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Bootlegger Brown Ale - Independence Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Bootlegger Brown AleBootlegger Brown Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

75 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 75
Hads: 186
Avg: 3.55
pDev: 22.54%
Wants: 4
Gots: 22 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Independence Brewing Co. visit their website
Texas, United States

Style | ABV
American Brown Ale |  6.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Xadoor on 10-13-2004

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 75 | Hads: 186
Photo of UPMD_Bill
3.62/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Color is chestnut brown. Smells of caramel malt, and taste is earthy with a hint of nuttiness (hazelnut?). Hops adequate to balance sweetness, but not bitter. Carbonation is thin but does not feel too heavy. Overall enjoyable and would get again.

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Photo of E-McFarden
3.03/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Deep brown/amber in color with weak head and no lacing. Slight reminiscence of fig dr pepper on the smell? Smell reminds me slightly of underattenuated beer. I immediately get a biscuity nutty flavor on the palate. Higher carbonation in this one.

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Photo of KTCamm
4.01/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

4/3....very dark brown, blacker atop, light flecks at the base. Some white foam sits atop. Nutty nose, coffee hints too. Hazelnut taste, firm bitter. Chewy caramel taste further in. Hint of root beer. Tasty.

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Photo of RonaldTheriot
3.75/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bootlegger Brown Ale has a rather thin, cream-colored head, a semi-clear, red-brown appearance, and a bit of lacing left behind. The aroma is of brown bread crust, some chocolate, and even a hint of coffee. Taste is of sweet bread crust, chocolate, bitter coffee, and a char. Mouthfeel is light, and Bootlegger Brown Ale finishes semi-dry and easy drinking (as described on the brewery website).


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Photo of brentk56
3.6/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a clear mahogany color with burnt orange highlights reflective of the town in which it was brewed; the head leaves quite the pattern of lacing

Smell: Toasted brown bread and a hint of caramel

Taste: Rather sweet on the palate, caramel-forward, tempered by the toasted brown bread as the flavor develops; a bit grainy and nutty in the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Overall: A basic brown ale; decent, but a bit sweet

Thanks, duff247, for the opportunity

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Photo of bmwats
3.38/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a standard pint.

A: Dark brown. Pours a large, foamy, brown-white head. Slight lacing mostly retreats into the body of the brew.

S: Roasted malt, nuts, and licorice. A bit of a soapy character though, too.

T: Malt is very roasty, very nutty, with a little hop bite, and some caramel.

M: Earthy, crisp, and hearty.

D: Session.

Atmosphere is pretty good. Large head, yet only slight lacing. Nose it roasty, malty, nutty, with a bit of bitter scent. Hearty roasted grains with a very distinct nut character, offset with a bit of hop bite, and a touch of sweetness. Overall, this is a good quaff.

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Photo of biegaman
3.56/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bootlegger has a good deal of golden-amber clarity but it can only be appreciated at odd angles into the light. Otherwise it looks more or less opaque, a deep cocoa brown colour with a brush of charcoal overtones. Its head all but disappears although remnants remain on the glass.

I've long felt Brown Ales to be perfectly flavoured for fall-time: toasted pecans, baking spices, toffee apples, chocolate and coffee roast. Even in an aroma as bashful as this one, it's enough to make a comforting treat; it's almost warming despite the beer's chilled temperature.

The taste fortunately turns the volume up a notch, though its flavours are still a little subtle for my tastes. The impressions of coffee, pumpkin pie, nearly burnt toast and roasted nuts are made more vivid, at least temporarily as they fade out almost instantly on the finish.

Despite its rather mild disposition, Bootlegger offers a kind of barbecue-y, almost mesquite roast and maybe a just wisp of smoke. It makes up for the lack of rich maltiness; it has texture despite not much body. The result is a beer that can appease both simple and sophisticated palates.

It may have a rebellious name but Bootlegger Brown Ale is a bit too temperate for me; it has the appropriate (and a very pleasant) profile for the style, but it falls squarely on the mild side. This won't be an issue for most beer drinkers, but craft devotees might be a little dissatisfied.

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Photo of Clonies720
2.2/5  rDev -38%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Independence Brewing Co out of Austin, TX. Always happy and eager to support Texas breweries. I believe I read somewhere that this beer is 6%ABV.

Appearance - Pours a dark brown, .5 inch head from an aggressive pour, it's kind of murky.

Smell - Smells nutty, toasty, and bready/biscuity.

Taste - Same as the smell. Tastes watered down really. Like they seriously need to up the malt backbone or use more specialty grains.

Mouthfeel - Skipped due to lack of continued interest.

Overall - I could create a better brown ale than this at home.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.48/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served on tap at Opal Divine's Marina in Austin, TX

A: Pours a clear dark reddish brown in color with some garnet red highlights when held up to the light and some light amounts of visible carbonation. The beer has a finger tall light fluffy light beige head that reduces to a thin ring at the edges of the glass. Light to moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Light to moderate aromas of nutty malts, caramel, spices (cinnamon and nutmeg), and light fruit (apples).

T: Sweet with lots of malt flavors including caramel, nutty, and light fruit (apple) malts with moderate amounts of spices - cinnamon and nutmeg stand out.

M: Medium bodied with moderate to heavy amounts of carbonation.

O: Not the greatest offering, this beer feels a bit like homebrew and less like something I would expect from a production brewery. A little too sweet and too heavy handed with the spices to be an easy drinker or a sessionable beer.

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Photo of cracgor
4.29/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I was a little hesitant with this beer because I don't tend to like cartoon looking bottles. It is relatively local though and I thought I would give it a try. It was a very pleasant surprise. It has a nice appearance and a great nutty aroma and flavor. A very drinkable beer. If I was going to improve anything, it would be to bring out more toffee like flavors in the taste, but I might get another bottle in the near future.

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Photo of stakem
3.23/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle into a pint. Pours brown with some lighter brown/ruby through the edges. More than a finger of tan froth sits above leaving patchy lace sticking to the glass.

The aroma is toffee grain with some dark raisony quality and citrus hops. There is a bit of yeast element present that blends into grass in the aftertaste.

The taste is dark and fruity with a raisony alcohol ester overtop of toasty to bready grain flavors. There is some dirty yeast character present with must and grass lasting after each sip.

This is a medium body brew with modest carbonation. It is light and easy drinking with some rough edges that need worked out.

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Photo of cpetrone84
2/5  rDev -43.7%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Independence brewing bootlegger brown ale - starts by gushing, reddish brown with thin brown ring. Bad start. Rubber band and acetone, tons of plastic, notes of a brown ale very hidden. The taste is less plasticy but that still dominates. Seems to be infected or just plain bad. Notes of chocolate malt, light brown malt, and coffee. Burning carbonation and thin body. Not enjoyable.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
2.5/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Pours out a dark amber-brown body with a huge, airy, monstrously expansive head.

Smell: Nutty malts, lackluster hints of chocolate and dark caramel. Sprinkling of top soil with soured fruit and a peculiar spice accent.

Taste: A sweet taste of dark caramel over coarsely chopped nuts with a bit of cocoa powder. Spoiled dark fruits. Zilch hop character or bitterness. Flash of acrid character. A pinch of smoked paprika. Dry, nutty, effervescent finish. Unclean aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. High level of carbonation.

Overall: It's at best an odd duck and at worst flat-out strange. Tastes like an early attempt from a new homebrewer, so maybe the bootlegger name is fairly apt.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.53/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

dark reddish tinted amber with a sparkling clarity to it. Lots of carbonation was visible rising up to the surface throughout the session. There was a good three inches of white pillow like foam

Nice notes of cinnamon, spiced apple and pear, and a touch of nutmeg. There was a good amount of sweetness mixed in with caramel and a roasted nice like smell coming off it as it warmed. Deep underling grain and malt base was apparent as well.
Very sweet and entirely malt driven, this was not terrible, just underwhelming. Good bit of spice added in and a nice bitter hop driven finish.

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Photo of nukem5
3.46/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a great chocolate brown color with a terrific head big and brown setting right on top.

S: Aroma is of light chocolate and malts.

T: Taste is chocolate with nice malt creamy backbone.

M: Mouthfeel is a medium body with a ton of bubbles surfacing to bath the tongue and give pleasure to the night.

D:Very tasty and drinkable definitly would have again.

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Photo of JMad
4.02/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I drank this from an English pub glass..

It pours a dark brown color with a thin tan head that quickly faded. The smell is mainly roasted nuts with a background of chocolate and caramel. The taste is roasted malt up front then gets smoothed over by sweet milk chocolate and toffee, there is just a slight earthy bitterness in the aftertaste. It's medium bodied and very smooth with low carbonation. This is a well done brown ale, it's perfectly balanced between sweet and roasted.

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Photo of thatlongname
3.37/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Very dark ale. Pours a medium to high khaki head. Decent head retention.

Smell: Toasted smells and maybe some chocolate malts too. Pleasant.

Taste: Nutty and toasty with some chocolate. Something is off though. I think it's a metallic taste that's interfering.

Mouthfeel: Medium carbonation. Kind of thick feeling maybe.


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Photo of ColdPoncho
3.09/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to tsatem for this bottle!

A - The most ridiculously huge head I've seen lately. It's a dark cloudy brown with what I consider to be far too much off-white head.

S - Nice roasted malts, some dark fruit sweetness, chocolate. I think this smells quite good.

T - this tastes like a bad cola. I have no clue how a beer can smell as good as this and taste as bad. Nor do I understand how so much foam can come from the pour, but so much carbonation can be left in the beer. This doesn't really taste like much, and what it does taste like is simply not good. Maybe some of the fruit and a bit of the malt comes out, but its mostly a funny cola taste that is just awful.

M - Not too good, too much carbonation. Feels like thousands of needle pricks on my tongue. It is a pretty light and thin mouthfeel, which I suppose could be related to the huge amount of carbonation.

D - It's not too bad here. It's easy going, but just odd. If the carbonation were less, I think this might be an ok beer.

I think that the problem with the taste and mouthfeel stems from the fact that it all turns to foam in my mouth. Even after getting a ton of head on the pour, with leaves quite a bit in the bottle, I still get all foam and carbonation in the mouth.

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Photo of bisonkron
2.56/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Appearance - The beer looked great, a little lighter than your average brown ale. Poured a great head that stuck around till the end. It was not cloudy. Carbonation was a little low but ok. The appearance got me excited to drink it.

Smell - smells that stuck out to me; slightly smokey, and a hint of nuttyness.

Taste -
the taste mirrored the smell except slightly weaker. I found drinking straight out of the bottle to yield the most taste.

Mouthfeel -
Carbonation was adequate. the body was light and somewhat watery.

Drinkability - Easy to drink, but I would not have another.

Glass: Pint Glass

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Photo of Ek0nomik
3.85/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured In: Snifter
Attained through a trade (Thanks Neil!)

Appearance: The pour is a... holy head batman! Five fingers of head sits in my snifter, it was ever so close to bubbling over. After letting it sit for roughly 20 minutes the head finally settled down to a finger in size. The color is an auburn and bistre color, with a creamy and frothy looking head. There's a dash of lace on the side of the glass.

Smell: The nose is a mixture of roasted grains and sweet chocolate, and a small hop aroma shining through as well.

Taste: Toasted grains start off the tasting with just a bit of sweet caramel and chocolate coming through. The bitterness is low, but there are a small amount of fruity esters coming in at the end.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied beer, very smooth and creamy with each sip. Despite the onslaught I had upon cracking open the bottle, the carbonation was pretty tame on the tongue.

Drinkability: I rarely dive into brown ales, so this was a good try. Independence has put together another good beer with this offering.

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Photo of rtepiak
3.56/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a mild brown ale that seems to have a very drinkable quality but also a very simplistic palate. mahogany with an off head... quite drinkable, in that it is malted quite well. nose of smoke and toasted nuts in there somewhere... some yeastiness but smooth and not bready. bitter of earth... soft. could have more dimension but still very consistent. outside of simplicity doesn't lack much flaw in palate.

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Photo of vdread
3.43/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Independence Bootlegger Brown Ale pours a dark, almost black color with a tight head.

smells of buttery malts, light chocolate maybe? pretty unassuming otherwise.

tastes is of roasty, nutty malt. coffee is present. some earthy hops can be found if you look for them. overall, the taste is subtle, almost watery.

mouthfeel slightly watery, smoothe.

drinkability ok. it's not a bad beer, and it's cool that it's brewed a few miles from my house, i just wish i could like it more. it has some good qualities and some good flavors, but it's too watery to bring those flavors to full completion.

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Photo of MurphyMacManus
4/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle into pint glass

A: deep mahogany with a cream-colored head that sticks around.

S: heavy on the malt, slight roasted note, caramelized sweetness? Definitely a little nutty, like roasted nuts.

T/M: Malty sweet, nutty, some caramel, very low bitterness. Carbonation off-sets what could be cloying and lightens the feel a bit. Malt sweetness gives nice body.

D: Great example of a brown ale. Doesn't push the envelope, but it hits all the important points for the style. It is a bit strong to session, though, as much as I might like to.

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Photo of RobertTh3Texian
3.75/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Darker brown on the pour and a thin tan head to match. Caramel and burnt notes on the nose. No real head retention but it was in the fridge for a little while. Sweet bite on the taste and some baked black bread on the finish. This is a good example of a brown ale. Nothing fancy but good none the less.

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Photo of champ103
3/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Pours a dark reddish/brown color. A small beige head forms, and recedes to nothing. Light lace is left behind.
S: Toasted grain, cereal, and sweet malt. That is it. Nothing bad, but there is nothing really here.
T: Follows the nose. Toasted grains and sweet malt. I really don't get anything else.
M/D: A medium body and carbonation, though thin and watery. Easy enough to drink, but pretty boring.

This is huh hum and bland. Inoffensive and not very interesting. Not the worst thing ever, but saying this is mediocre is generous.

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Bootlegger Brown Ale from Independence Brewing Co.
81 out of 100 based on 75 ratings.