Indian Brown Ale - Dogfish Head Brewery

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Indian Brown AleIndian Brown Ale

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5,559 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,559
Reviews: 1,968
rAvg: 4.1
pDev: 10.98%
Wants: 286
Gots: 808 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,559 | Reviews: 1,968
Photo of kkleu357
3.9/5  rDev -4.9%

From notes on 12/10/13

Very dark reddish color. Malty hop caramel smell. Bitter taste. Little citrusy on the back end. Malted caramel on the front. This is my first Dogfish Head. So far good.

Photo of dacrza1
4.3/5  rDev +4.9%

DATE REVIEWED: August 8, 2014... GLASSWARE: Barley Creek pint... OCCASION: Watching Return of the King with a worthy beer... APPEARANCE: Wow--allows a look through its body only when held to light--glass is black as a Wraith; the head is two-fingered, off-white and thick.. AROMA: wonderfully balanced: hoppy and citric, with raisin and plum, yet toasted with biscuit... the malts predominate, with a hint of roasted nuts and caramel--intense and robust ... PALATE: thick, creamy, and rather soft in ts carbonation--that classic cola mouth feel; slightly bitter at its end ... TASTE: the aroma sets this beer’s flavor, as dense, blanketed hops give way to unsweetened chocolate and toasted rye bread--a wondrously stout yet drinkable brown, that only hints at the alcohol it wields... OVERALL: what a drink with which to welcome crisp fall nights--strong, stern and warming, yet balanced, complex and highly drinkable...another victory for Sam and the guys at DFH...

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 beerfootfreak
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%

delicious. just roasted enough to not quite taste burned. the caramelized sugar works well to ease the edge and hide any boozy flavors without being classically sweet.

Photo of beergoot
4.22/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

The pour exposed a deep reddish-brown body with a rich, thick, frothy light tan head (4.25). Aroma features nuts and chicory; brown sugar and cocoa (4.0). Bitterly sweet malt flavors; chocolate; noticeable alcohol heat; smooth bitterness rises from the back and lingers on the palate at the finish (4.25). Medium bodied; rich, silky, and dry finish (4.5).

This beer exudes a robust malt sweetness and hop bitterness, well-balanced with excellent flavor depth and complexity (4.25).

Photo of ArchimedesSox
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%

Pours a dark almost black color with a nice 2 finger beige colored head that dissipates slowly leaving really nice lacing on the 20 oz pub glass.

Smell is of roasted malts, coffee, chocolate and molasses. Really nice smell to it, I really smells world class.

Taste lets the nose tell the story for it. Really nice sweetness to it with the coffee, and chocolate taking center stage. There is some hop bitterness that comes in in the middle to really balance this one out nicely. The end of the taste is really clean for such a sweet caramely taste at the beginning. The hops really clean it up.

Mouthfeel is really nice with it being really velvety smooth but with enough carbonation to make it really drinkable.

They say this is a mixture of a scotch ale and an IPA and to make it a brown ale. That really tells the tale for me. It is really nice and caramely and sweet but it also has the hop bite that really balances it out well. Another really nice beer from Dog Fish.

Photo of logicalparadox
4/5  rDev -2.4%

A: They call this a brown ale, but it pours coffee-black. Nice head to start, with OK retention. The initial sight is one to behold. Head looks creamy and caramel-colored atop a dark, brooding abyss beneath. By the bottom half of my beer, the head was gone with little to no lacing.

S: The nose is full of fresh roasted coffee, brown sugar, dried plums, molasses, big malts, and a hint of... pine. Yes, pine. But just a touch.

T: Coffee, caramel, gingerbread cookies. The brown sugar comes through nicely, with a touch of sweetness, but not cloying. The hops are noticeable, but bitterness is low; leaving the piney-herbaceous notes in focus. The finish is a long dance between espresso, and the grassy-piney. Caramel notes come out to play from time to time, as do the warming esters of the alcohol (but not too much, at 7.2% ABV).

M: Lighter-bodied than the color suggests. Fairly fine carbonation makes for a soft, sturdy mouth-feel that still manages to not come off as heavy or domineering. A big beer in a small package. A hefty contender that has a certain amount of style and grace.

Hmm. This was a surprise. It's a little of a lot of things. I like it. Not my favorite profile, to be sure, but interesting. Challenging enough to induce contemplation, but quite easy to drink. The bitterness is moderate, a culmination of the interplay hops and roast. I like this and already recommended it to someone looking for something different.

Photo of DanielMB
5/5  rDev +22%

This is a stunning brew. Just like they say, Dogfish Head has managed to combine the flavors of a brown ale and scotch ale with the hoppiness of an IPA. The appearance is a medium, copper brown with a tan head. The taste is very caramel, with the bite of hops alongside, and the earthy toastiness of a brown ale as well. A tremendous beer from a tremendous brewery.

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 Tuck_leepulin
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%

12oz brown bottle with pry-off cap poured into a becker pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a clear, deep copper brown with 1 finger of head and slight lacing

Smell: Chocolate and roasted malts

Taste: Upfront the roasted malts hit the palate, quickly followed by the hop bitterness that melds with malt producing a bitter dark chocolate note; the finish is a clean mix of peat and hops

Mouthfeel: Moderate carbonation and finishes quite dry

Overall: This is a great mix hop bitterness and roasted malt. Echoing others, this is a great hybrid of a scotch ale, IPA, and a brown ale. It may not do each of these perfectly, but the sum of the parts produces something quite unique and memorable.

Photo of SmashPants
4.15/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle: a thick dark brown embossed 355mL bottle with a decent label.

Appearance: pours a rich brown with ruby highlights throughout. Limited fine carbonation across the profile. A great finger-thick head pops up and drops to a creamy half-finger with excellent, thick lacing.

Aroma: quite a demure aroma, but what is there is roasted sweet malts and brown sugars.

Taste: roasted malts and nuts up front with some earth, woody resin and a pleasant earth bitterness. Quite nice, and some tartness.

Aftertaste: roasted coffee and bitterness comes through even more strongly in the aftertaste. Very nice.

Mouth feel: quite full in body with a sharp but not over-powering fine carbonation. Fantastic.

Overall: this would have to be hands down one of the best brown ales I have ever had. Dogfish Head has only recently come into my life, but I have to say I am quite taken with them. Very, very likeable, even though it is AU$120 a case of 24 x 355mL bottles. Better value and a better beer than the already decent 60 Minute IPA.

Photo of mthomp081
4.08/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - thick creamy head, very dark brown

S - sweet hops, cocoa, coffee undertones

T - bitter dark chocolate/cocoa, very nutty, really balanced hop bitterness, roasted malt

M - pretty high carbonation, creamy, balanced between sweet and bitter on the palette

O - Awesome beer. The bitterness of the hops meshes perfectly with the cocoa and coffee undertones.

Photo of hophugger
2.92/5  rDev -28.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Ok, I disagree with the hype over this beer. I am a fan of Dogfish and they brew awesome beers but...Aroma and color were ok. The taste was a little different from your usual brown ales. This one was slightly bitter like burnt coffee and left a taste in my mouth that was not pleasant. Don't get me wrong, it is a good job, but just was a little much. I know the abv is high but other beers that I have had with the same or more abv have not had the very noticeable alcohol biy=tterness like this one. Overall, ok but not one of my favorites

Photo of JohnLasher92
4.57/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured this into my large frozen beer glass. Color is a rich caramel. Smells like a mix of chocolate nut toffee. This beer has an intense taste to it all the way through. The alcohol isn't hidden but is complimented well by the complex mix of styles that make up this brew. All blend perfectly together to make a beer that you will always want to have again. Honestly, this is my second time having this and I'm going to say it tasted even better this time.

Photo of malprep
3.89/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Dogfish Head is paving the way for craft beers. Another great beer and being a fan of coffee beers they have done a great job with this one. Great appearance and awesome aroma. Taste is great. Very good smooth taste for a coffee beer. If you like a coffee beer get this one.

Photo of heygeebee
3.87/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A - brown body, nice one finger head stays, spotty lace.

S - malts, brown sugar, caramels.

T - very complex, with dry treacle to the fore to start with. The palate then sweetens out somewhat but still leaving a lingering dry aftertaste. Not really too hoppy this example, but no BB.

M - medium weight good carbonation.

O - nice to have such a complex beer. Only real downside is the treacle taste. Not to this palate.

Photo of Boggdogg
3.55/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A- pours a deep brown color with a hint of burgundy. Nice cream colored head that sticks to the glass and has good lacing
S- I smell coffee or bitter beans like coffee or coco. I don't smell much but I never do.
T- coffee taste. Bitter but not hoppy. I really have no idea. It is good not terrific but very drinkable.
M- medium bodied with clean aftertaste.
O- I enjoyed this beer. Not my favorite but well brewed as usual by Dogfish Head.

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

Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale has a very thick, crackly-sounding, beige head, a dark brown (with lighter, ruby-brown highlights), and heavy lacing left behind. The aroma is of sweet, dark bread crust, nuts, and malt. Taste is of a noticeable charred roastiness, sweet brown bread crust, some nut, licorice, and dark-roasted malt. Bitterness is there, and it increases. Mouthfeel is medium, and Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale finishes semi-dry, not very alcoholic, and easy drinking.


Photo of NickHalden
4.33/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

The first thing I smell is malty goodness with hints of brown sugar in this brownish beer. The head last for a few seconds. The first taste that hits my mouth is a smooth sweet malt followed by mild hop and slight aftertaste of brown sugar. Very smooth and flavorful for a brown ale as the bitterness balances the malt perfectly. I've found my new go-to brown ale.

Photo of Tsar_Riga
4.46/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A - Very dark brown, basically opaque, with tan head that fades some, but persists and laces hugely.

S - Roast malt comes through in coffee and toasted multigrain bread, with a hint of grass.

T - The start is pretty typical brown ale, following the malts and roast of the nose, suggesting coffee and rich, delicious breads. The middle brings some of the sweetness, but this fades quickly to a slight but notable hop bitterness.

M - Fresh, bright, and lush, with subtle carbonation. There is some drying, but it does not grow too heavy.

O - A brown ale that suggests black IPAs with its hopping, but keeps true enough to its style to satisfy my brown ale itch. Love the sweet caramel and bread flavors, and the bitterness keeps the brew from getting cloying. One of my favorite brown ales and a top-notch beer period.

Photo of seedyone
4.41/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

10/11/14 On tap at Rattlr n Hum, NYC.Just like I remember. Rich & robust.

02/21/12 On Tap. Hello old friend. This great concoction deserves fanfare. Trumpets. Garlands. The whole nine yards. Whenever it comes to town I wanna' know. Chocolate, coffee but all well under control. Nothing frat boy here. Very sophisto. Thanks Dogfish Head.

2010 I'm a fan of black & tan & this comes very close all-in-one. Cold weather treat

Photo of landfill
4.52/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

An OUTSTANDING brown ale.

Chocolatey, caramel, smokey smooth flavor. EXTREMELY drinkable beer. Appearance is a dark brown, almost bark color. Finished pouring with a beautiful medium head. I love brown ales and this is a fantastic beer for the craft brew beginner or expert. I LOVE THIS BEER.

Photo of KYGunner
4.18/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Very chocolatey, almost brownie like color yields a creamy frothy head.

The aroma is malty, mostly chocolate malts, dry with a bit of smokiness. The malt trends to toast, biscuit and brownie batter.

The flavor is luscious chocolate malt, biscuit and toasty malts with a hint of smoke or ember. The flavors tend dry but some sweetness exists like a five or brownie.

The feel is quite smooth and relatively smooth with a moderate carbonation.

This is a brown ale of the highest order and if some one tells me they don't like Brown's I will push them to this and I bet they change their minds.

Photo of HeavyKevy
4.94/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Very, Very Good. Just what I like. Beautiful dark brown color, nice compact head. Tastes as good as it looks, I am no expert at rating, but the sweet notes are followed by the aftertaste of a great ale. My only regret is that I only bought one bottle today and will have to trek back across town to get more.

Photo of Bone53
4.48/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a snifter at around 45° F

Appearance: Dark brown with a red hue when put up to the light along with a huge three finger tan head

Smell: Roasted malts, chocolate, citrusy hops, caramel, and hints of brown sugar and molasses. Fairly complex

Taste: Starts off with roasted and toasted malts and brown sugar, then hops that carry into the aftertaste

Mouthfeel: Smooth and creamy with a slight hop bite.

Overall: I haven't had many brown ales, but this to me could be considered a hoppy porter. Heavier on the roasted malts and a considerable amount of hops that linger on the palate. Probaby why this is now my favorite brown ale to date. This is something i will grab again when I want a hoppy dark beer.

Indian Brown Ale from Dogfish Head Brewery
92 out of 100 based on 5,559 ratings.