Indian Brown Ale - Dogfish Head Brewery

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Indian Brown AleIndian Brown Ale

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1,941 Reviews

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Reviews: 1,941
Hads: 5,608
rAvg: 4.1
pDev: 9.02%
Wants: 294
Gots: 844 | 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: 1,941 | Hads: 5,608
Photo of redearth329
4.06/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A - An aggressive pour gives three fingers of tight, medium brown head on a very dark brown beer. The head is sticky and lingers. Very little light shines through the beer when held to a lamp, but enough to see that it is clear. not cloudy.

S - Roasted malt, molasses. Not especially forthcoming on the nose.

T - Nice roasty bitterness; honey, molasses, burnt toast... alcohol can be found, but you have to be looking for it. Hops are buried; could easily be mistaken for a porter.

M - Medium to full bodied. Creamy. Low carbonation.

O - I'm not sure what an "indian brown ale" is supposed to taste like. This tastes like a pretty good porter to me. Maybe a little lighter bodied than I would look for in a porter, but definitely bigger than I would look for in my usual brown ale... (788 characters)

Photo of donmonkey1
4.1/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours dark brown like Coke. I really can't see through the beer to see the carbonation, but it has a nice whitish/tan head that lingers pretty well and laces nicely.

Smell: Roasted nuts, hint of molasses, brown sugar, caramel, raisins.

Taste: Tastes like the smell but in addition I taste a sugar hit and a tree bark taste.

Mouthfeel: Medium/creamy body, good carbonation.

This is the best brown beer I've ever had. (431 characters)

Photo of watermelon
4.53/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle. Bottled on 12/12/13. Poured into a tulip glass.

A: Deep brown body with a ruby glow when held up to the light. Three finger light brown head. Massive amounts of lacing.

S: Chocolate and dank hops.

T: Similar to the nose with some bitterness, along with toasted carmel.

M: Medium bodied and crispy. Its easy drinking, yet not to easy drinking.

O: Favorite beer that I've had so far. Its co unique, full bodied and drinkable. I would choose this over 90 minute any day. (490 characters)

Photo of MightyMonk
4.15/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Why did I wait so long to try this brown ale. It looked to me like your average brown on the shelf. Wow, was I wrong.
This creation is all about NOT the average brown ale.
Starts with it's higher abv and ends with the hoppy nature in the finish.
Deep dark and redish glimmer with small head that laces well.
Coffee aroma some chocolate notes and malty goodness. Ditto in the taste.
Finish with a hop ending and this ale is a winner! (434 characters)

Photo of Flounder57
4.02/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle was poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: A one finger head was poured that reduced to a thin layer. It is an amber brown color with a little clarity and vision of bubbles coming up through the glass. Spotty lacing on the glass as the beer was drank.

Smell: Roasted coffee, chocolate, hazelnut, caramel, brown sugar sweetness, and some earthy notes.

Taste: Same as above with light bitterness in the rear.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, a little chewy, light bodied, and medium carbonation.

Overall: Pretty nice brown ale. I just enjoyed a couple of these. (562 characters)

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

12oz bottle, bottling date 2/15/2014, poured into a Toppling Goliath snifter today, 4/3/2014.

App- Very dark ruby brown body. In lower lighting, looks nearly black. Comes with a one finger tan head, very good retention, splotches of lacing.

Smell- This honestly smells more like a porter than a typical sweet brown ale. Earthy and sort of herbal, roast malts, dominant caramel and toffee, brown sugar sweetness. Hint of coffee beans. Pretty pungent stuff.

Flavour- Caramel, toffee up front, a bit less brown sugary sweetness than typical browns I've had in the past. Tastes very nutty as well; this nutty aspect is what I love about brown ales. A bit of coffee, and a fair earthy bitterness near the end. No roast malt notes here. This is a very enjoyable flavour profile.

Mouthfeel- Medium bodied. Seems to have the right amount of carbonation for the style. Neither fizzy nor flat. Fairly bitter aftertaste that is more earthy and herbal than anything else. My guess is that Sam is using English-style hops here. Dry, bitter finish.

Overall- Very good brown ale, the amount of hops used here definitely spruces up an otherwise boring style. I also enjoy the roast malt notes in the nose that reminds me a lot of a good porter, which is one of my favorite styles. (1,270 characters)

Photo of dar482
4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

The beer comes in a dark reddish copper.

The aroma has burst of toffee and caramel sweetness along with robust heavily toasted, almost roasted malt, sweet chocolate, a bit of roasted coffee. Almost an herbal quality in there.

The flavor follows of punch of medium sweetness in the front, then onto a roasted coffee, sweet cocoa chocolate, heavy nuttiness, a substantial toasted bread. There’s a wonderful melding of complexities then onto a earthy/herbal bitterness on the finish.

Big robust flavors here for the style. A medium to medium plus mouthfeel. It beat both Avery Ellie’s and Smuttynose Old Dog Brown in a blind taste test. (641 characters)

Photo of Act25
4.19/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

sweet as a scotch ale, hoppy, and as they write - it's a triple hybrid. One of their best beers.
Original without being cloying or cute.

A: Porter, with long deep head, long lasting and lacing.
S: Caramel spread on burnt toast, roast nuts, coffee, cocoa, dark church wood, salt grass, hay.
T: Follows smell, but ironically sweet up front and dry finished. Very enjoyable, roasty arc with plenty of cleansing bitters. Again wood, char, tar, marsh, salt water, sand flats, clams, and salt grass. Complex.
MF: also complex: starts creamy, but follows through long and powdery and dry.

Great strong and slow food beer. A best in class. (639 characters)

Photo of EvoRich
4.31/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I never knew about Indian Brown Ale. I discovered by looking into a cooler at individual bottles at a restaurant and mistaking the very similar label to World Wide Stout. Turned out it was "just" Indian Brown Ale. I should have know by the cap difference.I say "just " in quotes as I didn't expect much from it, and was a bit let down that it wasn't WWS. But I was wrong

Appearance: Nothing amazing here. Looks like a stout, not quite as dark

Smell: Sweet, caramel, coffee (which was a delightful surprise).

Taste: Coffee, hops, nutty, caramel, chocolate

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, and easy drinking.

Overall: While I was let down that I thought it was WWS at first glance, I was pleasantly surprised. Very nice flavor and was delighted by the coffee finish this beer had. (777 characters)

Photo of Ri0
3.87/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

poured 12oz bottle into snifter. Bottled 1/10/14

A - Pours dark brown with red highlights when held to the light with a tan 2 finger head. Retention is forever leaving some lacing on the glass.

S - Aromas of roasted malt, molasses, hint of brown sugar and some piney citrus hops..

T - Tastes of sweet caramel malt, brown sugar, some coffee and a mild citrus pine flavor from the hops.

M - Medium body, smooth creamy texture, nice,soft carbonation, mild hop bitterness and dry finish.

O - This is a good one from DFH, but I'm not sure what to think of a hoppy brown I enjoy IPAs, and Browns, but I think I prefer browns with big malt and sometimes aged in barrels. (670 characters)

Photo of DenverHopHead
4.06/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bottle with a bottled on date of 2/5/14; into a pint glass.
Appearance - dark brown, mahogany against the light. A huge, creamy, mocha head!
Lacing is superb!
Smell - a mix of dark malts, caramel, chocolate and fruity hops; smells very much like some black ales (black IPA's)!
Taste - uh oh...there is a bit of copper in the first few sips. This eventually fades to a fairly interesting blend of brown sugar, caramel candy and some fruity hops.
Feel - once the initial "sucking on a penny" goes away; a flavorful, balanced ale comes through and finishes off nicely.
Overall - this reminds me of a local brew that I enjoy, Odell's Mountain Standard; just a few notches below. (688 characters)

Photo of bnes09
4.34/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Translucent chocolate colored ale. Creamy, egg shell-white head with plenty of sticky, patchy lacing.

Toasty and cocoa aroma. Malty and sweet.

Lots of cocoa upfront. Toasted oats. Hint of brown sugar and molasses. Assertive, earthy hop bitterness. Great balance.

Medium bodied. Well carbonated. Malty texture.

It's been a while since I've had a really good brown ale. This really hit the spot. (397 characters)

Photo of gonzo000
4.15/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

a - Brown in color, dark, but not near black. 2 finger head lasted. Lacing on glass.

s - malty smell associated with a typical brown

t. Sweet malt up front with bitter malt finish. Very smooth.

m. good carbonation.

O. Much better than I expected, not an IPA guy, but the IBA is excellent. (293 characters)

Photo of reebtaerG
4.16/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured 12oz bottle into New Belgium globe

A-Pours clear dark reddish brown,with a tan 1 finger pillowy head. Lingers forever leaving wicked lace on glass.

S-Smells of roasted malt, molasses, raisins, spices, a hint of brown sugar, piney hops with a faint wisp of alcohol.

T-Tastes of sweet caramel malt, latte, chocolate covered raisins,coffee,a little booze and a mild citrus flavor.

M-Medium body, smooth creamy texture, nice,soft carbonation, mild hop bitterness and dry finish.

O-Overall a great brown ale. Way to go DFH! (532 characters)

Photo of MadCat
4.19/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Nice dark brown, opaque, short tan head, leaves some lacing

Smell: Nice roasted malts, citrusy hops, touches of chocolate and caramel

Taste: Roasted malts up front, then nice citrusy hops, reasonable level of bitterness, nice chocolate, caramel, and bread malts in there too

Mouthfeel: Medium body, low carbonation

Overall: Fantastic, above expectations. I don't know why I usually walk past DFH, but I'm glad I didn't this time. (445 characters)

Photo of DagenhamDavis
4.06/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My first try of a dogfish head offering. This bottle has a date of 3/05/13, making it just a few days shy of a year old. According to the DFH website, this beer is okay to age. I'm not a beer aging expert, but we'll see how a very old beer scavenged from my roommate's fridge goes. So on with the show.

Twelve ounces poured into a pint glass. A very dark brown color, quite opaque. Gives a 1 finger tan head. Smells of chocolate and malt. Perhaps a few hops too, but they may have died off a year ago.

Taste: This is a unique beer! Mostly quality malt, but with a definite hop presence and bite. Coffee-like aftertaste that is pleasant.

Mouthfeel is not nearly as heavy as it looks. I realize it's not a stout, but color can be deceiving. It's medium at most and pretty crisp. A fair amount of carbonation.

Overall, this beer is a great surprise. I'll be trying more from this brewery and of this style. Aging didn't seem to be a detriment for this beer in the slightest, though I think I'll try it fresh too. (1,017 characters)

Photo of BastardKing24
3.68/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a deep ruby/brown color with minimal head that leaves little lacing.

Smell is like a scotch ale. I get a decent malt complex , and not alot of hops. Really one dimensional.

Taste is the same, its like a decent brown ale should be. Not alot of hops on this one. I do get the brown sugar.

Feel is about average.

This beer is drinkable and tasty but it is quite simple in its complexity. Nothing stands out really. (421 characters)

Photo of Givemebeer
3.94/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Well yes this beer is amazingly brown. Darker brown that a usual brown ale. Thin head not too much lacing.

S: Mostly chocolate but also caramel.

T: Very interesting. Coffee, chocolate, and caramel are at the forefront but the hops are trying to fight their way up front too. They're easy to perceive as traces of citrus work their way through in the middle. A lingering chocolate bitterness finishes off the taste.

M: Medium/full bodied. Finishes dry.

O:DFH nailed it with this cross of a scotch ale and an IPA. Tastes in their suggest that a stout was mixed in too with some of the coffee flavors. Very interesting - a good cold weather beer. (650 characters)

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

A: Dark brown with ruby edges when held up to the light. Large khaki head.

S: Smells very similar to the 60 minute IPA (must use the same hops). I'm getting dry hops, malt, and nuts.

T: Parallel to the nose, but with a bit more complexity: Nuts, brown sugar, dry hops, bitter espresso, vanilla, buttery toast, roasty malts. One thing that bothers me: it is slightly flat-tasting or bland-tasting. I can't put my finger on it...

M: Medium with a fair amount of carbonation. Good feel for the style.

O: Not a bad brew at all. Refreshing, tasty, but not amazing. This beer deserves a good rating, but I wouldn't give it a 92. (630 characters)

Photo of Emnmarko
4.6/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Bottled on 8/30/12 Enjoyed 2/20/14

A- Very dark but clear. A reddish black licorice with a light behind it. A unique soapy one finger head quickly dissipates to leave a light halo. Absolutely no lacing whatsoever. Looks like a clean glass with a drop of beer when finished.

S- Nice. Roasted malts, chocolate, cocoa, hop bitterness not far behind and may be taking the lead. Smells wonderful.

T- Sweet malts, chocolate, nutty, earthy first. Bitter citrus hops come through next to mingle. Finally a mild bitter black dark roast coffee citrus aftertaste lingers on and on.

M- Medium to light actually. Easy to drink. Warming and rich.

O- This is the beer that makes me want to have better attention to detail. This brew is so complex, bitter, sweet and delicious. I bought this beer last week from a wonderful beer store I recently found, so I do not know how it lived its life up to now, but wow! This has got to be one of my favorite beers. No surprise from DFH however. Get it, drink it, enjoy it. (1,007 characters)

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

Poured into a tumbler, it is dark reddish brown with a very persistent dense foamy tan head. It smells of coffee, oranges, and molasses. Taste is biscuity, it has a floral hop brown ale thing going on but its got more going on as well. I get some licorice on the finish, its almost as easy and non-challenging as a brown ale but then it sneaks up, grabs the cap off your head and runs away when you're not looking. I'm sure that must be what the official brewery tasting notes must say. Mouthfeel is medium weight with nice laid back carbonation. Overall, a very good beer, especially for a damp cold day. (605 characters)

Photo of scotorum
4.12/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Reviewed this last summer and gave it a whopping 4.51 overall. Saved a bottle from that sixpack and now that I have had nearly 400 different beers under my belt including a few other brown ales, I re-reviewed.

Bottled 10/25/12. So this has a lot of age on it! Purchased the sixpack this is the last soldier from at tghe end of April 2013. Will want to get a fresher batch and so this re-review is subject to further revision.

Poured into an Innis & Gunn flute from the 12 oz. bottle.

a. Clear dark ruby. Finger thick hoffwhite head receded to thin surface foam and patterned lacing.

s: Dark malt and ripe fruit.

t. Significant hop bite forward over ripe dark fruit and smoke. Bitterness moderately lingers at the sides of the tongue.

m: Light to moderate, decent body, light enough to drink year round.

o. A good strong dark ale, more of a sipper to savor than a session drink. A lot of porter flavor even when served ice cold. A top offering from Dogfish, and a good value for the money at around $2 a bottle. (1,017 characters)

Photo of a0lbudman
4.58/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A-dark brown color with a good tan head that laces the glass heavy
S-deep nutty aroma with a brown sugar smell and a roasted malt smell that really makes me want to drink this beer
T-roasted malt taste with a nice hop flavor that fades back to a roasted finish with a little smoked taste and a bourbon flavor
M-full body and medium carbonation
O-the best smell ever, that has a great taste loved it (398 characters)

Photo of BarryMFBurton
4.13/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Dogfish Head doesn’t distribute to us Hoosiers, but I was lucky enough to find some at the Frisky Whisky in Columbus, GA. Cheers!

Bottled 11/20/2013, over two months before the date of this tasting. While not ideal, this was one of the youngest beers in the store.

A: Deep ruby in color, this beer pours dark and thick. It’s not hazy, though: hold it up to the light and you can nearly see right through it. Bubbles rising fast from the nucleation site obscure the view slightly, but they also elevate a soft head of tan foam to an inch in height. Looks just like foamed milk: creamy and light.

S: A mild, nutty nose, but that doesn’t mean it’s not complex: notes of chestnut, peat, and maple oatmeal meld with a stiff, authentic barley tone. It’s like opening a bag of malt – burnt toast, toffee, and grain husk aromas fill the senses.

T&M: What a blend of tastes and textures. The familiar nuttiness and thin, creamy body of a brown ale is apparent, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg: the palate endures, opening up into another layer of earthy, smoky, peaty flavor, with an ever-increasing density you’d find in a foamy milk stout. Supporting tastes of brown sugar, root beer, vanilla, and red velvet cake. As it winds down, there’s a drying espresso tone and a surprisingly bright crackle of grassy hops, leaving this with a crisp, slightly dark aftertaste.

O: I’ve heard rumors that Dogfish Head might be coming back to Indiana soon…if that’s the case, this might just become a staple in my fridge. A full, nuanced palate with a welcome hoppiness – and extreme drinkability, to boot. (1,622 characters)

Photo of BeerandWhiskeyHQ
4.16/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Dark brown with a hint of copper/red when it is held up to the light
Roasted malt, caramel and hops. Smells awesome!
Coffee weaved in and out of the hop and malt flavor along with perhaps raisins?
This is an excellent hybrid beer and I really, really like it. I get it quite often and it always delivers. You can enjoy this one, no matter your beer preference. (418 characters)

Indian Brown Ale from Dogfish Head Brewery
92 out of 100 based on 1,941 ratings.