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Indian Brown Ale - Dogfish Head Brewery

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Indian Brown AleIndian Brown Ale

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5,442 Ratings

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Ratings: 5,442
Reviews: 1,938
rAvg: 4.1
pDev: 10.98%
Wants: 272
Gots: 726 | 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: 5,442 | Reviews: 1,938
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.

Photo of jpittman80
3.49/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Pours dark, murky brown with red highlights when shining a flashlight through it. Small amount of off-white head that dissipates.

S - Dark roast malts, chocolate, caramel, and coffee.

T - Strong coffee flavor up front with chocolate and slight fruitiness. Leaves a lingering roasted bitterness. Hop flavor is present but not nearly as forward as I'd like. Flavor tilts heavily toward malt. Slightly too much alcohol flavor for this level of abv.

M - Nice grainy medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation.

D - I can't drink more than one of these. Too much like drinking an Irished-up mocha.

Definitely bordering on a stout, this is not nearly as hoppy as people (or DFH) claim. I't not bad though, definitely a good product, but not what I was expecting or wanting. I was thinking it would be more along the lines of a Lagunitas WTF.

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

12 oz into a pint

A - As the name would suggest - this beer is brown. Very deeply brown, almost amber. Head formation is strong, well retained. About 1/4" in height.

S - Strongly malty on the nose - lots of specialty malts such as chocolate, crystal, and some caramel. Lightly grainy, but very sweet.

T - Starts off very malty - some caramel and toffee notes. Very malty - sweet. Chocolate is present. Mid-stream develops a hefty amount of hops, some floral notes. Finishes with another malty note, sweet, with some raisins.

M - Very hefty beer body - carbonation buoys it nicely. Finishes with a clinging texture of both sweet malts and oily hops. Multi-faceted beer.

D - Mega easy drinking. ABV, potent, but you wouldn't know it. Not filling. Flavors are sweet, smooth and easy. goes down like nobody's business.

Not sure about the brown ale definition, but this beer is a

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

Appearance: Poured from a 12oz bottle into a large wine glass. Color is dark brown, and unless you're holding it up to the light, it might as well be black. I do notice some nice ruby color around the edges of the glass and decent carbonation rising up from the bottom. Head is about one-finger, tan, creamy, and hangs on in perpetuity.

Smell: Nice toasted malt aroma here. Picking up some coffee, caramel, and a touch of alcohol. There is also a sweet scent under the surface, with chocolate, molasses, and dark fruits among the players.

Taste: Very creamy flavor, but with a nice bitterness to round out the tasting experience. Picking up a lot of the same toasted characteristics found in the smell, as well as the chocolate, dark fruit, and molasses notes. I detect a little more hops than in the nose of this one, and the alcohol is a bit more pronounced as well.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full-bodied and very creamy. Adequate carbonation and a well-balanced flavor make this one a pleasure to drink.

Drinkability: Very delicious and well-balanced. I think the only limiting factor would be the ABV.

Photo of animal69
4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- pours a deep reddish brown-black color, still opaque, however, with a thick tan cap which settles nicely into some clingy lace in my snifter

S- smell is dominated by freshly ground coffee & toasted nuts, some hops do come thru as a bit of wood, smokey choc. and dark fruits also present

T- taste is quite similar to smell, a robust roasted coffee flavor mixed with nuts and bittersweet caramel, burnt toffee and dates come thru as well as some resiny hop and anise, finish is slick and vaguely mineral, more akin to a porter or stout actually, woulda got a 4.5 'cept for that

M- a rich med-full body, a good amount of co2, velvety/creamy overall texture

D- quite drinkable, i'm surprised i never had this one before, def. won't make that mistake again

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

Poured deep mahogany to black. Thick, rich head with sticky lacings. Sweet malty aroma with hints of chocolate, nut, and coffee. Flavor starts a little alcoholic and quickly changes to sweet malty flavor, again with chocolate and molasses flavors that ends with hints of coffee. Very smooth with pleasant carbonation. Depite the higher alcohol content and sweet, malty flavors, it's not a heavy ale. Very drinkable and enjoyable!.

Photo of OlRasputin989
3.92/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into pint...

A: a dark brown with a red tint and a cola-like head that fizzes down quickly.

S: immediately, a chocolatey, caramelized aroma with a hoppy, biscuity background

T: biscuity hops, milk chocolate, then grassy, bitter hops, with a grainy, caramel sweetness in the background

M: lush, creamy entry to a medium full body, leaves mouth resiny, with an off dry finish

Overall, kind of a let down from the high reviews. Not terrible though, I really enjoyed the chocolate notes and the hop character.

Photo of MrDanno96
4.07/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed this a while back, but lost the review in one of the infamous server crashes. I am revisiting it again tonight.

A: Pours really dark - just a little light gets through, giving the brew a nice ruby/brown hue. About a finger of dark off-white head.

S: Smells like a porter - and a delicious one at that! Strong aromas of dark coffee and roasted malt mix nicely with some sweet chocolate.

T: Good amounts of sweetness upfront: caramel, a little molasses, and some nutiness (hazelnut). Dark chocolate flavor provides some additional sweetness and also a touch of bitterness in the finish. Some coffee flavor also adds a touch of bitterness at the finish.

M: On the lighter side of medium - would have liked a little more body here.

D: A unique brew that I enjoy having from time to time. It's kind of an Imperial Brown taken to the opposite extreme as Nugget Nectar - sweet and roasty malt as opposed to lots of hops.

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

Pouring this beer into a pint glass did not immediately yield a head, but the carbonation rose to form a wonderful, tan head about a finger in depth which left nice bands of lace down the sides of the glass as I drank. The color is a dark, beautiful garnet.

The smell is subtle and the malt and hops compete for attention. From my first whiff I thought this beer would be short on flavor.

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.

Your mouth is immediately attacked by this beer and the flavors explode on your tongue and your palate. At first I thought it to be harsh, but the attack is quickly over, leaving a nice clean wash and only a slight aftertaste. Very nice.

You could easily knock a few of these back with a steak or a good thick burger. With an ABV of 7.2 you're going to want to make sure to have a bite or two with this one.

Photo of PartyBear
3.8/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours as a heavy dark chestnut verging on ruby colour with a medium size creamy tan head and a good level of carbonation. The initial aromas a malty with lots of chocolates, sweet toffee and a touch ginger. The taste starts with a sweetness which brings through the chocolate and clearly nuttiness. Towards the end there is a bitter taste which comes hop goldings hops. It has a big body and the taste stands up well to the 7.2%. Good beer as you would expect from DFH.

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

Lately I'm partial to the Dogfish Head line of beers and this one did not disappoint me.

Very dark with a medium lingering head. A multitude of rich flavors: barley, brown sugar, chocolate, and hops. No bitterness. Pleasantly sweet. Very drinkable.

Photo of aval89
4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured a dark ruby brown with a nice decent tan head...

smelled of dark roasted malts.. followed by figs, coffee, nutty followed by hints of prune, dark cocoa and slight caramel..

initial taste is dark roasted malts... coffee, toffee, dark cocoa, nutty, figs, prune..just a faint of hop bitterness, although i think the dark chocolate is really the bitterness flavor...

mouthfeel is smooth and somewhat creamy...low to medium carbonation...goes down very easy.. drinkablity is medium to high.. very easy to go down..

very nice brown ale, that i wouldnt mind having again :D


Photo of DrDemento456
4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark color not pitch black. Great head.
S - Awkward. Instead of IPA I smell Molasses and caramel. Intriguing
T - Nice! It is a perfect balance of hoppy flavors and Carmel undertones. Slight coffee backbone made me love the brew.
M - Pretty smooth and tasteful almost perfect.
D - Well I am now in like for dogfish head. If I were to try 90 minute IPA my hate would be completely abolished.

Photo of emsroth
3.62/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle

App: Dark, dark brown, almost black, with hues of red around the edges. Huge fluffy tan head.

Smell: A rather rough smell. Astringent alcohol with biting hops. A slight roasted scent, but it's unappetizing.

Taste: Here the beer takes a 180. Great coffee, roasted barley flavor. Burnt sugar and a slight bit of bread. Ends with a firm herbal bitterness. A very earthy flavor.

Full body with wonderfully chewy mouthfeel.

Photo of Zekezilla
3.73/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Tried a few beers at Hamilton Tavern in Baltimore. This one was very good, very smooth and lightly sweet.

Appearance: dark brown, bordering on black. Some lacing.

Smell: molasses, caramel, nuttiness, a little chocolate undertones, nothing overwhelming. Excellent balance.

Taste: Smooth, nutty, caramel with just a little hoppy bitterness, hint of dark fruits, like prunes or raisins.

Mouthfeel: Low to medium carbonation.

Drinkability: very drinkable, would like to try a few more to get more of a feel of this beer.

Photo of jwhawkins81
3.64/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottled on 09/09/09 tasted on 2/26/2010

Aroma - Dark roasted malts with a hint of coffee

Appearance - Thin light brown head that quickly disappeared.

Taste - Lots of dark roast and a mid-taste of hops bitterness and then a long lingering roastiness. Really roasty but also a lot of hop character.

Notes - Decent mouthfeel and carbonation and this beer hid its 7.2% ABV pretty well

Photo of Turbansurfer
3/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I generally love most every dogfish head beer that i choose to ingest- no so with the Indian Brown Ale.

the beer looks good- a medium to dark brown that looks burnt red when held to the light.
The smell and head are promising as you would expect from this brewery.
Consistency is medium for most brown ales.
however there is an overpowering taste of alcohol in the front on the tongue- in my estimation.
to me it is somewhere between the initial taste of a bad barley wine and a homemade brandy.
i really can't get paste the taste of alcohol to judge the taste of the beer much past that. Although, my friends who were drinking didn't seem much to care after the first few it is very effective.

Photo of CaliBeerLover86
4.42/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Deep, dark brown. Very thick and foamy tan head 11/2 inch head with a moderate pour. Leaves a trail of lacing.

Smell: Smells like an ESB, mild hops, and caramel malts. Aromas of coffee, brown sugar, and woody hints nuttiness.

Taste: A cross between an ESB and your standard IPA. Hoppy, bitter, but balanced. Complex because you can definitely taste the brown ale flavor, but also the hops of an IPA. Initial hop taste, then roasted malts, and then that fades into a maltier caramel.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, with a creamy smoothness. Mild carbonation.

Drinkability: Very drinkable. You could easily drink a few of these in a night. If you are a fan of ESB's and IPA's, try this one. (Reminds me of the Harmon's Black Tartan IPA a bit, if anyone has ever tried it.)

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

pours a dark brown color with a good bit of fluffy off-white/ tannish head and good lacing. kind of has a carmel like chocolatey very hoppy taste and smell. this beer goes down very smooth, not as thick as i thought from the first look. i'm not really big into darker beers but this one was very good and very drinkable. probably a good recomendation for someone who's not really into darker beers but wants to give one a try.

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

12oz. bottle served in a shaker pint. Poured a medium brown with a finger of tan head. Nice chocolatey aroma with some hops as well. Tons of chocolate malt in the flavor. Medium bodied. Decent hop bite in the middle. Long lingering chocolate malt finish. This is a really nice brown ale. Easy drinking at 7.2% abv.

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

A - Dark ruby brown, half inch of off white tan head with decent retention and good lacing down the glass.

S - Roasted aromas of barley, coffee, chocolate

T - Dark chocolate and dark fruits give way to a wave of earthy pine hops, then roasted coffee through the aftertaste. Good, complex taste from this brown ale.

M - Medium to full body, low carbonation. Just how I like brown ales to be. Slick across the palate with some hop bitterness causing some friction.

D - Let's say that the abv will catch up to you quick, otherwise, this has excellent drinkability.

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Indian Brown Ale from Dogfish Head Brewery
92 out of 100 based on 5,442 ratings.