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Indian Brown Ale - Dogfish Head Brewery

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Indian Brown AleIndian Brown Ale

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5,437 Ratings

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Ratings: 5,437
Reviews: 1,938
rAvg: 4.1
pDev: 10.98%
Wants: 273
Gots: 723 | 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
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Ratings: 5,437 | Reviews: 1,938
Photo of TheHoppiest
4.45/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I've enjoyed this beer many times, and each time have said to myself, I have to review this beer, but I always end up enjoying it too much to type my thoughts out. So this time, I waited until I had BA open on the computer before cracking it open!

Pours a beautiful deep mahogany, with creamy tan head that slooowly reduces. Nice lacing on the sides as I swirl the beer around.

Has a roasted nutty malt smell with hints of vanilla and caramel. Very tasty smelling!

Has a complex roasted malt and hops taste. There are grassy undertones,coated with molasses and tanin tastes. Like many good beers, this one opens as it warms. I've paired it well with a medium-rare strip steak, and highly recommend this beer with spicy food as well.

The beer leaves a slight bitter aftertaste that slowly fades. Highly drinkable; I've got to work to ensure I don't drink this tasty brew too quickly.

My only regret is that this is my last of my six pack; guess I better go buy some more!

Photo of salvo
4.63/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I love this beer. Just love it. It's got everything: it looks like a serious complex brew, and it is. It makes me happy when I open up a bottle, and I get that anticipation feeling when I pour it into a glass.

A: Opaque brown with a little red shining in the wings, it pours with a thick clean tan head that does not dissipate quickly.
S: Warm, complex, chocolate, malty, and what's that? Ah, yes, the piney goodness of a heavily hopped APA or IPA but in a brown. Oh, where have you been hiding, you beautiful thing you?
T: Does not disappoint after the enticing smell: the taste is even more layered and complex than the promise of the pour.
M: Molasses-like thickness without being gloppy or too thick. It's substantial, and needs chewing to bring out all the layers of flavor.
D: A session-ender, methinks, and one of the few that can come after an APA, IPA, or Double IPA at a tasting. Pour it into a snifter for a change of pace.

Photo of mvanaskie13
4.42/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

picked while down the delaware shore...

Poured from the bottle a deep brown, just shy of black, with amber hues and tan head that sits well on top while clinging lightly to the glass.

Smell is mainly malt, tough to pick out the hops, with caramel, coffee, chocolate, oatmeal and bready combining to create a nice thick scent.

Taste is a great mix of malty sweetness on the front followed by a nice finish of hops. THe malt comes through as caramel and sweet, with hints of coffee and chocolate. The hops finish slightly bitter and piney, but play well with the malt flavors.

Mouthfeel is very well balanced, nice carbonation that helps flavors linger throughout the mouth.

Well, my wife and I thoroughly enjoy this beer and tend to have a few, very drinkable.

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

Aged 1.5 years, enjoyed while playing Metal Gear Solid 3. Poured into my wheat beer glass. I have a tulip/pint/pub glass but what the hell, I like the wheat beer glass.

Beautiful dark brown ale, tawny tan head, and lacing that sticks arounddd.

Smells roasty and floral. Hops are definitely there. Delicate chocolate and brown sugar notes.

There's an interesting hop bitterness that blends well with the bitterness of the roasted malt, over a relatively faint spicy sweetness. The first few times I had this beer, I tasted the brown sugar a lot more, but I think over time the molasses flavor mellows out. Still exceptional, just a bit dryer than I remember.

Mouthfeel? Er, it doesn't feel like I'm drinking seltzer water, but the carbonation is there? To me it almost feels like cold root beer.

Drinkability: BE careful, two of these is like having 3 or so 'regular' beers (regular, to me, being between 4.5 and 5 abv).

Notes: Get some, it's a great beer.

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

Poured from a bottle into a DFH pint glass

A: Pours a dark brown, almost black, with a thick two finger head that dissipates very slowly. Some really nice lacing down the glass that doesn't go anywhere.

S: An great smell of toasted malt as well as and chocolate and coffee. There is a hint of molasses and some dark fruits, possibly black cherry.

T: The hops play a bigger role on the taste than in the aroma. The toasted aroma comes through nicely on the taste. In some ways tastes more like a stout/porter than a brown. It is creamy upfront with the chocolate and then transitions into a more bitter finish with notes of roasted malt. You can taste a little bit of the alcohol on the back end, but not really in a bad way.

M/D: Medium to full bodied, very creamy. Leaves a nice aftertaste on the tongue. This beer is very good and extremely well balanced. Has a higher ABV than the taste would indicate, if I am not in the mood for an IPA, its what I order when at the DFH brewpub.

Photo of jt31914
4.23/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark brown with a mocha-colored head; very creamy and frothy looking beer.

S: Nice dark malt and chocolate smell. Very strong for a brown ale.

T: Tastes great! Like a stout; very nice chocolate and coffee taste melded by dark malt and flavor. Very full, creamy, and rich.

M/D: Drinkable at 7% and very smooth feel.

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

A- Poured into a pint glass and got about a quarter inch of head, looks like a pretty promising beer. Left a light lacing that started about halfway through drinking.

S- Got the smell of a Scottish ale all the way, didn't get much hop aroma which i was disappointed by.

T- Favor more towards the brown ale side than the india side. But still very enjoyable with a nice malty taste. Reminds me a bit of Sam Adams Scot Ale but much better.

M- Had a medium mouthfeel with a bit of carbonation.

D- Overall I would give this beer a B+ and would recommend it to people who enjoy and good dark beer with a little twist.

Photo of biggietattoos
4.63/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Dogfish Heads Indian Brown Ale is by far probably my favorite year round brew they make. I always look forward to anything DFH puts out because 9/10 times I know I'm in for a treat and 10/10 times I'm in for a unique experience.

This is a very aesthetically pleasing beer, it pours a dark amber brown with a medium caramel toned head and some nice lacing.

the aroma provides earthy, woody, nutty, coffee type notes and ever so slight hoppyness kinda hides itself in there. there may even be a little rootbeer scent in there

The taste is very complex and wonderful. The nutty coffee bean aromas come to the forefront of this beer and make it extremely smooth and aromatic all the way down. at 7.2% there is no burn at all from booze and it definitely leaves a roasted coffee taste in your mouth after the fact.

the mouthfeel is a nice smooth light-mid level carbonated feel. not much tingle and its thick and heavy enough comparable to a porter, but not syrupy like a heavy stout.

The drinkability is great. I seem to find myself continually coming back to this beer time after time. Definitely one of DFH's best

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

A: Nice brown color with a faint hint of amber. Decent tan head that stuck around and left some good lacing.

S: Awesome smell. Very appetizing. Nice sweet aroma comes across with strong smells of caramel and nuts. The background has hints of malts and maybe some chocolate.

T: Really nice taste. Sweet caramel comes across at the beginning with the hops taking over at the end. The two still seem to fight it out in the aftertaste as well. Very nice balance of flavors and overall very tasty.

M: Relatively thin beer but I wasn't expecting too much chew to it.

D: Very drinkable. The great flavors make this beer extremely drinkable.

Overall: Overall I thought the beer was excellent. The flavors were well balanced and very tasty. I'd highly recommend this beer to any brown ale drinker and there are enough hops to satisfy some of the hop heads out there too.

Photo of larryi86
4.42/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle date 11/11/09 poured into a snifter

A- Brown, almost black, with a two finger tan head.

S- Roasted coffee and malts, with hints of brown sugar.

T- Start very close to the smell with a little more sweetness. The is surprisingly hop and bitter. Very enjoyable.

M- Smooth and creamy

D- Goes down easy for 7.2% ABV, and leaves you ready for more. The first time I had it I went through 4 in one night then bought a case the next time I was because I enjoyed it so much.

Photo of belgiumbud
2.7/5  rDev -34.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

I purchased this particular brew at a beer store in Bend, OR. in the bottle. After getting it to my place of consumption I allowed it to stay out at room temperature for about an hour. Then upon pouring my first bottle into a room temperature pint glass I was greeted with citrusy-floral nodes, a pleasant tobacco fragrance and considerable alcohol scents. As I collected my thoughts, I soaked in the color and noticed the head disappeared so quickly that I did not have time to mentally record what I saw. The color of the beer was medium-dark chocolate to dark brown. My interest was peaking, so I took the first sip. First thing I noticed was that the warm alcohol mouth feel defenitly overshadowed any flavor complexities that might exist. As the beer settles longer on the palate I noticed subtle caramel and roasted espresso bean, while the dry hop finish rounds everything out. While I do appreciate a beer that finishes dry, I also appreciate a beer that allows my senses to appreciate all the complexities the brew has to offer. I was not given that opportunity here. Being that I purchased a six-pack I looked forward to trying another one to see if I was wrong in my first assessment. I was not. I did find, as with many beers, that when I allowed the brew warm up, my palate were able to pick up on some small complexties. The hop character was appealing. Flavor profile was masked by the alcohol mouth-feel and over-carbonation. I am still looking forward to finding this brew available cask-conditioned.

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

Poured from a 12 once bottle into a becker.

Pours a deep, murky brown with a modest cream colored head that recedes slowly and laces decently.

Aroma is of caramel malts and deep roast. Slightly sour aroma o yeast like a flanders or traditional porter. Coffee, nutty and malty, taking each sniff makes my mouth water.

Flavor is dark roasted malt, nutty and roasty. Burnt meat and slightly smokey flavors come out. Sourness comes in the middle with a punch of sweetness. Maltiness overpowers at the finish and there is a slight bitterness there which takes more like from the roast than any hops.

Mouthfeel is creamy full and lush with soft carbonation. Slightly slick with a little stick left on the left.

Very tasty brew, I enjoyed it very much.

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

A: Nice dark brown, with red hues poking through, and a light brown head. Looks delicious.

S: Nice and malty, but quite a bit of hops present. Both a sweet and bitter smell.

T: Has a smoky characteristic off the bat combined with chocolate and a little coffee. There are some major notes of hops as well, which is gladly welcomed.

M: Quite smooth, easy to put down. Pretty High ABV, but not boozy.

D: You can fly through a six pack of this.

Photo of steve8robin
3.68/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bought a random 6 pack. Excited to try this one...

A: Super brown purple look. Good.

S: Super sweet brown malt with a slight booziness. Kind of 1 dimensional. Decent.

T: Kind of a metallic hop flavor. Eh, ok.

M: Good. Very good balance of carbonation.

D: Goes down decent. Good.

All in all, this is a decent brew, not super special, but good. Not worth hunting, but good.

Photo of Manoftyr
3.99/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12oz bottle into pint glass

Appearence-Pours a rich brown, not much head rises and little lacing is left.

Aroma-Dark, rich malt followed by an IPA hop bite; smells of spicy caramel.

Taste-Coffee and slight caramel flavors mingle with a hop bitterness giving it an overall smokey kind of flavor in how it mingles. The hops peak up through the malts to really make their presence known but don't overwhelm the palette, it's a nice mingly balance.

Mouthfeel-Full, thick and a tad smokey; I can see why Dogfish Head said this was part scotch-ale in its description.

Drinkability-A six pack of this is easy enough to go through; I'd say this is about average in drinkability, maybe a bit more.

Notes-I'm a big fan of Dogfish Head and this is one of my favorie beers by them; it's a nice blend of various styles and gives a unique flavor. I like this beer, I recommend it.

Photo of chickenflea
4.35/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

12-oz bottle.

A: The ale is a dark mahogany color, so deep red that appears black from afar. A very tall rocky and persistent tan head. Excellent lacing.

S: Highly aromatic. The nose is malty, thick with a smoky undertone that drips with peat and alcohol-soaked cherries. Caramel malts add further heft to the body.

T: A balanced smoky brown beer. Darker malts, toasted with chocolate, coffee and caramel, lead the way. They are followed almost immediately with a palpable smoky flavor. The result is thick and almost coarse brew. Hop flavor manages to peak through the malts and smoke but just barely. A very enjoyable drink.

M: The mouthfeel is full, smoky and thick, but not so heavy that it is burdensome. I was edxpecting a run of the mill brown ale but, knowing DFH, I should have known otherwise. Finish is fairly dry.

D: They label is a brown ale, but it sure tastes like a scotch ale. The finish is not heavy so you go right back for another drink. Excellent balance overall.

Photo of elgiacomo
4.04/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottled May 14, 2010, just ten days old, nice.

Pours dark brown with ruby highlights, small beige head that reduces quickly and doesn't leave much lacing.

Aroma is strong coffee and almost burnt toast, along with molasses, brown sugar, chocolate, malty, some pine and floral hops, a bit yeasty and a bit funky.

Flavor is roasted & toasted malts, brown sugar, molasses, coffee bitterness, a little chocolate, some citrus, pine and floral hops.

Medium body, medium carbonation, tad sticky toward the end.

This is definitely the strongest aroma I've encountered with a Brown Ale, quite unique and a tasty brew overall.

Photo of johnwarne
4.1/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A beer haiku for you:

"American Brown--
Ode to our Dogfish brewers,
Here is the standard".

Friends, I am not sure what else compelling might come out of Delaware, but I can assure you that Dogfish is right at the top of the heap when it comes to American brewers of renown. Yet another style leader coming out of their stable of high quality beers.


Photo of JMad
4.08/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass form a 12oz bottle.

1. This beer has a nice coffe bean color that left a tan 1 finger head. The head disappeared after a couple sips but still left loose lacing on the glass as it went down.

2. Smells like coffe, cocoa, and roasted barley. Very appealing smell.

3. Taste pretty much like it smells. A little coffee a little chocolate from the malt, a little roasted flavor and a small bit off hops at the end.

4. Mouthfeel is a little thick, not bad though. Finishes dry. A little bitterness, but that is welcomed.

5. Very drinkable, it's a little thick but has a great taste, not too sweet or malty. Could have more hoppiness, but still a winner.

I really like this beer. Nicely balanced. I would drink this over and over again.

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

A: Pours dark brown, almost black. Light mocha head.

S: Earthy hops, burnt caramel, roasted malt, some smoke

T/D: This is where Indian Brown shines, its unique and just plain enjoyable. Dark roasted malt and a little dark fruit, coupled with the bitter, earthy hops from the nose. Chocolate and a touch of coffee are notable. ABV is only apparent in the form of a pleasant warming. Tons of flavor yet refreshing and quaffable, well crafted. Love it!

M: Thick and full, just big enough to add character but not affect drinkability.

This is one of my favorite beers overall. It gives you so much more than you expect from it. Cheers to DFH for making a full flavored beverage that is balanced and refreshing enough to chug.

Photo of scottyb88
3.97/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled 1/22/10
A-pours a really dark brown almost black color with one finger light tan head

S-brown sugar, caramel, a little semi-sweet chocolate, hint of wood smokiness at the end

T-dark chocolate but not overly bitter; brown sugar and vanilla; the end has a nice bitter dryness from the hops while the first part starts out semi-sweet

M-just the right amount of carbonation and medium thickness; dry but not bitter finish on the sides of your mouth

D-year round offering in 6-packs; a great go-to brown ale or brown ale-blend style that has a nice balance and not overly high in alcohol percentage

Photo of jhammel01
4.75/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours almost pitch black with almost no light making its way through at all with an offwhite, caramel colored head. Nice and fluffy....Stays around for a bit and laces all the way down. What a fresh looking beer!

The beer smells of roasted malt barley with a bit of alcohol. I pick up on a bit of caramel and maybe honey as well.

Tangy crisp hops push through in the taste along with more tastes from the smell...Honey, Caramel, roasted malt...The malty sweetness is the back bone of this one. Beer tastes a little sugary too. A bit of coffee as well. Very, very nice

Very well carbonated on the medium bodied side of things.

Awesome beer

Photo of woosterbill
4.01/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Smokin' with Chris, into a shaker pint.

A: Deep, clear ruby-brown body with two fingers of cream light brown head. Good retention and sticky lace. Awesome looking brown.

S: Bitter citrus hops up front with plenty of deep caramel and lightly roasty malts. Nice, but muted in the shaker.

T: Hoppy at first with the malts coming on heavily afterward. Sweet, roasty finish. Tasty.

M; Fairly light body with moderate, prickly carbonation.

D: Quite good for the ABV. Nice mix of flavor and smoothness.

Notes: I enjoy hops, I enjoy brown ales, and I enjoy the result of slamming them together. This beer is unquestionably one of the best combinations of flavor, strength, and value on the market today. Good show DFH.


Photo of Soldier000
4.15/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Awesome simply, my first time really awesome, very impress I'm fall in love whit the flavor, the taste,just a beginner very impress.
"I was wrong and so happy to be so! The malt and the hops are well-balanced. An earthiness comes through and there is some caramel tones (probably from the brown sugar they use in brewing). The malt and sugars make this beer a little sweet but the hops cut through it with nice fruity tones and a slight heat ties it all together."

Photo of BeerNinja007
4.06/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle, poured cold into a standard pint glass.

Big creamy tan head on top of a dark brown brew, leaves some decent lacing. Smell of roasted malt, brown sugar, touch of hops. Taste much the same, a little smoky. Mouthfeel is thick and creamy, not at all thin and astringent like the vast majority of brown ales I've had. Long finish of roasted malt and generic hops. Best brown ale I've ever had.

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Indian Brown Ale from Dogfish Head Brewery
92 out of 100 based on 5,437 ratings.