Bottle and Label: Brown bottle with nicely designed label that attests to the origins of this brew (Maine). It looks like something you would find on a pier on the Maine coastline.
Ingredients: Water, cane sugar, caramel coloring, natural and artificial flavors including wintergreen oil, anise, and vanilla, spices, herbs, citric acid, and sodium benzoate as a preservative.
Smell: Nice, traditional smell from the bottle. The dominant scents being a nice mix of wintergreen and licorice with something else I can’t distinguish that adds a bit of spice. The smell from the glass is a bit stronger and has a slightly bitter, almost medicinal, tinge to it.
Carbonation: Low level of carbonation offers little bite and makes this brew seem a bit flat.
Color: Slightly lighter in color than most brews, but still a very pleasing dark amber/honey color.
Head: Positively amazing head (the best yet) when poured in a frosted mug. A twelve ounce bottle of root beer fills about 2/3 of my A&W mug that I use for all of my tests. With this brew, the foamy head nearly bubbled out of the mug and even a full minute after being poured it had not completely dissipated.
Flavor: Sea Dog Root Beer is best described as merely average (average being A&W) in the flavor department. This is disappointing because the brew started out very well with an astonishing head and a solid smell. Unfortunately, the flavor cannot live up to the head. The flavor is a bit like that carbonation in that it seems slightly flat. The best way to describe the flavor is “medicinal.” It is okay at first, but the aftertaste it leaves reminds me a bit of cough syrup.
Conclusion: Sea Dog Root Beer is saved from the D grade by its incredible head of foam. Unfortunately, the flat carbonation and medicinal flavor keep it from rising above the average brews. Sea Dog would best be enjoyed with something to help mask the medicinal aftertaste. I think it would make a swell root beer float brew because the ice cream would help mask the aftertaste and enhance the head. With that said, I would have a difficult time recommending this brew because in the all important “flavor” category, Sea Dog just does not make the cut.
RBR’s Grade- C-