Monday, December 17, 2012

AJ Stephans root beer

Background information: (from the website) "AJ Stephans Company makes the finest elixirs and mixers in New England"

(note: the website is terrible and lacking information and seems to not have been revised since 2006.  Their "news" hasn't been news since 1998!  Now I'm not expecting them to maintain a fully interactive, multimedia-enabled HTML5 page with video, music, and such -this is just root beer we're talking about- but to advertise your website on the label and then not update it with any content in the last 6 years is just plain lazy!)

Product details: 12 fl. oz.  AJ Stephans, PO Box 5115, Fall River, MA 02723 (508) 646-9929.  170 calories, 43g sugar.  Glass bottle with twist off top.

Ingredients: Pure carbonated water, cane sugar, flavor, caramel color, sodium benzoate as a preservative.

My thoughts: Judging by the sound the top made when I twisted it off, I had low expectations for the carbonation.  From the barely audible hiss of the escaping gas, to the lack of bubbling noise, this drink betrayed it's flatness from the beginning and was soon confirmed by the almost complete absence of detectable carbonation.  I suspect that the guy responsible for carbonating their drinks is the same guy who maintains their website, as both are poorly done (note: don't let your website programmer run the carbonation machine, nor vice versa).  Flavor starts with a moderately rooty taste (nothing too strong however) with a hint of wintergreen.  The aftertaste quickly develops into a strong wintergreen, with no other detectable flavors.  The wintergreen is pleasant, but ends up being too overpowering in the end.  I wouldn't mind drinking this from time to time if it had a reasonable amount of carbonation.  As it stands, however, I can't recommend this.

Rating: D+
flavor: C
aftertaste: C-
sweetness: B
smoothness: B
carbonation: F

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