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Bootlegger Brown Ale - Independence Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Bootlegger Brown AleBootlegger Brown Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

163 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 163
Reviews: 72
rAvg: 3.51
pDev: 15.1%
Wants: 3
Gots: 10 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Xadoor on 10-13-2004)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 163 | Reviews: 72 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Texasfan549
3/5  rDev -14.5%

Texasfan549, Nov 17, 2011
Photo of bentwookie
4/5  rDev +14%

bentwookie, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of nukem5
3.48/5  rDev -0.9%
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.

nukem5, Oct 30, 2011
Photo of JMad
4.03/5  rDev +14.8%
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.

JMad, Jul 07, 2011
Photo of thatlongname
3.33/5  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.


thatlongname, Mar 13, 2011
Photo of ColdPoncho
2.98/5  rDev -15.1%
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.

ColdPoncho, Feb 04, 2011
Photo of bisonkron
2.5/5  rDev -28.8%
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

bisonkron, Jan 14, 2011
Photo of Ek0nomik
3.88/5  rDev +10.5%
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.

Ek0nomik, Dec 11, 2010
Photo of rtepiak
3.58/5  rDev +2%
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.

rtepiak, Aug 14, 2010
Photo of vdread
3.43/5  rDev -2.3%
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.

vdread, Jul 11, 2010
Photo of MurphyMacManus
4/5  rDev +14%
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.

MurphyMacManus, Jun 22, 2010
Photo of RobertTh3Texian
3.78/5  rDev +7.7%
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.

RobertTh3Texian, Jun 15, 2010
Photo of champ103
3/5  rDev -14.5%
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.

champ103, Jun 03, 2010
Photo of theboozecruise
3.45/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into a cylindrical pint glass... dark brown color.. hints of red and clear when held up to the light.

Smells strong of roasted malts... maybe even a slight hint of coffee. Pretty good, makes sense considering how dark the color is.

The taste is a little watery, disappointing... the roasted malts still dominate the overall flavor.

Mouthfeel is a little disappointing... the aroma and taste make me expect a thicker beer but it's just not there.

What we have here is an above-average but not spectacular brown ale. I could see drinking these on tap on 6th St. before, but it's nothing to blow away the competition.

theboozecruise, Apr 12, 2010
Photo of jujubeast6000
3.65/5  rDev +4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed 1/3/2010 (Bottle):

Pours a clear roasted brown color body, small tan head, pretty quickly diminishing. Roasted aroma, some chocolate. Coffee, almost burnt. Some sweetness, but only a little. Coffee taste, strong coffee. Roasted, but not burnt. Some ashiness, but only a little. Light body, very drinkable. Surprisingly tasty. Some nuttiness.

jujubeast6000, Feb 07, 2010
Photo of wagenvolks
2.93/5  rDev -16.5%
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...

wagenvolks, Jun 19, 2009
Photo of BeanBone
3.98/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: A slightly hazy, dark brown body with pumpkin highlights. Up top, a half-finger of tightly-packed and cream-colored head that recedes rapidly, leaving a ring around the glass and little lacing.

Aroma: First up, a wave of coffee. Not dark-roasted espresso, but regular black coffee, (similar to New Belgium's Giddy Up). There are plenty of chocolate and roasty malt notes to back it up. No hops.

Taste: The coffee flavors keep going strong with lots of chocolate, roasted malt, nuttiness, and dark fruit. Some mild hops in the finish. There's lots going on here, but everything meshes in a way that keeps it pretty straight-forward. This is very much a sweet beer, but not cloyingly so.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied and silky smooth with good carbonation. The hops in the finish dry the sweetness up a little.

Drinkability: An easy-drinking beer, this would be a good session choice.

Verdict: Independence have crafted a charming little beer here. Lots of different complementary flavors come together to give Bootlegger a good amount of character, something many Browns are missing, while still having a lot of sessionability. Solid.

BeanBone, May 09, 2009
Photo of ckeegan04
4.22/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Dark brown with faint ruby highlights when held up to light. Solid, creamy two finger brown head. Excellent retention and light rings of lace left behind.

S - Nutty aroma with a faint hint of toasted bread. A somewhat spicy somewhat fruity aroma begins to strengthen as the beer warms.

T - Very nutty initially with hints of chocolate and roasted malts. Dark fruits and spice come through mid drink and finishes bitter sweet. Very well rounded tastes.

M/D - Medium bodied with light but adequate carbonation. Really easy drinking. Not my favorite style, but an excellent brown ale.

ckeegan04, May 07, 2009
Photo of angelmonster
3.68/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

As soon as i pour this beer the head goes crazy filling up 3/4 of the glass. Never had this happen to me. The head is beige, dark brown body. Head retention and lacing are above average

Smell is big on malt, roasted mainly. There is also some nuts and smokiness present. Hops are very faint and there is also a fruity yeast smell

Taste is big on roasted and smoky malt, almost like a scotch ale. Semi rich with that bready malt goodness. I dont know why but im getting an after taste of old coke

Beer is a bit over carbonated. A little on the light side for a brown ale. Head is kinda thin too

I love brown ales and this one is a bit above average. Good flavors and sessionable but the carbonation held this one back.

angelmonster, Apr 10, 2009
Photo of Atlas1
4.03/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I had never been terribly impressed by any of the other Independence beers, but we had a Texas Independence Day party last week and, fittingly, we served some of these. I had my first one tonight and was surprisingly impressed.

Pours a rich dark brown color with hues of ruby and mahogany that shine through when the beer is held up to the light. Decent one-finger tan head that dissipates quickly, and not much lace to speak of. The nose is where you first realize that this beer is a cut above the rest of the Independence brews. Sweet and malty with some dark fruit, molasses, toffee, milk chocolate, coffee, and fig. A distant smoky aroma is present here as well. Taste follows suit, delivering up some nice malty sweet flavors. Rich, but not syrupy sweet. Some dry hoppiness in the back of the mouth and the finish. A tad watery in the mouthfeel but a fine consistency on the whole.

I really like this beer much more than I expected to. Nice and malty. Smooth and soft with a dry finish. A totally sessionable beer at 6% ABV as well. Perhaps the only beer from Independence that I'd return to consistently, but a nice brown ale to revisit. I'd like to try this on tap sometime as well.

Atlas1, Mar 10, 2009
Photo of Redrover
4.2/5  rDev +19.7%
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.

Redrover, Feb 12, 2009
Photo of twiggamortis420
3.25/5  rDev -7.4%
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.

twiggamortis420, Jan 31, 2009
Photo of TheMistler
3.85/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had on draft at the bar my brother in law tends in Austin, this beer poured an opaquely dark brown with maroon highlights. Creamy, slightly off-white head. Nearly complete cap, fairly foamy in parts, blending in well with the ring. Decent lacing.

A dry aroma. Dark chocolate with a hint of coffee and roasted nuts.

A crisp and dry and brown ale, with good flavor. A dusting of dark and light chocolates. Hints of roasted characteristics, including nuts and just a teensy bit of coffee. The nuts become more noticeable as the beer warms, even developing a peanut butter flavor that sticks around on the palate. Upon warming, the beer reminded me - though it was not the same in taste - of Reese's cups, with the combination of some chocolate and peanut flavors.

The flavors are kept dancing along the palate by a carbonation that is continuously crisp and builds to a nice bite.

Easy drinking and pretty darn tasty, I wish I could find this beer in my normal climes.

TheMistler, Dec 27, 2008
Photo of mikereaser
3.63/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - pours a very dark brown with 1/2 inch of foam that disappears into a fine layer of bubbles

S - aroma of sweet malt and almost a coffee smell

T - I was expecting alot of flavor from this from the appearance and aroma. It wasn't as full of flavor as I expected. Just a hint of roasted coffee flavor that never fully comes through

M/D - Very easy to drink, but could use a little something else to make me want more.

mikereaser, Dec 09, 2008
Photo of jasonjlewis
3.55/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a huge head almost too much. It's fizzy at first with a ruby brown color. Nice retention as well.

Smell is of decent caramel malts and an undertone of plums. The slight fruity esters make up for the lackluster smell of the malts.

The flavor is of caramel malts and a little fruity esters underneath. The malts are fairly decent. There is a tiny bit of diacetyl but it works with this beer. I don't mind it at all.

Smooth slightly creamy mouthfeel with a touch of carbonation.

This is a fairly decent beer a tiny bit of brewing flaw, but worth a try.

jasonjlewis, Aug 22, 2008
Bootlegger Brown Ale from Independence Brewing Co.
80 out of 100 based on 163 ratings.