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Indian Brown Ale - Dogfish Head Brewery

Not Rated.
Indian Brown AleIndian Brown Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,980 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,980
Hads: 5,736
Avg: 4.1
pDev: 18.54%
Wants: 310
Gots: 956 | FT: 6
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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Indian Brown Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,980 | Hads: 5,736
Photo of Gueuzedude
3.85/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours with a frothy four-finger thick, amber to light brown colored head. The beer is a brilliantly clear, ruby highlighted deep amber-brown color. The aroma is sweet and fruity up front with notes of caramel, cherries and a bit of sweet herbal hoppiness. The nose finishes with a light roast note that evokes thoughts of toasted bread and milk chocolate. The taste is sweet up front, and is followed quickly by very fruity notes that are reminiscent of cherries, perhaps even a bit like cough-syrup (though only lightly so). The finish is long, though not heavy handed and has an astringent roast malt character to it. This beer is quite smooth up front, but finishes with a prickle of carbonation that helps to balance the overall sweetness of the malt. The body of this is fairly light, this beer is quite quaffable. There are some hop notes here, though perhaps not as much as I was expecting from the label; there is a nice herbal quality in the middle, and the finish has a solid hop bite to it that helps to balance the sweet candied caramel note.

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Photo of DoubleJ
4.51/5  rDev +10%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12 ounce bottle with a pork chop and Santa Fe rice dinner, on to the beer:

Leather brown color in the glass, it has a persistent head and a wonderday display of lacing clinging to the glass. Mild aroma, mostly toffee, and some Goldings hops. The taste is a superb blend of Brown Ale and IPA. First it's the brown, then it's the IPA. Neither one gets too cloying. Starts sweet, with toffee and burned sugar. The hops begin to kick in with a squirt of orange flavor. Strangely, this feels lighter than the listed ABV, and it goes down the hatch without a hinch.

I'm not normally overly fond of hoppy browns, but DFH Indian Brown has the balance down on this one. One bottle with dinner was not enough for me, and I currently feel stupid for not buying more.

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Photo of Mebuzzard
3.85/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Saw this at an Old Chicago in Denver, had to try it.
Poured a nice caramel brown color with a stubborn head that just wouldn't go away.
Smell of light coffee and caramel. Sweetness of molasses and malt are more present. I sense some hops as well, more earthy than pine/citrus. Hints of raisin and doughy yeast.
Not quite sure this fits in the ABA, a little too dry. It is good, yet I thought the finish was a bit weak.

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.79/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bottle from Harvest Market
Kind of surprised I haven't rated this before.
Crystal clear dark brown color with a stingy off white head. big chocolate caramel and molasses with some aged earthy hops to counter. May not be the freshest bottle, but still tastes pretty damn good.

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

Dark brown, a tuby shine when held towards the light, small beige head quick to a small lace.
Smell of roasted grain, caramel, faint nut, used coffee filter, some cocoa, light fruitiness underneath.
Rich caramel up front, with toasted grain, light hazelnut and some raisin and date too, and quite a lot of crisp citrus. Malts start to cover up, with some cocoa powder and rich toasted bread. Light coffee in the finish and a bit of bitter hop.
Aftertaste has roasted grain and bread, with a bit of nut and cocoa powder. Hops seem to disappear. Medium body, light carbonation, easy to drink.
Can't say it blew my mind. Rich, really tasty, with a bit of extra hop, a bit complex, but quite quaffable, and still, no real "wow!" factor.

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Photo of tempest
3.5/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Kelly Cole's in Syracuse.

Looks nice, but there isn't much lacing or head. The smell comes and goes. Sometimes there's rich chocolate and roasted grains, other times it's just mellow sweetness. It's not too thick, and its alright, but the flavor is a little too mixed. There's a harsh bitterness and not much from the hops. Worth a try though.

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Photo of Halcyondays
4.6/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

12 oz. bottle, bought by my sister at AJ's Fine Foods, in Glendale, AZ,

A: Pours a dark brown, with a thick tan head, with good retention, not much lacing though.

S: Nice full smell of caramel malt, with a distinct French roast coffee smell, and a bit of floral hops, interesting.

T: Caramel malt and brown sugar/Rapadura hit the tongue first, which is then balanced by a spicy hop character, leaving a sense of grass on the tongue. Even though this isn't a porter or a stout, there is a distinct coffee element to this beer as well, very tasty, the malt flavours in this beer are just beautiful.

M: Full-bodied, smooth and creamy, a little bit of resin is carried on the tongue as the beer finishes as well.

D: This is a very good beer, possibly the best Brown Ale made in America, or the best that I have had. I wish I had another bottle of this, but I guess as Miles says in Sideways, I'll just have to live bottle to bottle, until Dogfish moves back to CA.

Edit - Had another bottle of this 8/1/10 in AZ, still as good as I remember it, my cousin raved as well.

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Photo of BlackHaddock
3.84/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

On-tap in the Rogue Pub on Union St San Fransisco: 3rd Feb 2013.

Thought it looked like a Stout, dark brown with a good foaming head.

Malty molasses hit the nose and mouth, this has a sweet front: plenty of malty flavours as you dig into the brew. I got coffee and dark chocolate along with some dried candid fruit notes.

Good body thickness and feel to the beer, a pleasant and easy to drink brew.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
4.32/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A. Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. A nice off white head forms with a nice lacing show as well. Appears dark brown in colour.

S. Roasted malts, a hint of coffee.

T. A nice robust flavor of the malt, followed by a slight bitter hop twang. There is a definate brown sugar prescence throughout, finishing off with a bit of coffee. Very delicious.

M. Full bodied indeed, a bit watery around the edges.

D. D is for Dangerous. At 7% its a bit strong, and its masked so well its rediculous. I could drink these all night.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
4.28/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a quite dark brown with a relatively thin head but very good lacing. One of the darker brown ales and with ruby highlights. The smell is dry and hoppy with an underlying aroma of brown bread. The taste is really quite remarkable- big and bold for a brown ale with an unusually strong hop presence for the style and warming spicy flavors.It has the same underlying dense brown bread background with spicy hop notes overlaying. There is a touch of sweetness, but not raisiny, more a bready sweetness with some malt notes. Really nice body- robust and full bodied but not overly heavy. Really probably the best brown ale I've had.

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Photo of Zorro
4.7/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled through dnrobert24 and 2MBBIF.

Pours a clear dark brown ale with a nice light brown head. Nice red highlights to this one when held up to the light.

Sweet and fruity smelling ale with a good amount of chocolate aroma. Pleasant toasted grain scents along with caramelized sugars. Some aromas of figs and fainter coffee smell. Quite nutty in aroma this is one ale that is not one dimensional or basic.

Taste is sweet and fruity at the start with a wonderful toasted grain flavor to start. Chocolate and coffee and smoky flavors kick in next and they compliment the other flavors nicely. Nuttiness shows up after a bit and is similar to toasted wheat berries in flavor. Bitterness is very subdued here for the style and that is a good thing, the dark roasted malts bring a fair amount of it that doesn't need a lot of hops. Damn tasty beer here.

Mouthfeel is very good.

What we have here is a really great beer that I have avoided for a long time just because I don't like badly executed versions of the style. A super drinkable beer that you must try even if you don't normally care that much for Brown Ales. The only thing that excludes this from being a session ale is the alcohol hit it provides. This is the only Brown Ale that I really LOVE. Very very close to perfect.

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Photo of biegaman
4.32/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Just one look at it tells you that this is no faint-hearted brown ale - only when held right up into the light is any sort of gleam visible and even then transparency is still denied. The center of the beer is a stygian mass of dark brown. Auburn can be observed but only a thin sliver of it and only along the very edges. A bed of suds form a crescent moon shape atop the beer; it's not entirely thorough but it is enduring.

The aroma is resoundingly malty but isn't without an appreciable earthiness, likely contributed by the whole-leaf Liberty and Goldings hops. It's a wonder their presence can be noted despite the strength of its (more porter-like) notes of dark chocolate and heavily roasted coffee beans. The nuttiness is enticing and the caramelized brown sugar seeps into your nasal passage causing its sweetness to flutter about your senses.

You could drink this thing from a shoe and it would taste pretty good to me. Indian Brown Ale is bursting with flavour. A fresher sample might yield a little more tanginess from the hops but I'm surprised the maltiness in this bottle didn't cause it to rupture! This plunges the depths of the style: chocolate-covered hazelnut, roast pecans, coffee macerated gingerbread and caramel crunch cake make for the quintessential tasting brown ale.

But if there's anywhere this beer deserves credit it very well might be its mouthfeel. There is constantly a light but lingering graininess to remind us of the malts. It comes replete with roast and an ounce of smokiness. The flavour is deliciously savory with a sort of winter-warmer type warming sensation. The caramelized brown sugar, for its part, contributes the perfect level of sweetness to compliment the bitter tastes of chocolate and coffee.

This is definitely a new world depiction of the style - and unarguably one of the most prolific. I can see how drinkers in the UK might find this interpretation of their beloved ale "extreme for the style" or "too strong for its own good" (to cite a couple quotes from a well publicized British magazine on beer). But for us on the other side of the Atlantic, this has exactly the temperament we like - I guess we're just off-centered people?!

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Photo of Wasatch
4.35/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a dark brown/black color, lots of carbonation, a slight fizzy head which quickly dissappears, some lacing around the edges.

S - Scents of sweet malts, slight roasted scent, and slight toffee/caramel.

T - The taste is kinda sweet and roasted malts, with a dry finish.

M - Medium body.

D - Very drinkable. This is an awesome Brown Ale from DFH. Highly recommended. At 7.2% watch out, lol

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.62/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Tried on-tap at Open Baladin in Rome.

Pours a very dark brown, deep with colour but also very clear. Head is frothy on the pour and quite light, finessing down to a fine lace on the glass and a small, persistent cap. Light body. Fine carbonation. Looks very good.

Nose is dark and spicy. Liquorice comes out strongly along with a slight hint of kirsch. Herbal rosemary-laced hop characters, but mostly it's spicy, sweet notes that makes it up. Malt is on the toasty end of things with a hint of brown sugar. It's certainly interesting.

Taste is lighter, but still rather spicy on the front- and mid-palate. Liquorice is still strong, with a fresher anise character to it, underpinned by some toasty malt. Only towards the back do we get some bitterness. Finish has overtones of molasses. Feel is smooth, but light, belying its weight.

Overall, it's solid enough stuff. It's not a superb beer, but it's still a pretty good one.

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Photo of WoodBrew
4.06/5  rDev -1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sunday's chores are doen and looking to rest up for the start of the week...decided to tap into the Dogfish IBA....and it is quite nice! The color is supurb with a deep dark rich amber...basrley can see light through it. The head is about a half finger in thickness...and is lacing well. The smell is touched with hints of malt and roast. The taste explores with caramel/molassis and roasty/coffee. The mouthfeel is a bit tough due to the high ABV....but I could certainly try and SESSION this beer!!

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Photo of vfgccp
4.36/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

A - Deep, cranberry ruby body. Fine, light khaki head with great retention and ok lace.

S - Big nose. Huge roast grain note. Dark late, hazelnut, brown sugar.

T - Hazelnut, soft roast grains, burnt brown sugar, toffee, cola.

M - Light, drinkable frame. Nice carbonation. Great smoothness.

O - Huge flavor with great balance.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
4.11/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: This is my second go at this. My first revieww was based upon a randall cascade infused version and it was very green and hoppy, while not bad not true for an accurate judging
Poured from the growler a dark brown, lots of carbonation leaving a tannish head

S: Grains, cocoa

T: Cocoa upfront, toasted barley, some toffee and perhaps caramel

M: Nice, good feel, booze well hidden

D: Not a susual brown ale and the drink is good

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Photo of wl0307
4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased from the BSF bar, GBBF 2008; BB 12/08, served faintly-chilled to cool in Hapkin's bulb-shaped bowl sniffer.

A: super dark brown in colour, coming with restrained carbonation and a light tan frothy head, settling slowly to a thin blanket to last throughout the drink.
S: the aroma is as deeply malty as lively hoppy, showing an assertive presence of chocolaty brown malts, sweet walnuts, treacle-ish sweet notes and dried red dates, while the hops are pronounced on the flowery and lightly longan-fruity sides. Not much fruitiness is detected even after a swirl, apart from random notes of raisin-like sour-sweetness. Overall, attractive, but not quite complex as I'd imagined from Dogfish Head.
T: like the aroma, the flavour is immediately sweet pecan-nutty, with random touches of coffee-flavoured milk and toffee, rather light semi-sour cold filtered coffee and date-ish fruitiness, while the whole weight is lifted skilfully by the hop presence that turns more expressed in the latter half of the tasting. The aftertaste continues with the lightly sour yet also bitter-sweet flavour, with an interesting bite of herbal hops where the flowery bouquet also mixes well with everything else lingering in the finish.
M&D: the flavour is not that different from a porter ale, if you ask me, but the body is much lighter and focused on nutty malts like a brown ale, truly. The finishing touch is slightly more sour/lactic than my palate prefers, though. I'd rate it higher if the carbonation was softer and the hoppiness could somehow outshine the present balance for the flavour profile. But, all in all, this ale is not bad at all.

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Photo of BeerForMuscle
4.14/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A -

S - Dark malty nose with hops present. Brown sugar and caramelized sugar. Bready grains.

T - Molasses and brown sugar on the palate. A smooth and balanced hoppiness. Malt sweetness and roasted malts and grains. Mild apple skin.

M - Crisp yet smooth with a touch of syrup character. Slightly dry finish.

O - Very well balanced and very flavorful. Tons of notes coming together. Excellent beer.

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Photo of jdhilt
2.66/5  rDev -35.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Pours with light brown, two-fingered bubbly head, fades slowly and leaves a good lace. Light-medium carbonation. Light bodied. Deep amber color. Nose has a hint of hoppiness. Starts hoppy finishes like burnt coffee totally different from the usual browns (Brooklyn etc.) $2.00 for a 12oz bottle from Colonial Spirits Acton, MA.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
3.11/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

(Served in an American pint glass)

A-This beer pours a deep brown clear body with a good carbonation and a nice rocky tan head.

S- The beer smells pretty clean with notes of light toasted malt

T- This beer has a nice medium toasted malt flavor with some slight sour chocolate notes. There is a very gentle citrus hop flavor with very little bitterness.

M- This beer has a nice medium mouthfeel with some creaminess.

D- This doesn't really have the hop qualities I would expect and the depth of malt is not that interesting by itself.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.27/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Review from 11/2010 notes. Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. Pours a very dark brown with a ruby tint. Slight light tan head and nice lacing. Wonderful aroma of malt and coffee, roasty malt. Malt, roasted malt and coffee, finishing with a somewhat hoppy coffee flavor. Medium bodied. This is very nice. A slightly old refrigerated bottle. Wish I had drunk this sooner, but it is still great.

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

Surprisingly, I've never reviewed this beer. Purchased from Liquid Solutions (even though I live 4 hours from the brewery).

A: The ale is a dark maroon color, so deep red that appears black from afar. Let's call it a black cherry color.

S: The nose is malty, thick with a smoky undertone that drips with peat. Caramel malts add further heft to the body.

T: A smoky brown hop bomb, all rolled into one. Darker malts, toasted with chocolate, coffee and caramel, lead the way. They are followed almost immediately with a palpable smoky flavor. The result is thick and almost as full as an honest-to-goodness wee heavy. A citrusy hop flavor manages to peak through the malts and smoke but just barely. A very enjoyable drink.

M: The mouthfeel is full, smoky and thick, but not so heavy that it is burdensome. I was edxpecting a run of the mill brown ale but, knowing DFH, I should have known otherwise.

D: I'd disappointed that I never tapped into this one before. The complexity is remarkable, a nice scotch ale (screw the brown ale appelation).

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

The Indian Brown pours a light bodied dark, dark brown with a one finger khaki head. It smells very rich and of roasted malts, really does smell like a porter. The taste is rich and soothing, a combination of roasted malts and hops that finish off the flavor. This bottle is about three months old so it's a little smooth than normal, as it's lost some carbonation but it still drinks very smoothly and very well. This beer is overly drinkable and I highly recommend it to anyone. It's great for a quiet night or at a cookout.

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Photo of flagmantho
4.65/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: a nicely dark, brown amber with a very thick, foamy head with a nice persistence. As I drink it, much of the foam sticks to the glass in a nice, thick lace.

Smell: a delicious nutty aroma with coffee and caramel. This smells awesome; I'm dizzy with anticipation.

Taste: deliciously complex. The bitterness is just perfectly present and there is a nice chocolate finish. There are some light fruity notes and a little alcohol flavor, but these are outshined by the great malt flavors.

Mouthfeel: a medium-thick body which sort of coats the tongue and spreads around the deliciousness.

Drinkability: while I submit that it is too hot here to really appreciate a dark, high-alcohol beer, this thing is so tasty that I would gladly have another (and another, and another).

It's so rare that I randomly try a beer and have it instantly rank among my favorites. Or possibly be my favorite of all time. This thing is more like a porter than a brown ale in my opinion, but for a beer this good I really don't care what style you want to call it. A+.


Edited ratings on 5/16/2010. This was one of my first reviews; I wanted to review again now that I have a lot more beer-tasting experience.

Body remains translucent and extremely dark; very nice. Aroma is mostly coffee and light earthy, vegetabley hops; again, quite nice. Flavor is big gobs of nice roasty malt flavor; mostly coffee and a little caramel toward the end. Bitterness is high for a dark beer. Medium to medium-thick body with great carbonation; this is wonderfully creamy and silky. This beer remains extremely tasty and drinkable compared to when I first had it.

I actually reduced some of the ratings from the all-5s I originally gave it to really score it like I would today; however, this beer still rates as one of my all-time favorites.

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Indian Brown Ale from Dogfish Head Brewery
92 out of 100 based on 1,980 ratings.