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Indian Brown Ale - Dogfish Head Brewery

Not Rated.
Indian Brown AleIndian Brown Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
92
outstanding

5,326 Ratings
THE BROS
95
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,326
Reviews: 1,917
rAvg: 4.1
pDev: 10.98%
Wants: 259
Gots: 628 | 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: 5,326 | Reviews: 1,917 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Frosty80
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Color: pours brown. sits very dark brown with ruby highlights, almost opaque. very thick, creamy head with good retention

Smell: malty, sweet with mellow roast, chocolate and caramel. the mild hops provide excellent balance and offers an herbal and ever so slight citrus notes. nothing stands out too much

Taste: mellow chocolate and roast throughout. caramelized brown sugar peaks through midway. mild hops provide herbal and citrus hints and provide great balance and bitterness throughout. finishes slightly dry and bitter with balance of malt and hops

Mouthfeel: smooth, low-full body with moderate carbonation

Notes: top-notch brown ale. more robust than some so it pushes being porter-like and the abv certainly expels it from ever being a "true" brown and thrown in the specialty category but anyway... one hell of a delicious brown!

Photo of Hornet2003
3.93/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark ruby, almost opaque(I think). Creamy stout-like head.

Smell: Roasty, smokiness as well as some English hoppiness. Burnt caramel aromas as well.

Taste: Quite a smoky beer. Lots of stout-ie flavours. Chocolate, charcoal, and a little coffee. Underneath is a nice hoppiness. complex.

Mouthfeel: Creamy like a nice dry Irish stout. Bitterness doesn't linger-more of a roasty aftertaste.

Drinkability: Surprisingly high. It's a very smooth beer but I could see drinking a couple in a row and being happy. Alcohol is a little high though for a brown ale.

Overall: I'm actually impressed. I'm not the biggest fan of DFH beers but this one is interesting. complex, yet smooth. Nice stuff.

Photo of advill88
4.32/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Color is dark brown with a creamy white half inch head.

Smell is very fruity and piney, kind of like an IPA with an extra boost of fruitiness.

Taste is, again, very reminiscent of a fruity and piney IPA, but just when you think the hops are gonna slam into the finish, some malt kicks in and levels it out. Definitely like a brown ale/IPA hybrid. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with light to moderate carbonation.

This is a fantastic beer; it's almost like an IPA on training wheels...great for the hop uninitiated, but it also has something for the hop heads.

Photo of MikeBrandman
4.13/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Extremely dark brown (as in almost black) on the table, deep ruby red in the light. Nice creamy colored head that goes from 2 fingers of head to a thin hat over the top.

S - Nice sweet smell. Roasted coffee and burnt sugar. Smells like a stout...

T - ...and kinda tastes like one too! In addition to the coffee, sugar, and caramel tastes, there's a little honey-like taste to this too. However, this is not a sweet beer. Definitely on the bitter side, but the sweet tastes compliment the hops and make for an overall well balanced experience. The flavor definitely keeps me coming back.

MF - Nice heavy mouthfeel. Goes very well with the deep rich flavor. Rather creamy and substantial. Not too heavy though.

D - The taste keeps me sipping this more. The complexity of the flavor really helps. Can't imagine having more than 2 or 3 in a night though.

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

Pours deep brown/dark amber with nice brown/tan head. Aroma comprised of roasted malt and brown sugar; not as hoppy of an aroma as I was expecting, but present. Great roast taste, but overpowers the hoppiness a little. Nonetheless, very good. A strong showing.

Photo of biophiliadude
4.54/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle to SN pint

A: Dark brown, inch light tan head, patchy lacing throughout

S: waffle crisp cereal mixed with cinnamon toast crunch!

T: Malt, followed by caramel and ending with more malty goodness. Ghosts of bread, cinnamon, and brown sugar highlight the simple, direct flavor with subtle a complexity.

M: Smooth like a creamy coffee.

D: All night. So simple and direct. The malt is delicious, like Sunday brunch in a glass. Highly recommended for fans of American and English Browns that aren't having their flavor standards met. DFH strikes again!

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

A: Poured a very dark brown, almost black brew with a big, light brown head that lingered for quite some time. As it was drank it left a nice thick lacing throughout the entire glass. It was a very good looking beer that is close to poster perfect!

S: It was slightly complex. Aroma of slight roasted malt, bitter hops, and a chocolate / coffee tone. Smells very good and thick!

T: Chocolate and coffee are obvious throughout. Has a light bitter bite that finishes very smooth. It could almost pass as a porter. Overall taste was excellent.

M: Full-bodied brew with a smooth. It also has a perfect level of carbonation, yet light.

D: I'm going to say this is a fairly good session beer. Solid for about three and then you might feel filled.

Another well balanced Dogfish Head beer that should earn TOP honors. I will definitely be buying and enjoying this beer again. Strongly recommend it.

Photo of beergod1
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dark brown/black pour with a nice tan head. Smell is hops, some roasty malt, and coffee smell, along with some smokiness as well as it warms up. Taste is very rich, full bodied and flavorful, but still carbonated well and not too heavy or creamy. The 7.2% alcohol is hidden well and its very drinkable. Some definite bitter/burnt tastes noticeable, but overall it is very unique and well done. Like most of their beers, different and tasty.There is several types of beer in 1 bottle.

Photo of Mavajo
4.14/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a total black with a thin brown head. Fades very quickly leaving a spotty cloudy film - easily restored with a little swirling. No lacing.

Nose is an assault of cocoa and chocolate. Taste also brings the cocoa and chocolate along with dark roasted malts. Mouthfeel is medium with fairly generous carbonation. Moderately drinkable. Drinks a lot like a stout, but not quite as heavy.

Photo of berley31
4.28/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured with an average-to-large sized, light brown head that slowly diminished to 1/4-finger. Body is jet-black at first glance, and therefore opaque, until I hold it up to the light... you can then see some brown hints near the top. Fair lacing left on the sides of the glass.

S: Complex aroma of slight roasted malt, bitter hops, and chocolate... lots and lots of chocolate.

T: And the chocolate is what comes through first in the taste... bitter chocolate, which leads way to the lightly bitter finish from the hops. Very interesting and enjoyable... reminds me more of a stout in many ways than your typical brown ales. I can't detect the 7%+ alcohol at all.

M: Full-bodied with a nice, creamy texture, and average carbonation bordering on the soft side.

D: This is a damn fine brew... kind of a combination of a brown ale, stout, and an IPA as well. A fantastic sipping beer.

Photo of Docer
3.91/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Finally! I get to try this... grabbed 1 12oz. bottle at The Beer Mongers here in PDX..

- Very dark stout looking brown... little head, but nice spotting and lace... bubbly as if it had been barrel aged. Root beer....

- Robust maple... sweet caramel malts... toasted oats... and a bright bitter hop flare.. little bit of zest, spice, and fig... pancakes!

- Nice smooth sweet maple pancakes, brown sugar, sweet caramel malt... rum, vanilla.... and bitter pine hop. Not too bad at all! Candy like... freshly roasted and burnt sugar.

- Little sticky... overall not too dry, but dry....

- A rather impressive sweet brown ale.... nicely strong, and not one I am willing to session... but I am glad I tried it. This would be a great 6-pack to have in the fridge for guests and the occasional sweet brew!

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

Poured from a bottle into a Goose Island becker pint glass.

Appearance is dark brown with red hues throughout the murky body. Head is off whiteish brown with tiny bubbles and creamy.

Smells like a scotch ale. Rich, dark caramel malts dominate. Hmm, maybe this is too cold. I was expecting more hops in the smell.

On first sip I can feel the hops in my mouth, there they are! The hops dominate the mouth presence of the beer but are not overt. It's a balanced taste. After swallowing, you get the aftertaste of caramel malts and sugars one would associate with this style.

Mouthfeel is pretty freakin' good. Creamy with moderate carbonation. True to the style one might say, but since this is a cross over or hybrid beer style I would say that it works well for a hopped up brown ale.

Drinkability is rather high. This isn't my favorite kind of beer (brown ale) so I couldn't see myself downing two pitchers of this but it is enjoyable.

Photo of aggiearcher13
4.35/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark brown, nearly black with about a quarter inch of tan head. Leaves very nice lacing.

S: Chocolate and coffee. Hops stand out pretty well with this one. I would have to guess Goldings for the hops. Very nice aroma.

T: Very rich. Dark malts, roast, chocolate, spice. Hops shine through quite nicely. A lot of coffee on the back end, finishes sweet.

M: Great body to it, wonderful mouthfeel. Carbonation is good, but it would be interesting to scale it back a little on this one.

D: Extremely tasty, might wear on the palate though if you were to try and session it.

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

One of Dogfish Head's year-round offerings. Surprisingly, one of their more traditional offerings as well. Here is my review:

A: Pours a dark brown, almost black color. Almost a dark ruby red when held up to the light. Head is rather limited and lacing is very minimal.

S/T: The aroma is very sweet and roasty. Maybe some coffee and dark fruit in there as well. Taste is quite complex and satisfying. I get brown sugar, raisin, and coffee upfront. Those flavors lead way to a nice roasted malt finish. A little bit on the sweet side overall. Besides 90 Minute, this is the best year-rounder from Dogfish Head, and easily one of the best Brown Ales.

M/D: Mouthfeel is medium bodied. Good carbonation. Somewhat creamy. Drinks rather easily. The sweetness is the main deterrent.

This is quite a pleasant surprise. Considering how flavorful and complex this beer is, this might make it into the beer fridge more often. Not big into Brown Ales, this has just about everything I want from the style. If you are a fan of Dogfish Head, chances are you had this one before. If not, give this one a try. Its superior than the majority of their lineup, even though this is a little more mainstream compared to their 'specialty ales' the often brew.

Photo of therica
3.53/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A= near-black with a very small brown head that fades quickly, some lacing.

S= liquor, bitter chocolate, florals. I was put off by the strong liquor smell despite the otherwise bold and inviting traits.

T= burnt bitter dark Swiss chocolate, molasses, hops, liquor. The annoying liquor taste seems to subside and the beer seems to take on more enjoyable traits as it sits for a few minutes, but it's still too much for my appeal.

M= bitter chocolate residue, slight sweetness.

D= for me, not much appeal but maybe in a different taste-mood I'd like it more. Too bitter chocolate and too much liquor.

Photo of scuppers
2.34/5  rDev -42.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Served from my heavy souvenir Oldenberg mug.

Appearance: very dark brown, tan head with some lacing.

Smell: I can smell some restrained hops, but mostly malt and dark flavoring grains. Hints of brown sugar, maple syrup or engine coolant. After the pour, I can detect a little alcohol in the nose. The smell reminds me of a less-forward version of Russian imperial stout or a winter warmer without spices.

Taste: Overwhelming with the malt and dark grains. I should state that I'm not a big fan of brown ales or fruity esters, residual sweetness, or restrained English hops. This one's not hoppy or clean enough for me. As another reviewer mentioned, it reminds me of soy sauce (maybe Chinese food would be a good pairing?) I drank a couple of these very cold yesterday, and today I drank one a little warmer and not as bad as I remember; but for the same price as 6 of these, I could buy 12 pretty reasonable beers. It's not a drainpour, but it's not far off for me. Too much flavoring grains and sweetness (and not enough American hop forwardness) for my taste. It reminds me an awful lot of a sweet stout that I brewed last month. I think they worked hard to get the bittering hops dialed in, and that shows, but for me there is a lack of clean hop flavor or aroma.

Mouthfeel: smooth at first, but as the bubbles come it leaves this dry feeling that's hot and kind of unpleasant. I would say this is the opposite of refreshing unless you've been out in the snow.

Drinkability: it's the opposite of a session beer. It might be an OK dessert beer if you're drinking only one.

Photo of deltatauhobbit
3/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a brown color (duh), not much head and no lacing left along the glass.

Smell is mostly malty but has a weird soy sauce aroma (can't imagine that's intentional), kinda reminds me of Triple Bock but not in a good way.

Taste is lightly carbonated, mostly malty, slightly salty like soy sauce, not really digging it.

Sorry DFH, guess I should stick to your 750ml bottles.

Photo of Onenote81
3.89/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottled on 09/09/09. Poured into my pint glass.

Pours a ruby-tinted deep brown with a thin tan head on top. Little retention. Leaves some spotty lace on the glass. Scents of toffee, toasted bread, almonds, and light alcohol waft out. This smells very inviting.

The mouth is a tad thin. I've had this a few times and have noticed this same characteristic. Could stand a bit more carbonation zip. Sweet flavors of toffee, caramel, toasted nuts, and brown sugar are present. There's a slight alcohol burn on the finish that is slightly annoying, but it dissipates quickly. Not sure I would call this an Indian brown as there is little-to-no hop presence. Just an all-around good sweet brown.

Photo of Morey
4.13/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This brew pours a deep dark mahogany brown color with a nice tan colored head that seems to be sticking around for a while.

The aroma is somewhat mild, but there's suggestions of chocolate, sticky hops, and roasted grains.

The taste is very flavorful for a brown ale. Molasses, caramel, and chocolate flavors blend well with the hop character.

Medium mouthfeel. Carbonation is right on target...not too much, not too little.

I could drink a couple of these, but it's nothing that I'd sit around and drink all night.

Morey's Bottom Line: I like this beer much more than I used to. I had this years ago when I first started drinking beer, and it was a bit too much for me. However, I've come along way since then, and this is one of the better Brown Ales that I've tried.

Photo of WCBCFrank
4.4/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I consider Dogfish's Indian Brown Ale as a perfect dessert beer. Rich notes of chocolate and roasted barley and caramel....there are even some notes of coffe and brown sugar. Deliicious and hearty with each sip. A true delight. The only beer that can compare to this is Old Chub, but this is a "heartier" brew.

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

On tap at my local wing and beer joint.

The pour is quite spectacular, a dark brown with reddish brown highlights and a long lasting (longer than the beer) dense tan head. Gorgeous lacework too, this is one of the better looking beers I've had of late.
The nose is excellent too. Once it warms up, there's an excellent combination of pine hop bitterness, chocolate, coffee and a delicious toffee character. Mild burnt caramel character is present as well. The mild sweetness complements the roast, the toffee and the pine character quite beautifully. The flavors are equally good, if not better. Opening with a mild pine bitterness that's quickly overtaken by a melange of malt flavors with brown sugar, coffee, chocolate and some roast. Pine character is perceived on the back as well. Again, the balance is exceptional. Medium bodied with a soft, smooth carbonation and a long lasting complex finish with a blend of burnt caramel, pine and mild sweetness, this is definitely my favorite regularly released DFH brew. Two pints later, I could have gone back for more.

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

Pours very dark mahogany, ruby tints. Modest off-white head, good lacing. Aroma is pleasant-- lots of sweet malt, bit of maple syrup and a touch of alcohol.

Flavor is excellent. This is one of the best, most well-balanced beers DFH makes. Initial medium sweetness and brown sugar flavor gives way to a dark maltiness, and solid bitterness to the tune of 50 IBU. Touch of medium roast coffee. Mildly citric hops. Medium-heavy mouthfeel; syrupy and creamy. A nice kick at 7.2 percent, but not too detectable. Really easy to drink for such a malty and strong brown ale.

Like Palo Santo Marron, the Indian Brown is a strong, unorthodox Brown ale. DFH fills that niche of near-porter/stout hoppy dark ales pretty damn well. Great stuff here.

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

This was a real good lookin brew. It was deep brown, red around the glowing edges, a biblical foamy head that didn't feel like sinking too badly.

Nose was roasted coffee, a bit bitter with the right amount of slightly sweet dark chocolate and brown sugar. The brown sugar became more and more dominant as the beer warmed.

Yea, this one tasted pretty damn good as well. Real smooth buttery dark sugars, chocolate and coffee. The warmth of alcohol sneaks itself in. Slight hop profile slipped through the dark malt barricade to finish it off.

Feel was very smooth, carbonation just right. Finish was roasty and dry egging for another sip....or chug. This is an excellent beer.

Photo of Beejay
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Nice brownish red. Beautiful color, with nice tan head.

S: Hoppy, but with a very sweet malt scent as well. Like a scotch ale with extra hops. A molasses or brown sugar scent coming though.

T: Malty and sweet, with enough hops to add in a kick. Ends with a nice roasty flavor. Quite a delicious beer.

M: Medium bodied, slightly sticky, but appropriate carbonation. Smooth, and creamy finish.

D: Very nice. Rich, but with just enough hops to balance it out. Very nice, something I will look for again. Well balanced, and a great creamy mouth feel. (Plus I just made some kick ass Beer cheese soup with a few bottles!)

Photo of mckajd03
3.78/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark molasses and fruits on the nose. The mouthfeel is a tad heavy, but not in a bad way. It is a lot darker than I expected, and spicier too. The dark fruits (rasins, dates) are there, but also this interesting spice kick. Bitter finish. The "cross between scotch, IPA and brown ales" is dead on. Quite different (as expected from DH). Superior quality, but I'm not sure if I like it enough to get it again. Definitely worth the first purchase though.

Indian Brown Ale from Dogfish Head Brewery
92 out of 100 based on 5,326 ratings.