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

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Reviews: 75 | Ratings: 193
Photo of SuperSpy
2.89/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A - As I pour this I start to wonder if I'm pouring a beer or a coke. It's nearly opaque with some ruby highlights. The head is no more than a fizzy cola like collection of thick bubbles that die almost as quickly as they appear. No lacing to speak of.

S - A nice but subtle nuttiness and some dark fruits. No hops.

T/M - Medium bodied with absolutely no carbonation. The flavor is nutty and a bit smoky. No hop flavor, no real bitterness.

D - Drinkable but not really memorable.

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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 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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Photo of cheers2beers
3.85/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Poured this one into my wiezen glass. The color was a dark brown with about a quarter inch creamy tan head, and plenty of laceing to speak of.

Smell: A sweet maltiness is definitely present with some woody notes as well. The aroma also has a raisin and prune mixture. The alcohol isnt noticed much here.

Taste: At first I'm getting some nutty sweet malts with a slight hop bitterness towards the end, and right when you think its over a hint of alcohol comes to mind.

Mouthfeel: In the mouthfeel I'm getting silky smooth liquid then it seems to turn into a dry and nutty aftertaste. Not bad at all.

Drinkability: This beer deserves some nice marks in my opinion. I will definitely be purchaseing this one again soon, and I suggest you do the same.


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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 coldchill
3.13/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured a nice, clear dark brown with a fine tan head. Dark roasted malt readily apparent at first sniff. Mouthfeel was ok but the experience was dominated by the roasted malt. This is not really what I was expecting in Brown Ale. It lacks the malty sweetnes that I expect in this style. To me, this is more of a "light stout" (if that is even possible). Not a bad beer by any means, just not what is advertised.

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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.

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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 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 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.

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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.

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Photo of sinistermadman
3.8/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown with crimson highlights. Head settles almost instantly to a fine lace.

Nose is hit by toasty-roasty coffee, nuts and toffee.

This beer has a nice medium body with moderate carbonation that is well at home on the palate. Taste melds nicely from toasty coffee-esque malts to rind-like subtle hop citric notes. Finishes with a 9V battery on the tongue bitter note but all in all quite drinkable and quite tasty

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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 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.

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Photo of Dubblebock
4.03/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The Bootlegger Brown is one of Independence Brewing's bottled offerings, and it's a really good introduction to their beers. Independence Brewing is still fairly new here in Austin, and their bottled lineup is still a little difficult to find. I picked up this sixer at the south Central Market for $7.99. Nice label on the bottle.

The Bootlegger Brown pours with a decent sized head and an opaque brown body. The nose is slightly sweet and malty.

Tastewise, you get a lot of dark coffee with nutty overtones. Very dry on the palate. Slight hint of hops on the backside, but the malts are clearly the star of this production.

Thin to medium body. Decent mouthfeel. Dry but tasty finish. Very drinkable.

Good effort from Independence Brewing. It's a good representative of the style, and it's clearly crafted with some pride. Good show all around.

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Photo of BeerRun13
4.62/5  rDev +30.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

thanks ot kbub6f.
First of all I really like the label on the bottle. The name is also cool... reminds me of stories my aunt used to tell me of a great uncle of mine being a rum runner.
The beer poured a dark, dark brown with a glimmer of red. Tan head that disipated quickly leaving a small amount of lace.
The chocolate and slight coffee notes tell me I'm in for a real treat. There's also some sort of toasty aroma to it.
Wow! This is one tasty beverage. Chocolatey and a slight bit of coffee as the aroma suggests. A toasty toffee flavor is there and gets stronger... and better as it warms. A little bitterness is in here too.
Full bodied and very smooth. This beer seems much like a porter to me but maybe not quite as heavy.
Drinkability you ask... Damn, I wish I had a 12 pack of this beer!

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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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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 Xadoor
4.3/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Independence beers had previously only been available on-tap, but are now available in bottle as well.

Poured a clear, deep brown with a nice beige head. Foam dissipated quickly with some lacing in the glass. Aroma is malty and sweet with a hint of chocolate and toffee. Slightly sweet with smooth and rich chocolate flavours to start and finishes with a slightly bitter coffee flavour. Mouthfeel was a little thinner then I was expecting, but still a very drinkable beer and a great brown ale.

I'll definitely be drinking more of it during the winter months as my tastes shift with the seasons. I also discovered that it goes really well with buttered popcorn while I was watching a flick at the Alamo Drafthouse Theatre.

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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 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 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.

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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.

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