Bootlegger Brown Ale | Independence Brewing Co.

75 Reviews
no score
Send samples
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:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
firstprev| 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 75 | Ratings: 193
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.

 630 characters

Photo of bennetj17
3.89/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark brown, coffee-like color, with not much foam. The carbonation appears moderate and the bubbles are very large. Just a pencil thin ring of froth about the edges. Lots of tangy raisin fruit in the aroma along with some coffee and nut flavors also. It seems nice but a bit weak in potency so it's hard to get enough of a bouquet.

The taste has nice subtle dark fruit flavors with a nice dry nutty finish. The flavors are clean borderlining on watery though. The mouthfeel is not too thin, with average carbonation.

Overall not a bad Brown Ale. The characteristics were much like a Scotch Ale to me although a bit lighter. Thanks for Finnman for the bottle...

 664 characters

Photo of ckeegan04
4.18/5  rDev +17.7%
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.

 588 characters

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.

 596 characters

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.

 404 characters

Photo of SkeeterHawk
3.88/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a pretty clear deep dark ruby red color with a half-inch of tan foam on top. The head was pretty thick, and acted like it was going to be around for a while. There is some lacing left on the glass after the beer falls.

Aroma: Initially I get a whole lot of chocolate along with a rich dark caramel component. This gives it a sweet candy like nose. It is pretty fruity also with some dark fruits like figs and plums in there. The roast is becoming more pronounced as the beer warms a bit.

Taste: The flavor is very malt driven, and comes across as a substantial beer. It has plenty of body and mouthfeel. The malt is in charge there is a mild contribution from the hops. There is a little floral to mix with the roast, and a little bittering to give the sweetness a little balance, but the finish is balanced toward the malt.

Opinion: This is a pretty good beer, and a breed that you don’t often see in this neck of the woods. In this, I am referring to the sweet balance of the beer…but the brand is a little new for these parts too. I like the balance, and it reminds me of beers you find in the Northern Rockies. There isn’t a whole lot to set this beer apart, but it is still a very drinkable brew.

 1,231 characters

Photo of goochpunch
2.27/5  rDev -36.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Pours reddish brown with a thin, barely existent khaki head. Smells like some chocolate and light roast coffee. Nothing much to it. Starts off with some roasty and chocolate flavors but then it becomes cloyingly sweet with an artificial sweetener taste. What is it with these beers I've been having lately? Mouthfeel is pretty syrupy with weak carbonation. Eh. At least it doesn't have any off-flavors like some of the beers from several batches from this brewery.

 464 characters

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.

 420 characters

Photo of Westsidethreat
3.22/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to chadspivey for the beer.

A: Medium chestnut color with minor haze to it. Head has a good creaminess to it, light latte color.

S: Chocolate milk, café au lait with a dustiness to it.

T: Starts with a grape flavor with out the sourness that can come with the flavor. Some watery chocolate milk flavor comes next, more of the basic and less about the bold cocoa flavor. Some strong mineral flavors come along with this beer too. Finishes with coffee grounds, chalky almonds and brown crayons.

M: Thin and fizzy.

D: Fairly straightforward. Not any off nor desirable flavors.

 597 characters

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.

 559 characters

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.

 351 characters

Photo of MaltyGoodness
2.98/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12oz. bottle thanks to MUSHROOMCLOUD

Pours a dark mahogany brown with a small tan head that thins. Mild lacing on the glass.

Light aroma. Some light nuttiness and cocoa scents. Fairly bland.

Light flavor. Some lightly roasted and nutty flavors with a touch of cocoa. Falls flat and finishes bland.

Light body, low carbonation.

Not offensive, just rather bland all around.

 386 characters

Photo of Morris729
3.9/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown mahogany color with a tall and foamy light tan head that fades into a patchy lace. Nose is dark roasted coffee beans and burnt toffee along with a bit of malt sweetness. Taste begins with caramelized malts and dark toffee followed by a touch of unsweetened dark chocolate and a bit of espresso and hop bitterness. Quite enjoyable.

 349 characters

Photo of kbub6f
4.04/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Dog & Duck.

It's a very dark brown, hazy, muddy. The head is quite dense, slightly tan-colored off-white, and small but persistent. Nice aroma: lots of burnt toffee, sweetish, a little bitter, dark chocolate. Loads of burnt toffee up front, less sweet than I was expecting. Some powdery bitter cocoa in the middle. Quite flat and oily, but full and thick. The finish is coffee and bitter chocolate. Really, quite bitter, and a touch chemically. Overall, this is a good beer. It's more aggressive than I was expecting from a new brewery with such tame charter styles. It inspires hope.

 597 characters

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.

 737 characters

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.

 1,249 characters

Photo of jbphoto88
3.88/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a little thin with a small amount of head that leaves nothing behind as you drink. Bootlegger is not a brown ale, its an almost black ale. This beer looks dark, not as dark as a stout or porter but dark. There are hints of amber and ruby on the edges and it has a nice reddish color as you get to the bottom of the glass. The smell is the least impressive thing about this brew. Its mild and only has a little hint to the malts and other contents of this beer. I can slightly detect some coffee accents but its real minimal. The taste is not what I expected from a brown ale (especially one from Texas). It has a smooth mouth feel as you go from the sweet malts to the twinge of coffee and chocolate. A very balanced flavor. There is no dominate taste and each flavor moves smoothly to the next one. You are left with a nice warmth in your mouth and a slight chocolate aftertaste. A fine beer worth the price and a heck of a lot better then the pale ale from Independence.

 978 characters

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.

 481 characters

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.

 627 characters

Photo of Atlas1
4.02/5  rDev +13.2%
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.

 1,193 characters

Photo of jmbranum
3.15/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Drank on tap at Opal Divine's (Penn Field location) in Austin, TX

A pretty dark brown beer (almost black).

The taste is dominated by alcohol and just isn't balanced enough. It certainly has some toasty notes, but I would have prefered more malt sweetness (particularly if they are shooting for an English brown style). There was some chocolate and coffee in the palate but even those flavors didn't shine and the beer tasted a bit "disorganized" for lack of a better term, as if it wasn't sure what it was trying to be.

The aroma is quite enchanting though. I only wish this beer tasted as good as it smelled.

 618 characters

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

Pours a dark but clear brown with a thin beige head. Aroma is thin but malty and sweet.

Taste is sweet caramelized malt but not so much that would push it towards a Scottish ale. More robust than other browns (don't think of Newcastle) with elements of cocoa and roast coffee. Clean finish, very good for the style. Could definitely be sessionable, and I've found very few brown ales that qualify.

 400 characters

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.

 562 characters

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.

 363 characters

Photo of pentathlete
3.33/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Near opaque ruby brown with a small head. Not much character in the nose, mainly water and light malts with little else happening, but certainly not off-putting. The taste picks things up, a decent brown with mildly ashy malts and a hint of sweetness. The flavors mingle to create a little chocolate, a little nutty flavor. Mouthfeel is, unfortunately thin. Too bad for such a nice malty flavor. Sessionable, I'd like to try a draft of this.

 441 characters

firstprev| 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Bootlegger Brown Ale from Independence Brewing Co.
3.55 out of 5 based on 193 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.