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Indian Brown Ale - Dogfish Head Brewery

Not Rated.
Indian Brown AleIndian Brown Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

5,398 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,398
Reviews: 1,931
rAvg: 4.1
pDev: 10.98%
Wants: 267
Gots: 690 | 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: 5,398 | Reviews: 1,931 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of allthatAles
4.08/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pour: Dark coffee color, moderate head beige, well structured slowly breaks down to a thin wispy layer.

Nose: Malt, Brown sugar, the slightest coffee finish.

Mouth: Sweet, malty, sugary, a burst of hops then into a smooth coffee. lingering malt/sugar makes it hard to say no to another swig. effervescent on the tongue nearly a lager amount too.

Delightful. well balanced clean and yet so distinguished it stands out from a legion of others.

Photo of bound4er
4.08/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A. Big, thick, 3-fingered tan head on top of a dark burgundy to brown colored liquid. The head fades ever so slowly to reveal copious lacing.

S. Smells of sweet malt with caramel, cinnamon and vanilla notes. A touch of booze rounds things out. Offers decent complexity.

T. Up front maltiness and warmth from the alcohol with a good dose of hop bitterness on the finish. Unlike the nose, not overly complex but tasty never-the-less.

M. Creamy and smooth in the mouth. This may be this beers strongest attribute.

D. Not a true session beer nor one-and-done beer - a couple of these in a sitting would be perfect. This is a drinkable brown from a solid brewery.

Photo of mobyviacheslov
4.4/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - Thick cinnamon colored creamy head on top of a dark chestnut brown that is almost opaque. Mahogany colored when held up to the light. Looks very creamy overall.
S - Bitterness dominates, which was surprising due to the name and color, and description on the bottle, though it does say it is well hopped. Caramel roast comes through, as well as earthy barley scents.
T - Mild tastes of honey, smokey malt, and a mushroomy earthiness hide behind the "well hopped" bitterness. The overall combination reminds me of a "dry" Russian or Imperial stout. There is a definite caramel malt delivering a sweetness that is combated by dry roasted bitterness. The finish really brings out the brown sugar, and a lingering alcohol flavor as well. Well balanced and complex.
M - The appearance gave it away. Very creamy, velvety, thick beer. There is a minor amount of carbonation that seems to grab on to the tongue to help pop the flavors, but the rest of the mouth doesn't really detect it. The beer coats the rest of your mouth, helping to bring on a long, flavorful finish. Wonderful mouthfeel.
D - At 7.2ABV, its not severely alcoholic, but not light either. However, even the alcohol flavor that comes through is mild, and the beer is very easy drinking. The creaminess gives the impression that it is filling. Probably not a session beer here, due to the alcohol content, but I could easily sip on these for a whole night.
Serving details: 12oz bottle, in a ballooned glass, 55 degrees.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.28/5  rDev -20%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A good brown ale, darker than most. Minimal head and carbonation. A thicker aroma, smoke and earthy.

Taste, not as hoppy as advertised, more sweetness, but lacks bitterness. Definitely more in the brown ale vibe than ipa, but better than the average brown ale I come across. Mouthfeel diminishes, drinkability is decent, but not the price.

Photo of DNICE555
4.35/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the B with soupedupdiesel

A - Dark brown, almost looks like a porter.

S - I smell hops! I was worried after I ordered this one it might be too malty. It is a brown ale, but dogfish head brewed it so I didn't really even know what to expect.

T - With the first sip, I breathed a sigh of relief. Tastes like a hoppy porter. I love it. The toasted malts and big boy hops mingle in harmony.

M - Very well balanced. Nice amount of carbonation.

D - Alcohol is very well hidden. This one is Prettyyy, Pretttyy, Pretty Tasty.

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

330ml bottle bought online from Beerritz.co.uk

Poured a deep mahogany nutty brown colour. Nice creamy tan head poured very tight, thick and foamy with a whipped meringue like topping then faded fairly quickly to decent thick covering. Light carbonation... some light sticky lacing...

Aroma - Lots of roasted chocolate malts, light tobacco smoke, brown sugar notes, grassy hops, roasted (maybe slightly charred ?) nuttiness, nutmeg spiciness, some anise, black coffee, woody hints, creosote traces, dark dried fruits (raisins and currents)...

Taste - Grassy and earthy hop bitterness up front followed by sweet brown sugar, roasted malts, some pine notes, spicy dark fruits (raisins, dates, plums), dark chocolate, light smokiness, roasted nuttiness, treacle sweetness...

M&D - Sharp initially then smooths out nicely... medium bodied... Very quaffable...

Overall - An excellent brown ale... highly recommended...

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

Location: Dogfish Head Ale House, Falls Church, Virginia

A very dark brown (almost black) with some red/amber coming through with a brown head

Coffee and chocolate makes up the aroma

Malty, as well as chocolate-like with a hint of coffee. Bitter hop finish

Well bodied and drinkable (even though its not my go to style)

Photo of KrisPaulk77
4.42/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer was poured into a standard pint glass. It was a deep, dark, nearly black, brown color, with deep garnet highlights near the edges, with a half inch of creamy, milk chocolate colored head. Lots of sticky lace as the pint was consumed.
The aroma was deep, dark and mysterious. Floral hops, chocolates, roasted malt, toasty and nutty aromas, and caramelized sugars and dark candied fruits.
The taste was similar to the nose. A meld of roasted coffee and bittersweet chocolates, figs, burnt sugars, and finished by a robust hop bitterness. There is a nice roasty aftertaste.
The feel of the beer is slick and full. Nice carbonation.
This is an excellent offering from DFH. I could drink this all day long. I probably wouldn't be much use to anyone if I did, but I'd be a happy camper. A great beer in all regards.

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

Had on tap at Hop Devil Grill in NYC. Pours opaque brown red with a very creamy milkshake-like tan head that stuck around for quite a while; smells nutty, of sweet malt, roasted coffee, caramel and chocolate; smells like a sweet malted. Great lacing that just sticks to the glass and never leaves.

Tastes of roasted coffee, sweet toasted malt, caramel, light hops, vanilla, chocolate, dark fruits, cocoa and burnt/smoked wood. Creamy slick mouthfeel, with a heavy overall feel that has zero carbonation and an oak barrel aging aroma and taste. Very easy flowing and drinkable, with a stout-like chewy feel and a dry smoky finish. Heavier than most brown ales, but quite delicious. The alcohol peeks through, but the chocolate, burnt/smoked wood and roasted malts cover it up well like a stout would.

This brown ale has a kick, but it went down smooth and I really enjoyed it and could drink a few of these over the course of a night. The kind of beer to drink while playing darts. I recommend trying this brew.

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

Brew poured to a nice dark brown color, with a fair sized tan head that was quite creamy. The retention was good and the lacing was mostly concentrated at the top 2/3's of the glass. The aroma was nice, roasted malts, nice chocolate notes come out. Slight coffee and brown sugar seems to be present as well. The flavor of this brew is excellent, the roasted and chocolate malt flavors are so crisp and to the point- they make the beer IMO. Has the perfect hop backing to go along with the malts, great flavor here. This is such a smooth beer that the 7.2 ABV is a complete surprise as there was no hint of alcohol in this brew. This brew has been a treat and though I have had it in the past I it seems to be one that I by-pass on a regular basis, will have to change this in the future.

Photo of Pabs311
4.29/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a dark brown with an amber tint to it. a decent beige head forms on top of the beer, lingers for a little than settles to leave a ring around the glass and some lacing. good looking beer.

S- as some peopel have pointed out already, this beer has the nose of a porter or stout, just slightly less potent. There's hints of coffee, bittersweet chocolate, bron sugar, caramel and molasses. very nice.

T- similar in characteristic to the nose. coffee and chocolate seem to take the forfront of this beer, some brown sugar sweetness in the middle and then it's all rounded out by a slight hoppy, bitter finish.

M/D- full bodied compared to most brown ales i've had. very nice beer. good drinkability, i could picture myself having a few of these. will buy this beer again in the future.

Photo of baos
4.45/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From notes.

Had this one in a pint glass at Shallo's. A very nice brew with very nice lacing. Dark brown with a nice tan head. One of the best brown ales I have ever had. Caramelly malty with Goldings hops to balance it out. Very good and a one drinkability.

Photo of betterbgood
4.03/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pour in sam adams perfect pint, matter of fact i'm about to start pouring evering style in the perfect pint glass, the appearance is a dark brown, one and half inch tan, beige head.

Smell of sweet caramelized sugars, great malts

I bought a six pack, the first bottle i tasted reminded me of some stouts, i had, by the time i had the sixth bottle, i could differ taste, i started to notice this was a good brown ale. the malts are tasty everything was combine to a smooth drinkable brown ale,done very well.

Photo of sugarbrew
3.9/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Very dark, porter-esque with an amber hue. Lingering caramel-colored head with slight lacing.

S: Notes of molasses, chocolate, brown sugar. It smells very much like a robust porter.

T: Malty with subtle bittering hops in the finish. Significant but muted porter characteristics, with caramelized sugar in the finish.

M: Very dense with light carbonation, some slickness.

D: Outstanding drinkability despite a relatively high ABV. The alcohol is buried beneath loads of delicious roasted malt.

This beer feels incomplete in some respects. Perhaps with a marginally more robust, roasted character, this would have been one of my favorite porters of all time. As a brown ale, though, I feel like they should have scaled back some of the more robust qualities, because they leave the drinker wanting more (i.e., it is a tease.) This is, however, not to detract from the overall quality of the beer-- it is exceptional, and I will probably buy again.

Photo of JMac311
4.65/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Wow, the darkest "brown' ale I have ever seen. About a 1 finger head, that provides a nice sticky lacing down the glass.

S- Nice subtle flavor of brown sugar (as promised). There is also a nice hop aroma present that alerts the presence of Golding.

T- Excellent, a real treat for the taste buds. Roasted barley and a myriad of malt character abound. Leaves a nice light alcohol aftertaste that is slightly dry, but fits perfectly with this brew.

M- By no means light, with a very solid body.

D- Despite being 7%+, I could have several of these very easily. Each sip encourages another. There is just so much happening here that I think you would need a least a couple to get a real feel for it.

Highly recommended, another winner from DFH!

Photo of cdbooth219
4.17/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into reaper pilsner glass

A: Pours a deep brown with one finger of tan head that dissipates rather quickly with little lacing on the glass

S: Smells very sweet, with notes of coffee, chocolate, and raisins being the main aromas with some alcohol behind that

T: A very complex taste, begins with the chocolate coffee and raisins, then a maltiness comes in, then finally a hoppy bitterness at the end. Finishes rather dry and leaves a rather bitter aftertaste. As it warms the raisins move more to the front over the coffee and chocolate

M: Medium to heavy with almost no carbonation, but it works for it rather well

D: Not something I could drink all night, but id be fine to drink one or two of these

Overall, I really enjoyed this unique beer. I enjoy dogfishhead's offerings in general, and this is a very unique one they have put out. While it is indeed a brown ale, it is a very unique one that really stands out.

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

I was excited to see this on tap at Ginger Man in South Norwalk, CT, and paired it with a steak caesar salad. I left the experience impressed by the style and overall makeup of the beer. Good stuff.

A: A dark ruby brown, significant head that lingers nicely and sticks to the glass. A great first impression, particularly served in a simple pint glass.

S: I initially get quite a bit of dry coffee, with light chocolate and heavy nuttiness.

T: A good amount going on here - chocolate, coffee, nuts, light bitter malts. This tastes like a roasted beer, but without anything so aggressive as to be off-putting. Easily I could see how an over-developed bitterness could develop, but it never materialized, making this more enjoyable.

M/D: Dry initially, lingers, but disapates nicely. The higher ABV definitely is noticeable, which makes this a little more difficult to drink longterm.

Pretty pumped about trying this brew, look forward to seeing it around more often.

Photo of spartanfan
4.04/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 12 oz bottled on 9/9/9

A: Pours an opaque dark brown color with a fluffy tan head which is leaving nice lacing behind as it fades.

S: Right off the bat I am not able to detect much of anything beyond a faint barley sweetness in the nose. As the beer warms the nose becomes sweeter, but I'm still not smelling much.

T: Very rich and deep flavors. I am first hit with chocolate, bitter hops, and a bit of brown sugar sweetness.

M: This beer has very strong flavors, but it is decidedly medium in body. Perhaps a bit lacking in carbonation, but the beer is none the worse for it.

D: The lighter body on this beer makes it exceedingly drinkable. The complex intermingling flavors make me want to keep going back for more.

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

This beer doesn't quite look like a brown. You can barely see some light through it...mainly just at the top. Not much head going on, but there is a neat pattern floating in the middle.

A bit of sweet sugar smell in the nose with almost a molasses-wine scent

A very nice toasty chocolate taste. Doesn't taste far off from a stout. Some hints of toffee, toasted wood, and a pinch of sweet. medium amount of carbonation at the front end that is balanced with maltiness at the end.

Definitely a darker brown that sits in the mouth. Sticky coating remains after swallowing.

This is the type of beer that putting down 2-3 wouldn't be a problem...but after that it might get a little much with the sugar.

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

Appearance: A clear deep-brown body pierced with ruby-red highlights. Up top, a little more than a finger of cream-colored head that leaves great lacing.

Aroma: Lots of chocolate, coffee and roasted malt mixed with mild bitterness and some dark fruit. It's all very Porter-like.

Flavor: Robust and roasty dark malt bursting with black coffee and bittersweet chocolate notes takes center stage. On the edges there's a lightly bitter hop component and a hint of smokiness. Big and rich like an American Stout. Chocolaty malt, citrusy hops, and a little bit of booze in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and a little creamy with medium carbonation and light alcohol warmth. Dries just a hint in the finish.

Drinkability: Goes down remarkably swiftly given the richness and moderately high alcohol.

Verdict: Rich and flavorful, this is one of the better examples of the American Brown Ale style out there. If you like your Browns big and robust, you'll be in for a treat here.

Photo of inxy
4.26/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass.

A - Almost black cherry in color, a bit too much red to be a mahogany. Really dark brown, black in the thick of the body with red highlights near glass bottom and edges. Half inch bubble tan head with some very sticky lacing that looks almost dusty when it dries. So sticky that it cant be scratched off. Totally unique for a brown ale, but a flawless looking beer.

S - Molasses, sweet caramel, very faint smoke.

T - Layers upon layers. Up front chicory and medium coffee, which quickly transitions into bittersweet molasses, maple syrup and brown sugars. It's not overly sweet, well balanced. Fruity raisin and prune finish with a hint of cardamom. Chicory returns in the aftertaste. These flavors aren't apparent until the beer warms. It tastes best at 50+ degrees, despite style standards.

M - So creamy, it's milk. Carbonation is appropriate but really doesn't effect the creamy smoothness at all. Perfection yet again.

D/Overall - A mid-grade priced beer that I will stock as much as possible. One of my top 5 all times. This is session worthy despite its midrange 7% abv. A must have.

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

Poured from a Growler bottle into a snifter

Appearance- Pours a dark mahogany with an effervescent creamy brown head. The head, magnificent, coats the beer and sides of the glass in a creamy froth that does not yield to its instinct to subside. This beer looks fantastic!

Smell- The beautiful chocolate and fresh ground coffee are reminiscent of a Stout. A floral hop note, alcohol phenols, and a hint of fruit add to the intensity of this aromatic brew.

Taste- Complex in flavour this beer presents sweet caramel, unsweetened chocolate, candi sugar, roast barley, and bittering hops. This beer comes on strong with a balance of sweet and bitter malts pitted against roast coffee and hops with a slight drying affect from the alcohol create a chasm of flavour. Each flavour is present in its own way to compliment the other, and this concoction of American Brown, IPA, and Scotch Ale is pure genius.

Mouthfeel- Starting from the first pour this beer screams aesthetic paradise. The creamy lush head that melts in your mouth compliments the full-bodied molasses like liquid brooding in my glass.

Drinkability- Despite the higher alcohol content and rich full-bodied flavour this beer is very drinkable. I enjoy what dogfish has done with this brew, it is perfectly balanced and each flavour presents itself in suite to compliment this beer. Thank you Dogfish Head!

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

Tasted on 8-13-09. 12 oz bottle in a tulip.

Aroma- lots of chocolate. roast. lots of caramel. burnt candy. floral hops. alcohol. sweet malt and sugar aroma.

App- ruby brown. tan foam dissipates. clear (filtered?).

Taste- chocolate, resin. bitter malt and hops. med to dark caramel. lots of candy sweetness. coffee and sugar. bitter hoppiness but not much hop flavor. very strong roast flavor. fruity hops. english yeast. roast balances the sweetness.

Mouth- viscous and full. med carb. resin. alcohol. big lingering finish.

Overall- balanced. great DFH beer. needs more attenuation.

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

Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale

G- INAO tasting glass.

A- Dark coppery cola brown. Medium head is light tan in color.

S- Straightforward, somewhat restrained aroma of malt, roasted grains, caramelized sugar. Muted note of citrus hops. Smelling this "blind" might suggest a British origin.

T- Sweet caramel malt, roasted puffed honeyed cereal grains, dark fruits, modest hops finish.

M, D- Viscous & sweet. Substantial enough to slow drinking to a civilized pace. The Scottish influence is apparent.

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

Pours a very dark brown with a creamy tan head that settles into a frothy ring. The aroma is of light semi-sweet chocolate, brown sugar. Didn't pick up too much at the bar I had this in. The taste was of light roasted malt, chocolate, peat, wet wood, brown sugar and a grassy hop in the end. This is one tasty brown ale. The feel is moderate with fizzy carbonation, finishes sweet but with a light bitter hop. One of the best brown ales out there, very flavorful.

Indian Brown Ale from Dogfish Head Brewery
92 out of 100 based on 5,398 ratings.