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

Pours a brownish red with a tan head.
Smells malty, nutty with some hops there too.
Taste- Nice caramelized, very malty flavor with a good hop balance which makes this taste a lot better than your newcastle. Very good mouthfeel, excellent balance.... can I have a few more??? (277 characters)

Photo of merlin48
4.18/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, dark mahogany color with a two finger, beige head that leaves enormous, patch and sheet lacing on the glass.
Aroma has a sweet caramel maltiness up front, with notes of toffee and coffee in the background. Very roasty to the nose.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, well carbonated, and has a mild, peppery, hop bite on the tongue.
Taste has some delightful complexities. Roasted malts dominate, with assertive coffee and toffee notes up front. All kinds of hops emerge midway through, with spruce pine and grapefruit lingering in the background. Some smoky hazelnut makes a brief appearance, but that's about all the nuttiness that I detected. Finish is bitter hops, in a grapefruit rind sort of way. Alcohol remains concealed deep in the various flavor profiles.
Overall, an interesting brown ale that I will buy again. Leave it to Dogfish Head to create these "push the envelope" ales. I always try to keep a few DFH ales cellared, in the event I crave something "over the top". Well done brown ale here, and I highly recommend it. (1,051 characters)

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

7.2% ABV, 50 IBU. Made with caramelized brown sugar, Liberty and Goldings hops. Described by DFH as "A cross between a Scotch Ale, an I.P.A, and an American Pale"

Pours out to a clear, very dark ruby-brown, forming a very large whipped light-tan head atop small bubbles. Retention is superior, and lacing is clumping. The head is peaking and carbonation is very firm, giving a solid "Psssht" upon releasing the cap. Aroma is inviting with strong notes of brown sugar and milk chocolate, vanilla, toffee and caramel. There is a suggestion of alcohol in the nose. Mouthfeel is syrupy, yet bright with carbonation, and has a medium-dense body. Tasting more like an Abbey Double than a brown ale (in part due to the judicious use of brown sugar), the flavor echoes the aroma with a discrete hop presence (which is overshadowed by the syrupy malts). The subtle bitterness becomes noteable in the toasty, yet woodsy finish. Thankfully, I'm not upset by the small amount of diacetyl present, unlike the Shelter Pale Ale which was disturbing. No smoke or peat, though I'm picking up on some subtle bilious sourness. The alcohol esters are easily perceptable in flavor, and unfortunately increase as it warms, giving it an amateur homebrew twang that I'm not partial to. As the beer breathes, the toast in the finish evolves, and the spritzy mouthfeel softens. The bitterness interweaves perfectly with the toast, leaving a satisfying composure.

Rough around the edges, yet still a quite interesting brew which seems to cross boundries of style. The funky alcohol esters don't ruin the beer for me, but they do limit it's likability. (1,630 characters)

Photo of farHillsBrewer
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Satisfying in all categories. Pours a deep brown with a slight reddish hue. A creamy off-white head that laced the glass well, signifying the ample hop content. Rich caramel and hazelnut flavor notes underlying a smooth malty profile. Tasted sweet with a chewy mouthfeel that transforms into a tangy, nutty hoppiness at the finish. The alchohol is up there but is sneaks right by. A nice compliment to corn beef and cabbage on St Patty's day. (442 characters)

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

Dogfish Head has never let me down. The Indian Brown Ale is almost as good as any beer out there. It pours what looks to be dark brown, but in the light, it's a deep blood red. The head, a thick creamy, frothy cloud. Beautiful. The aroma is sweet with hints of chocolate and carmelized brown sugar. The taste is of caramel with a nice dose of hops mixed in. This is a great beer. I will be back to the store this weeken to buy some more. (437 characters)

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

Pours a very dark ruby/ brown. It has a nice balanced feel to it, little head and very little lace. Highly quaffable, and very drinkable for a Scottish Ale. There is a definite hop presence through and through this Ale, and it mixes very nicely with the malt background. It has a smokey carmel/coffe flavor throughout the drink, which mixes with both the hop and malt aspects of this beer. While it may seem very heavy upon the first couple of samplings, it comes out balanced and highly drinkable. DFH boys have constructed a mighty fine brew here and this may have possibly been one of the better conversion brews available on the market today. (646 characters)

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

Picked this up in a 12oz bottle from Bacchus in Chattanooga. It was a nice suprise to find out he carried something from my home state when I feel so far from home sometimes.

Pours a deep, dark brown. Immediately a thick, bubbly, tan head erupts about three fingers high. The head reminds me of a bowl of oatmeal in its consistency. Lacing slides lazily down the sides of the glass and clumps up sporadically about the glass. Upon holding it up to the light a more amberish brown shines through, but it holds its darkness well.

The smell is great. The malts are immediately present, I pick up toasted coffee, and caramel. The bitter edge of hops sits there faintly as well.

The first thing I notice as I imbibe is just how creamy the mouthfeel is. It feels awesome going down, and works perfectly with the taste. The taste leads in bitter and then to sweet and caramel coated, bitter chocolate flirting at the edges. Slightly toasty background and just the absolutely faintest alcohol after-taste is present. This beer hides its ABV well, I have a bigger case of the warm and fuzzies than I would expect after just one. Then again it is the middle of the day and I have an empty stomach.

I have to say I really look forward to trying this one again, and would absolutely LOVE to find it on tap somewhere. To be honest if I had one or two more laying around I'd probably have another. As this is both my first beer from both Dogfish Head and my first of the Brown Ale style I have to say it made a great impression. (1,527 characters)

Photo of silenius
3.72/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I had this at the Real Ale fest in Chicago.

This beer pours a translucent reddish brown with head that looks odd with large bubbles.

It smells like chocolate covered coffee beans with a hint of root beer in the way back.

The taste is very similar to the nose, except the root beer note is now front and center. I enjoyed this change of pace for the night, but I do not think this style is for me over the long haul. I could have more than one, but I might end up choosing an alternate beer for my next if given a choice. (529 characters)

Photo of TheJudge
3.06/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This brown ale poured a nice rich color, with a very thin head which did not last past the first sip or two. The first thing I noticed as I went to drink it was a sourish smell, something that you sometimes get with barleywines, and something that I wasn't ready for in a brown ale. Probably due to the relatively high alcohol content. This taste carried into the mouth as well. It didn't help it. Thinking that perhaps it was a bad bottle, I poured another. Although this one seemed slightly smoother, it was basically the same. If I see it on tap somewhere, I will have it again, just to be sure it wasn't me. But this is not beer that you can sit and have 5 or 6 of.

I thought that I would like this more. Maybe I just didn't get a good batch. (749 characters)

Photo of Bierguy5
3.82/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a medium to dark brown liquid with a beige foamy head. Try as I might, I could not even manage 1 finger of head. The small amount head that was present, disappeared rather quickly. There is very little lace on the sides of the glass. Ok, not impressive so far. Smells of toasted, almost a roasted malt. Taste is very nice, slightly buttery but a nice toasted malt flavor, with a dry subtle amount of hops. This is a good tasting brew. Mouthfeel was medium, which is nice. A bit higher in alcohol which is slightly noticable. I could drink several of these. Another solid brew from DFH. It can sometimes be hard to get excited about a brown ale, but this is one worth trying. (680 characters)

Photo of jahred
3.23/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Tried this at the Feb. Goose Island "Beer Academy."

Pours a dark brownish red color with a small-sized white head. There's an odd, bitter vinegary scent that I can't quite place. The taste initially is bitter, chalky and stout-like. I definitely couldn't find any sweetness in this beer. There's also a very slight hint of coffee and/or espresso flavors.

The alcohol makes its presence known right away, but otherwise there are no dominating or exciting flavors in this beer, which was kind of disappointing (I was expecting more from DFH). (546 characters)

Photo of BierReise
3.4/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Finally DFH is available in Florida! This one poured a deep mahogany brown with a fairly good size head that has some staying power. Aroma is a nutty malty one with a slight roastiness and a bit of yeast as well. Body is medium and very smooth. Flavor is lacking a bit. Some roasted malt but no sign of brown sugar detected. Alcohol is well masked. A tad too bitter also. Overall a fair brew yet not something I'd drink on a regular basis. (439 characters)

Photo of Rastacouere
3.33/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Here's a brown ale that doesn't particularly impress me. Appearance is medium with a sticky head that is thin as a film from the beginning, not quite what I look for in a beer of this type. Aroma is hops and chocolate. The taste is very malty, quite chocolate and toffee sweet, but plenty of balancing hop character keeps it off being cloying. 7.2% ABV is to be found nowhere. The medium body is pretty good and fitting as well. Still, I must say I'd have prefered a more intense aroma. I also found it less and less interesting after each sip, perhaps the balance is not so good after all. It remains stylish and original like any Dogfish, but it's definitely not one of their best. Thank you Egajdzis (702 characters)

Photo of UnionMade
4.23/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer is a deep, dark, nutty brown, topped with a thick bone white froth. Great head retention, keeping more or less steady through the entire 23oz mug, leaving a think film of belgian lace all the way through. Very impressive. Good clarity, with just a touch of a chill haze. Some bubbles meander their way up, slow and lazy-like.
The aroma is very odd. I'm not sure if I've smelled anything like this before. Perhaps Ipswich's Dark Ale comes close. Smoothly blended aromas, with moderate biscuit and chocolatey malt balanced by an impressively aggressive hopping. Earthy, with a slightly citric aroma. Some british varieties? A bit of apple and pear fruitiness wafts up, along with a vague brown ale nuttiness, adding to the complexity. Distinctly british feeling, with an american twist. Brown ale for hop heads?
The flavor starts with a pleasant chocolate malt, mildly roasty with some caramel sweetness. A hint of coffee flavor, with light floral and apple esters settling on the top of the tongue, adding a pleasant fruity sweetness. Bold hopping takes up the finish, slightly oily and grapefruity, with plenty of citric and herbal flavor. A bit of earthy hopping is accentuated by malty brown ale nuttiness. The chocolate malt flavor continues through, standing up against the hops to present some malt in the finish. Some grapefruity hops and a bit of roasty malt washes into the aftertaste. Impressively smooth, despite the strong hopping. Definitely easy drinking, with no alcohol presence that I could perceive. Medium bodied, with mellow carbonation and a pleasantly smooth mouthfeel.
I had no idea what I was getting into when I ordered this, and it certainly snuck up on me after 46 ounces. A mix of brown ale and IPA? Who'da thunk. (1,753 characters)

Photo of necoadam
4.05/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dogfish Heads' label for some reason feels like it's on resume paper. Hey, at least they tell you what's in it right? Well anyway, this beer poured out a deep brown color with a nice head that went away quickly. In a way, it almost looks like a light porter. Smell consists of hops at first and some bitter chocolate. Taste is really nice. Some hops hit you at first then some caramel and bitter chocolate finishes the brew. Even some roasted flavors filter in the aftertaste. Gotta becareful with this brew, 7.2% is to laugh at and could probably down a few of these, but it might get to you. A very solid brew from Dogfish Head. Go get a few of these. (653 characters)

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

This one's a tear-jerker. The 50 IBUs come off as more intense than they actually are and I don't know if that's because they are or because you wouldn't expect so much bitterness in a brown ale. The Liberty and Goldings contribute an aggressive but very clean bittering that goes well with the malt and added sugars.

This is a pale ale with dark malts added to it (instead of a hoppy dark beer) on the palette, a robust brown ale on the mouthfeel, and a clean British mild on the nose. Though quite complex, the alcohol shines through a little too loudly on this beer and lends a metallic note to the nose and palette. The flavors fail to develop into anything past the alcohols, but the rich cocoa, molasses, and British hops up front are gorgeous. Muted yeast on the finish.

Characteristically a brown ale and a pale at the same time, Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale leaves me with but one recurring thought in my head:

"Damn it feels good to be a gangsta . . ."

Relax, relax.
ng (994 characters)

Photo of Lupe
4.37/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Deep brown in color with a thin beige head that leaves some lacing. Roasted chocolate aroma with some floral hops. Creamy and smooth on the tounge with light carbonation. Flavor is of bittersweet chocolate, brown sugar, and rounds out with a sharp hop kick. Much better then the usual bland browns. Alcohol hides itself well but warms the belly a bit toward the end. A very different, and tasty brown ale. (405 characters)

Photo of GreatPondBrewer
3.63/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

$5 pitchers at MacGregor's. Poured a deep brown hue with garnet splashes towards the bottom. There were huge notes of bannana and clove which was a very odd surprise. The taste had more subdued notes of this with a more smokey, oaky notes and dry fruits and a more substantial espresso profile. The hops could be detected only in the good burp afterwards. The alcohol was easier to detect in the nose than in the taste. Except for the more complex profile of an ale yeast this beer reminded me of a decent doppelbock. Very odd, but it gets high drinkability ratings because it is so cheap. (589 characters)

Photo of GreenWBush
3.35/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle, $1.79. Singled out at #1 Big Red Liquors in Bloomington, Indiana.

This beer pours out a classic English brown-ale brown and has a small 1/8" dirty white head. There is a mildly hoppy nose here, but more than hops I am encountered by maple syrup, carmel, and roasted malts.

This beer tastes like a well-balanced brown ale taken up in scale about 25%. It isn't overwhelmingly hoppy or malty, but has an "averagely large" profile. I am amazed by the magically-hidden ABV. Still, it isn't anything impressinging coming from the shockers at Dogfish Head.

I also couldn't shake a strange garbage-water flavor somewhere in there. This beer also has a watery mouthfeel that left me bummed.

This one is decent but unspectacular. If you love brown ales, it is a must try. If you are a huge-beer fan, or love Dogfish Head's over-the-top nature, you'll probably like this one. But it ain't world-shaking. (919 characters)

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

A very pretty pour. The color is deep amber with a touch a red and a very thin light head. The malts are most noticeable in the aroma, but I can smell the hops lurking around back there. I swear they tossed in some coffee and chocolate for good measure. Let me taste. They did. This is like a light porter, with a touch of smoky nuts and some espresso. It takes a while for the hops to become evident; they are definately in the background. Very balanced mouthfeel. A good choice. (480 characters)

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. (356 characters)

Photo of dmarch
3.58/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark chestnut in appearance with a thin white lace. Aroma is of molassass and caramel. The taste is a bit chocolatey with the same caramel and molassass flavors. Hops are apparent, but very mild. Not a bad brown ale, but isn't as interesting as some of dogfish head's other beers. (280 characters)

Photo of Boilermaker88
3.97/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to frank4sail who sent this 12oz. bottle to me as part of our holiday beer exchange. Indian Brown Ale had a clear, dark chocolate brown color and a frothy ¾” beige head that quickly dwindled to a bubbly skim and left virtually no lace.
This brew has a hefty malt nose, with a touch of caramelized sugar, some aromatic hops and a hint of alcohol. It started with a big malt presence; lots of roasted malt. Backing the malts were flavors of dark fruit and brown sugar. As it hit the back of the tongue, a spicy hops bite rose up and a light alcohol taste coated the palate as the beer went down. The hops were nicely assertive and complemented the robust malt taste. The feel was medium-bodied, smooth and dry.
Indian Brown Ale certainly packs a strong and diverse flavor profile, each doing its part to blend well with the other. There’s no animosity between the malt and hops here, just a nice balance as I’ve come to expect from DFH. Worth a try if you can get it. (978 characters)

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

Appearance: Clear, but very deep brown body with mahogany highlights. Large, tan espresso milkshake head with generous lace.
Smell: Sweet and toasted malts, molasses, earthy and cocoa notes and a whiff of alcohol.
Taste: Sweet roasted malt and ripe stone fruits at the start, full and lightly carbonated at the top. Bitter hops, burnt spice, and a grain huskiness dries the finish. A brown on the sweeter side, not to mention a nice alcohol glow.
Mouthfeel: Full bodied (almost chewy for a brown), lightly carbonated and warming.
Drinkability: A nice brown with the characteristic DFH ABV kick. Could do a couple of these easily. (633 characters)

Photo of RoyalT
3.71/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance – Very dark in color with a beautiful reddish hue. The head was awesome as it foamed up nicely and dropped slowly down to “shallow pond” level. This big 7.2 ABV Brown Ale left a film on the inside of my glass, too.

Smell – This smells like a stout. The big coffee and chocolate aroma is laced with brown sugar, roasted malts, and a bit of caramel.

Taste – Again, the giant coffee and chocolate tastes dominate. There’s a nice hop balance in there as well.

Mouthfeel – Quite creamy and smooth for such a big ale. It’s on the fuller side of medium-bodied and hides the high ABV well.

Drinkability – I don’t know if I’d call it a Brown Ale, but this was good and went down nicely. (711 characters)

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