Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine by selecting auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop now →

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: 5,737
Avg: 4.1
pDev: 18.54%
Wants: 308
Gots: 957 | 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: 5,737
Photo of trumick
4.13/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a light brown with a thin head that dissapated slowly.
Scent is lightly roasted malt, hops and burned coffee.
Taste is of sweet roasted malts, burned coffee and hops. Finishes with a very nice slight hop and burned coffee bitterness and leaves palate dry.
Mouthfeel is light with appropriate carbination.
Drinkability is good. I could sit and drink a lot of these.

Brown ales are one of my favorite styles. I like the roasted sweetness as long as it is balanced. This one has a nice hop bite to it that I really enjoy. I would put this one at the top of my list of brown ales. I like goose islands, but this one is better. The hop bite puts it at the top for me.

 676 characters

Photo of kmpitz2
4.33/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a nice rich brown color that lets enough light through to let you know its not black, but still dark enough to keep me from seeing much more than shapes through it. The head is a finger and a half and light tan that falls to just cover the beer. The nose is caramel and a bit of light mocha. Smells very good. This is a nice tasting beer. There is a good balance between the sweet caramel and chocolate notes in the flavor and the hop that sticks on my tongue. This is immediately my favorite brown ale to date. The beer is thick with just a small carb that makes it drink very easy. This is one that I will keep in mind for later this coming fall and winter.

 675 characters

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.

 327 characters

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

Pours a brownish color with amber highlights; lighter than it could have been. When held to light, much lighter orange/amber. Small head, doesn't last.
Smells wonderful. I can't wait to try this beer. Bittersweet chocolate, caramel malt, and overwhelmingly roasted coffee, almost burnt. There is a bitterness, but it's not clear whether it is bitter hops or bitter burnt malt; I think both. Major roasted malt. Strong smell, unlike most beers. Tastes much like it smells. Roasted coffee is up front; malt sweetness takes over and is almost too much. Caramel, chocolate as before. I love it. Hops certainly come in at the finish. Finish is hoppy but not mouth puckering; rather dry and comes to an end, leaving your mouth happy but asking for more. Very light bodied. I wish it were just a little heavier. This is just the kind of beer for me, except a little lighter in the body than I prefer.

 895 characters

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

Poured from a bottle packaged in April 2004. Ruby brown in color and very clear with a small but thick, light tan head that remained in some capacity to the end of the glass. The aroma up front was sweet and spicy, with a solid candy-like brown sugar thing happening. I also detected a mild coffee and chocolate thing every now and then. The taste was really interesting... it was very sweet and spicy up front, with a sour fruit tang in the middle and a nice, bitter coffee finish. With a medium to heavy mouthfeel, it was really smooth and almost creamy (whatever that means) with lots of nice carbonation. A really interesting offering from Dogfish Head and definitely unlike any other brown ale I've ever had.

 713 characters

Photo of benmiliron
3.27/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Paid $1.50 for a single 12 oz bottle.

Burnt caramel in color and taste. Good head and a rush of carbonation to start. Bitter hops very present, but dominated by the malt. A sticky sweetness prevails, with a very sour aftertaste that I did not enjoy.

A decent beer from DFH, but I'll stick with their other brews.

 319 characters

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

Pours a full milk chocolate color with a tight white head. Smell is mix of light chocolate, slight coffee roast and aromatic hop. Taste is delicious, with very wonderful chocolate and coffee flavors mixing, and then a good floral hop finish that dries nicely and doesn't cloy at all. Easy on the mouth and highly drinkable considering the ABV and all the flavors going on. I've enjoyed this during happy hour as well as dessert and it stands up for both. One to keep around all the time.

 487 characters

Photo of granger10
4.47/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sometimes I love Dogfish, sometimes I don't. But this is definitely a great beer! The pour had a burnt copper color to it with a small brown head that faded a little quickly. This one is darker than most brown ales I have seen. The complexity of this beer is unreal. Chocolate on the nose with some estery hoppiness. The flavor is caramel upfront with roasted coffee beans around the edges. Earthy hops counteract the caramel sweetness. Chocolatyness and floral hops mix with one another the further I go. Strong fruity alcohol bite in the end. The finish is almost acidic like a coffee finish. Alcohol lingers. Nice thickness in the body helps the flavors meld really well. No real dominant flavors here but the complexities and depth of this amazing beer make it amazing.

 773 characters

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

Pours a translucent dark brown color with a 1" light tan head.

Dark caramel bouquet, quite malty. Perhaps even a touch floral.

This beer has a seductively malty flavor, mostly caramel, with very slight amounts of roast malt and vanilla overtones. It finishes remarkably smooth.

This beer is rich and almost Scottish in nature (most definitely a compliment)

 365 characters

Photo of danadeny
3.93/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

had this at the Union Bar and Grill in Newton, MA. This is my favorite brown to date. First off, this brown is a little different from other browns in that it has more character, more flavors going on. It does keep some brown characteristics though, mainly it smooth drinkability, and a little of the burntness, but that is covered by the alcohol at the end. It looks black rather than brown, and has a brown head, which faded, but hung around in a thin layer until the end. I couldn’t detect anything in particular about the smell, it was quite faint. The first taste sensations are of woody, mustiness. Followed by flowery hops, and then a sweet alcohol finish. I would like to say this is a blend between an IPA in its hop character (floral not bitter) and a brown for it overall character. Very good. I think Todd Alstrom said it best with "A big yet somewhat humble brown ale, all the flavors and complexities are there but none really want to be dominant.... An impressive brew".

 986 characters

Photo of putnam
4.59/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown color and cafe con leche colored head that retires quickly to form tan, bubbly spots on the surface.
Roasted and tangy aromatics show the barest suggestion of lemon peel as topping for the broad, earthy, tobacco and hashish-like material emerging from the glass.
On the palate it is roasty and coffee bean-like with the telltale coffee fruits of reduced raspberries and blueberries along with black, soily earth. Creamy, steady mousse drives this immensely flavorful beer but it is scarcely medium-bodied. The finish is replete with bitter seed oils and pure cocoa resins that balance an iodine, molasses-flavored malt base.
A fantastic beer.

 656 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.47/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Non-opaque dark brown that becomes dark reddish copper when backlit. The largish head is toasted cocoa in color and looks dense enough and tacky enough to result in better than average lace. And it does; I see a near contiguous sheet on the glass opposite as I drink.

Indian Brown smells like a porter to me, maybe even a light stout. It's redolent of chocolate with a generous smattering of hops and perhaps a whiff of coffee. Without a doubt, the best brown ale nose that I've run across yet.

Massive flavor profile for a brown ale. There's plenty of dark, roasted malt that results in a bittersweet chocolate flavor, hops that do not want to be assigned a supporting role and a pleasant underlying smokiness. Coffee percolates through each mouthful as well. Thanks to the full body and the soft, smooth mouthfeel, the finish is long and satisfying. Amazingly complex and hearty for the style.

Dogfish Head and I did not get off to a great start (Immort Ale), but I have since been extremely impressed with the brewery. I had a very good brown ale a while back (Bell's Best Brown), but Indian Brown noses it out of the top spot. The DFH website describes it as a cross between a Scotch Ale, an IPA and an APA. I'm not too sure about that, but however one chooses to categorize it, this is one well-crafted, delicious beer. Highly recommended.

 1,354 characters

Photo of bigone4
3.88/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a nice dark brown beer. Very aromatic and smells quite nice with a roasted malty flavor. Has a nice creamy white head and leaves a nice coating of froth around the pint glass. The malt in this beer is balanced out nicely with the other flavors. Almost has hints of fruit or roasted nuts. The first sip sends your mouth on a ride enjoyable taste of that roasted malt followed by a nice clean feeling with a nice hopped finish. Very pleasent to drink. Has a rather high ABV although not a strong alcohol taste like some stronger beers I have had. No way does this compair to a New Castle. It is far superior to the mass production of that brown ale. I was very pleased with my purchase although the Dogfish head sixers run around $8.00 in CT. Good beer but many others are good and cheaper. Well micro brews at that. I would certainly drink this beer again. My girlfriend really enjoyed it as well. I look forward to the Vermont Brew Festival this weekend. Dogfish head Brewery has joined the event this year. Looking forward to what the have to sample. So far the two brews I have had by them are delicious.

 1,114 characters

Photo of bigbeerdrinka
3.96/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a dark brown with a slight ruby hue on the edges. A firm offwhite head forms and laces the glass nicely.

Smell: Notes of bittersweet chocolate, roasted malts, and a slight aroma of dark fruits.

Taste: This beer hits up front with strong roasted malts and a slight chocolate tone. Afterwards this beer hits with strong dark fruits and a warm alcohol. Finally this beer finishes up with a nice hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel: This beer is well balanced and has a nice almost creamy body.

Drinkability: This beer goes down easy and is very damn tasty. A good beer for the style.

 602 characters

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

Beer pours a nice coco brown with an off white head. Nice lacing adds to the look of this beer.

Beer has a nice nose of roasted/toasted malt. Also a bit of molasses and fresh bread.

Taste is nice. Lot of roasted malt in the initial tastes. Beer sweetens as it warms., but does stay slightly “dry”. I’m guessing this is due to some decent hopping. The alcohol presence in this beer hovers just below the surface and will occasionally pushes through into the forefront. Hard to pick-up assertive hop characteristic, but they are present as a lightly fruity background taste.

The mouthfeel as mentioned is slightly dry and the carbonation is well calibrated for this beer. Drinkability is solid, but this is not a session beer due to the 7.2% alcohol level. Very enjoyable beer and my first chance to sample the Doghead product line.

 844 characters

Photo of abcsofbeer
4.73/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Drank two of these at the Dogfish Head Eats. Perfect beer after a long hot day at the beach.

Pours a brown cola color. I don't see many this color and I thought it very unique and pleasing. Tannish thin head was poured of about 11/2 fingers. The aroma is a little sweet smelling as is the taste. Carbonation is perfect and the mouthfeel is fabulous. Goes well with lots of food like pizza and dessert, believe it or not.

Very good beer. Highly recommend.

 462 characters

Photo of heidelbeerg
4.18/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a cola color with an large, rich creamy looking head light brown/tan in color. The head reached all the way up to the top of my pint glass. The smell was sweet malt and faint hops. The taste was excellent. Rich,caramel, malt and coffee flavor. Balanced nicely with hops. The mouthfeel was very good. Nice and creamy. This beer is so well balanced and has outstanding drinkability.

 396 characters

Photo of cbl2
3.82/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


Deep mahogany brown with little to no head.


Bursting with malts and a hint of chocolate.


Malty sweet at first and then the hops kick in with a nice bitter sensation that lingers throughout the finish; interestingly complex.

 276 characters

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

Pours out brown and sits deep mahogony in the glass with a medium sized off-white head. Leaves a good amount of skim on the surface.

Nutty with semi-sweet chocolate and herbal spiciness. Light hop backing, nothing overpowering here. A good aroma, pleasant and inviting.

Taste starts with fruity esters, think raisins. Caramel and nuts soon follow, hazelnuts and walnuts come to mind. Lightly sour alcohol in the finish with a mild bitterness from a nice hoppy accompaniment.

Smooth, creamy with light and easy carbonation. Very easay to manage and even easier to drink. A great brown ale, worthy as a 6-pack beer.

 622 characters

Photo of Sixpack595
3.75/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Nice toasty brown ale with a pretty good punch. Dark copper brown in color with a thin but persistant tan head. For such a small amount of foam the retention is amazing. Aroma is slightly floral and hoppy with a strong toasty malt base. Flavor is very smooth and malty with chocolate, caramel and toasy bread flavors. Quite complex for a brown with a good malt taste profile. I can't believe this beer tops 7%, its very well hidden.

 432 characters

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

(Bottled and packaged in June 2004!)

Big, 1" off-white head, dissipating quickly and hanging to the sides of the glass. Very nice lacing.
Bold, dark red/mahogany color. Almost molasses-brown. Moderate carbonation.

Dark, roasted coffee tones on the nose. A combination of sweet toffee and caramel as well.

A well-balanced malt sweetness with a dark coffee flavor. At 7.2% abv there is a warming alcohol presence in the aftertaste, along with the sweet, malted toffee flavors.

An incredibly smooth brown ale considering the abv. The most memorable aspect of this beer, besides the wonderful roasted coffee flavor, is how well-balanced this ale is. Not light, not heavy.

Extremely consumable; not overly sweet which is a huge plus for the style. Very easy drinking. I'd have another or two.

 804 characters

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

Mahogany brown color with an off white head. Molasses/raisin aroma, sensed slight alcohol o the aroma. Malty taste, the beer has a little sweetness and tastes good, not cloying. balanced beer to hop ratio, nice funkiness on back of tounge. Very nice beer, very drinkable even at 7.2%

 283 characters

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

This was a nice deep red brew with a short head that lasted a long time. It looked like an ideal summertime dark brew.

The aroma was of lightly roasted malt, and nice aromatic hops. A little touch of pine, but not much.

The beer had a light roasted taste with faint caramel notes and was quite bitter. As a lover of bitter beers, it was quite nice.

 354 characters

Photo of coasterfreak75
4.28/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The pour was a dark copper/brown with a good one inch head that quickly dissapated and left a light white lace around the glass. The lace stuck well to the sides of the glass and held on throughout the drink.

The smell was very heavy in malt and light hop spice. Almost hidden coffee overtones, maybe a hint of hazlenut.

The drink started with a sweet malt kick followed by a heavy, but not overpowering hop bite in the middle. The finish was more hops followed by a lingering coffee taste.

All and all a very drinkable and refreshing beer. I will look for this one again.

 581 characters

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

Nice beer.

Poured a deep, dark brown, with a very nice frothy head. This beer had a warm roasty smell to it-the malt was very present, even before I drank it!

Upon tasting this beer, I noticed a big malt present, and the hops came through really nice. Nice roasted chocolate flavors with an even bitterness throughout. This is a nice beer to just hold in your mouth and let roll araound on your tongue. Actually reminded me more of a porter than a nut brown. Definately a great beer that I will be enjoying more of. At 7.2, this one has the potential to sneak up on you, however.

Note: I'm not really a big fan of Brown Ales. Too many times I am disappointed by the lack of complexity and the often "watered-down" taste I get. For intstance, Red Hook and Wild Goose make lousy Brown's, in my opinion. The only Brown Ale (up to this point) that I really cared for was Columbus Brewing Nut Brown Ale. This offering from Dogfish Head, however, has given me new hope in this style. Well done.

 998 characters

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