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Bastard Stepson Root Beer Extract Kit


SKU# UB11010

We asked our lawyer, he said this beer is good.

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Even if this were his Father’s Root Beer, he wouldn’t know. The Bastard Stepson Root Beer started out as a wholesome traditional cream stout, but after mixing things up with a rowdy bunch from the other side of the aisles turned into something a bit more mischievous...

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Bastard Stepson Root Beer Extract Kit   +$43.99
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Your Uncle’s Root Beer - Hard Root Beer Recipe Kit

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  • Your Uncle’s Root Beer - Hard Root Beer Recipe Kit
Product Details
Even if this were his Father’s Root Beer, he wouldn’t know. The Bastard Stepson Root Beer started out as a wholesome traditional cream stout, but after mixing things up with a rowdy bunch from the other side of the aisles turned into something a bit more mischievous...

Everything you’d expect from a root beer is present: notes of vanilla, caramel, licorice, and sarsaparilla all meld into the creamy, decadent body of the base beer. Sip on a pint and be whisked back to your childhood, (which was hopefully better than the Bastard Stepson’s) or couple it with vanilla ice cream for a truly delicious treat.

Aroma Smells like a normal root beer
Appearance deep ruby, nearly jet black - silky, lacy and firm off white head
Flavor Vanilla, caramel, licorice, sarsaparilla
Mouthfeel Smooth, medium creamy body
Overall Impression    Reminiscent of root beer soda, with a bit of an alcohol kick
Additional Information
Beer Kit Yield5 Gallons
Recipe and InstructionsClick here for Bastard Stepson Root Beer Brewing Instructions
Regional StyleNo
Original Gravity1055
Total Time to Make6 weeks
3.4 / 5.0
45 Reviews
5 Stars
4 Stars
3 Stars
2 Stars
1 Stars
Way too syrupy for my taste
I must start off by saying that I'm not a big fan of Not Your Father's Hard Root Beer as it tastes too much like regular root beer to me. I like Best Damn Hard Root Beer, but it's no longer carried in our area, so I decided to make my own.
This kit is easy to make and is easily ready two week after brewing, my only problem is that it's way too sweet and syrupy. I'd prefer a more subtle flavor of root beer and I may consider using reduced amounts of the sweetening ingredients if I can't find an alternate recipe.
I tried mixing it with another plain porter and that seemed to "dumb it down" to a better taste so maybe cut the sweeteners in half? Just a thought...
November 25, 2017
8 months ago
Not for me. At all.
There are much better kits out there. I have probably brewed over 10 NB kits through the years. All the others are excellent, but this one is nowhere near as good. Maybe I was pre-conditioned by reading the bad reviews, but the artificial sweetener taste is just something I can't ignore or get past. It is there after every sip for me. I used LESS than half of the sweetener in the kit after reading those reviews and the NB feedback, but alas, it looks like any amount of that white powder is too much for me. I accept that it is a necessary evil, because you can't over sugar at bottling, so a non-sugar substitute is required. But I wish it did not taste so.... well, bad.
At least I'll have my Christmas version of the Burbon Barrel Porter ready in a couple of weeks to get rid of the aftertaste once and for all! Lesson learned, I suppose.
October 18, 2017
8 months ago
Tastes great!
I made this recipe awhile back. The taste is similar to a Hard Root Beer that we bought in a liquor store earlier. Most everyone that I shared my rootbeer with liked it, especially when added to ice cream to make a root beer float! ;-)

I've got less than a 12pk left so I've been asked to buy this recipe and brew it again. That's from my wife who doesn't drink much or even like most beer, but she likes this one.
August 31, 2017
1 year ago
Great beer!
You'll love this kit! It is so easy to make and all my friends and I love it! If you like root beer, you'll love this! I will always have some of this in the fridge.
May 16, 2017
1 year ago
Great Beer
Just sampled a bottle of this I made and it was remarkably close to store bought. The only thing I would do different would be to add 1 extra oz of root beer extract.
April 20, 2017
Solid clone after 2 weeks in the bottle
This was a straightforward beer to brew. Nothing flashy or complex (not always a bad thing). I used the dry yeast, 2 weeks in primary, 2 weeks in secondary and then bottled. Straight out of secondary I had to give this a try - the root beer smell is there, taste wants to come through, but it's astringent. After a week in the bottles carbonation was still rather poor and that bite backed way down and finally, 2 weeks later it's tasting pretty good! Carbonation never came up to the levels I'm used to, which was surprising, and may contribute to the bite. First sip or two still has some bite/off flavor (not the alcohol) but afterwards it's got a solid root beer flavor!

It's a solid commercial hard root beer impersonation, with a few flaws that iron themselves out with age. Hoping it carbs up more over the next week or two and continues to mellow - then it'll be a 5 star option.

As for the sweetener (has been commented on below), I used the whole pack and the idea of it being too sweet never crossed my mind. If you're looking for an adult root beer you're expecting some sweetness, and this does a good job with that. Using a glass carboy the flavor/smell/color did not remain at all after a quick rinse and some PBW.
March 30, 2017
1 year ago
One of my favorites
This root beer is one of the best hard root beers I have ever had. I was hesitant to use the sweetener based on others reviews. I decided to start with only half the sweetener, taste, and add more if needed. I stopped there and it was great. I highly recommend adding the sweetener slowly and tasting. Once you hit that level you like stop there. It is always easier to add more if needed.
February 25, 2017
Bastard root beer
Taste is great.... but that diet after taste comes up and destroys it for me.... not a diet drink fan... I should have known better when it came time to add the artificial sweetener I should have waited and kegged, carbonated and taste tested first, just cannot get around the Diet After Tast
December 16, 2016
Overpowering sweet and fermentor still smells of root beer
Bought this hoping it would be a great clone beer. Much to my disappointment, it is way too sweet...so much that it overpowers the beer and has that diet soda aftertaste. Even worse than the overpowering sweetness is now my fast fermenter smells of rootbeer even after cleaning multiple times. I was going to do a IPA brew after this but will need to make another stout or something that can have a hint the rootbeer and be tolerable. Hopefully the smell will fade away with more brews cycled through the fermenter.If you do this kit, use a glass carboy for the secondary and add only half of the root beer extract and skip the sweetener packet.
October 11, 2016
Response from Northern Brewer
We are bummed to hear that you didn't like the kit, but appreciate your honesty. Your FastFerment could use a 5-7 days soak of PBW to remove the rootbeer aromas.
November 21, 2016
Northern Brewer
Great stuff
Of all the kits I have brewed, Bastard Stepson Root Beer is far and away the most enjoyable. In fact, the great taste is a potential hazard, since I no sooner finish one bottle than I want to open another.
October 7, 2016
Start typing your question and we'll check if it was already asked and answered. Learn More
Browse 37 questions Browse 37 questions and 65 answers
Will this rootbeer kit flavor be hard to get out of my brewing equipment?
Mike S on Dec 5, 2015
BEST ANSWER: Hello Mike,

Thank you for choosing Northern Brewer! The root beer flavor will not be difficult to get out of brewing equipment. I hope this helps, have a wonderful day!
The directions say 6 grams of sweetener. Is this correct? That's only one and a half teaspoons for a 5 gallon batch. Should it say 6 ounces instead?
A shopper on May 9, 2017
BEST ANSWER: I brewed this kit a few times now and from what I remember it is 6 grams, it's a powder sweetener, not regular sugar. The root beer extract flavoring is powerful and that small amount of sweetener the kit comes with is enough. It tastes very sweet, at least my batch did, and its similar to barks root beer but with a little bite.
If I'm going to keg and force carbonate this, can I stop further fermentation with sorbate and then back-sweeten with real sugar, as I do with hard cider? (Most - if not all - of the negative reviews center around the artificial sweetener.)
A shopper on Aug 9, 2017
BEST ANSWER: What not let your fermentation run its course and then back sweeten with lactose?
Should I dissolve the 6 grams of sweetener in boiling water before adding it to the fermenter?
A shopper on May 3, 2017
BEST ANSWER: Sweetener is added before bottling right to the bottling bucket. You may want to add more artificial sweetener if you like it sweeter. The corn sugar is added with boiled water to carbonate bottles
At what point shall I take a final gravity measure...after primary (before adding extract/sweetener) or after all ingredients are added?
J A on Mar 11, 2016
BEST ANSWER: You can take a reading from your primary before you rack into the secondary and add the extras. I don't that a "F.G." reading though until I rack from the secondary into the bottling bucket ( but before I add the priming sugar ) Hope that helps
When should you add the sweetener and spices? It does not say in the recipe.
Corey M on Dec 3, 2015

Steps 15 and 16:

15. Active fermentation ends. Approximately 1-2 weeks

after brewing day, active fermentation will end: the cap

of foam falls back into the new beer, bubbling in the

fermentation lock slows down or stops.

16. Rack the beer into a secondary fermenter, or simply

add the 4 oz of Gnome Draft Style Root Beer extract and

6 gram sweetner pack to the fermenter. Let rest for an

additional 1-2 weeks.
All grain version?
E R on Dec 2, 2015

We don't have an all grain version at the moment.
If I have a kaging system do I need the sugar?
A B on Dec 1, 2015

No need for priming sugar if you have a keg system! You'll just set the pressure to about 30 psi for a few days to carbonate it. It also helps to lay the keg on its side and roll it back and forth. When the beer is carbed properly, just release the pressure and reset it at about 8-12 psi for serving.

Hope that helps!

Is this kit gluten free? My wife loves root beer and I would love to brew this kit for her, but she can't have wheat gluten and has multiple food allergies. Is there an ingredient list so that I can see what all goes into it?
A shopper on Jan 10, 2018
BEST ANSWER: Without 100% certainty, I would say that wheat gluten is not likely a factor here, although I do not know the process for producing dark malt liquid extract. As the base recipe is for a stout, I would imagine all of the grains involved in producing the extract to be barley.

That said, there is most certainly gluten in the malted barley. If your allergy concerns are strictly regarding wheat gluten you may be okay, but my experience with friends who have gluten allergies is that it does not matter if you are looking at wheat or barley - any gluten will be problematic.

One thing you might consider: there is a product from White Labs called Clarity Ferm, which seems able to reduce the gluten in a brewed beer to levels that the FDA would allow it to be called gluten-free. You should probably not quote me on that, but the product is available via Northern Brewer, and there is additional information here: https://www.northernbrewer.com/white-labs-clarity-ferm.

I hope this helps.
Is there anything else I need to order besides the Extract Kit? I want to make sure when I receive the kit that if other items are needed I have those as well.
A shopper on Jun 18, 2017
BEST ANSWER: You will need all of the equipment needed for other extract kits, such as in our Brew. Share. Enjoy. kit or one of our deluxe starter kits.
What is the Final Gravity average?
C O on Mar 2, 2016
BEST ANSWER: While the exact FG will vary with boil and fermentation conditions, it is designed to reach roughly 1.017
If I don't want to use the "Splenda" can I use regular sugar and just double the amount so 12 oz?
Michael W. on Feb 29, 2016
BEST ANSWER: You can not use sugar to sweeten this because for one it will ferment out if you let it sit for a couple of days and your back to square one and two if your where to add sugar and bottle next day you would have bottle bombs not to mention if you added 5oz priming sugar you would have catistrofic results. The only way to get the sweetness is to use the Sucralose that comes with the kit. I was concerned that this might have a diet soda taste but it doesn't. I have given this to friends and they love it and would have told me if it tasted like diet soda. Follow the instructions and you will not have any problems or complaints.
Can this 'hard' root beer be traditionally bottled and capped in glass bottles? Is there any danger of bottle 'explosion' occurring during conditioning and storage afterward?
Paul K on Jan 30, 2016
BEST ANSWER: Yes, this brew can be bottle conditioned as normal. It is sweetened with non-fermentable sucralose so there is no extra risk of bottle explosions.
How long can I let this ferment before a significant volume of alcohol is produced? I am making this for my youngest son who is not old enough to be drinking hard rootbeer. I want it to ferment to get some of the appropriate flavor that the yeast will create but I want to limit the alcohol production.
D R on Jan 26, 2016
BEST ANSWER: This beer will reach a maximum alcohol content of around 5.5% in about 7 days or so. I would not recommend stopping fermentation early as you will like have some off flavors and risk over carbonating the beer when bottled. I would suggest checking out our Root Beer Extract as the appropriate alternative. http://www.northernbrewer.com/root-beer-extract
Will the flavor of this ale be stuck in the o-rings if you keg it?
K K on Jan 4, 2016
BEST ANSWER: I do not keg mine yet will say the aroma of root beer is very strong after brewing yet rinsed out of all my stuff.
What is the ABV of this beer?
K A on Dec 2, 2015

The final ABV should be around 5%
Because you're adding in the root beer extract, would you want this kit to be in a separate keg system/fermenter than what you use for other beers? I've read that root beer is meant to be put in its own dedicated keg lines if you keg it and such elsewhere because the extract can permanently leave the taste of root beer on it.
K A on Dec 1, 2015
BEST ANSWER: An effective cleaner should clear up the root beer odor from the lines. Otherwise you are right using a seperate keg and line is a fine idea. I hope this helps! Cheers! James J.
Are there any precautions in kegging this?
R C on Dec 1, 2015
BEST ANSWER: Thanks for the question! Not really, the sweetness in the final beer is unfermentable sugars so it will be shelf stable. I would store cold the whole time in the keg and give it a little extra CO2 to up the carbonation to increase its root beer like drinkability. Hope this helps! Cheers! James J.
what the ABV?
or is there
M E on Dec 1, 2015
BEST ANSWER: Best estimates for the resulting ABV would be right around 4- 4.5% ABV. Cheers! James J.
Are you going to offer in in the smaller size kit. I'm planning to buy a small starter size kit soon.
L P on Dec 1, 2015
BEST ANSWER: This 5 gallon kit was just released so one has not been developed. Appreciate the request I can pass that along. Cheers! James J.
For what purpose is the lactose added? I'm allergic to dairy products. Does the lactose(a sugar) ferment away completely or does some stay around for sweetness? Is there any substitution I can make instead of the lactose?
Matthew F on Feb 5, 2018
BEST ANSWER: The lactose is added to make this beer a milk stout base and then after fermentation, the sucralose, and the rootbeer syrup is added to the keg or bottling bucket. I supposes the lactose could be omitted, but a lack of mouthfeel will be a result. If I were in the position of living this beer, but had a lactose allergy, I would just make it without the lactose. Try it, if it works, Great! If not, then of course you can research more options. One might be to add a steeping grain to help improve body and mouth feel.

Good luck!
it shows fast pitch yeast starter as an option. if its used it doesn't say how? sorry but I have never done this before
A shopper on Feb 2, 2017
BEST ANSWER: Since you have never done it before I would say you do not need it. Just pitch the yeast as is. It would be a good idea to do some internet searching about the brewing process so you understand the benefit and cost (equipment needed) of each step and where you have choices.
What would be the amount of lactose one should use if they wanted to replace the Splenda?
L P on Jul 28, 2016
BEST ANSWER: There is no splenda in this brew, it is pure sucralose. There is already 1 lb of lactose in this brew so I would not recommend edit the brew in this way. We tried it a number of ways and it needs the artificial sweetener to take like an alcoholic root beer.
If I wanted to do a full wort boil, starting with 6+ gallons of water, should I still use the full oz of hops? Or how much of the hops should I use?
M I on Apr 18, 2016
BEST ANSWER: You do get a bit more out of the hops when doing a "full boil"; if you want you can reduce the bittering hops by 15-20%. -Mike W, Northern Brewer
Is there a 1 gallon kit coming?
A J on Jan 24, 2016
BEST ANSWER: At this time, the Root Beer Extract is not available in quantities small enough for the Small Batch kit line-up.
I'm not a fan of artificial sweeteners. Can a natural sweetener such as Stevia be used instead of Sucralose? If so, what amount?
R I on Jan 7, 2016
BEST ANSWER: Thanks for contacting us about this! You could leave out the artificial sweetener packet and use something like Stevia instead - as to how much to use we have not tested that and so would hesitate to make an official recommendation. The sweetener in this kit is pure sucralose so is way sweeter than normal sugar(packets added to coffee/tea are 'cut' to more resemble how much sugar one would add). This does make it hard to predict how much to use. It can be added right at the end and so you can add a little, taste, add a little, taste until you have the right sweetness to your tastes. The recipe does need the additional sweetness to accurately resemble an alcoholic root beer. The question is being posted so maybe one of our customers can comment or if you try it out, maybe you could pass it along here to other homebrewers. Sorry I don't have the answer. I hope this helps though! Cheers!
Is this supposed to be a clone of "Not Your Father's Root Beer"?
K K on Dec 16, 2015

It was certainly inspired by Not Your Father's, that's for sure!


To Northern Brewer - looking at the answers to the questions for this kit - any thought to reviewing responses from random people before they post to the site? I mean, most responses are about as helpful as Yahoo Answers. Thanks and keep up the good work!
C R on Dec 8, 2015

Each question gets sent to us for review, but we have a policy of not deleting comments unless they are profane. I apologize that some of the user responses are not particularly helpful, but if you run into any issues please feel free to give us a call. We're here to answer any brewing-related questions you may have. Hope this helps. -Mike S. from NB
So is the sweetener basically Slenda?
John C on Dec 3, 2015

Yes, the sweetener is 6 grams of Sucralose, which is Splenda.


What exactly is the "sweetner pack" and why is it needed? Shouldn't the 1lb of Lactose provide enough unfermentable sugar for a fairly sweet beverage?
Wayne M on Dec 2, 2015
BEST ANSWER: It is sucralose. Lactose does sweeten it but it produces a round mouth feel and is smooth. A root beer like beer should have some crispness and bite which sucralose does a better job of. That is my opinion at least. Cheers.

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