tastes good to me - like a light root beer with the addition of alcohol. The mouthfeel is very light, making this an unintimidating dark(er) beer to drink on a hot July day.

I liked this beer & had no objections to it. I figure if I'm going to drink root beer, I at least want it to have alcohol in it. I could see this beer having some mainstream success, if BBC decides to have a regular release for it.

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Photo of lordofthewiens
2.9/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Recipe #4 from the Patriot Collection, best drunk by 10/06. Not my favorite in the collection. It was a cloudy dark amber color with a thin coffee-colored head. Interesting aroma. It smelled like root beer, but had a distinctly spicy aroma. The taste was overly sweet, with too much wintergreen. Fairly thin in the mouth. Try one and move on.

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Photo of Todd
3.14/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 1

1790 Root Beer Brew. Authentic Recipe No 4. Best enjoyed before October 2006. Cloudy, reddish colored brew with coppery amber hues around the edges. Large carbonation bubbles produce a worthy white lacing, but it doesn't last more than a minute or two and leaves some wispy foam in its place.

Massive minty nose, with soft sassafras, vanilla, a wet and earthy root character, and gingery suggestions. Very spicy. Tangy.

Medium bodied, with a smooth and even consistency. Quick flash of uplifting carbonation scrubs the palate. The beer hits very spicy with cracked black pepper all over the place, almost gingery at times. Rich and robust molasses tanginess and deep sweetness blends well with delicious notes of licorice and an almost hidden and deeply embedded vanilla, while a raw and intensely herbal sassafras dominates - we're talking an extreme sassafras presence! Wet root or green twig notes flavors. Touch of sourness and some lemon-like characters, blended with the sweetness, brings to mind Asian sweet-n-sour-style sauces. Suggestions of fresh, wet tobacco. Big fresh minty leafy character sticks into the finish and lingers long. Raw floral honey notes pull through as the beer warms. And once the wintergreen sticks to the palate, it doesn't let go ... allowing you to enjoy its properties for quite sometime. Finish is a bit rough and raw.

The most complex and intriguing beer out of the Brewer Patriot Collection 4-pack. The experience is intense, but truly brings your sense and mind back to another era of elixir enjoyment. That said, it's not an easy brew to get down your neck, but this could be quite fun to cook with.

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Photo of Jason
2.15/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

12 brown bottle with a "Best Enjoyed Before October 2006" freshness date.

A- Murky brownish amber color, a little heady but dies down to a ring of lace.

S- Aromas of old fashion sarsaparilla soda, earth and raw sugars.

T&M- Cloying sweetness, rough herbal flavors. Wood fire char. Mild carbonation in a full body. Astringent finish.

D- After a few hard sips I deemed this as the most interesting beer this month, sadly it was impossible to finish. Kudos to Boston Beer Company for trying something really different.

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Photo of merlin48
2.84/5  rDev +8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Pours a hazed rust hued body, topped by a small, offwhite head that quickly falls away. Aroma is pungent with herbs, mostly sassafras. I really enjoy the aroma of this. Quite fragrant! Anise, clove, and wintergreen compliment the sassafras. Mouthfeel is ight bodied, with medium carbonation. Taste echoes the nose, with sassafras, wintergreen, and clove, joined by a honey and molasses sweetness that quickly grows cloying. A very interesting brew, but not one I can handle. Simply too sweet, and the herbal essence is too overbearing.

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Photo of magictrokini
1.85/5  rDev -29.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Putrid beer. Poured clear brown with a ton of floaties. Smallish white head. Aroma was pleasant. It smelled like a bitter root beer with star anise and ginger. Too bad the flavor was terrible. Like a licorice beer. I think the other flavors were actually roots. Earthy and sticky, but in a starchy, dirty way. Why?

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Photo of ADR
3.11/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Hazy brownish-red, generates a decent 1/4 inch head that sticks to the glasses and forms lace. Has an interesting root beer aroma (generally attributed to sassafras), ginger and allspice, herbs, and molasses. Thick mouthfeel, carbonation a little less than medium. I don't find this as undrinkable at all, miles ahead of something like Lakefront Sorghum Beer. But it will be jarring to anyone expecting a modern root beer, or looking for a beer flavor. Lots of ginger, earthy bark, a sizzling pepper, and a tangy sweet and sour sauce impression. I'm also reminded of my days making homemade root beer as a kid and how much cane sugar is dumped into the boiling crock. And yeah, the aftertaste keeps giving and giving. Sure, a strange product, a little devoid of a profile in that it remains identical from start to finish. I like brewing history, and tend to believe it often depended on the products on hand, so this is interesting stuff to me.

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Photo of OStrungT
2.26/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

This beer pours a redish brown color with a light tan head. The head fades slowly, leaving a decent lacing.

This beer has a strong rootbeer aroma. It smells slightly like a band aid. Strange. Not much else too it.

This beer tastes odd. Slightly rubbery. Almost like I have a band aid on my tounge. Not much else to say about that.

This beer leaves a band aid aftertaste. I cant really describe the mouthfeel any other way.

This beer would make a terrable session beer. It tastes bad. I doubt I can drink the whole 12 ounces.

Overall: I dont like this beer at all. I am pissed off that I spent $10 on 4 12 ox bottles just to try this one. I feel screwed.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
2.76/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

(Served in a dimple mug)

A- This beer has a light brown shoe polish color that is clear with a thin ring of light tan head around the rim of the glass. There is a big carbonation of big bubbles.

S- The smell of wintergreen is soft with a faint root beer note then a big licorice smell combines with a sore-muscle cream smell that finishes with a soft cream soda note. The subtle smells are very nice and the overpowering smells are too much.

T- The big black licorice taste has a bitter green herbaceous flavor with a soft ginger bite and a slight herbal Vicks finish. There are some soft flavors of root beer hidden under the black licorice that are nice and would be great if the were the dominant flavor.

M- This beer has a medium-light mouthfeel with a slightly slippery texture.

D- These flavors a big and bitter with the good root beer flavors hiding in the back ground of the taste and smell. I didn't detect any malt flavors or hops even in the background. I couldn't finish this licorice, chest-rub but I'm sure it would do wonders if I rubbed some on my tennis elbow.

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Photo of mcarroll10177
1.56/5  rDev -40.7%
look: 5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

I am a Sam Adams fan and I enjoyed the novelty behind the Patriot Collection , but this beer should have been left in the past.

A- a beautiful looking beer. nice carmel brown color with a yellow head, not indicative of the horror to come

S- sassafass! and nothing else, not a good smell for a beer at all

T- just plain terrible, lots of herbs no crispness or any good beer qualities. Much more like an herbal tea than a beer.

M- balanced like all Boston Beer offerings

D- never never again, my sink drank a good part of this beer.

I applaud the attempt of the patriot collection. I like all the others, the Dark Wheat ale is brilliant, this should not have made the market.

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Photo of zjungleist
3.12/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Oh man. Where to start. Pours dull brown with a weak bone colored head (with a wicked case of chill haze, I might add). The smell is potent. Lots of licorice, some mint, sassafras, and some other unidentifiable earthy tones (perhaps the molasses). The taste has everything the smell has, plus some sugary notes. There is also an inconsistant aftertaste that is, at times, very bitter. Mouthfeel is a bit syupy, and carbonation is low. I can't really slam this beer, because it is probably very authentic. However, I didn't really enjoy it that much, and I fully understand why we have chosen hops as our prefered bittering agent.

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Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
3.05/5  rDev +16%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Least favorite of the Patriot collection. A nice novelty brew, nothing I could ever have again.

AP> Medium Amber/slightly cloudy. 1/4" thick head, dissipates fast leaving a tiny bit of lacing behind. Looks pretty good....

Smell: VERY herbal, spicey nose. Wicked sweet, vanilla and molasses...definate licorice.

Taste...oh boy. VERY strong, multi-flavored.Super spicey, SASSAFRAS!! Wintergreen, and licorice combines for an intesnse and rather mind numbing effect. I respect the idea here, but I couldn't finish my 12 oz'er. Got to the near end of the glass, just could'nt do it.

Feeling...light body, heady and invasive on the palate.

I'm glad I tried this, and I'm equally as glad I know I'll never have it again.

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Photo of Dewey0603
3.13/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

I bought this as a 4 pack Sam Adams special and thought this was too good to pass up. This beer pours a nice clear amber with a large orange white head. The smell is very strong with molasses,vanilla, and a birch beer aroma. The smells are unsual for beer,but keep in mind that this is a period beer. The taste is unlike any beer I've ever had. There are flavors of molasses,vanilla,licorice,honey,and hops. This is unusual and at time hard to choke down. The licorice flavor is very strong and overpowers the other flavors which leaves an unpleasant aftertaste. This period beer is unsual,but I applaud Sam Adams for trying something different.

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Photo of Seanish
3.26/5  rDev +24%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bought a Brewer Patriot Pack for my brother...then I saw a best by October 2006 so I don't know how the extra five months have affected the beers. Anyways, I had to try one so I picked the 1790 Root Beer.

It pours a light copper, the beer has a dense look and light does not penetrate much. It looks very unfiltered with little bits of things floating throughout.

It has a very pleasant licorice smell, licorice along with something else I couldn't put my finger on. Either way, the uniqueness of the smell for a beer invites you to drink it

The taste is unlike any beer I've had. It is faintly reminiscint of the smell. Earthy-licorice comes to mind. It starts of weak and comes on strong throughout a sip. I don't think it's bad, just very different.

The mouthfeel is different, like everything about this beer. It's a lot less carbonated than the beers I'm used to but I didn't even notice till I started to focus on the feel. I think the carbonation suits it well, too much and it was just seem like a bad soda. It leaves a slight oily feeling in your mouth but it isn't unpleasant.

I wouldn't say this is an undrinkable beer but I don't think I'd have more than one in a row. It was good to try just to see what kinds of non-traditional (compared to what's brewed nowadays) tastes are out there. I might not seek it out but I'd try it again if it came to me.

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Photo of pmcadamis
4.04/5  rDev +53.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

A - Russet brown with a decent sized head that has some longevity, and comes back with a swirl. A moderate amount of sparkling lace is left on the glass.

S - Sassafras, mint, clove, hay, herbs (thyme, rosemary, ect.). Smells a lot like Riccola lozenges. Wow! This is rustic! It reminds me of New Salem (a reconstructed village near Springfield IL that Abraham Lincoln lived, and where people dress up like villagers and cook, shoe horses, churn butter, ect.) Extremely unique. Outstanding!

T - Sweet sugary honey and vanilla flavors up front, followed by strong herbal flavors, mint, anise, and a bit of tangy hop. Tastes nothing like root beer, but more like a sassafras drink I once had as a kid when I was in Cub Scouts. Tastes very much like the nose... complex bitter herbs, grass, hay, earth, and Riii-Co-laaa! Very unique....could be off-putting if you didn't know what to expect.

M - Medium bodied and slick, with a course, gritty, dry finish.

D - Although I love the unique rustic farmyard and herb garden aspects of this beer, this isn't something I would want to drink regularly. I'll probably buy this 4-pack of heritage beers again next year, but I'm glad that you only get one of these.

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Photo of Golden2wenty1
3.23/5  rDev +22.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Picked up the Brewer Patriot Collection at Riley's here in Madison. A little pricey, but interest got the best of me.

Pours a cider-hazy mahogany with a nice creamy head that leaves a soapy streak down the pint.

Nose is dominated by anise in the front with a smooth vanilla cream, old-timey candy feel.

Taste is sweet, sweet enough that I know most BAs will lose it right at the beginning. Spices kick in nicely though with black licorice, root beer soda, molasses, and wintergreen gum with an almost skunky finish (the dank, good kind of skunk though).

Mouthfeel is substantial but not quite syrupy. Almost creamy with nice velvety carbonation.

This is a very unique "beer" experience. Probably a one and done die to the gravity and potency of spices. Would like to try it with some vanilla ice cream, love me a good float. Definitely more of a "brew" than a "beer". At second thought, if Jaegermeister made a beer, this is what it would taste like.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.02/5  rDev +52.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

I'm not sure that I've ever had a beer that was so accurately summed up by a description on a neck-label. It reads, "The intensity of this unfiltered brew is immediately evident with spicy, herbal notes of sassafras, wintergreen and licorice. These are balanced with the sweetness of caramelized sugar, molasses and vanilla". That's it, all right there, from the first whiff (which is intense!) to the final lingering notes of vanilla and sassafras in the finish.

Apart from that, it is a nice looking beer, with a hazy, unfiltered body of crimson and orange accented copper beneath a creamy yellowed-ivory head. The body is medium with a dextrinous feel, and it's delicate carbonation leaves it remarkably smooth.

As a spiced ale it's very well-balanced with a lot of character; and more importantly, distinguished characteristics - the specific flavors don't all run together into one muddled mess, and for that alone it deserves some kudos! As a brewer myself I can barely imagine how difficult this was to pull off - it either happened almost by itself or really required some work to pull it together.

But it's still not very drinkable. Don't get me wrong, I love the flavor of Sassafras (I used to make home-made tea with honey from the roots of a friends tree) and it's really there, pure and sweet; but it can be a little much in a beer.

I'm going to grab at least one more bottle though, and try it this year with Thanksgiving dinner. I usually have a pumpkin ale or two, and the Sam Adam's Cranberry Lambic or Old Fezziwig, but this one seems to be banging at the cellar door for a chance to get out and show its stuff. And on that point, I'd also imagine that this might be great to cook with! If you're at all adventurous give this a shot!

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Photo of cliff1066
2.5/5  rDev -4.9%

Photo of DESTRO
1.7/5  rDev -35.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

pours out a cloudy red with no real head. huge licorice shoots right up the nostrils along with a bit of mint and of course rootbeer. in the mouth its very strange, just like the nose, add alot of funk and finish with some vanilla. its a novelty beer for sure and while the 1st sip is interesting, it becomes disgusting pretty soon after.

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Photo of russpowell
3.19/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Let me preface by saying I love rootbeer...

Pours a hazy brown to chestnut color with a 1/2" white head. Beer start to clear as time passes. No lacing & minimal head retention

Smell: Sassafras & licorice up front, loving it

Taste: Huge sassafras with hints of lemon, licorice & jagermeister or cough sryup, but either work for me. Emphasis on the aforementioned overwhelms though. Finishes allover the map, might be mice to frink with a another beer as a quasi-chaser?

MF Thin to medium & outta balance. Undercarbonated

Just a little OTT with the flavors. this is a 1 & done ale. Reccomend trying this when the weather cools to see if it goes down easier. Give it a try

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Photo of bditty187
2.6/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Hazy, rusty orange in hue with a smattering of coppery-bronze; I like the color. A harder pour produced about two fingers of foam. Head retention wasn’t impressive; in mere moments all that remained was a soapy cap. No subsequent lace of note. Overall, the appearance is pleasant enough but nothing more than average.

At first sniff the nose was wonderful! I got loads of sassafras with a smidge of molasses and licorice. It smelled like some rocking Root Beer. When I went back for subsequent sniffs more wintergreen/mint with a vaguely sweet herbal menthol aroma developed. I am completely scared. Either the palate is going to be a homerun or a three pitch strikeout, looking to boot. Moderately high potency, very chatty… very complex; wow, the nose has so much going on but not much of it is good. I can’t call the nose inviting… it is drinking time nevertheless.

The palate is tame compared to the nose. With that said I am not solidly behind what I taste which is a muddled mess of honey, ginger, mint, and some kind of herbal sprig. I do like the molasses, brown sugar, and sassafras notes. What is killing the beer for me is the wintergreen. The aftertaste is root beer soda mixed with a menthol cigarette sans the smokiness. I don’t care much for the aftertaste. I can’t really rip the palate, I mean, it tastes like I’d expect it too with so many different ingredients used. Major props to SA for trying something like this. It just doesn’t work for me.

About medium in body, low carbonation, the mouthfeel is indifferent… average, and fitting I suppose.

Well, this is a wacky beer. I loved the idea. I even think it was executed well. I just don’t happen to like it. If it just had a tad stronger “root beer” taste it would have been better, I think. Likewise, some suggestion of alcohol might have offset the finishing sweetness. Maybe not. Like I said before, major kudos to BBC for trying something so different; I give it an “E” for effort but a “D” for drain pour however. I don’t think I can finish my glass. Thank you jwc215 for the bottle!

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Brewer Patriot Collection - 1790 Root Beer Brew from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
Beer rating: 2.63 out of 5 with 203 ratings