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Old 04-02-2013, 11:39 PM   #1
antiteam
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Default Looking to clone Not Your Father's Root Beer (Small Town Brewery)

I had this beer at a multitap outside of Chicago. It's pretty impressive. The reviews are spot on - it tastes exactly like root beer, very sweet, no alcohol taste or burn. Look and smell are just like root beer as well.

http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/24798/86622

I'm trying to figure out a clone. It's a small brewery, so not having a lot of luck finding anyone that has tried already.

Here's what I'm thinking may go into this:

  1. Pretty basic grain bill to produce a 10% beer. Low bitterness is key.
  2. Use one of those root beer flavorings sold by brewing stores for making your own pop. Add before fermentation.
  3. Either backsweeten with aspertame (guessing this is how the brewery does it, based on the taste) or filter and backstreet with sugar

I'm planning on reaching out to the brewer to see if he can provide any feedback or direction. Haven't had time lately, as I'm in the middle of a move to Kansas City. In the meantime, would love thoughts from anyone that has tried something similar. Thanks!
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Old 04-03-2013, 02:27 AM   #2
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I am subscribed as I want to know how yours turns out. I've attempted hard root beer three times with poor results. The first time was a mead, the latter two were beers. The mead was easily the worst. The first beer attempt I attempted to brew with root beer spices, the second time I used a flavor extract.

I would say go light on the hops. You can backsweeten with Splenda as well. Sprecher makes a root beer syrup, as opposed to an extract, that could be used for backsweetening and flavoring as long as you can either suspend or filter the yeast.

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Old 04-03-2013, 03:36 AM   #3
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Funny story about this beer. We went to a local World of Beer for a couple. World of Beer does not serve food, but they have a very open BYOF policy. This couple comes in and they order some "Not your Father Rootbeer", and proceed to pull all a tub of french vanilla ice-cream. They made root beer floats out of it, genius!

And the stuff is real gooood.

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Old 04-03-2013, 02:20 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by dawgmatic View Post
I am subscribed as I want to know how yours turns out. I've attempted hard root beer three times with poor results. The first time was a mead, the latter two were beers. The mead was easily the worst. The first beer attempt I attempted to brew with root beer spices, the second time I used a flavor extract.

I would say go light on the hops. You can backsweeten with Splenda as well. Sprecher makes a root beer syrup, as opposed to an extract, that could be used for backsweetening and flavoring as long as you can either suspend or filter the yeast.
How were the results when you used the flavor extract? What was your process with that one? I'll have to check out the Sprecher root beer syrup. Sounds promising.

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Originally Posted by geckholm View Post
Funny story about this beer. We went to a local World of Beer for a couple. World of Beer does not serve food, but they have a very open BYOF policy. This couple comes in and they order some "Not your Father Rootbeer", and proceed to pull all a tub of french vanilla ice-cream. They made root beer floats out of it, genius!

And the stuff is real gooood.
Actually, the World of Beer in Naperville is exactly where I tried this beer. The bartender told us about the people having tried it as ice-cream floats. I bet it would be amazing. I'll have to try it out, if I can clone something even close.
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Old 04-03-2013, 08:22 PM   #5
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How were the results when you used the flavor extract? What was your process with that one? I'll have to check out the Sprecher root beer syrup. Sounds promising.
Unfortunately the batches were all done before I started taking meticulous notes but this is what I remember. I used a bottle of Old Fashioned Root Beer Extract. Since I was bottling at the time my goal was to brew a beer that did not need to be back-sweetened. I believe the bill was mostly extract, except for 2-3 lbs of light crystal, I believe it was 20L, barely any hops. I fermented the beer as normal and added the root beer extract when racking to a secondary. Stirred it up and let it sit somewhere cold for a few days to settle out before I bottled it. Was worried about the sweetness so I added a lb of lactose as I bottled it.

It took forever to carb, thanks to the extract. When it finally did, I had something that tasted like weak root beer. The flavor tasted almost watered down and was only slightly sweet, with horrible head retention. It also had a slightly off putting metallic taste, similar to that of molasses, I could never finish a whole one. I did use it to make a few floats though. Upon further review, the root beer extract I used was only meant to flavor 4 gallons, not 5.5. But I still would not repeat the experiment with that extract as I've only heard bad things about it since. I've been leery about doing any more experimental batches as they never turn out as good as my intentions.

I believe that to truly make this good, bottle conditioning is not an option. This way you can backsweeten. Make a pretty plain beer, doesn't have to be completely neutral, some maltyness might actually go well with it. And use a good flavoring, I would go with a syrup cause it takes care of both the flavoring and the sugar. And I would add any flavoring after fermentation to make sure the yeast don't eat the flavors up. I hope my failure helps you towards better results, that I may feel confident to try this once again.
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Old 04-16-2013, 01:49 AM   #6
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Anymore updates on this?

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Old 04-16-2013, 08:14 PM   #7
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Subscribed! I had this the other day and it is really amazing stuff! I think when i give this a shot maybe bulk up on medium crystal to provide the sweetness this needs and then add lactose in secondary if it is still not sweet enough. Was going to try from scratch, but I think that increases the chance of things going wrong- will probably shoot for a good extract for my first shot at this. Keep us posted!!!

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Old 04-17-2013, 02:59 PM   #8
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Where to start on the base for this one? Something like this? (note, I'll probably keep it down in the 6-7% ABV range)

6 lbs Dark DME

3 lbs Marris Otter
1 lb Dark Brown Sugar
1 lb Crystal (120L)
.5 lbs debittered black patent or other smooth dark malt

Hops? Don't know- maybe just a very small charge at 60M to get about 10 IBU's or so??

Some sort of neutral ale yeast.

Add rootbeer extract in secondary. Lactose to adjust sweetness if necessary before bottling.

Eh????

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Old 04-18-2013, 03:42 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by acidrain23 View Post
Where to start on the base for this one? Something like this? (note, I'll probably keep it down in the 6-7% ABV range)

6 lbs Dark DME

3 lbs Marris Otter
1 lb Dark Brown Sugar
1 lb Crystal (120L)
.5 lbs debittered black patent or other smooth dark malt

Hops? Don't know- maybe just a very small charge at 60M to get about 10 IBU's or so??

Some sort of neutral ale yeast.

Add rootbeer extract in secondary. Lactose to adjust sweetness if necessary before bottling.

Eh????
Remember that root beer extract and syrup will make it dark on its own. So the dark dme and debittered black patent aren't necessary. Plus they might add roasty flavors not associated with root beer.
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Old 04-18-2013, 04:08 PM   #10
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Hmm, good to know- thanks! So to reforumulate (and I'm scaling down to a three gallon batch for the first go at this)...how does this look?

3 lbs Light DME
2 lbs Marris Otter
1 lb Dark Brown Sugar or Piloncillo (should provide a nice rum-like note)
.5 lbs Crystal 80L

60M .5 oz Fuggles (~10 IBU's)

Yeast: S-05? Nottingham?

Gnome Rootbeer Extract, 4 oz added to secondary (other suggestions for extract are welcome as well, seems to be a diversity of opinion as to which is best other than to avoid Rainbow brand)

Lactose, added before bottling to adjust sweetness if necessary (I have a feeling there will be plenty of residual sweetness though)

Looking better?

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