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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 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 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 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 TheManiacalOne
4.15/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Acquired from hojuwestlake, so a big “Thank you” goes out to him. Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep brown color with a thin off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin but even lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of coffee, maple and roasted malt with a slight touch of hops in the background.

T: The taste is very creamy and malty with flavors of coffee, maple, a little chocolate and a touch of spice. There’s a very mild hops presence but it definitely keeps the beer’s sweetness from overwhelming you. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is sticky.

D: Very tasty, goes down easily, slightly filling, good representation of style, I could see myself enjoying a few of these in an evening. The only drawback would be that I might get a little full after 3 or 4 of them. Overall however, this is a very good beer.

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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 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 Mora2000
3.65/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

I really like this beer from Austin's newest brewery. The beer pours a dark brown, with some reddish highlights on the edges when it is held up to a light. The beer smells of nuts and malt. The taste is similar, but also very creamy. Good beer and one of the better brown ales to come out of Texas.

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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 wl0307
3.78/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Got this bottle by courtesy of Houston-based BA Steve (Xadoor), brought over during his Honeymoon in Europe a month ago. No freshness info. printed on the label or bottle, served cool in a large Burgundy bulb wine glass.

A: extremely dark mahogany hue, coming with a loosely-formed beige beer head that settles slowly and buttressed by healthy streams of fizziness. Not bad.
S: a little sour-sweet fruity yet creamy tinge of dark malts with a chocolatey edge and pear-like fruity hint, laced with pleasant nuttiness, diacetyl, and flowery edge of American hops~~ plenty of sticky dark fruits at the back, reminiscent of plum-jam and more roast nuts. Overall, the aroma is really like a milder English Porter, or a fullsome Mild. Not bad at all, albeit not terribly complex.
T: on the palate... hang on, were have I tasted it before?--it's firmly in line with English Porter, if I may... a smooth yet also effervescent chocolatey+chest-nutty maltiness prevails upfront, backed by lots and lots of chewy, aromatic cocoa to sweet coffee flavour, sparkled by a healthy dose of sour-fruitiness at the tail... An understated but noticeable hoppy impact reveals in the aftertaste, bringing about a slightly dryish mouthfeel attached deeply to the tongue.
M&D: as mentioned above, the mouthfeel is soothing--fizziness is just about right; the flavour reminds me a lot of the maltier, modern version of English Porter (not the traditional three-threads). As a brown ale, the body is medium, good for drinkability. Somehow my tastebuds crave for more complex and colourful malt entry, but my mind feels satisfied with this beer all the same. Big thanks go to Steve for sharing this fine ale with me~~

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Photo of ppoitras
4.08/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle from assurbanipaul as part of Too Much Beer (2MB) BIF. Thanks for the opportunity.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1/2" dark tan head over the clear ruby brown brew. Head fades but is still with us, and lacing is plentiful. Aroma is hearty grains, mostly of the dark persuasion, although maybe not as intense as I would hope. Taste is sweet dark malts upfront, with light hoppiness present but not enough to balance. Mouthfeel is ultra-smooth, and drinkability is very nice, although sweetness might get overwhelming after a while. Very nice brown, and even though it's not one of my favorite styles, I have to appreciate this one.

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Photo of Gagnonsux
4.1/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The color is brown with a thin, off-white head. Bootlegger has a pleasent roasted aroma with notes of coffee and chocolate. The taste is much of the same. The roasted flavor really stands out and makes this beer great. Coffee and chocolate tastes intertwine with the roasted character and complete the experience. This is great stuff, but seems a little more like an American stout than a brown ale. Anyhow, I enjoyed this and hope it arrives in bottles soon.

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Photo of Jwale73
3.57/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to JDV for the opportunity to try this one out.

Served in a standard pint glass. Poured a dark brown, about the color of cola, with some ruby-red highlights around the edges. Loose quarter-inch white head that disappeared almost as soon as it hit the glass leaving a thin ring of white around the perimeter. Watery lacing with poor adhesion. Scent was predominantly malty with a bit of nuttiness also in the mix. Taste similar to nose with the addition of a mild coffee presence and a slight hops bitterness at the finish; however, flavors are somewhat muted. Mouthfeel is a little thin but there is a little carbonation present to fill it out. Drinkability is pretty good; brew went down pretty easy.

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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 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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Photo of twiggamortis420
3.26/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This beer is dark garnet in color and barely lets any light through. A heavy pour yields only a small amount of fine-bubbled creamy off-white head. Fades at a semi rapid clip to a sheen and collar. Not much lacing to note, I'd say it is a pretty decent looking beer.

Nutty, muted chocolate and crystal malt aroma. Pretty standard brown ale nose. Nice, fresh and clean smelling with a touch of sweetness but not too much. No hops are discernable here.

Taste leans a bit to the nutty side, like almonds. Plenty watery, it needs a bit more sweetness and is a bit too toasty - nearly reminding me of an amber ale. Nothing really stands out about this beer to separate it from the pack of brown ales, but nothing detracts from it either. I could not see myself buying a sixer of it, but would be plenty happy drinking it at a party. In fact, it seems like a nice introduction into the world of craft beer.

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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 allengarvin
3.59/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12-oz bottle, poured into chalice glass. Despite a vigorous pour, I got no head at all. Dark, deep brown color, pretty opaque. Good fruity (ripe bing cherries) aroma, with rich notes of caramel. Solid caramel malt underpinning, fruit less apparent than in the nose, but still present. Modest hops, more apparent at the finish. Mouthfeel is a little flat and watery.

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Photo of Pegasus
3.92/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Quite clear mahogony brown color with a decent off-white head and slight lingering carbonation.

Aroma: Rich roasted espresso coffee bean aroma with toasty malt notes and hints of nuts and chocolate, very pleasing.

Taste: Begins with sweet caramel and toffee notes, which carry throughout the taste. There is an underlying current of toasty, nutty malt and a mild but lingering hop note at the finish. A pleasingly complex example of the style.

Mouth feel: Smooth, rich and full, excellent for the style.

Drinkability/notes: A rather fine brown ale, and an auspicious start for Texas' newest brewery. This is a quite quaffable session beer and seems perfectly suited to cool autumn evenings.

Sampled on tap at the Independence Brewery during the grand opening celebration on October 9, 2004.

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Photo of Redrover
4.17/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was another local option at Opal Divines. Served in a shaker pint, the beer is a reddish brown with just a skim of a tan head.

The nose is of lightly charred malts, a hint of wood smoke and some sweet brown sugar.

The taste is a solid mix of roasted malts, brown sugar like sweetness, brown bread and a bit of dark chocolate in the aftertaste.

The mouth is solid and pleasantly thickish. Very nice sessionable beer. My favorite of the evening. If I would have started with this one, I never would have switched.

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Photo of wagenvolks
2.93/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

On-tap at the Crown & Anchor pub.

Pours into the pint glass a standard, coffee brown body with hints of dark mahogany at the edge. A scant head of custard-colored bubbles floats atop, fueled by an uppity carbonation level. Not much in the aroma; some roasted java beans, a faint hint of caramel and no hops at all. Average at best.

Flavor mimics the aroma largely, with a bit more roasted coffee and chocolate malts. Starts sweetly, but spirals into a slightly sourish finish of acrid roast and a hint of hops. Body is water-thin and the hefty carbonation dries out the finish so much that it detracts from the experience. Not a great brew, and one I'll likely avoid in the future. Thankfully I wasn't paying for this pitcher...

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Photo of lackenhauser
3.68/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Very nice, deep reddish brown color. Malty and sweet aroma with a slight espresso note. Somewhat metallic aroma. Very good malty flavor. Nice caramel sweetness to it. Hints of hazelnut and cocoa. The hazelnut tends to come out the more you drink. A bit thin bodywise. Overall a good beer. Somewhat on the sweet side and the hazelnut flavor gets a bit old so I have to knock down its drinkability a notch. Well worth a try though. Thanks mushroomcloud.

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Photo of HardTarget
3.72/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle Inspection: Bootlegger label also holds to the “less information is more” philosophy.

Aroma: Malty with some dark bitter chocolate and a hint of Fuggles hops.

Appearance: Brown mug that shines ruby when backlit with good clarity. A light tan thick collar and thin cover lasted throughout the beer leaving good lace.

Flavor: Something like a cross between a porter and brown ale. Chocolate, chocolate malt, Fuggles/dustiness, but a clean taste that is balanced and a bit nutty.

Mouthfeel: Low carbonation level and a clean finish

Overall Impression: Bit of a cross over in terms of style, but over all a very nice beer! I enjoyed this one more than the Pale Ale.

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Photo of JDV
3.16/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Very deep, dark brown color with a light tan, fluffy head that is somewhat short lasting. Lightly nutty, malty smell. Taste is creamy, malty, and nutty, yet slightly thin bodied. Could be a tad bit richer. Easy to drink, with a fairly quick finish and almost no bitterness, making it very friendly. A decent, satisfying beer worth giving a shot.

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Photo of BeerSox
3.42/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into mug.

Dark, nearly opaque, brown with bits of red making its way through. Thin tan colored head that never really develops, then dissapears quickly. A bubbly rim remains along the glass, with thin lacing.

Slight presence of a nutty malt aroma, along with a touch of alcohol. The overall smell is very bland.

Slightly bitter dark malt flavors, almost no hops in the taste. Slightest hint of creaminess in the middle.

Light-medium bodied with little carbonation. Very smooth finish.

This is actually not a bad beer, it's just not full of aromas or flavor. Good if you want to just knock back a few Brown Ales. A little high on the alcohol side for a session beer, though.

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