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Indian Brown Ale - Dogfish Head Brewery

Not Rated.
Indian Brown AleIndian Brown Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

4,851 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,851
Reviews: 1,868
rAvg: 4.1
pDev: 11.22%
Wants: 213
Gots: 406 | 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:
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 added by: BeerAdvocate on 08-07-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,851 | Reviews: 1,868 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Lothore


3.58/5  rDev -12.7%

A- Pours a reddish brown hue with a 1.5 finger light brown head which fades fairly quickly leaving little to no lacing.

S- Smell is faint but coffee is distinct as well as roasted barley, perhaps a bit of chocolate.

T- Taste is much hoppier than expected. Starts off with piney hops and ends with bitterness but also a deep roasted flavor.

M- A bit thick and sticky with quite a bit of carbonation.

D- Decent tasting but for a brown it’s definitely extremely hop forward and that coupled with the thickness lowers the drinkability in my book.

11-29-2007 01:58:01 | More by Lothore
Photo of Beerbuddha


3.53/5  rDev -13.9%

This beer poured a nice brown color with ruby highlights and a fluffy off white head. The smell was very sweet with hints of hop. The taste was also of malty sweetness with an iron taste to it. The mouthfeel was heavy with low carbonation. Overall drinkability was ok. The iron taste I'm not too fond of.

11-22-2007 18:49:26 | More by Beerbuddha
Photo of Metalmonk

North Carolina

4.3/5  rDev +4.9%

Pours a thick tan head that lasts a long while. Color is a beautiful, glistening, ruby-hued deep brown. Plenty of lace left on the sides of the glass...one very good-looking beer.

Aroma brings up toffee, brown sugar, coffee grounds and sweet baking chocolate. As with most browns, it's too faint to wildly shake the nostrils. Just...kinda...decent.

Flavors are rich and round, animating what the nose picks up, also offering big dark fruits for even more flavor. As it warms, a light anise and burnt grain nuttiness arrive, sitting in the back but politely raising their hands for attention. Letting it warm a little also reveals a flare of alcohol warmth. Juicy hold in the mouth and a clean finish with more sweet baking chocolate coming through.

This comes real close to a porter in feel and flavor...whatever you call it, it's really good, superbly balanced on all fronts. If I'm going to go with a brown ale, I'd probably make it this one over the multitudes of ho-hum browns out there. Best American Brown Ever? Could Be.

11-21-2007 23:34:52 | More by Metalmonk
Photo of rallison


4.1/5  rDev 0%

A well hopped brown ale? Sounds interesting..

Pour is a dark brown with a 2 finger light tan head that recedes to a nice lacing.

Smells of molasses and caramel with some roasted notes.

Taste is altogether good for a brown ale. While often a very boring style in the US, this helps provide some substance to the style. Molasses and some breadiness in the flavor with a nice dose of hops after the initial sweetness. Roasted qualities. The flavors don't linger that long. I'm liking the use of hops here.

Mouthfeel has medium to full carbonation, ending pretty cleanly. Drinkability is good on this - despite being an over 7% brown.

Recommended. Nice to see some attention to a style that is often overlooked. Not the best beer around, but a good one overall.

11-19-2007 05:17:48 | More by rallison
Photo of ksbrainard


4.2/5  rDev +2.4%

Appearance: Deep ruby red and caramel brown. It is clear as can be. The head is very thin, and exists only at the sides of the glass as the glass empties.

Smell: Immediately chocolate and caramel aromas hit me. Then my nose is flooded and I can't smell anything. As it warms, a more direct dark roasted malted grain smell is in there, like a bag of crushed specialty grains. I can't smell any hops.

Taste: The first impression is an assault of hops, alcohol, and dark malt. There are dark fruit-like flavors in there, but it is not overdone. I suspect a relatively restrained fermentation temperature, which is to its advantage. There is a nice balance of roast, fruit, alcohol, and hops. Even though this is not a Belgian, it is Belgian-esque in its sublime balance in all directions coupled with deep complexity. And it just gets more full and delicious as it warms up throughout the glass. The alcohol edge even softens as it warms. A bit of a smoked quality even emerges in the middle of the glass.

Mouthfeel: Full and rich all around, but not too sticky. It ends bitter from hops and alcohol, which dries it out a little, but not too much. Again, as it warms it gets softer, fuller, and more satisfying.

Drinkability: This is very enjoyable, but not a session beer. I can see pairing this with a big hearty beef stew, or maybe a spicy rack of ribs.

11-17-2007 22:34:41 | More by ksbrainard
Photo of jsimon816


4.13/5  rDev +0.7%

Bottled on date 9/11/07. 2 months, 6 days at review.

A - deep brown with nice head that slowly dissipated

S - sweet caramel with strong malt character

T - rich and pleasant with a sweet roasted aftertaste

M - like most brown ales's, little to no carbonation

D - great beer to kickoff those crisp fall days. Alcohol content of 7.2% will definetly do the trick.

11-17-2007 22:25:50 | More by jsimon816
Photo of DIM


4.1/5  rDev 0%

This bottle was a year and a half old.

a: This appears black unless held up to the light to reveal dark brown/ruby highlights. Pours witha half inch light tan head.

s: Malty dark chocolate dominates. Some hops are still noticeable, along with a hint of alcohol.

t: At a year and a half this beer drinks more like a stout. Very dry dark chocolate is dominant. The hops are almost completely gone. A relatively short time in the cellar changed this beer quite a bit. Not an improvement, but not a step back either.

m: Dry and sticky. The malts linger for quite a while.

d: 7.2? Really? This beer is dangerous.

11-15-2007 13:15:03 | More by DIM
Photo of Viggo

Ontario (Canada)

4.03/5  rDev -1.7%

Pours a clear chestnut brown/red, very thick beige head, nice lacing, settles to a thick layer, looks nice. Smell is neat, grainy malts, chocolate, toffee, bread, light roast/coffee, pine and floral hops, some fruit, very nice. Taste is great, mocha, toffee, some chocolate roast, bread, floral hops, strawberry finish, almost a lacto finish. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, low carbonation, some heat in the finish, very smooth though. Pretty good, I think I want to brew something kind of like this.

11-14-2007 00:05:48 | More by Viggo
Photo of kimcgolf


3.23/5  rDev -21.2%

Pours a nice chocolate brown with thin off-white head that lingers wewll and leaves okay lacing. Aroma is a sweet mix of caramel, toffee and roasted nuts, but the mouthfeel of this fairly thin bodied beer is somewhat watery. Flavor is a continuation of the sweet caramel and nuts, with a finish that is warming, but somewhat on the sweet and watery side for my liking.

Not a bad beer, but DFH makes better.

11-10-2007 11:32:24 | More by kimcgolf
Photo of mdm4584


4.65/5  rDev +13.4%

Picked up at AJ's in Scottsdale, AZ.

Roasted malts, coffee, dark chocolate, and a nutty complexity dominate the nose. Taste is top notch... coffee and chocolate linger.

The complexity and alcohol of the brew could exhaust the drinker. After a few I would go to something lighter.

11-10-2007 04:41:01 | More by mdm4584
Photo of blackhammer


3.1/5  rDev -24.4%

A: Poured a dark brown, almost black color in the kitchen. Did notice a nice reddish hue when held up to light. Big lingering head, with lots of lace on the glass.

S: Heavy roasted malt --very strong, almost like burnt sugar on a Creme Brulee. I would have mistaken this for a porter or Imperial Stout if someone had handed me a pint. There also seems to be a slight cherry smell behind the malt but it's buried so deep beneath the malt that it's hard to appreciate it. Unlike other reviewers, I did not detect any hops aroma to balance out the malt at all.

T: Very dominant bitter, coffee flavor, with some carmel sneaking in upon taking a second, deeper sip. Some hint of the alcohol content but not so strong as to overwhelm the flavor.

M; I suggest letting this one sit and warm a little. It seemed overly carbonated and heavy on the mouth at first sip. A little more time in the glass and it took on a nice smoothness, with a bit of a dry finish.

D: Overall, a difficult beer for me to decide on. A bit harsh at first, almost like old coffee. But it improved nicely with some time in the glass as I drank it. Or maybe that was the alcohol content. Not something that I will probably buy again, but I can't say I'm completely opposed to having another. My experience with this beer seems very different to me from that of other reviewers, so I might find myself compelled to try it again.

11-10-2007 04:28:08 | More by blackhammer
Photo of HoustonTX


4.08/5  rDev -0.5%

Indian Brown Ale pours beautifully with a nice dark brown body. Frothy off-white head.

Aromatics of burnt/charred malt, Goldings veggie derived hoppinesss, some small coffee and smoke scents.

A very solid Brown all the way around. Very smooth and easy to drink. It has a lot of roasted chocolate characteristics. Along with some pleasant herbal floral hopping. Finishes with a nice pucker of sticky dark malt.

A great beer all the way around. Dogfish Head does it again!

11-10-2007 03:27:51 | More by HoustonTX
Photo of malcontent


3.38/5  rDev -17.6%

One of my earliest reviews, with over a year under my belt I'd say it's time to start revisiting some of the oldies.

Chestnut brown body with reddish highlights, capped with a massive off-white head. Looks great.

A surprisingly (or maybe not so much, considering the source) hop-laden nose. The bottle advertises "whole-leaf Liberty and (Kent) Goldings" hops, but I'm only picking up the former. Smells nice but off for the style.

Mild roasted flavors and brown sugar are almost completely overwhelmed by the hops. This IS Dogfish Head, so I shouldn't be surprised. Caramel aftertaste lingers, redeeming the beer a good deal.

Mouthfeel is full, bordering on creamy. All-in-all, it's a typical "let's see if this works" approach by the boys from Milton. It's actually a pretty good beer, but when trying to fit it into the brown ale category it fails somewhat...perhaps it's just over-ambition. Hell, I'll take that over the alternative any day.

11-09-2007 05:18:36 | More by malcontent
Photo of Slatetank


3.7/5  rDev -9.8%

Thanks to tenderbranson69 for this bottle. poured cool into a nonic.
A - Cola brown w/ a light tan head of approx 3 fingers. Rings of lace halo the glass.

S - Malty, nutty caramel and wooday aromas w/ sugary scents and a slightly boozy hoppy odor.

M - Dry gently roasty w/ a bit of boozy brown malted feel. A residually sweet biscuity toasted texture in the sweet finish.

T - Rich nutty sweet malt w/ roasted barley flavors an a taste of light brown sugar w/ gentle fig like flavors. A boozy sugary rum quality is apparent w/ a slight tinge of belgian yeast in the taste. The hops are there but not obtrusive, very mild and slightly spicy.

D - A fine brown ale w/ candy sugar and rich maltiness w/ a nice touch of alcohol int the flavor. A nice hop accent adds a bit of spice. I consider this to be a nice brown, but not highly drinkable w/ the noticeable abv and sweetness.

11-07-2007 16:14:44 | More by Slatetank
Photo of burnstar


4.28/5  rDev +4.4%

Pours a dark brown with a light tan head. Aroma is dark roasted malt and floral hops. Some caramel and coffee notes. Taste is assertive roasted malt. Burnt malt and coffee flavors. Plenty of hops provide balance to the underlying sweetness. Some bitterness from roasted malt and hops. Somewhat imperial stout like. Full bodied. Pretty drinkable. Really nice beer overall.

11-07-2007 00:46:31 | More by burnstar
Photo of smurphy77


4.5/5  rDev +9.8%

Pours a mocha colored beer with sprightly bubbles and a medium-sized tan head. Smells of sweet, caramelized sugar. Flavors of roasted coffee and roasted malt are most prominent. The body and carbonation give this beer a very light feel despite it's darker, bold flavors. Equally enjoyable paired with a juicy burger, a bit of chocolate for dessert or as a standalone beer. Great case to keep on hand.

11-04-2007 12:20:35 | More by smurphy77
Photo of OKCNittany


3.86/5  rDev -5.9%

A: 1/2" tan head with great retention, leaving lacing everywhere. Dark brown, almost black body.

S: Notes of molasses, roasted coffed & roasted malt. Alcohol was also present as it warmed.

T: Much more alcohol and hop presence than any other brown I've tasted (although to date that's a fairly short list). Notes of coffee & chocolate (both milk & dark) too.

M: Medium bodied and quite smooth. Bitter finish with an alcohol burn.

D: Big flavor. A beer I'll gladly return to, but the alcohol presence cuts into the drinkability.

Edit: Found two sets of old notes on this one. Averaged the scores. The notes themselves were similar, except the 2nd (higher rated) review made no mention of noticeable alcohol.

11-03-2007 15:17:42 | More by OKCNittany
Photo of mnstorm99


3.35/5  rDev -18.3%

Nice dark brown color with a small tan head that laces well throughout. Aroma's of spicy hops stand behind a very sweet malty touch of carmel. Taste is first and foremost of the brown sugar (I know it says it on the bottle) which is tough to get past, not a flavor I am very fond of. There is a tinge of the hops, but this beer has a great mouthfeel and I enjoyed the aroma, so I will definately be cellering a couple of bottles to see how it does.

10-29-2007 20:06:05 | More by mnstorm99
Photo of Folderol

New Jersey

3.38/5  rDev -17.6%

I remember this beer being better when I sampled it a year and a half ago. Now it seems somehow off-balance, like there's nothing in it but dark malt and hops. It's not as sweet as I remember, and the taste is just a constant battle between roasted, charred astringency and dry hop bitterness. Reminded me of porter that's missing some ingredients. Maybe this batch was just too young.

10-29-2007 20:06:03 | More by Folderol
Photo of praufs01


3.25/5  rDev -20.7%

Appearance - Dark Brown with a clear deep red ruby glow when held to the light. Small tan colored head with light lacing.

Aroma - Light hop aroma that was overpowered by a burnt sugar and molasses smell with faint hints of alcohol.

Palate - Medium carbonation with a sticky up front feel followed by a dry chalky finish.

Flavor - Moderate bitterness with a burnt sugar taste. There are some noticeable alcohol notes here with an almost bourbon like quality.

Final thoughts - I can appreciate what the brewer was trying to achieve. However, although the brew is unique it is not great. To me its not session beer but I am glad I tried it.

10-28-2007 02:48:57 | More by praufs01
Photo of biggmike


4.22/5  rDev +2.9%

Poured an attractive brown color with slight off-white head that begs to be drank. Aroma is of caramel and chocolate with a maltiness to it. Taste was also of caramel and chocolate with exceptional hop balance. Lacing was good. Mouthfeel was very pleasant. This was a really nice brown ale. What is there not to like? Good drinkability.

10-24-2007 15:42:01 | More by biggmike
Photo of brantadid

New Jersey

3.85/5  rDev -6.1%

Poured a nut brown color intoa pint glass. Nice off white head which diminished very quick. No lacing.

Had a very fizzy mouthfeel. Flavor was very balanced. The malt and hops blend perfectly. Has an insanely long, sweet finish. Actually got a slightly sour tast on the mid to back palate before transitioning to a sweetness. This presented as the beer warmed.

I wish this beer was less carbonated. The amount of carbonation takes away from the complexity of the beer.

Alcohol was mostly masked. Some heat was detected from the alcohol.

10-24-2007 01:34:53 | More by brantadid
Photo of atigerlife


4.38/5  rDev +6.8%

Pours a dark brown with red highlights. Small light brown head.

Aroma of coffee, toffee and malts.

Taste also has coffee, toffee and some malts. Some alcohol comes through, but it is nicely balance. Some hops come through at the end.

Mouthfeel is medium, cleansing, smooth and creamy. Dry at the end. Nice.

Overall, Wow!! Excellent. Very well made and thought out brew.

10-24-2007 00:10:06 | More by atigerlife
Photo of Deus1138


4.6/5  rDev +12.2%

Poured into a pint glass. Dark, golden brown color. Head starts off a quarter inch thick. Also a beautiful golden color.

Smells of toffee and caramel.

Taste is exceptional. Nice, smooth, chocolate, coffee and caramal malts. I don't detect much in terms of hops. This isn't a complaint, just an observation.

Leaves a nice aftertaste. It's like I just drank some hot cocoa and coffee.

I classify some beers as "sipping beers" because they are so strong in terms of sweetness, bitterness or alcohol content. I would only classify this as a sipping beer because the flavor deserves your attention for a very long time. Let this one sit on your tongue for a while!

Dogfish Head has impressed me once again. I'm glad so many of their brews are available in my area. Now, if I could just get my hands on that elusive 120 Minute Pale Ale.

10-23-2007 03:14:12 | More by Deus1138
Photo of dankman38


4.03/5  rDev -1.7%

If you like to visit Starbucks you will love this beer; the taste of coffee is very heavy with light accents of chocolate and burnt hops. The finish isn’t as strong as some of the other beers Dogfish Head has produced (some are almost overwhelming) but it is just strong enough. Very interesting beer from a very interesting brewery.

Please note: I would have given this beer a higher score but I don’t really care for coffee.

10-19-2007 02:54:32 | More by dankman38
Indian Brown Ale from Dogfish Head Brewery
92 out of 100 based on 4,851 ratings.