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Indian Brown Ale - Dogfish Head Brewery

Not Rated.
Indian Brown AleIndian Brown Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

5,522 Ratings

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Ratings: 5,522
Reviews: 1,955
rAvg: 4.1
pDev: 10.98%
Wants: 283
Gots: 780 | FT: 4
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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,522 | Reviews: 1,955
Reviews by JWU:
Photo of JWU
4.4/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle poured into a curved pint glass

A- dark, deep brown, with a tight, almost stout like caramel head. decent lacing down the glass

S- brown ale/brown sugar sweetness with some earthy hops. Hints at the fact that this isn't your everyday brown ale.

T- Wow. It's malty, sweet, chocolaty, caramelly, and just downright brown ale perfection. A little more hops than your average craft brown ale offering, and it's oh so welcome.

M- Medium bodied, light to medium carbonation, and just a slight drying effect which begs you to take another sip.

O- Bravo Dogfish Head, Bravo. Delicious.

More User Reviews:
Photo of Jason
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12 oz brown long neck bottle with “Packaged In” date on the side of the label.

Appearance: Deep brown bordering black, tiny bubbled but foamy head that stays strong and does not want to go anywhere.

Smell: Herbal and floral hop aroma on top of an unsweetened chocolate and caramelized sugar that some close to a light molasses. Touch of alcoholic esters and dark fruity undertones are detected.

Taste: Fiercely smooth with a layer and complex mouth feel of the medium body. Intricate within the malt flavours ranging from burnt sugar to light roasted malt, nutty almost chocolate to dark bread. Hops are well within the threshold and wield an oily bitterness, flavours tag right along with herbal and floral to the point of being nearly sweet. Mild alcoholic esters with a light mix berry and currant fruitiness. Unsweetened chocolate flavour unfolds slowly on to the taste buds middle to end, close to a carob flavour. Veggie hop finish with remnants of the toasted and roasted malts in the after taste.

Notes: A big yet somewhat humble brown ale, all the flavours and complexities are there but none really want to be dominant. This could be considered a stock or strong ale due to its 7.2% abv, look at it as a sizeable brown ale. An impressive brew.

Photo of jbraico
3.75/5  rDev -8.5%

Great brown color. Very little carbonation. Thick head when poured, but disappeared shortly afterward. Nice caramel smell. Very drinkable, not a lot of bite at all. Smooth going down as well, not heavy.

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'.

Photo of PA-hunter
4.6/5  rDev +12.2%

Poured bottle into glass. 7.2% abv

Appearance- Pours a deep caramel brown color, almost black. Has a lasting brown head.

Smell- Sweet malty aroma like caramelized sugar. Citrus like as well.

Taste- Roasted dark chocolate brings about a sweet richness in the pronounced taste. Caramel is evident as well just as it was in the smell. Towards the end the hops shine, as the bitterness lingers.

Mouthfeel- Medium-heavy in body. Good carbonation.

Overall- A beer that is impressive. Full of taste. The chocolate taste played well with the hoppy bitterness. A great brown all and one to try!

Photo of oberon
3.68/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Wow this is no brown mild!This pours a nice deep brown with light had that stuck a little to the sides of the glass,the aroma was pretty nutty and a little bitter sweet.Taste was well unexpected,it had the nutty,earthy qualities of a brown ale but it also had a very alcoholic note to it as well.A real good beer but I couldnt have more than one or two.

Photo of RoyalT
3.71/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance – Very dark in color with a beautiful reddish hue. The head was awesome as it foamed up nicely and dropped slowly down to “shallow pond” level. This big 7.2 ABV Brown Ale left a film on the inside of my glass, too.

Smell – This smells like a stout. The big coffee and chocolate aroma is laced with brown sugar, roasted malts, and a bit of caramel.

Taste – Again, the giant coffee and chocolate tastes dominate. There’s a nice hop balance in there as well.

Mouthfeel – Quite creamy and smooth for such a big ale. It’s on the fuller side of medium-bodied and hides the high ABV well.

Drinkability – I don’t know if I’d call it a Brown Ale, but this was good and went down nicely.

Photo of ExtraStout
4.75/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This brew gets a perfect score from me. It was a guest beer on tap at Willibrew. All I can say is AWESOME!! So much more tasty than your average Brown. Much more like a Stout in appearance, smell, taste, etc. Had that Stout chocolate and coffee taste and nose, with a bit more hoppiness than you find in a Stout. GREAT COMBO!!

Update: I've since tried this brew in a 12oz. bottle, poured into a pilsner glass, and I was a bit less impressed with it but it was still very good.

Photo of MadScientist
4.15/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: This beer pour a deep amber with excellent clarity. The rocky light tan head settles to a thin cap but never goes away.

S: Rich malt aromas dominate with notes of moderate chocolate, moderately-light caramel and toasty malt. The is backed up by a moderately-light earthy and foloral hops aroma. There is a some of alcohol and a touch of dark fruit esters like raisins and plums.

T: Caramel malt and earthy, spicy hops dominate the flavor with a moderately-high bitterness. Moderately-high citrus hops and a moderate chocolate with a moderately-light caramel and a little bit of toast. There is some malt sweetness in the middle but the balance is bitter that linger long into the finish. There a soft sweetness form the alcohol. Very light fruit esters.

M: Moderately-light bodied with moderately-high carbonation. There is both a creaminess about the body and a low prickling astringency. A noticeable amount of alcohol warming.

O: Carmel and a alcohol dominate this beer in most aspects in a balanced ways. It is a very enjoyable blend of the American Brown and IPA styles, this beer has a rich malty base and a solid hops bitterness. This could be classified as a robust porter and a good one at that.

Photo of JudgeRoughneck
4.49/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

This is deep, dark, molasses colored beer with a short, spongy head, about the same color as the inside of a malted milkball. he head doesn't last but keeps a thin and blotchy surface layer. Nose is alcohol, rich caramel, dark cherry, fresh grains.

Hoestly, this must be the 10th time I've had this and I still don't really have this beer figured out but it's damn tasty. Taste starts out fruity and yes, nutty. Seamlessly morphs over to the bitter side and though there are definately hops here, they really are behind the scenes, pushing more of cane syrup sort of bitter. With great ease, it all settles into a meekly flavored or light roast coffee taste as the beer goes flat in the mouth. Alcohol peeks out here and there but on many sips is undetectable. Hops finally show themselves for the finish/ aftertaste.

Lovely mouthfeel is mid-bodied with little carbonation and is so right-on for a brown. This is one of the best beers I've ever had seriously.

Photo of wesbrownyeah
4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale. 7.2% alcohol as stated on bottle.

A- Pours a medium-dark fluid with an off white head that drops to a fluffy rim around the glass some froth. Light does penetrate the beer but not much. Leave mild random lacing.

S- Sweet brown sugar, burnt carmel malts, coffee, and mild hints of chocolate. Very fresh smell to this beer.

T-M- Taste upfront is a massive burst of firey carmel malts and brown sugar. Later in the backbone of the beer a hoppy tang with a smooth alcohol zest. Mouthfeel is nice and coffee like with good flavors remaining on the tongue for about five seconds after sipping.

D- Good all round brown ale, by far one of the easyest to drink and at a higher alcohol than most. Great beer.

Photo of CBOLAND17
4.05/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

this was a very isnteresting brew. it is very balanced between a malty brown ale and a hoppy IPA. this balance is difficult to acquire so that makes this a very special brew. it maintains qualities of a full bodied brown ale while also having a hoppy kick that doesnt interfere with the maltiness. it also has roasted malty and coffee-like characteristics which increases the drinking experience.

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!!!!

Photo of Chuggnutt
4.61/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Nice clear brown—ruby when held to the light. Head is thick and tan. Totally subjective, but it looks like what I'd expect a brown ale to look like.

Smell: Light chocolate-coffee-caramelized sugar, brown sugar. Roast grain.

Taste: Yum! Sweet roasty malt, licorice, caramel, chocolate, roasted coffee beans. Sweet. Hops are oily yet clean and complement the malt nicely.

Mouthfeel: Medium body and very drinkable... creamy thickness.

Overall: Being a total fanboy tool here, but simply unbelievably good. I will be going back for more.

Photo of SIRIUS2
3.9/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

A: Dark walnut brown, clear on the pour, with a thin light brown head that receded quickly to a frothy ring. Light lacing.

S: Earthy smells, peat & wood chips combine with dark rich malts.

T: Coffee flavors are the foremost in the malt but there is also some nice chocolate and caramel undertones, and some nut flavors as well. Not sure what the bittering is coming from but it brings the brew just shy of balance, leaving way for some of the complex malt sweetness to come through. The finish relatively long and malty.

M&D: Nice heavy full mouthfeel matches perfectly with the flavors at hand. The carbonation is light and tight, making for a very smooth and creamy texture. I'm not a huge "Brown Ale" guy but this really was good.

Photo of TuckerCarlson
4.42/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A moderately aggressive pour into an imperial pint glass yields a solid finger of creamy, dark tan foam on top of a coffee-colored, slightly translucent brew. Head dissipates slowly, leaving a ring that doesn't want to go away.

Nice chocolate smell with some coffee and grassy, herbal notes from the relatively high hop content. Some sweet citrus rounds it out.

Definite chocolate and coffee flavors without too much sweetness; not a dessert brown ale like some. Ends up crisp and dry with grassy and herbal flavors and leaves a nutty finish that lasts and lasts. The coffee flavors are better than most coffee, even most good coffee.

Shockingly smooth (especially considering the ABV) and bewitchingly complex; I could drink this every day.

Photo of orbitalr0x
4.08/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep dark murky brown with crimson hues coming through when held up to the light. A soft bubbly khaki head pops up and then falls to a ring around the top. Crisp nose with roasted grain, sweet burnt brown sugar, nuts and some piney hop tones. Both unique and appealing with sticky patchy lacing.

Big first sip brings a healthy dose of roasty, toasty caramel/brown sugar maltiness...smooth with a nice sweetness. A nice clean hop bitterness hits on the back of the palate and accentuates the flavor nicely. Dark molasses with a hint of fresh baked bread.

Good, full bodied brew that makes itself known on the palate. A tasty brown ale that I could easily have a few of. Another quality DFH brew.

Photo of blitz134
4.07/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Clear dark caramel with highlights of amber. Basically no head on the pour, only a light tan ring around the glass.

Aroma is interesting. Chocolatey, light toasted malts hinting to some nuttiness, alcohol is evident as well. Some of the aromas remind me of a wee heavy.

Toasted notes come through again, chocolate is evident towards the finish. Alcohol is again noted but it really works well with this and isn't overpowering. Definately the most alcoholic brown I've had to date.

Crisp on the tongue initially. Thinnish mouthfeel, I'd like to see it a bit thicker. Somewhat limited drinkability. Alcohol is evident and warms the stomach on the way down, even though it does work well with the flavor, its hard to have more than one. Good stuff though, and pushes the limit of a brown ale...what I expect from DFH.

Photo of nickadams2
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A_Dark brown with a thick,creamy tan head.

S_Sweet. Molasses,brown sugar and hops.

T_Same as the nose. Molasses,brown sugar and spice. Strong espresso bean/chocolaty finish.Rounded out nicely by hops. Not too sweet not too bitter.

M_Very thick and creamy.

D_Extremely drinkable although the ABV is a bit higher than you would expect.

Photo of JasonA
4.03/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle from Corridor Wine and spirit in Laruel MD into a pint glass.

Pours a dark dark brown which lets just some light through. Not much head but does have lacing.

Smells a nice warm ale. Alcohol, malt maybe a little spice. I think I can smell the 7.2abv. I am not getting any hops.

Taste is a lot smoother than the smell predicts. Nice and warm with malt, maybe clove. Still no hops, maybe im just missing them.

Feels pretty good. Above average for the style, ill go as far as a 4 since the carbonation seems to mask the alcohol a bit.

Very drinkable. Nice and warm to the tummy. I would think this beer is right on the boarder of sipping and drinking. Id prolly put it on the drinking side.

Would like to try again.

Photo of ROBORB
4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a normal pint glass this beer produced a dark brown body with a espresso colored head. The smell is hops, sugar, and malts. The bottle that I was trying was from 08/08 and you could tell that the hops had faded. Regardless, the malt presence was very nice and made this beer very good. I would recommend anyone try this beer as it is one of my favorite Indian Brown Ales.

Photo of sellmeagod
2.63/5  rDev -35.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A decent brown ale that doesn't quite do enough uniquely to recommend from a usually exceptional brewery.

A brown river look from a standard Dogfish bottle. Nice enough.

A nutty, roasted smell hits the nose, and you get a fairly intense nutty taste along with the alcohol. Nothing to complain about at 7.2 abv, but nothing to recommend it over so many others of its type.

Photo of lordofthewiens
4.12/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer was a dark brown color with some red highlights. It had a moderate head and some nice lacing. The odor was mostly caramel, with a little graininess. A sweet, but not overbearing, chocolate taste, with a smidgen of hops. A smooth, pleasant beer, very drinkable.

Photo of marvin213
4.17/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer, like all DFH productions, looks good. Even poured into a seashell-embossed (enjoying this one at the beach) Pilsner-type glass, this brew looks appealing like dark, rich chocolate. A 1/4" head turns into a thin, patchy layer of bubbles with lacing apparent on the glass sides even before the first sip. Interestingly, the very bottom 1/4" of this pour is a much lighter brown--almost like a caramel glaze (but on the bottom).

The aroma is sugary hops, and I like it! I can smell the hops with a tinge of alcohol, and the malty "aromatic" barley prompts me to expand my nostrils so as to engulf this waft of beer aroma. A very neat, unique, and enjoyable smell--something I've come to expect from the brewmasters at Dogfish Head.

The taste, quite simply, is good. Unlike other beers, I think I smell more than I taste. The barley definitely offers a malted milkball-like quality that is (obviously) very pleasant. I taste the caramelized sugar most in the aftertaste, after I've swallowed and I collect remnants of the sip from my teeth and inner cheeks. I'm not sure why, but this beer experience continually conjures up images of caramelized onions on a big, Waffle House-style flat grill/griddle. In line with this thinking, this liquid is fulfilling like an order of hash browns scattered, covered, and chunked--there's lots of interesting components to the serving that all assemble to form a simple yet tasteful delight. Looking for a potential negative, I think the barley may be a tad overwhelming. The hops provide a nice balance, though I must say I can't distinguish Liberty from Goldings. The caramelized sugar really contributes to a nice effect on the palate.

The mouthfeel is really good. The hop combo offers a bit of that enamel-pulling characteristic while the barley contributes some of that aforementioned milkball yumminess. I think it's the sugar that really makes the feel better than good--it's why, after each sip, I suck my teeth like a teenager given a directive he/she doesn't like. For me and this beer, however, there's no dissension.

The drinkability is good--yet another mass-produced but still unique beverage from DFH Brewery. It's beers like this--hardly mentioned even in discussions specifically about DFH, that solidify in my mind that this brewery really is on top of this game. Though I won't follow this one with another of it's kind, I'd like to keep this one around so as to always be able to enjoy it.

Photo of Beaver13
2.85/5  rDev -30.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle. Pours a dark ruby brown with a thin light tan head that quickly diminishes.

The aroma is doughy caramel and toffee with some chocolate, some spiciness comes out as it warms.

The flavor is sweet and sugary cola, some nutty malts, with a tame spicy hop finish. The alcohol is well hidden, but warming. The mouthfeel is medium bodied but very watery.

Overall, I didn't much care for this. I wasn't too impressed with the flavor or mouthfeel.

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Indian Brown Ale from Dogfish Head Brewery
92 out of 100 based on 5,522 ratings.