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

Brewer Patriot Collection - 1790 Root Beer BrewBrewer Patriot Collection - 1790 Root Beer Brew
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Herb and Spice Beer
2.61 | pDev: 26.82%
Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
Massachusetts, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Brewer Patriot Collection - 1790 Root Beer BrewBrewer Patriot Collection - 1790 Root Beer Brew
Notes: 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.
Reviews: 183 | Ratings: 203 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by tgbljb:
Photo of tgbljb
2.82/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Poured a cloudy apricot color with tannish foamy head. Much particulate matter present. Attractive lacing.
Smell is a rich combination of herbs and spices, with sassafras, vanilla, and wintergreen being detected. There are others there, but I am unable to specifically identify them
Taste also shows lots of spices and herbs and while they combine nicely, they also have there own separate taste sensations.
Finishes with a strong bitterness, that does not fit in well with the rest of the flavors.
Rich and creamy mouthfeel.
Drinkability is poor.
One of the most unique beers I have ever tasted. One taste is enjoyable, the next taste is not. Very strange beer.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of cameraman
1.76/5  rDev -32.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

A dark amber color with hints og orange at the bottom of the glass. A quater inch beige head forms, but it disappears very quickly. The aroma of sweetness, much like root beer soda, vanilla and licorice scents are the most dominant. The flavor is a blast of several spices from vanilla to a nutmeg flavor, the honey gives it a sweetness, but is overshadowed by the preceding flavors. Drinkability, man it is a hard one to get down, it just does not work. It is however, a nice effort by Sam Adams in show us what could be found in taverns in eighteenth century America.

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Photo of GCBrewingCo
1.98/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

The beer poured into the glass hazy deep copper with an off-white tannish head which rose slightly with a tightly bubbled appearance and lasted enough to lace the glass.

The aroma was birch- and root-beer with a strong and raw earthy root vegetable character (parsnips and carrots). The aroma contained a bit of phenolic alcohol which tickled the nasal passages with the esters off the beer. A strong peat character was also present.

The flavor was sweet with similar character to the aroma, birch/root. The flavor was also earthy with those same raw root vegetable characteristics. A light smoky character was present and was not well done at all. It clouded the flavor and made for a harshness quality of peat in the beer.

The finish was dry with lasting character from birch/root and mostly peat long and not pleasantly into the aftertaste. The body was just medium and the carbonation was moderate, but not creamy in the mouthfeel. Skip this one, just a mess of flavors.

12 ounce bottle, No.4 in the series.

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Photo of merlin48
2.84/5  rDev +8.8%
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 yelterdow
2.87/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Served in a tasting tulip at cellar temperature. Best by October, 2006.

Appearance- Pours a clear, orange/russet with a 2½" head that also displays an orange tint. Sporadic lacing, nothing much left in the wake. Definitely a nice glow to the beer, though.

Smell- Wow... memories of sarsaparilla soda from a glass bottle many years ago... wintergreen pipe tobacco, root beer flavored "Bottle Cap" candy. Incredibly unique and daring from Sam Adams.

Taste- Molasses galore, wintergreen, licorice... a bit harsh on the tongue and the aftertaste lasts forever.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- Great mouthfeel right up until the final pour with the sediment, then it goes almost completely flat. The rough edges regarding the spices and their lack of integration make this one almost impossible to completely get through... it had some good moments, though.

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Photo of AndIWantYou
2/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

In some ways, I'm glad I bought this special edition pack before I read the BA reviews of its beers. This is a pretty terrible beer, but I'm impressed at the attempt. More specifically...

Appearance: I actually really dig the rich reddish brown of this beer. It's unfiltered so pretty opaque. I didn't notice much lacing or head retention, but then, I don't pay much attention to that anymore.

Smell: As another BA put it, I'd hang this in my car. It smells sweet and malty, with a hint of the root beer flavors I'm about to experience with its...

Taste: In a word: cloying. In another word: overload. In lots of words: I have never tasted herbs and spices quite so "distinctly" in a beer. I can definitely pick out the mint and licorice flavors. It tastes like they used a whole pile of sassafrass parts to make this thing. No real indication of alcohol, but there's definitely more to it than a standard root beer. The aftertaste is just ridiculous; my breath feels like I ate licorice jellybeans until I puked and then chewed 6 packs of Winterfresh to cover up the taste.

Mouthfeel: So-so. I don't have much to say about this. Not the best, but not the worst either.

Drinkability: Never again. I didn't pour it out, though.

Don't let all these negative reviews stop you from trying this, though: someone in Boston thought this was worth selling, and this is bound to be someone's favorite beer somewhere. Just not me... or my wife... or anyone else I know...

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
2.39/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Dark coppery orange with a reddish tint and a handful of small to medium-sized floaters. It's a great looking color, but now I feel stupid for expecting it to look like root beer. The large head is orangish ecru in color, has a wonderful creamyfirm texture and looks as if it'll leave a good bit of lace... which it's already beginning to do.

I liked the nose more when it was farther away than I like it up close. When it was on the coaster it smelled quite a bit like root beer. It doesn't hold up nearly as well when focused on however. Too much wintergreen perhaps? The nose is unlike any beer that I've ever smelled, I'll give it that. Something tells me that I'll be able to say the same about the flavor.

This is interesting beer without a doubt, but I can't give it a thumbs up. I was concerned when I read the list of ingredients because it seemed like too many things, with far too much clash potential, have been added. It looks like I was right on that call, the flavor profile is way too busy and confused.

Although there's a considerable amount of sweetness, neither one of the sweeteners (molasses, honey) is appreciated in terms of flavor. Vanilla, likewise, is buried beneath the wreckage. I'm not convinced that I know what sassafras tastes like, so I'll punt on that one. Wintergreen and licorice hold sway... and don't add up to anything worthwhile as far as I'm concerned. Muddled, disjointed, peculiar. No thanks.

As always, it's hard to sort out the mouthfeel in the midst of so much taste bud distress. I like it though, it's medium with a praiseworthy amount of smoothness and subdued amount of carbonation that keeps things on the silky side.

1790 Root Beer Brew is the last of the Brewer Patriot Collection and is the worst by a fairly wide margin. I applaud the brewery's decision to break out of the mold and try something different, but I would have preferred good beer to authentic beer. Concentrating on a few flavors rather than dumping every Colonial-era ingredient into the brew kettles that they could think of would have made for a much better product.

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Photo of Guinness4me
3.64/5  rDev +39.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

(I'll try to ignore my BA buddy's gagging sounds as she smells this.)

It poured a dark tan with little head.

The first whiff was straight-up rootbeer but a swirl and a sniff later brought out the skunky licorice odor. My nose must be numb since my third sniff noticed nothing.

(Now ignorning the gags as she sips it.)

The taste...what can I say. Melted horehound candy mixed with a little sugar and rootbeer? That's a start. I've had spiced beer before, but this one is in a class all it's own. It's true to its promised taste. The impending burps bring a pumpkin pie taste to the party. An odd little farmhouse kick at the end wasn't expected and added to it's complexity.

The mouthfeel is smooth and I get a bit of a burn at the end. At 5.5, I don't think its an alcohol burn but just a spice burn.

Unless you've got your heart set on licorice/rootbeer flavor, this is not the beer for you. I'd drink it again if I get the urge.

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Photo of blitheringidiot
2.57/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Semi-unfiltered hazy cloudy brassy toned brew with a razor thin collar ring.

Aromatic blast of liquorice piercing overwhelms the nose. Some latex rubbery aspects peak out. This is reflexive of a huge amount of ingredients.

First swigs: Thick wall of liquorice sizzle assaults the flavor. Secondary flavors are like a boot stuck in the mud of molasses, vanilla yogurt, honey, and an undercurrent of smokiness. Complexity abounds.

Sizzle feel is a sandpaper to the tongue. Virtually a dare to drink.

Last swigs: If you want to die by a palate crushing anisette and black liquorice...

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Photo of cubedbee
2.8/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

12 oz bottle to be enjoyed by October, pours a dark murky copper, finger of white head which vanishes quickly, small amount of lacing. Smell is full of sassafras and anise, very strong, not really anything else going. Taste is strong and cloying, sweet molasses, strong licorice, minty wintergreen, finishes with a lingering root beer aftertaste. This is defnitely and interesting beer, but it's too much, taking on a medicinal quality after half a glass, couldn't finish the whole thing. I'm glad I tried this beer as it's pretty neat to experience what a real hisorical root beer might taste like, but this isn't something I'd ever want to drink again.

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Photo of ppoitras
2.08/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

12oz bottle purchased from Yankee Spirits, Sturbridge, MA, as part of the 4 btl Brewer Patriot collection.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed 1/4" tan head over the murky dark amber brew. Head seems to hold steady, with nice lacing. Aroma is fierce licorice with an underlying sweetness. Think Good & Plenty candy. Taste pretty much mimics the nose, sweet Good & Plenty, with some late tartness. Mouthfeel and drinkability are pretty much just bad. As time passes, it seems to get worse. Too much sweet, too much tart, too much licorice. Wouldn't want this one again.

<edit - couldn't finish, drainpour>

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Photo of smcolw
3.3/5  rDev +26.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

I think how one views this beer is completely dependent on the expectation. When I was in college, I made an alcoholic root beer. Remembering that flavor, this is a wonderful beer. My expectation was to taste something akin to Hires and Vodka. This is far more interesting. Would I drink this regularly? Absolutely not. But I think my fellow BA raters have been a tad bit harsh; I would recommend trying this with an open mind.

Cloudy, mid-amber with a single-bubble head; good lace.

The aroma is like a cross between soft root beer and a brown ale.

The flavor is very sweet, perhaps too much. Strong vanilla flavors. Nice spiciness in the after the swallow. Overall, quite complex.

Certainly not the typical fare and it suffers from that. A great beer to give blindly with the words "this will not be like anything you've ever tried before." I applaud the experimentation.

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Photo of Stimack
2.42/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

This brew pours to a murky brown color with a tan head that has a yellowish tint to it. The aroma is mostly of liquorish with some malt scent; actually it does not smell that appealing unfortunately. Hopefully it tastes better that the aroma. Well … this is not good, has a strong liquorish taste with a vanilla essence. Has a bit of a spicy flavor that breaks to a hop like finish. This is not a brew for me; too much liquorish flavoring that for some reason is turning me off. Guess it just is not for me, unfortunately.

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Photo of arguemaniac
3.37/5  rDev +29.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This beer is as interesting asit is unusual. A sharp, earthy sarsaparilla dominates the aroma. The palate features intense sarsaparilla (a bit like a really pungent carrot really), some mildly biting mint, a sort of smokiness I can’t quite put my finger on and a number of other very spicy and earthy herbal flavors. The distinctly herbal flavor profile kinda reminds me of many pumpkin ales. While the flavor is rich, and a bit loud, frankly, the mouthfeel is on the lighter side.

Certainly not something I would drink on an ordinary basis but an interesting trek of the beaten path. But, it probably won't blow your mind, or you might just find the strangeness off-putting. Recommended (especially if you like something unusual).

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Photo of kbnooshay
2.55/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

a-This poured an ambery orange color with a thin tan head. There was tons of carbonation sticking to the glass and shooting up the sides. Quite hazy too.

s-This smells like a really spicey cracked out root beer! It is incredibly herbal. Smells like an herbal cough drop.

t-HOLY CRAP MOLASSES! This taste here is mostly licorice and brown sugar. Kinda medicinal also. This was interesting at first but halfway through it gets unbearable. It is so unbalanced and wacky.

mf/d-The mouthfeel is sticky and tingly from the carbonation. I wanted this beer to be my before bed beer but there is so much sugar in this damn thing I will be up all night. Plus it tastes like shit. The spices are so potent and sweet that this brew doesn't come close to being drinkable.

This tastes so awful ifeel like there should be some crazy old fashioned healing power to it. The historical value is cool but that doesn't make it tasty!

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Photo of bobstockwell
2.41/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

An interesting 4 pk..but this was by far my least favorite of the group. It was honest in its description of flavors...And it did taste like root beer...with licorice...lots and lots of licorice. It was an unusual experiment..but it just doesn't work. Too sweet, too many uncomplimentary tastes to be enjoyable. This is definately one that will not make it into regular sasonal production.

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Photo of Hibernator
3.15/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Sam Adams 1790 Root Beer
12 oz brown bottle
Served in a 20 oz tulip pint glass

* Enjoyed with LB *

Pours a cloudy orange color. Spotted trails of lace.

The nose is unique with strong whiffs of peppermint, honey and herbs. The smell of this brew instantly reminded me of a shot of Jagermeister.

Sweet root beer and sugary sweetness. Hints of wintergreen candy, ginger and chewy, gum flavors.

An interesting beer style to say the least. Starts off strong, but becomes more and more difficult to drink with each sip. Worth trying for the novelty, but drinkability level is average at best.

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Photo of Gagnonsux
1.82/5  rDev -30.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

1790 Root Beer is a cloudy rusty copper color with a tall, light brown head. Aroma is a combination of licorice and wintergreen, and probably a few other herbs/etc I can't place. To my nose, this is not appetizing. As for flavor, there is plenty of it here, yet I do not like any of the ones being offered. Licorice and wintergreen flavors dominate, with honey in the background. Molasses is noted as well. To me, these flavors are too harsh and unpleasent for me to enjoy this beer. I poured this down the drain after about 5 sips.

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Photo of seedee17
2.44/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This is one weird beer. Kind of makes me appreciate the abundance of choices that we have today, as far as beer and it's quality. Before I even review, I should note that I have a real aversion to anything anise flavored. That said, the main smell and flavor of this beer are anise. I'm sure that there were other flavors in there, but all I could focus on was the sambucaness of it all. Trying to be a good B.A. and remain objective in my review is basically impossible, since I've never had another Root 'Beer' as a reference point. So despite the low score I really do dig the historical aspect of this beer and am glad I had the opportunity to taste something like the colonists would have drank. How far we've come.

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Photo of bigone4
2.35/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

This beer was very different and interesting to say the least. It poured a dark hazy amber color with a mild off white head that dissipated rather quickly. Smells like ginger and other spices. Slight black birch (sassafras smell) mixed with a slight honey sweetness. It rally has the smell of a mix of cream soda and root beer soda. There is a definite spiciness to this brew. There were subtle tones of Vanilla with more molasses and that strong ginger flavor. It is quite tough to drink. Smells good and looks decent but the taste is quite overpowering. There is a strong bitter ginger aftertaste very sweet initial taste. This beer may be brewed true to the old style but that is why we progress. It is neat that this is what used to be brewed but times have changed and I am glad for that. Interesting and fun to try but I will certainly not miss this concoction of a beer. Too much going on here and way too sweet. This was a pretty tough beer to choke down.

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Photo of kmpitz2
2.73/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12 oz bottle. This one pours a solid coppered orange color, with a minimalistic head that sits as a full coating over top. The clarity is only minimal, with no real carbonation working out of solution. The aroma is definately herbal. Lots of anise, with a big wood-like character, tannin almost, with a wintergreen sharpness in the end. Interesting. Flavor is very earthy. I get the same flavors that I got in the aroma. Moderate anise, tannin and a good and solid wintergreen flavor. This tastes a bit like I just brushed my teeth. I find the mouthfeel to be pretty dry. As far as thickness, it is moderate, with a light carbonation. I'm not a big fan of the aroma and flavor. It definately conveys herbal to me, but it is almost like I have been chewing on some leaves and twigs. These are not flavors I really like in my beer. Interesting to say the least.

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Photo of Franchise
3.85/5  rDev +47.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cloudy burnt orange very beautiful that leaves a very thin tan lace. The aroma is vanilla, licorise, some orange and a hint of lemon, followed by a distinct hops presence, sassperilla, orange molasses. The taste starts bitter, malty vanilla, orange, very herbal a flavor I assume all the beers in this series will be heavy on. The taste continues with a grapefruit bitterness and finishes sweet on the tongue. I like this beer, but this is a one and done treat for me def not an all night sipper.

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Photo of DrJay
2.55/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Received as part of Secret Bunny '07 from cburian. Thanks Chris!

This one poured a light brown/amber colour, fair clarity. The (very) thin head did manage to stick around for quite a while and formed a bit of lacing. Whoa! That's an intense aroma! Very medicinal and herbal, spicy, licorice, sugary, like old fashioned root beer, quite minty too. The same kind of flavours happen in the flavour, but it starts out syrupy and sweet. Licorice and earthy middle, lingering mint. Syrupy body with lowish carbonation, kind of cloying. This is a really interesting beer and I kinda like it, but definitely one that's near impossible to finish alone. It does start to even out after a while - maybe my tastebuds were just burned away and I don't know it yet - but overall it's just way too intense. I can still detect the minty aftertaste, kind of like the lingering toothpaste flavour about 20 minutes after you've brushed your teeth. Cool experiment though.

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Photo of OStrungT
2.26/5  rDev -13.4%
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 connecticutpoet
2.73/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.5

Brewer Patriot Collection - 1790 Root Beer Brew from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
Beer rating: 64 out of 100 with 203 ratings