Bootlegger Brown Ale | Independence Brewing Co.

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Bootlegger Brown AleBootlegger Brown Ale

Brewed by:
Independence Brewing Co.
Texas, United States

Style: American Brown Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Xadoor on 10-13-2004

For Trade:
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Reviews: 75 | Ratings: 193
Photo of BeerBelcher
3.79/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I thought this beer was one of the better TX craft beers I've had. It was a really nice brown ale with lots of caramel and roasty ("burned pizza crust") flavor.

This beer poured a rather flat-looking reddish-brown into a pint glass. The head materialized rather late after I'd poured the beer. Aroma was pretty nice; a lot of brown sugar caramel-ness. Flavor was also good - a nice blend of caramel and burnt roastiness. I thought this beer had a lot more flavor than many other brown ales I've had. Mouthfeel was a bit boring and thin, but not bad. I'd have this again.

Definitely recommended.

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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 MrHungryMonkey
3.77/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Very dark brown – a deep and slight reddish mahogany translucence – almost completely opaque – very small head – no bubbling

Malt – sweet and fruity – cool and crisp – chocolate – raisin – almost no bitterness

Roasted/burnt – chocolate – malt – fruity, like raisin or prune – no bitterness

Mildly carbonated in the mouth – fairly smooth

Looks cool, all dark and brown/reddish, although there is little head or bubble activity. The smell is amazing, dense spectrum of aromas floating out of my glass. The taste, however, doesn’t hold up to the smell. There are some nice flavors, but they are fairly subtle. Thus Bootlegger is mild and smooth. I’m interested to taste what else these guys from Austin cook up.

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

Served from bottle into standard pint glass.

Pours dark brown with some ruby highlights when held up to the light. Nice clarity. Small tan head dissipates quickly. Very little lacing.

Smell is of caramel malt, chocolate, & toffee.

Taste is sweet, malty with caramel & chocolate coming through. A slight roasted malt bitterness with a a hint of hops lingers for a moment in the finish.

Thin to medium bodied. Low carbonation, very clean. I wish it was more flavorful, but this one scores points on drinkability, and I could easily see it being a session beer.

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Photo of mikereaser
3.65/5  rDev +2.8%
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.

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Photo of angelmonster
3.65/5  rDev +2.8%
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.

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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 jujubeast6000
3.62/5  rDev +2%
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.

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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 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 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 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 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 jasonjlewis
3.55/5  rDev 0%
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.

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3.55/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I had a pint of Bootlegger Brown on-tap at the source during a tour/tasting this weekend.

The beer is a dark mahogany brown with some red tint. A 1/4" creamy head fell quickly to a spotted cap. Decent lace.

Chocolate and roasted malt are the dominant aromas. Earthy and almost a light porter-like aroma.

The taste was a nice balance of roasted malt and chocolate. Very fresh and tasty.

The mouthfeel was a tad thin. The drinkability more than makes up for it. This is a well made, easy to drink brown ale. I could easily have downed 4 or 5 of these.

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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 theboozecruise
3.5/5  rDev -1.4%
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.

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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 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 NClifestyle
3.44/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

hazy dark brown, almost no head, looked like a glass of coca-cola. after 30 seconds, only foam was around the edges of the liquid.
sweet, nutty brown malt smell.
taste of brown sugar and sweet coffee, with just a bit of earthy hop in the back of the throat.
thin, smooth and slightly creamy mouthfeel, no carbonation whatsoever.
an easy drinker, but not sure i would have too many before moving on to something else.
one note, the cap came off almost (it seems) too easily, and there was little rush of air. maybe i had a bad bottle. oh well, it wasn't bad, just not stellar.


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Bootlegger Brown Ale from Independence Brewing Co.
3.55 out of 5 based on 193 ratings.
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