1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

Indian Brown Ale - Dogfish Head Brewery

Not Rated.
Indian Brown AleIndian Brown Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

5,428 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,428
Reviews: 1,936
rAvg: 4.1
pDev: 10.98%
Wants: 271
Gots: 718 | FT: 7
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
to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Ratings: 5,428 | Reviews: 1,936
Photo of feloniousmonk
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A fine tan head stands atop a dark brown to near-black body. Sweet aroma with caramel notes. Strong sensation hits the tastebuds, an all-out hop assault. Warming with a definite alcohol kick, at 7.2%, probably the strongest brown ale I've ever encountered. A totally unique animal; many browns are too lacking in hops,but this one ups the ante, making a tasty and powerful brew. Alcohol lessens some toward the end, for goodness' sake. Definitely, my favorite brown ale.
Part of a growing trend in nomenclature. If it's stronger than normal, call it Imperial Blank, if it's hoppier, call it India Blank.

Photo of drabmuh
3.98/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Indian brown on draft at a DFH pub in NOVA. Served in a pint glass. Head is thin and brownish, beer is dark, DARK, brown, almost black. Aroma is a mixture of roast and hops. Hop aroma is not overwhelming but it is there. The overall aroma is not pronounced, you have to search for it.

Initial impresions of the flavor is smokey. A lot of roast, not a lot of hop bitterness. Roast shows up in the back of the mouth, probably masking the 50IBU. Drinkability is high, some aftertaste of smoke builds on your palate.

Photo of mdfb79
3.95/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From 10/29/11 notes. Poured from a 12 oz. bottle
into a tulip. Bottled on 08/02/11.

a - Pours a very dark brown color with two inches of light tan head and moderate carbonation evident. Some light lacing left on the glass.

s - Smells of roasted malts, caramel malts, burnt malts, sugar, and some light fruity hops. Very nice and malty.

t - Tastes of roasted malts, caramel malts, toasted malts, coffee, sweet fruits and sugar. Again, pretty nice.

m - Medium body and moderate to high carbonation. Seems a touch too carbonated.

o - Overall a very nice brown ale. Very malty and some nice flavors here. Easy to drink, and would have it again.

Photo of kojevergas
2.9/5  rDev -29.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

12 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a conical Guinness pint glass in me gaff in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are high given its current ratings. Paired with cheese & crackers and pretzel rods.

Served straight from the refrigerator. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a 1.5 finger head of khaki colour, nice cream, nice thickness, and good retention considering the 7.2% ABV. Colour is an extremely dark caramel-brown. Appealing for the style. Not particularly predictable, but not unique or special. Nontransparent. No yeast particles are visible. Non-opaque.

Sm: Cream, nice caramelization (very Scotch ale-esque), dark malts, milk, a hint of roast, nuts, and some light toasted malt character. Resembles the crappy American Guinness from the nitro-can. In a way, that's a compliment. A moderate strength aroma.

T: Caramel, cream, milk, roasted barley, dark malts, pleasant almond and nuts notes, and light toasted character. It's surprisingly simple, but I do like it for what it is. A bit of a tea note rounds out the flavour profile. Hop character is a muted floral. Balanced, but underwhelming. Lacks the subtlety it needs to truly be great. No yeast or alcohol comes through. Too bitter on the climax.

Mf: Smooth and wet, suiting the flavours generally well. The creamy quality it has is nice, but needs to be upped. Nice thickness. Good carbonation.

Dr: A nice offering from Dogfish Head for what it is. I like the experimentation but it honestly feels pretty tame. I might try it on draught (or nitro), but I'm not horribly impressed - par for the course for Dogfish Head. Drinkable. Hides its ABV nicely.


Probably closest to a Scotch Ale in my book.

Photo of jwc215
3.82/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours brown with ruby hues and a thin, lasting, white head. Some lacing sticks to the glass.

Brown sugar dominates the aroma at first. But, caramel, sweet grains, earthy and nutty notes soon back it up. A touch of alcohol is mixed in. Very complex and inviting.

Unfortunately, I wasn't as impressed with the taste as I was with the aroma. It seems to pull in different directions, giving it sensory overload. Brown sugar and caramel with plenty of hops. Earthy hops control the sweetness, almost too much. I don't know if they add much to the flavor as they do as balancers. They do do a fine job with the aroma. Can I appreciate the complexities of it? Sure, and for this I give it a decent rating on the taste. Is it my thing? Well, to try it. But this just seems too all-over-the-place for me.
Alcohol present, though never overwhelming.

Thick while staying in a medium body. Medium carbonation. Drying.

An experimental brew that is certainly worth trying, and they do combine IPA with Brown Ale. There is something about it that I can't quite put my finger on that holds me back from liking it even more.

Photo of smcolw
3.95/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Some scattered lace; tight single-bubble head. The color is a mahogany brown where light will not shine through.

First impression of the smell is chaulky--not what I was expecting. Creamy cocoa aroma. No discernible hop.

Refreshing, light-bodied but very flavorful brown ale--certainly more complex than most Browns. This would be a very good beer to have on a hot day if you wanted more of a dark malt flavor.

Photo of DrBier
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%

Photo of InspectorBob
5/5  rDev +22%

Photo of WesWes
4.3/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a deep brown color with a thick tan head. The aroma is of sweet crystal malts and roasted barley. The taste is good. It has a decent amount of flavoring hops which balances nicely with the crystal malts and brown sugar. The mouthfeel is good. It is a full bodied brown ale with adequate carbonation. This is one of the best brown ales going.

Photo of Rochefort10nh
4/5  rDev -2.4%

Photo of Mora2000
4.42/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a dark brown color with an off-white head. The aroma is full of roasted malt, chocolate and coffee. An outstanding smelling beer. The flavor has a lot of coffee in it as well as some nice bitterness from the piney hops. I also get some roasted malt and some chocolate in the flavor. Overall, the mouthfeel is a little bit creamy and the carbonation is low to medium. A great brown ale.

Photo of imperialking
4/5  rDev -2.4%

Photo of duceswild
4/5  rDev -2.4%

Photo of orangesol
4/5  rDev -2.4%

Photo of GClarkage
4.31/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

04/18/05- Received via trade from connecticuitpoet and steinlifter.

Presentation- 12oz bottle with a bottled in November 2004 on the side label. Poured into my Dead Guy pint glass.

Appearance- Dark brown pour (almost black) with an inch head that partially hangs around until the end of the brew. Great lacing along the sides of my glass.

Smell- Heavy on the roasted malt and a tad sniff of coffee beans.

Taste- This is one heavy bown ale! Massive burnt malt flavor, coffee on the back of my tongue. A bit bitter on the finish.

Mouthfeel- This one is almost thick and sryupy. Very sweet and sticks to the roof of your mouth. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability- This dude is pretty potent. I think I'm happy with one of these at a time. Maybe because of the sweetness and extreme dark flavor. Very good though.

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

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.

Photo of superspak
3.78/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle, bottled 6/24/11, so a little over 3 months old. Pours fairly dark reddish brown color with a nice, fairly dense 2 finger light tan head with great retention that reduces to a small lacing cap. A bit of lacing clings to the glass as well. Aromas of caramel, toasted malt, chocolate, molasses, a bit of dark fruits and spiciness. Some decent aromas here that are on the weak side. Taste of big caramel, chocolate, roasted malt, brown sugar, and spices; with a small hint of nutty flavor as well. A fair amount of bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of spiciness, caramel, and roasted malts. Medium carbonation and body, with a nice creamy and smooth mouthfeel. No alcohol noticed other than a warming on the finish, very drinkable. Overall, a very nice brown ale with some unique character.

Photo of wrightst
4/5  rDev -2.4%

Photo of dbrauneis
4.15/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a very dark amber in color with some garnet red highlights and light amounts of visible carbonation. The beer has a half finger tall tan head that reduces to a patch of extremely thin film in the center of the beer and a thicker ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate lacing is observed.

S: This beer has fairly strong aromas of dark roasted malts with tons of sweetness - there is caramel, molasses, and brown sugar. Very light hints of alcohol.

T: The taste follows the smell quite closely and has quite a bit of complexity. There is a strong presence of dark roasted malts along with quite a bit of sweetness - caramel, brown sugar, nuttiness, and toffee. There is some light amount of bitterness in the finish.

M: Medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Slight amounts of alcohol heat.

O: There is a lot more presence of alcohol in this beer than I was expecting, especially with the not too high ABV. There is a nice amount of complexity in the smell and the taste. I enjoyed the flavors of this beer and would likely try it again.

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.

Photo of stakem
4.39/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Standard 12oz brown bottle with a bottle on date of 8/12/10.

Poured into a pint, IBA appears a clear brownish-amber color. A finger of tan head appears and receeds fairly fast leaving spotty amounts of lace on the glassware.

The aroma of this brew is very enticing and is quite perplexing as it encompasses a broad array of different styles of beer. Initially it smells of dark toasty grains that come across with notes of chocolate and dark sugar like caramel or molasses that also has a note of coffee about it as well in the background. However, once it opens up there is a bright citrus hop character to it that smells both herbal and piney. Also included is a bit of dark fruitiness and a bit of alcohol is evident as well.

The taste of this brew is enjoyable and equally as complex as the aroma. If I was given this brew to consume without a label on it, I have no idea what category I would place it in. There is a solid malt profile throughout the experience tasting of roasty malt with some dark sugars that smelled more like caramel or molasses but taste like a dark belgian sugar candy and coffee before the flavor of the herbal and tangy citrus hops come into play. There is a flavor of estery alcohol evident that also provides a bit of warmth in the back of the throat.

A flavor of toasty grain mingled with hops resides in the mouth long after each sip. This is a medium bodied and modestly carbonated brew. Very high on the drinkability scale despite the 7+% abv.

This is a brew that I have previously not given much respect to. I guess it took a weekend getaway secluded with not many options to pick this fresh six pack up and thoroughly enjoy it. This is really a well balanced and well rounded brew. There is so much going on it in that it could easily be an all inclusive selection for pairing with a broad array of foods. Well done.

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.

Photo of woodychandler
4.65/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I found this last night in the singles cooler at my local bottle shop and since the stamp on the neck read "Bottled on 12/08/10", it did not set off any flags and so I decided to shoot the works. I am awaiting the arrival of my local trader and this may help me to pass the time.

My pour initially created a finger of deep-tan head with limited retention. Nose was heavy with chocolate, like putting my sniffer into a can of Hershey's Cocoa Powder as I did when I was a kid. Color was a deep brown with ruby highlights. Beautiful! Mouthfeel was medium-to-full with a melange of cocoa, coffee, charcoal roastiness and some alcohol heat. Zounds! This was like a jolt of coffee to restart my evening accompanied with enough alcohol to send me to slumberland. Mymymy. Finish reminded me of my morning coffee, personally blended by yours truly to mimic the coffee I was weaned on in the Navy. My students often remark on how its odor fills the room. This was filling me nicely. I am really glad that I stumbled on this one.

Photo of LXIXME
3.75/5  rDev -8.5%

to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Indian Brown Ale from Dogfish Head Brewery
92 out of 100 based on 5,428 ratings.