Indian Brown Ale - Dogfish Head Brewery

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Indian Brown AleIndian Brown Ale

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1,939 Reviews

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Reviews: 1,939
Hads: 5,602
rAvg: 4.1
pDev: 9.02%
Wants: 290
Gots: 842 | FT: 5
Brewed by:
Dogfish Head Brewery visit their website
Delaware, United States

Style | ABV
American Brown Ale |  7.20% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 08-07-2001

Forget about the car companies, this is the original hybrid. A cross between a Scotch Ale, an India Pale Ale and an American Brown, Indian Brown Ale is well-hopped and malty at the same time (It's magical!).

The beer has characteristics of each style that inspired it: the color of an American Brown, the caramel notes of a Scotch Ale, and the hopping regiment of an India Pale Ale. We dry-hop the Indian Brown Ale in a similar fashion to our 60 Minute IPA and 90 Minute IPA. This beer is brewed with Aromatic barley and organic brown sugar.

50 IBU
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,939 | Hads: 5,602
Photo of fscottkey
4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: [4.75] Looks pretty fantastic in the glass. Dark brown cola colored beer. Forms a dense 1 finger head of off white bubbles. The bubbles look creamy and have some staying power. Really nice lacing on the glass. The bottle lists the ABV (7.2%). There is a date code that means this was made 12/11/14.

S: [4.00] I get coffee initially. Then some whole wheat bread smells.

T: [4.25] Sweet upfront then moves into a really nice malt flavor. The roasty malts are fantastic. I am getting little to no hops - but I am not complaining. The rich roasted malt flavor is great.

M: [4.00] Smooth and creamy feeling with a medium body. Low carbonation and low bitterness.

O: [4.25] Blindfolded I would call this a porter. It has the coffee aroma, it has the great roasted malt flavor... The lable talks a lot about how it is liberally hopped. I am getting no hop bite. Based on the brewed date maybe the hops have faded. I am totally fine without them. This is a really great beer. Nice aroma, excellent taste and a smooth body. I will drink this again. (1,063 characters)

Photo of sashavasko
3.7/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Nice beer overall. Unlike many browns you don't just taste the caramel - tastes like a crust of good homemade rye bread. Interestingly the one I had at the Dogfish head pub was better then from the bottle. Better chilled. (221 characters)

Photo of dd43
4.1/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

What a great brown ale. Love the style anyway, but this might be my favorite dogfish head beer. Nice balance of hops on what is no doubt a toasty caramel forward beer. Very easy to drink because it's on the lower ABV end at just over 5%, and carbonation lifts the malts so they aren't too heavy. Do yourself a favor and try this if you are into brown ales in any way. (367 characters)

Photo of vainosuomi
4.52/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown color, small light brown head. Smell is rich with roasted malts. Taste follows smell and also adds a significant hop bitterness; a great balance of heavy malts and bitter hops. Medium feel and fairly carbonated. Easily one of my favorite beers. (255 characters)

Photo of hopphead31415
3.76/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

My eye spotted this one serendipitously as I meandered down the rows of craft brews and was happy to snag a six pack. It was a tough call though between this one and a variety of other excellent beers such as Ommegang, Founders, and New Belgium. I found a small fridge where they had some 6 packs of this already chilled for me so I grabbed one and headed for the checkout counter. It boasts an 7.2% ABV and 50 IBUs, let’s take a gulp!

Look: This one pours a clear dark cola color with plenty of carbonation trails running up to the surface. The head is medium and about one to two fingers thick with a decent pour and has lingering thick lacing on the glass. The blackness gives way to orange copper hues in light, very beautiful and clear.

Smell: The aroma is thick caramel and oak. I get a strong sense of smoky oaks and toasted butter and brown sugar.

Taste: This beer is a rare and amazing mixture of Scotch Ale, an India Pale Ale and an American Brown which is one of the main reasons I wanted to try it. It really does exhibit the subtle hops of an IPA, the caramel backbone and rich smooth flavor of a Scotch Ale, and the color exhibited by an American Brown. Quite the trio here and well worth a try.

Mouthfeel: This beer drinks so smooth and lacy at first and then the fizzle that comes from the plentiful carbonation makes this one mildly reminiscent of a coca-cola.

Overall: I’d say that this is an excellent beer for anyone to try. It really packs a unique variety of smells, flavors, and attributes making a refreshing experience outside of the norm. (1,576 characters)

Photo of TH28
4.05/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle. Appearance: Deep brown, clear, with a thick mousse like khaki head. Aroma: Roasty, molasses, and dark fruit overpower any hop aromas. Taste: Roasted malt and bread crust up front, leading into a strong resinous, grassy, citric hop flavor and bitterness. Mouthfeel: Medium body with a moderate carbonation. Finish: Hop bitterness is prominent in the swallow, but quickly disappears leaving a roastiness that lingers. Overall: a very well made beer, that definitely has a cross of ABA and IPA (498 characters)

Photo of Myotus
4.1/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12oz bottle (bottled on 03Mar15) into a pint glass. Pours with a half finger's worth of khaki foam that dissipates into a line within 15 seconds. Dark brown in color with a ruby tint. Bubbles are scarce. Has mild aromas of roasted malts, sweet chocolate, and molasses with a hint of raisin and bitter hops. Intial taste is of strong molasses, and mild chocolate and bitter, earthy hop flavors. Mild roasted malt flavors along with a hint of raisin sweetness and ginger (that comes from nowhere) are next to enter the palate as all flavors persist into the aftertaste. Light-bodied, mildly carbonated, smooth, with a crisp finish. This is yet another unique tasting brew from DFH. Definitely not what I expected from an American Brown So, but I loved it.
NOTE: As beer warms, aromas and flavors change drastically, as in the case of most all brown ales. I would love to try this again, but at room temperature. (923 characters)

Photo of Gear54
4.27/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

From a bottle into a pint glass

Color is dark mahogany with 1 finger of thin kaki head that fades slowly leaving tight lace rings on the glass

Smell is molasses and roasted malts. No real hop aroma. The hops must be hidden under the strong roasted nuttiness. I know this is a brown ale with extra hops so I'll be looking for that in the taste.

Taste is fantastic! Solid classic brown ale flavored of nutty malts and molasses with a bright hoppy dryness that lingers a while on the tung.

Overall maybe the best brown I've had. I love the addition of the lasting bitterness that comes with the nut and molasses flavors. (623 characters)

Photo of UPMD_Bill
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This was one of my gateways to craft and is still a great go-to all season beer.

Tastes of sweet molasses up front, balanced by a dry, bitter hop finish. They got the balance just right - it's substantial but doesn't feel heavy, and sweet but not sticky. (256 characters)

Photo of SaltofOH
3.73/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled 3-15-15. Pokal glass.

Appearance: Pours a dark, dark brown, with two fingers foamy tan head. Amazing retention. Nice lacing.

Aroma: Minerally, roasty. Quite mild on the nose. Sweeter as it warms. Raisin and molasses come out as it approaches room temp.

Taste: Dry, hoppy arrival. Light, and slightly sour and roasty across mid-palate. Surprisingly clean, highly bitter finish. Slight lingering bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Heavier side of mid-weight. High carbonation, higher than typical for the style, I think. Ever so slight slickness.

Overall: Wow; this is not at all what I expected. This does not really taste like a brown ale; but whatever it is, I like. Too malty to be a black IPA, but too hoppy to be a brown ale, and too light to be a stout. If I'm in a mood for a brown ale, this would not be a go-to. But there is a mood that suits this beer perfectly. It and Brown Shugga and Seventh Son's American Strong Ale are bunched together for me. A wintertime hoppy alternative to the typical stout. (1,032 characters)

Photo of Knilas
3.52/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

From the bottle. Drank from a tulip glass. Aroma of coffee, chocolate, raisin, and earthiness. Nice dark brown in color w/ a beige head that hangs around a bit. I found the taste to be fairly hoppy in the beginning, and more balanced the closer it became to room temp. At that point the malts and darker flavors rushed forward. This is when I really began to enjoy it. This is a very serviceable pour, yet didn’t stand out from any of the other brown ales I’ve tried. (471 characters)

Photo of irrevjim
4.48/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

from bottle to burgundy glass, 1/8 inch head that looks thick but almost greyish white from carbonation and disappears quickly with thin lacing, beer a rich mahogany color. smells malty and caramel and a little boozy but not in a bad way, a little like spiced rum. I missed the hops in the smell but wow, what a nice balance in a heavy duty tasty spicy strong brown ale, it manages a caramel candy rum vs grapefruit celery leaf battle that my mouth really enjoys. Have had before and will have again. (500 characters)

Photo of thedrunkpoet
4.54/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful look. Heavy dark umber brown color. Nice, steady carbonation.

Holy Cannoli. This is a deceptive beer. Smells like a barleywine. Almost smells just like 120 minute but hold up...

This shit tastes so well balanced it's not funny. Not what I was expecting at all. Yeah, it's crisp. How does it taste this bright and crisp but it's so dark? The hops, that must be it. Caramel aftertouch. Yum.

Feels like the lips of a just shaved vagina. Wonderful.

Drank this out of a Lagunitas wide mouth mason jar. Amazing beer. Must have. Wish they sold six packs. (562 characters)

Photo of ImbibeBlyth1933
3.84/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Beautiful stout-like color, light to moderate head retention. Aroma of caramelized malt, raw sugar, slight molasses, and rustic wheat germ bread. Palate unfortunately does not confirm the nose. Alcohol is a bit overwhelming the flavor, but is not unpleasant.

Flavor is summed up with moderate to deep roasted malt, smooth texture, and coffee bean and alcohol on the finish.

Decent beer for style, would not purchase again, unless pairing with food. (452 characters)

Photo of ravisingh
4.6/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L: I would say this about a 19 on the SRM chart. The color is like really dark root beer. The head is thick and tan and about two and three quarters inches that goes to about two in 30 seconds and dissipates slowly overall.

S: Chocolate aroma present with some floral notes. I picked up a piny presence plus a little cedar bark underneath it.

T: Definite roasted hops bitterness present roughly medium to medium high - it's there though. There is a mild sweetness and even some coffee and dark chocolate notes. It is a very subtle and complex flavor, IMO. The bitterness lasts and stays on the tongue but not in a bad way.

F: Medium body, and mild fizz as far as carbonation.

O: The aromas are nice and interesting, especially for me as it has been a lot of IPA's recently. The flavors are very interesting and are very subtle and complex. The balance in the flavors is deep and has layers to it. They took their time with this one and it shows. I would definitely drink this again. The ABV is actually beyond the standards @ 7.2% but that just makes things more interesting. Cheers. (1,100 characters)

Photo of Bis4beer70
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A cross between a Scotch Ale, an India Pale Ale and an American Brown.

In 1929, while he was attending France’s prestigious École Normale Supérieure, Jean-Paul Sartre decided to try mescaline, a hallucinogenic drug similar to LSD . And unlike your pathetic “bad” trip, Sartre’s went to a whole new level. Crabs started following him. Literally, everywhere he went, all the time. He also was born under the Cancer zodiac sign.

This of course,has nothing to do with this fantastic beer but it was an interesting story...just sayin'. (544 characters)

Photo of mchegash
3.98/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance - 4/5
A deep dark red with hints of brown. A couple fingers of dark beige head. It's clear, but because of the darkness of the color, not much can be seen through.

Smell - 4/5
Sweet malts, spice and caramel, brown roastiness, some earthy hops. Overall the flavor is very nice and complex and there are additional nuances to it that I can't describe

Taste - 4/5
Roasty, rich malts, some spice, hops. An interesting blend been dark malt roastiness, with some sweeter sugary flavors, and subtle hop notes.

Mouthfeel - 3.75/5
Medium-full in body. A light amount of medium intensity carbonation. Very crisp.

Overall - 4/5
Overall, a great beer. (654 characters)

Photo of aleigator
3.99/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brown, coarsely foam, with an almost black, ember color.

Bitter chocolate, burned malts, toffee, almost stout like aromas.

Malty beginning, hints of sweet toffee, soon overwhelmed by a more breadish taste of malt going along with a sligthly sweetened chocolate. Hoppy bitterness brings in even more complexity, goes well along with the upcoming coffee flavor. Kicks in late, gives the malt aromas much time to develop. Bitterness adds a floral taste to the beer, which pairs up well with the malty body which dominates throughout. Coffee aftertaste is very present, staying long on the tongue. Surprisingly it isn’t very bitter, but leaving a smooth dry mouthfeel.

This is a very interesting and enjoyable beer, reminds me somehow of the "Schumacher 1838er", while being a little more aggressive on the hops. (816 characters)

Photo of jasonpeckins32
4.54/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Looks nearly like cola in a glass. The color, thickness (or thinness) and its bubbly carbonation all remind of the appearance of cola. Maybe a point darker than cola, it is not transparent... but its close.

Aroma is wonderfully hoppy in the beginning. The more that it warms in the glass, the more the malty aromas stick through.

Oh man, its taste is beautiful. Absolute bliss. The perfect blend of malt character followed by hoppy notes. Some sips I get the hops first and the wonderful roasted malts second, other times it seems to taste the other way around. Either way, this is an excellent balance of the two. Very nicely done.

Exactly medium-bodied. If anyone ever asks me what a medium-bodied beer should be iike, I will show them this one, it is spot-on.

I'm impressed with this one. (804 characters)

Photo of blackcompg
3.8/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Pours 2 quick fingers of light mocha head, color is a transparent deep dark copper brown with reddish maroon highlights. Active carb rises from the bottom, and each quaff leaves a nice foamy ring of lace.

Smell - Roasted malt, brown sugar, light molasses, lite soy sauce, lightly toasted wheat bread, and a light grassiness.

Taste - Begins roasted malts and toast with a dusting of brown sugar, even a hint of dark unsweetened bakers chocolate - this is almost immediately followed with a good dose of grassy and herbal hops, with hints of basil, mint and pine on the back of the tongue. The finish is dried lightly burnt toast, some dried fruit stones, bakers chocolate, and dried brown grass. This is probably the most hops I've tasted in a brown ale.

Mouthfeel - Nearly medium and very smooth, with some slight astringency and dryness at the back. Carb is on the lighter side, with a few light edges at the back of the tongue, but no scrub whatsoever - allowing the hops to "sink in" and assert during each quaff.

Overall - A very flavorful brown ale, and very interesting to me, not your typical brown ale with the stronger presence of hops here. Not a bad thing at all, as it clearly says this on the label - and they mean it. Throw a few ounces of your favorite IPA into a brown ale and that's what you have here. (1,337 characters)

Photo of superspak
4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into signature tulip glass, bottled on 10/15/2014. Pours crystal clear dark reddish brown color with a 1 finger dense khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a good amount of streaming carbonation retaining the head. Aromas of big dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, caramel, brown sugar, toast, dark bread, molasses, light dark fruit, herbal, grass, light pine, and roast/toasted earthiness. Damn nice aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/roasted/bready malt and moderate earthy hop notes; with great strength. Taste of big dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, caramel, brown sugar, toast, dark bread, molasses, light dark fruit, herbal, grass, pine, and roast/toasted earthiness. Fair amount of herbal/pine bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, toast, dark bread, molasses, herbal, grass, light pine, and roast/toasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roasted/bready malt and earthy hop flavors; with a great malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth, moderately creamy, and lightly sticky/chalky mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a slight warming present after the finish. Overall this is an awesome hoppy brown ale style. All around great complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roasted/bready malt and earthy hop flavors; and very smooth to drink. A highly enjoyable offering. (1,594 characters)

Photo of FullRW
4.43/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from bottle into pint glass.

L- Brown with a bit of red when held to the light. Perfect head came right to the top of the pint glass.

S- Smells kind of like a porter with a bit of a sweeter brown sugar aroma.

T- It taste like a scotch ale (which I admittedly haven't tried very many of). It really reminds me of the taste of Oskar Blues Old Chubb, except this Dogfish Head tastes a little more hoppy, and a little more sweet, but only just a little.

F- Carbonation is just a tad weak. It seems like they wanted to create the illusion that it has more body by slightly under carbonating it, but this beer is a little to thin to pull this off. If it was carbonated just a tiny bit more it would be perfect.

Overall, this is a very solid beer that I will definitely pick up again. This would really hit the spot if you're craving a darker beer during the warm summer months. (883 characters)

Photo of claytong25
4.85/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I really got started into the whole craft beer market by some tasty brown ales and porters. I've continued onto IPA's , but not to much of a stout fan.

Anyway, this is by far the best high alcohol brown ale I have ever had. Its just so perfect in every way. Absolutely smooth and so enjoyable to sip and swirl.. I plan on using this beer to introduce craft beer virgins into this exciting market. I love the idea of giving these small breweries my money that the giant commercial beer makers out there.

Cheers to Dogfish on making me a so very happy customer with this WONDERFUL BROWN ALE!!!! (598 characters)

Photo of milwaukee512
4.72/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Another fantastically unique beer from Dogfish Head. Like Namaste or Aprihop, Indian Brown Ale makes a strong case for DFH's "other" beers that aren't really as well known as their 60 or 90-minute IPAs, at least not in WI. Like the aforementioned "other" beers, Indian Brown Ale is a superior and unique take compared to the standard for it's category. Too hoppy to be a true brown ale, but too malty to be even an English-style IPA. The hops take the edge off of the big coffee and caramel flavors, and this beer feels light for its style. I don't drink brown ales often, but this will be my go-to from now on. (616 characters)

Photo of VirginiaBeerMan
3.92/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've tried many Dogfish Head beers and frankly, I don't find many of them very good. I appreciate pushing the limits and trying non-mainstream ingredients, but every experiment doesn't need bottling.

This one, however, is one of the few that I find very, very good and would recommend.

Nice dark brown color with tan head that slowly dissipates. Good lacing. Good malty caramel aroma that is not overpowering. Slight hop and bitter blends well with the malt.

The beer as is advertised. (492 characters)

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Indian Brown Ale from Dogfish Head Brewery
92 out of 100 based on 1,939 ratings.