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Indian Brown Ale - Dogfish Head Brewery

Not Rated.
Indian Brown AleIndian Brown Ale

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5,395 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,395
Reviews: 1,929
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: 5,395 | Reviews: 1,929 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

Photo of jeffthecheff
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a DFH regular pint glass. The color is a dark, wood like brown with some light shining through the edges. The head is a tan, kind of milkshake color. The retention is excellent and the lacing is good.

The first thing that came to mind from the aroma was chocolate milk. As it warmed up, some sweet, scotch ale maltiness comes through. Sweet, dark fruits. I'm also getting some molasses. It smells like someone is baking something real nice.

The flavor is a nice mixture of a brown and scotch ale. It has the subtle, fruity, chocolaty and nutty flavors of a brown, with more of a big, sweet malt depth to it. Brown sugar presense is there, and there is also a hint of rum. I'm not sure if there is supposed to be much hop presence in this beer (INDIA brown ale?) but if there is, it's getting hidden by the other flavors. This is a very unique tasting beer, and it pulls off a lot of flavors at once.

The mouthfeel of this beer is great. Since I'm not a fan of rich, malty scotch ales, but enjoy a sweet beer, the body is just where I want it. It's rich, full bodied, but not cloying. Carbonation is good. I quickly enjoyed a pint of this beer, but the second slowed me down.

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

A - Clear brown body with hints of ruby. Tan head leaves little lacing.

S - Chocolate and big hop aroma. It's a clean hop aroma that indicates this is no ordinary brown.

T - Chocolate initially, followed up by a bit of sweet candy toffee, and then finishes with an aggressive hop bite. Unique and big but not overdone.

M/D - Full body, easily drinkable. The smell and taste indicate this is a big beer but there is no indication it's as strong as the label suggests. This is a great beer and it's easy to enjoy a few, but too many and you'll be left with a serious buzz.

Photo of jbone78
4.27/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is one of my all-time favorites. Just now getting around to reviewing it.

A- Pours a dark brown, but clear, not cloudy. Nice off-white head that lingers with some great lace.
S- I smell dark malts and coffee. Just the smell tells you this is not going to be a usual brown.
T- This beer is full of flavor. Starts off with heavy malts, sugars and hop flavors. Those fade into the more heavy coffee and ester flavors. Finishes with a slight bitterness that is not really noticed unless you look for it.
M- Has a very malty character that is not my favorite. But with every good thing comes at least on bad. Right?
D- As I mentioned, this is one of my all-time favorites and it is going to sta there for a while.


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

Poured into a nonic pint.

Pours a nice rustic dark brown color that's almost opaque, with a fat frothy off-white/tanish head that dissipates after a while and leaves a good amount of lacing throughout the drink duration. The smell is rich with toasted and roasted characteristics of the malt and barley. You can definitely smell the caramelized sugar, along with some hints of coffee and the hops. The taste is equally incredible; it's so akin to drinking a cup of coffee. The roasted flavor of the malt and caramelized sugar come into play first - so smooth. Then there is some sort of fruitiness that overlaps the initial flavors and coats the tongue very well. Then towards the end, there is a slight bitterness from the hops, alongside the warmth of the alcohol. The ale carries a light to medium body with not a lot of bubbling action going on. Also, the drinkability is very high - a sixer of these could disappear within a night's session.

A great gem from Dogfish Head - definitely worth a taste.

*Originally reviewed July 23, 2009.

Photo of homebrew311
4.3/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark brownish mahogany with a pillowy layer of head, about two fingers thick. The bubbles are thick and has a creamy appearance.

S: An initial wallop of roasted grains, similar to the grain profile of a stout/porter/brown. Notes of caramel, chocolate, and coffee. The hops are not that detectable on the nose. Not sure if that has to do with this bottle being from February.

T: The malts are a little more subdued in the tongue as compared to the smell. The flavor profile is robust but mellow at the same time. I know this sounds odd as the two are opposite, but there is a lot of flavor that is mellowed out by the silky texture. Very nice flavor. A lot of things going on here... I taste the hops that I did not initially smell. This is a true hybrid of styles.

M: this beer is very nice on the mouthfeel. As mentioned earlier, it is silky and goes down smoothly. The carbonation is low which suits the beer nicely.

D: This is probably my favorite DFH offering. It is very accessible while being extremely unique... or as DFH claims... off-centered. Plus the high abv is well hidden.

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

Pours a slightly hazy dark brown with tan head that retains well and laces well. Nose has a fresh bread & nougat aroma. On the palate the hops dominate far more than expected, almost leaving the roasty flavors too far behind in the background. It's not a traditional brown ale and it's a struggle to appreciate it for what it is.

Indian Brown Ale from Dogfish Head Brewery
92 out of 100 based on 5,395 ratings.