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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.

5,239 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,239
Reviews: 1,895
rAvg: 4.1
pDev: 11.22%
Wants: 242
Gots: 555 | 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:
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: 5,239 | Reviews: 1,895 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of bbeane
3.85/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Poured into a 160z tumbler... Has a nice creamy, slightly of white head that recedes very slowly and leaves nice lacing. Beer is very dark... appears black until held up to light where you can actually see its true dark reddish brown color

S- Smells sweet... more like a scotch ale than a brown ale

T- Starts out very sweet with a caramel flavor. Definately has more of a scotch ale taste than brown ale. Finishes smooth with a hint of hoppiness

M- Medium bodied with some carbonation. Can feel the sweet malt flavor clinging to your mouth

D- Very. Might be a little over exagerated... I'm a sucker for scotch and brown ales. Did definately enjoy


Photo of jera1350
4.38/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Deep chocolate brown color with slight maroonish hugh, creamy tan colored tight head. Some lacing and decent head retention.

Deep roasted malt, big chocolate scent, some cream and a hint of coffee.

Almost exactly like the nose. Reminds me of chocolate milk with some coffee. Very rich and satisfying. A nice hop presence at the end.

Satiny and extremely creamy mouthfeel. Similar to drinking high fat chocolate milk. Medium bodied.

This beer is like a porter and maybe even a stout. This would make an outstanding after dinner drink. Enjoyable to drink and maybe the best beer I've had from DFH.

Photo of KTCamm
3.98/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a pint glass. Pours an opague deep dark brown with 1 finger of light brown foam. Laces well down the side.

Smells sweet - definitely roasted chocolate, caramel, and coffee hints.

Taste starts sweet, like caramel in a traditional nut brown, but closes quickly to a strong hop. More than I've seen in most brown ales, but it never overpowers the sweetness. Kind of a peppery finish. Well carbonated in the mouthfeel - the hop doesn't really pop until the beer is swallowed.

Not as drinkable as other browns I've had, but definitely tasty.

Photo of david18
3.68/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A little hoppy to put in the brown ale category but I guess it wouldn't fit anywhere else. I'm not as much a fan of brown ales as I am ipa's so, among the brown ales, this is one of my favorites. Pretty much what you would guess; a brown ale with almost as much hops an an ipa. Good to try, not my favorite.

5/26: Had this again and really liked it. Maybe better. The roasty aroma was great. I will be changing my numbers.

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

A- Poured a dark mahogany color with a thin tan head, which slowly dissipated over time, leaving a bit of nice lacing behind. Good carbonation... interestingly enough, the carbonation seemed to help replenish the head throughout the drink.

S- Nice roasty nose... a bit nutty... and some hints of metal in there (I get copper and iron every few whiffs). The nose also seems to allude to a sweeter taste on the way...

T- I am getting some nice roasty flavors here (not overpowering) and a prominent flavor of candied nuts... specifically candied cashews and almonds. Beautiful. There's some low-alpha hops here in the middle, adding a touch of bitterness to the brew- just enough to balance the chewy malt. Finishes clean with the sweet malt, nuts and hops... none of which overpowers the other in the finish.

M- Creamy and full bodied... I wouldn't call it "silky"... just creamy. Lots of unattenuated sugar here and a good amount of carbonation keep this sugar from feeling to sticky.

D- VERY VERY drinkable. Could drink this all day.

Notes: Had this beer along with a chocolate and pralines torte. Absolutely exquisite pairing!

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

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a glass beer mug.

The beer poured a very deep, dark, and clear brown that looked like a red crystal around the edges of the glass. It was topped with a thick, creamy, off-white head that left moderate amounts of lacing on the glass.

The smell is a complex aroma. I picked out sweet caramel, a toasted, malty aroma, and a hint of coffee. As it warmed, I also got an earthy, woody smell.

The mouthfeel was very smooth and creamy. I'd go so far as to call it velvety.

The taste was as complex as the smell. It started sweet and malty, with a bit of chocolate. The finish had a nice hops bite, followed by a lingering coffee taste. And yet, after the coffee flavor started to fade off the tongue, it left a sweet chocolaty flavor.

As it warmed, the hops bitterness and the coffee finish became more pronounced, and seemed to take over the beer. That's just my opinion, of course. It was still very good, but it just seemed to lose its balance as it got warmer.

At 7.20 % ABV, this is a dangerously drinkable beer. Very enjoyable, I found it went down way too fast, and left me wanting another.

I'm not sure how sessionable this is. Call me a lightweight, but I was starting to feel a buzz after just one of these.

Photo of wl0307
4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased from the BSF bar, GBBF 2008; BB 12/08, served faintly-chilled to cool in Hapkin's bulb-shaped bowl sniffer.

A: super dark brown in colour, coming with restrained carbonation and a light tan frothy head, settling slowly to a thin blanket to last throughout the drink.
S: the aroma is as deeply malty as lively hoppy, showing an assertive presence of chocolaty brown malts, sweet walnuts, treacle-ish sweet notes and dried red dates, while the hops are pronounced on the flowery and lightly longan-fruity sides. Not much fruitiness is detected even after a swirl, apart from random notes of raisin-like sour-sweetness. Overall, attractive, but not quite complex as I'd imagined from Dogfish Head.
T: like the aroma, the flavour is immediately sweet pecan-nutty, with random touches of coffee-flavoured milk and toffee, rather light semi-sour cold filtered coffee and date-ish fruitiness, while the whole weight is lifted skilfully by the hop presence that turns more expressed in the latter half of the tasting. The aftertaste continues with the lightly sour yet also bitter-sweet flavour, with an interesting bite of herbal hops where the flowery bouquet also mixes well with everything else lingering in the finish.
M&D: the flavour is not that different from a porter ale, if you ask me, but the body is much lighter and focused on nutty malts like a brown ale, truly. The finishing touch is slightly more sour/lactic than my palate prefers, though. I'd rate it higher if the carbonation was softer and the hoppiness could somehow outshine the present balance for the flavour profile. But, all in all, this ale is not bad at all.

Photo of FstrungUCoutT
4.43/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I was fortunate enough to have this beer at the DFH brewery while in Rehoboth Beach, DE. I was even more fortunate to be there when they broke open a cask of it on a Thursday night. So obviously, this review is a little different from having it from a bottle.

A - nice dark brown color, almost opaque. With having it on cask there was very little head but more of a slight cascade of very small bubbles down the sides of the glass.

S - smelled slightly of caramel and coffee but not at all over powering. The roasted barley was definitely evident in the smell.

M - this is the other section that is greatly different due to the fact that I had it from a cask. It was smooth and creamy and perfect. After tasting this beer on cask, its tough to want to try it any other way. Very little carbonation and it just coated your entire mouth with a warm, smokey feel.

T - I loved this beer. Slight hints of chocolate, coffee, and caramel with a slight little hopiness that is just noticeable enough. Nicely complex flavors. I just couldn't stop drinking it and could've easily spent the entire night there having this cask conditioned ale.

Photo of bwd110
3.88/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into a tumbler.

A: Deep, dark brown that refuses to let through even a sliver of light. Decent, tan head -- more sticky than fluffy. Looks like a good porter or stout from here.

S: Quite aromatic. I can see where the scotch ale comparison comes in, but it is quite roasty with hints of coffee, reminiscent of the chicory stout? Some underlying hop presence as well.

T: Very hearty and complex flavor profile. This one is all about the roasted and caramel malts. Great roasted coffee and bittersweet dark chocolate tones. Hops are present, but generally add to the overall taste instead of dominating it... Nice smoky finish!

M: Very rich, full body. Makes for a nice smooth brew that lingers, but still leaves the tongue wanting more. Nice.

D: Here's where this beer takes a little hit for me. One or two is great. But after that, I need a switch up. A lot going on here, and it needs to be consumed in neat little bursts.

Overall, another hit for me from DFH. One of the best brown ales I've had to date.

Photo of mrmanning
3.48/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from my friend Chris- A deep murky brown, with a thick and foamy mocha cap. Spotty lace leads to solid retention. Nose of cocoa nibs, chicory,molasses, anise, milk chocolate, dark fruits. The flavour profile is sweet pit fruits with milk chocolate, some coffee, molasses, a bit of hoisin, leafy greens, and fresh bitter hops. Nice finish, but perhaps a bit sweet for me to have any more than one. Thanks Chris!

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

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: a nicely dark, brown amber with a very thick, foamy head with a nice persistence. As I drink it, much of the foam sticks to the glass in a nice, thick lace.

Smell: a delicious nutty aroma with coffee and caramel. This smells awesome; I'm dizzy with anticipation.

Taste: deliciously complex. The bitterness is just perfectly present and there is a nice chocolate finish. There are some light fruity notes and a little alcohol flavor, but these are outshined by the great malt flavors.

Mouthfeel: a medium-thick body which sort of coats the tongue and spreads around the deliciousness.

Drinkability: while I submit that it is too hot here to really appreciate a dark, high-alcohol beer, this thing is so tasty that I would gladly have another (and another, and another).

It's so rare that I randomly try a beer and have it instantly rank among my favorites. Or possibly be my favorite of all time. This thing is more like a porter than a brown ale in my opinion, but for a beer this good I really don't care what style you want to call it. A+.


Edited ratings on 5/16/2010. This was one of my first reviews; I wanted to review again now that I have a lot more beer-tasting experience.

Body remains translucent and extremely dark; very nice. Aroma is mostly coffee and light earthy, vegetabley hops; again, quite nice. Flavor is big gobs of nice roasty malt flavor; mostly coffee and a little caramel toward the end. Bitterness is high for a dark beer. Medium to medium-thick body with great carbonation; this is wonderfully creamy and silky. This beer remains extremely tasty and drinkable compared to when I first had it.

I actually reduced some of the ratings from the all-5s I originally gave it to really score it like I would today; however, this beer still rates as one of my all-time favorites.

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

A- Pours a very dark brown with ruby highlights when held up to light. Nice half-inch tan head with good lacing/retention.

S- A really nice aroma of chocolate, coffee, almonds... robust and very good.

T- A pretty good brown ale... a big coffee flavor followed by some piney/leafy hops... a bit one dimensional I guess, but I like it. Robust flavor that lingers. Slight bitter finish. A bit woody/smokey at times as well. Some alcohol comes through too, giving it a sweet kick too.

M- Creamy and coating. Medium carbonation that works well.

D- A fine brew here from DFH, probably one of my favorites from them. I'd have a good night with a few of these.

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

Had this brew on tap at DFH in Rehobeth Beach.

Pours a dark brown, almost black with tan head and great lacing.

Smells of roasted coffee & nuts, has a very earthy nose. Some sweet undertons in the nose as well.

This brew tastes of roasted malts and coffee. Some sweetness and licorice tastes in there as well. Perfectly balanced. Creamy smooth and has a spice to it in the flavors/mouthfeel.

A great brew indeed - a very balanced, very drinkable brew from DFH. One of the best from DFH. Stellar indeed.

Photo of ujsplace
4.22/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pilsner glass...

A: Dark, brown in color with a deep amber hue.

S: Sweet roasted malts, herbal hops, carmel and maybe a faint bit of chocolate.

T: Bitter herbal hops that are nicely spiced. An earthy, nutty, mildly roasted malt sweetness and a bit of cofee/espresso flavor that adds a bit of an acidic taste. Overall, this is pretty complex...

M: Medium, creamy with just the right carbonation.

D: In spite of the abv, this is a dangerously drinkable beer. Good, good stuff here...

Photo of BenJames1984
4.13/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

First time trying this...wow, another great beer from Dogfish Head, I must say.

Poured into a pint glass.

Appearance- Nice, frothy tan head. Color is a deep, burnt mahogany with a splash of red.

Smell- Sweet, malty notes. Just gettin over a cold, so my smell isnt the best right now.

Taste- Amazing. Very nice, delicate sweet sensation...sweet bread, a tinge of hop, and a nice aftertaste of coffee.

Mouthfeel- Medium body, with low carbonation. Goes down quite well.

Drinkability- I could see myself drinking 3, maybe even 4 of these bad boys in a session.

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

Deep amber brown with tan head about 2-fingers high.

Malty, spicy, caramel and chocolate nose - keep s developing the longer I let the beer sit.

Malt more than hops on the palate. Creamy, chocolatey - a little like having a malted egg cream. Gets more interesting as it sits.

Very drinkable. Alcohol is well integrated. This one can really sneak up on you.

The brew keeps changing in the glass. It gets more complex and interesting as you let it sit which becomes an increasingly difficult feat to accomplish.

Photo of CHADMC3
4.43/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep mahogany brown with a foamy light tan head that leaves a sticky layer of lacing in its wake.

Smells of barley, hops, brown sugar, possible spices and even vanilla; this beer has a very lively nose.

The brown sugar and spice aromas are mirrored in the palate. In addition, the flavor also has a nice caramel malt presence that blends well with the earthy hops at the finish and additional coffee notes as it warms.

Very smooth with a medium body and medium to moderate carbonation, and just a hint of alcohol warmth at the end.

What an excellent beer. I had never tried this before and am blown away how good it is and easy to drink. Not a style I typically reach for, but this is a winner.

Photo of stevecee2003
4.35/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presntation: standard Dogfish Head bottle.

APP: Very dark brown, almost black. This will have that burnt coffee taste I can tell. Sometimes good, sometimes bad. A nice full foam head, even in the bottle after a pour.

Smell: First smell is the malt, then comes the coffee- even burnt coffee, and after that the hops come into play. Aromatic. Enchanting. A whole mysterious fantasy lies within the bottle, waitiing to be discovered. This just might be a grand experience.

Taste: After some really fine Abbey Brown Ale's this one is different. This is.. different. Deep tasting. Lots of Malt-Hops-Coffee flavour. Wow! Another swallow, another taste. Wow. There's chocolate now, and raisins. Perhaps the coffee bitterness is balanced by a berry or currant taste leading to sweet. Its at the tail end. Try to see if you can taste the currant. Its there- right there at the end. Very nice. Very full.

General overall: I am an IPA fan, yet not always a lover of brown ales, yet this very nicely combines the two. One damn fine beer. And at 7.2 % it is truly top shelf. So full tasting. So deep in flavour. Fantastic.

Photo of MunchkinDrinker
3.7/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Dark clear ruby with a foamy frothy cream colored head. Very inviting. Great foamy sticky lacing.

S - This does not smell like a brown ale to me. This smells like a stout. Dark cocoa, burnt chocolate flavor. Not sweet, but not bitter, and creamy. Not complex, but solid.

T/M - Burnt burnt burnt. Slightly bitter burnt chocolate malts. Still tastes like a stout, not a brown ale. Not as creamy as the smell. Leaves a dry feeling in your mouth, but is frothy.

D - I can't say I'd be too eager to pick up another one. Drinks down ok, but better than average.

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

What a great discovery. I have considered buying this for some time but thought "Indian Brown Ale" sounded like an overly hoped brown ale and didn't grab me completely. The appearance is a dark dark brown, when held up to the light it's the color of an old penny. The two finger head was tan and reduced to half in a few minutes. The nose was coffee, caramel, raisin, brown sugar. The taste was the same with a bit of booziness in a good way. There is a hint of lactose too. The mouthfeel is silky and smooth, extremely drinkable. Wow, what a tasty beer, maybe my favorite brown ale. Dogfish Head scores again!

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

poured from a 12 oz bottle into standard pint glass.

Pours a clear medium brown color with a thick creamy 2 + finger deep tan colored head. Looks great.

Smells sugary sweet, some faint chocolate, caramel, and a noticeable medicinal aroma.

Malty sweetness, chocolate, mid palate hoppiness, cakey, nice balance between sweet & bitter here. Tasty, I likey jack.

Medium bodied, nicely carbonated, crisp.

Wish I had access to this all the time. Could drink plenty.

Photo of mugglesandhops
4.22/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle Poured a super dark brown body with a thin off white head with decent lacing. Smells of caramel, bready, spices. Taste was very spicy, slight alcohol burn, dark fruits, nutty, and coffee in the finish. Medium to full fizzy bodied. This was a pretty hot beer for 7.2%

Photo of JayNH
4.43/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-Pours a deep brown with a large foamy head. Decent retention with good lacing.

S- Notes of sweet caramel, coffee, chocolate, butterscotch, hops with a fair amount of alcohol warmth.

T- Wow! This is one amazingly complex brew. I'm tasting burnt coffee, dark chocolate, caramel, and butterscotch. The finish is full of dark chocolate and coffee as well as a pleasant balancing hoppiness.

M- Medium to full bodied with a considerable amount of carbonation.

D- Excellent. A complex and robust brew but still very easy to drink. I could drink these till I went blind. Well worth a try.

Photo of unibrew
4.9/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Let me first say that I'm a BIG beer lover and I have long been searching for a session beer. At 7.2%, it's a bit much perhaps, but, it's so drinkable I WANT to have a few of these in a night, along with a Chocolate Yeti or something truly big. That's good drinking! It's been a long time since I bought a case of any beers, but, I did for this one. To me, it has a near perfect combination of flavors. The malts and hops just blend so perfectly well. Have you ever walked into a brewery and smelled it, and realized you wanted a beer that tastes like THAT smell. Well, here it is! Excellent brew Sam. Excellent.

Photo of Aenema
3.95/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled 3/18/09
Appearance - Pours a very dark mahogany a thin, quickly-dissiapating tan head. Some splotchy lacing.
Smell - Roasted, caramel malts and floral hops.
Taste - Roasted malts, more of a floral hop presence than the nose. Some chocolate and caramel add depth.
Mouthfeel - Smooth, yet slick feel; medium-bodied, yet still a bit thick. Moderate carbonation.
Drinkability - Pretty easy drinking, could definitely relax with 2-3 of these.
Overall - Very solid brown ale with a nice hoppy bent.

Indian Brown Ale from Dogfish Head Brewery
92 out of 100 based on 5,239 ratings.