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Boxcar Brown | Crabtree Brewing Company

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Boxcar BrownBoxcar Brown
31 Ratings
Boxcar BrownBoxcar Brown

Brewed by:
Crabtree Brewing Company
Colorado, United States

Style: American Brown Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.28%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
An English Brown Ale brewed with malted barley and imported hops to transport you to a flavorful destination of chocolate, biscuit and nutty tones.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 31 |  Reviews: 18
Reviews by Kemmerlin:
Photo of Kemmerlin
2.85/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: A much darker brown than most brown ales. Poured a thick creamy espresso colored head with good carbonation showing.

S: Faintly nutty but lacks much else that could be considered a smell. Seems kinda watered down.

T: Has a strong amount of hops in the front but they quickly mellow out leaving a nutty aftertaste but that's all she's got.

M/D: Kinda has a dry feeling do to the amount of hops and is a wee bit grainy. Not the best brown in the world but it is a decent one especially as a local brew.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of htomsirveaux
1.88/5  rDev -40.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

12 oz. bottle tried 21 Mar 2010.

A large khaki colored head fills almsot half of the Liquor Mart shaker pint glass. Well carbonated. Clear dark brown maple color. Smells like our first homebrew, sweet, slightly musty with a betadine kick. Flavor is fairly mild, sweet caramel. Just a hint of hop bitterness in the finish. Medicinal aftertaste.

The medicinal betadine dominates this beer, becoming stronger as it warms. This flavor lingered in my mouth for almost an hour after finishing the bottle, even with a large glass of water and some chocolate mousse to cleanse it. Definitely not recommended.

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Photo of Crosling
3.15/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown colored brew. Long lasting foam. In the nose, toasty and roast-like malts, with hints of brown sugar, butter and dark fruits, along with a touch of diacetyl. Not much malt depth or describable malt character in the flavor. Unfortunate off flavors (metal, cleaner) seem to steal the show. Decent, drinkable brew with potential.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.25/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

"You can't kill the spirit, no matter how you try
The spirit will live on even if you die
This nation is our spirit, from sea to shining sea
The spirit of America will live eternally"

--Boxcar Willie

Texas Longhorns orange with bright pumpkin edges and crazy amounts of carbonation that have created a huge crown of fluffy foam. Against all odds, some pretty decent looking lace is starting to appear.

The nose harbors no surprises. It's brown malty, toasted bready and somewhat nutty. Hops don't make much of a splash, but that's never been a requirement in beer of this style. If the mouthfeel isn't too choatic, this could be an okay brew.

Boxcar Brown is a mildly flavored American brown (English brown works too) that makes no major missteps. More malt would give it more flavor intensity/depth, and would help bulk up the 'too light' mouthfeel. Oh well, the brewers have probably positioned it right where they want it in their lineup.

My first concern on seeing all the bubbles was 'old beer'. BB doesn't taste old at all and the bubbles aren't that bad once tongue contact occurs. Flavors include toasted brown bread, lightly sugared nuts and a small sprinkling of tea leaf bitterness from the hops. Good washer-downer for burgers and fries.

Boxcar Brown may not be a high-speed bullet train, but it's a capable enough little brown ale that stays firmly on the tracks, chugs along slow and steady, and gets to the next station on time. Having said that, there's no need for a return trip.

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Photo of GrandpaGeorge
3.68/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(My 300th BA review.) Hand carried from my hometown (Thanks N & E!). Rich mahogany brown in the glass with decent tan-colored head that left nice lacing on the glass. Soft carbonation that activated in the mouth and, with the thinner body, created a pleasant refreshing mouthfeel. Roasted malt immediately evident with a subtle hops flavor that, at first sip seemed a bit strange, with an almost vegetable-like aftertaste; but after a few sips the hops settled-in with a touch of bitterness that rendered the whole rather enjoyable. "It grows on you," was one of the comments I heard of another taster. All-in-all, a very nice beer for the style. I'll have to get back to Greeley soon and try the rest that Crabtree has to offer. Go Spartans!

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Photo of emerge077
3.62/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark mahogany brown color, offwhite tan foam on the surface. A quick swirl rekindles the head quickly. Some spotty lace that connects in partial arcs inside the glass.

Nutty, earthy malt complexity, brown sugar, lightly woody. A slightly lactic almond milk impression. Aroma improves as it warms, let it get to cellar temperature.

Some floral notes, lightly roasted malt toastiness, more nutty and earthy flavors to follow the aroma. Fairly dry aftertaste, not sweet, mild nutty walnut bitterness. Smooth feel, malt driven and light bodied. Full flavored and easy drinking. Proper session brown ale.

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Photo of russpowell
3.23/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours an effervescent caramel/brown with 2 fingers of tan head. Good head retention & average lacing

S: Biscuitty malt & slight toastyness

T: Follows the nose along with some mineral hoppyness, a touch of dryness & nuttyness up front. Some sulphur notes as this warms, then the nuttyness & dryness really kicks in, along with a bit of woody hops. Finishes dry & toasty, with just a hint of dusty grain

MF: Medium bodied, firm carbonation. Thins out as this warms a bit

Not a bad brown, but not one I would buy again if say, Avery's Brown was on offer

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Photo of SkeeterHawk
3.42/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I must preface this review by saying that I am doing "the deed" and drinking this beer out of the bottle. I have no choice as there is no acceptable receptacle here when I am traveling, so take this review with a grain of salt for this reason. I will have a bit of a hard time with the appearance if nothing else.

Appearance: Pretty light for a brown with a small head, though there was a decent off-gas when popping the cap. I don't really see any sediment on the bottom, which is a good thing.

Aroma: I get a good bit of chocolate malt and some dark caramel with some mild toasty notes. I really don't get any hops to speak of, which doesn't hurt my feelings as I am fond of malt.

Taste: The flavor is actually quite a bit thinner than I suspected from the aroma. The beer is still balanced toward the malt, and has some caramel and toasty notes that are the predominant part of the flavor profile. The finish is a bit uneventful with some clean almost watery notes. There is a bit of chocolate in the finish as well. The carbonation is a bit low, but the beer is so thin that this is a good thing.

Opinion: Well, this is a well made beer in that there are no off-flavors at all, and one this thin would show that like nobody's business. It would be good on a hot day and you want something with more flavor than your typical lawnmower beer, but this one would be equally refreshing. I would probably drink this beer again, but I won't be seeking it out.

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Photo of Hellpop65
3.25/5  rDev +3.5%

Photo of jmbranum
3.82/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(bought from a liquor store in Junction City, KS. Drinking tonight in Oklahoma City)

Dark brown clear brew with a short head. Lovely malty aroma, quite strong. Flavor is fairly true to style. Fairly sweet with some hops. Little bit of toasty notes. Odd aftertaste. What is it? Sorta chemically. Not good.

Mouthfeel is ok. Fair amount of carbonation. Very sessionable.

Not terrible but it would be much better without that aftertaste. A little bit more complexity would also help.

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Photo of zeff80
3.41/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured out a clear, copper penny color with a huge, khaki colored head of foam. It left sudsy trails of lace.

S - It smelled nutty and floral. Not much else.

T - It tasted nutty and roasty with some biscuity malt. There were mild toffee notes.

M - It was fairly crisp and sharp. A light to medium bodied ale with a dry finish.

O - This is a nice brown ale. Not the best beer from Crabtree but it is still solid.

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Photo of emmasdad
3.08/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a crisp, clean mahogany color, with some reddish highlights and a decent light brown head. Aroma is all chewy caramel, roasted nuts and brown sugar. Fairly thin-bodied, with some caramel malt, light chocolate, vanilla and more roasted nuts. Good and drinkable, but not particularly memorable.

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Photo of Haybeerman
3.18/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Clear chestnut color. Poured a 1 finger tan head that dissipated to random floating clumps. Thin lacing washed down the sides of the glass.

S: Sweet crystal malt and a faint coffee aroma of toasted malt. Not a lot to go on.

T: Toasted malts and plenty of bitter. A bit of nutty taste lingers through a continuing (from the start) bitter finish.

M: Light body. Balanced carbonation. Dry and bitter in the finish.

D: Just not sure all the flavors are right; maybe its the big bitter. Interesting enopugh to drink. I'll try it a few more times I bet; if for no other reason that its local.

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Photo of ChipperDave
3.75/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I found this beer to be much better than I expected. Out of the bottle it had a good head on it and was decently carbonated. It pours a dark brown with scarlet overtones. I've have several other local brown ales in Colorado before and this one tasted better than the likes of Tommyknocker's or Rock Bottoms. Nice nutty / roasty taste. Nicely balanced with hops. I could easily drink several of these. Don't let the small town small brewery fool you. Crabtree is working hard and is constantly improving it's beers.

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Photo of jaydoc
3.25/5  rDev +3.5%

Photo of JuicesFlowing
3.15/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a standard pint glass. The beer is a very dark mahogany color, much darker than most brown ales. An off-white cream colored head sits on top and dissipates to a thin film. Sticky lacing persists. The beer smells of burnt malts and nuts. The taste is also weird -- too much burnt malt taste. It almost tastes like a stout, but has enough malty, caramel taste to remind you it is a brown ale. The mouthfeel is medium bodied.

Overall, I'm disappointed. The beer is too burnt-malt tasting. It tastes like a stout, but looks and feels like an ale. Also, it feels way too heavy. 5.28% ABV feels like 8% ....

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Photo of rawfish
2.4/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A - Immediately with the pour something seems amiss, the beer pours quickly like bottled water and causes little to no head to form and big bubbles cling to the inside of the glass and with no lacing. Looks like someone has replaced my beer with day old Dr. pepper. And that's enough to give you an idea about the color.

S - Weird awfully perfume-like and strong, smells like my parent's compost heap back in Hawaii, coffee grounds and sweet rotting tropical fruit, mangoes and papaya in particular. Oh and some toasted malt, really sweet and funky.

T&M - For such a strong aroma you'd think this would taste different. I'm getting lots of toasted bread, nuttiness and caramel malts no chocolate or coffee. Mildly bitter earthy hops but with a sickly sweet finish that clashes. Rather watery with light carbonation, I can sense a tinge of carbonation on the finish but I can't find it elsewhere.

D - Tastes pedestrian but everything else about it is rather disappointing. This one has given me just about as much pleasure of waiting at a railroad crossing for a long and slow train to pass.

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Photo of afsdan
3.25/5  rDev +3.5%

Photo of Pwnasaur90
3.68/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Now, I am not well versed in the world of brown ales, mostly because they are more boring than a sunday school church class. However, once in awhile I am pleasantly surprised...and then let down a a little bit.

Appearance: Pours a darkish brown, with a light, off white head. Head dissipates after a little while.

Smell: Not much of an aroma on this one, however what smell does come through is the malt sweetness and a little bit of roast.

Taste: A nice malt sweetness with a hint of nut and a good, roast finish. Nothing mind bogglingly wonderful, but still tasty nonetheless.

Overall: Honestly, there's not much to say about this beer. It's not a world class brown, but neither is it something to be thought of as piss water. For a brown, this actually has a little bit more character than a lot of the other basic browns on the market. For some easy drinking, I recommend this beer.

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Photo of GuyFawkes
3.04/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Poured from the bottle into a glass.

Brown color, hint of purple when held to the light.

Decent khaki head; almost no lace.

Dark fruit, sour chocolate nose. Odd.

Thin mouthfeel.

Chocolate malts collide with sickly fruit; this tastes like putting an orange and a candy bar in a garbage can, then waiting until it rains, then drinking the resulting concoction. Fairly awful.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.36/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

decent brown ale. pours a lovely looking chocolate malt color with a 2 inch light white head. smells pretty dull, a bit of roast, a bit of milk chocolate. flavor pick up a bit, good balance and plenty of malt sweetness. mouthfeel is lighter than i want here. plenty of bubbles but not enough oomph in the body. i could session these fine, but not sure id want to every day, not exciting enough. overall decent beer, not crabtree's best work, but a servicable brown

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Photo of blindpiggie
2.75/5  rDev -12.4%

Photo of Taphouse_Traveler
3.62/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of MarkyMOD
3.75/5  rDev +19.4%

Photo of Grayvey
3/5  rDev -4.5%

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Boxcar Brown from Crabtree Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.14 out of 5 with 31 ratings